Call for Submissions: Issue #4

Life After the Anthropocene:

Envisioning the Futures of the World


About Mapping Meaning, the Journal

In a strongly fragmented and disciplined-based world, Mapping Meaning offers a collective space to imagine, create, and propose new models in the face of radical global change and ecological and social crises. Each issue takes up a particular theme and is edited by different curatorial teams from a variety of disciplines. Published two times per year, all issues include the broadest possible calls for submission; gathering together divergent and experimental knowledge practices.

Read past issues here:

Issue #4 | Call for Submissions

Issue Editors: Melanie Armstrong and Jennifer Richter

The Anthropocene is a controversial word describing our current era.  Though not a formally adopted scientific term, it points to how globally dominant, human-centered economic and political systems have had significant ecological effects so as to alter the course of earth history. In just a few centuries, a small subset of humans, beginning in Europe and North America, have become ever more successful at converting nature into capital through colonization, industrialization, imperialism, and financialization of climate risk and resilience. The costs have been great: exponential decreases in biodiversity, unpredictable and extreme weather, the degradation of entire ecosystems and the human and more-than-human lifeways they support. The accelerated conversion of “nature” into “resource” is not consistent with the long-term survival, let alone flourishing, of humanity – or anything else. The present course invites despair, which can lead to inaction. But other visions of how humans should relate to the world have always existed, and audacious new imaginaries are still being born. They chart a future in which humans are integrated with the world, rather than in control of it.  

This issue seeks submissions that explore the world after the Anthropocene, to materialize and make possible future-thinking in the present, to demonstrate that paradigm shifts and radical actions will come from imagining the futures we want and need. Tsing et al. have argued that, “Somehow, in the midst of ruins, we must maintain enough curiosity to notice the strange and wonderful as well as the terrible and terrifying” (2017: M7).  We are looking for works that grapple with these strange and wonderful aspects of the Anthropocene, as well as the terrible and terrifying. These ideas will show recognition, support, and appreciation for post-Anthropocene ecological webs, integrate knowledges that collapse perceived divides between nature and culture, and think about scales outside of human time and place.  We hope to gain and share insights from diverse perspectives, such as Indigenous thought, grassroots activism, public policy, alternative economies, and experimental living. We also seek diverse forms, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, theoretical or critical essays, ethnographic or autoethnographic accounts, case studies, empirical works, artworks, graphic narratives, etc. 

Topics that push against the dominant discourses of the Anthropocene may range from (but are not limited to):

  1. Experiencing the Anthropocene: How are specific human communities making sense of the time we live in by challenging the rigidity of the Western human/nature divide? What are the unexpected, yet utterly predictable, effects of modern life that give form to the anthropocene? What will our relationships with the environment, to each other and to the future look like when we recognize and challenge systems of globalized capital and resource extraction?

  2. Decolonizing the post-Anthropocene: Taking the call from Indigenous scholar/activists to recognize the need to decolonize our relationships with each other and the world in order to address climate injustices, what evidence can we see for practices that will lead human societies to reject processes of colonization and imperialization (Tuck and Young, 2012, Whyte 2017)?  What are theories, projects, works, etc., from pre-human to newly-created, that show us the possibilities of working with natural processes, rather than striving to fully control them? How will/are humans and non-humans navigate/ing these new relationships with other biological life-forms, including flows of energy, food, and water? How will our entanglements (Tsing et al 2017) with other species change and morph into new kinds of relationships? 

  3. Beyond utopias and dystopias: How do we engage a post-Anthropocene future while also acknowledging the past?  How do we get beyond technofixes and fatalism (Haraway 2016) in our engagements with future ecologies? What are moments that engage both past and future political, economic, and biological processes, in order to re-vision different and co-constructive relationships?  How can humans cultivate post-Anthropocentric practices in the present? Can we be playful in embracing what a concept like the anthropocene does to help us struggle with a post-anthropocene world?

  4. The past is not a predictor for the future: How can we understand new and old ways to face an increasingly unpredictable future?  How will we create and grow more respectful and resilient relationships with different species?  How can we respond to the ghosts and monsters haunting the landscape (Tsing et al 2017) of the Anthropocene?  How can we challenge and upend current industrialized approaches to nature, and on what scales?  How will this transition look, politically, socially, and culturally, if we take the post-anthropocene seriously?

Submissions due: Nov. 1, 2019

For more information on Mapping Meaning :

Please send submissions to


Donna Haraway (2016). Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene.  Durham: Duke University Press.

Heather Swanson, Anna Tsing, Nils Bubandt, and Elaine Gan (2017).“Introduction: Bodies Tumbled into Bodies,” in Arts of Living on a  Damaged Planet: Monsters of the Anthropocene(Anna Tsing, Heather Swanson, Elaine Gan, and Nils Bubandt, eds.).  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Eve Tuck & K. Wayne Young (2012). “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor.”  Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 1(1): 1-40.

Kyle Powys Whyte (2017). “The Dakota Access Pipeline, Environmental Injustice, and U.S. Colonialism.” Red Ink 19(1): 154-16