29.2 | Lawrence Buell

Anthropocene Panic: Contemporary Ecocriticism and the Issue of Human Numbers


Environmental humanists rightly believe they have valuable contributions to make to rethinking and redressing Anthropocene Age excess. Ecocriticism’s recent maturation as an interdiscipline has put it in a stronger position to do so than ever before. Its “material” turn in the 2000s bears this out up to a point, but its interventions also seem somewhat self-limiting. This essay argues that ecocritics and environmental humanists more generally have foregone a promising opportunity by avoiding the controversial issue of unsustainable human population growth as a sociohistorical phenomenon and an impetus to creative imagination.