The Anthropocene concept has triggered debates about causalities, agencies, responsibilities and identities across disciplines from the natural sciences to economics, law, social sciences and the humanities as well as the public discourse. It also functions as a bridging concept enabling novel interdisciplinary collaborations. The presentation reflects on the possible position and contribution of literary studies to the Anthropocene debate. The first part distinguishes inter-, trans- and multidisciplinary conceptions of Anthropocene research and argues that critical approaches in the humanities can make unique contributions to an agonistic interdisciplinary scholarship of the Anthropocene. To illustrate this point, the second part discusses the different understandings of two key Anthropocene concepts (Anthropos, scale) in the sciences and humanities. In the final part, I will outline the ensuing epistemic and conceptual challenges for literary studies and distinguishes ›Anthropocene readings‹ (novel horizons of interpretation) from ›Anthropocene literature‹ (novel literary forms and practices). This raises the question how these developments will in turn affect interdisciplinary debates on the Anthropocene.
This lecture talk is open to the public.