You’ve maybe heard of this concept of the Anthropocene recently? It made the mainstream (if readership of the New York Times can be considered mainstream) a little over two years ago when Roy Scranton’s piece “Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene” became widely shared and commented on. Scranton expanded the piece into the recently released Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization (City Lights Books).
This morning as my colleagues at the University of San Francisco sat through the annual ritual of convocation that officially launches the academic year, I was headed to my local police department’s property and evidence storage unit. This is a trip I make every couple of months (for reasons I’ll explain later), even during the academic year. So there was nothing unusual about this particular trip, except its simultaneity with the convocation I’d ordinarily be obligated to attend. During this mundane morning–if one can call a visit to the police mundane–the reality of my sabbatical finally set in. Which means today also feels like the right time to launch an idea I’ve been kicking around… (more…)