On Decolonising the Anthropocene: disobedience via plural constitutions

Mark Jackson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This paper mobilises a decolonial critique of the Anthropocene. It argues for a certain epistemic disobedience to what, conceptually and politically, the Anthropocene seeks to legitimate. The paper counterposes recent critical and global governance epistemologies, which summon the Anthropocene as a new humanist and statist moment for universal politics, against plural, parochial forms of relational, non-statist affirmation. Hegemonic governance imaginaries that invoke universalist and naturalising rationales are shown to reproduce colonial logics. The paper argues for marginalised and systematically ignored forms of earth-bound relationality that evidence long-standing political and ontological means for responding to modernity’s ecological and social harms. Earthbound and rooted life-worlds can affirm ecological responsibility and co-constitution otherwise. Two examples are presented, one from Afro-Caribbean geographies, another from Anishinaabe legal scholarship. Together they evidence enduring ecological reciprocities that unsettle and refuse the totalising rationalities invoked by Anthropocene horizons.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Early online date24 Aug 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Aug 2020


  • Afro-Caribbean
  • Anthropocene
  • Decoloniality
  • global environmental governance
  • Indigenous law
  • ontology

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