The Evolution of the Anthroposphere Historicizing Geoanthropology

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After briefly introducing the ongoing debate about the Anthropocene from an interdisciplinary point of view—with a focus on the lack of common ground among different scholarly communities in addressing the Anthropocene as a geo-cultural notion—the article attempts to frame geoanthropology as a novel interdisciplinary approach that can help overcome tensions between the sciences and the humanities. It does so by providing two examples of geoanthropological investigation: first, the experimental project Anthropogenic Markers; second, an attempt to historicize geoanthropology through the exploration of historical efforts to perceive nature as integrated with humanity. The first case, Anthropogenic Markers, shows some of the historical contexts, epistemic settings, and conceptual contributions of Anthropocene geology, thus exploring ways of combining the anthroposphere and the geosphere without losing sight of the different local and political contexts. The second case introduces the concept of ‘epistemic evolution’, crucial to understanding geoanthropology from a historical perspective, and combines it with the notion of the ‘noosphere’, particularly in the elaboration provided by Russian geochemist Vladimir I. Vernadsky. The noosphere is described as a new phase of biosphere evolution in which humans have become aware of their ability to reshape the Earth, especially through the invention of modern technologies. In this respect, the noosphere is characterized by the emergence of a new awareness that integrates cultural and geological forms of agency in their epistemic and co-evolutionary aspects. The noosphere appears as a global process oriented towards understanding the world as an integrated system, which is a precondition for any attempt to rematerialize and rebalance the role of humanity in the Earth System.

Keywords: Anthropocene, Historical Geoanthropology, Noosphere, Vladimir I. Vernadsky


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