Abstract

The term and concept of the Anthropocene has lately seeped into academic discourses and public discussions. This article considers some of its intellectual roots in European history, extending back to the origins of stratigraphy in the seventeenth century, and the debates surrounding it. Those debates concern the antiquity of the Anthropocene and its essential character. Depending on which variables one wishes to elevate above others, one can find good reason to claim the Anthropocene began millennia ago, in the late eighteenth century, or in the mid-twentieth.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 117-128
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-29
Open Access
No
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