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The anthroposcenic

Matless, David

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This paper presents the ‘Anthroposcenic’ as a geographical contribution to debates around the Anthropocene, deploying the insights of cultural and historical geography to ask how thinking through landscape and time might shape understanding. The paper begins by elaborating on the term ‘Anthroposcenic’, foregrounding the ways in which landscape becomes emblematic of environmental transformation, and reflects further on geological wordplay in science and the humanities. The role of historical enquiry in addressing the times of the Anthropocene is considered, in terms of the dating of a proposed Anthropocene epoch, and the resonance of past geological debate. The possibilities of the Anthroposcenic are then demonstrated through studies of eroding coastal landscapes, drawing on contemporary and historical material from the English coast. Landscape here becomes emblematic of the Anthropocene, and shows how processes of environmental change are articulated through different geographical scales. Coastal studies also show past landscape achieving present resonance, and thereby how the Anthroposcenic may encompass historical material anticipatory of current debate. The paper reflects too on the ways in which questions of inheritance may frame Anthroposcenic enquiry. A specific Anthroposcene serves to open and close the paper.


Matless, D. (2017). The anthroposcenic. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 42(3), 363-376.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 28, 2016
Online Publication Date Jan 18, 2017
Publication Date Sep 30, 2017
Deposit Date Nov 29, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jan 19, 2019
Journal Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Print ISSN 0020-2754
Electronic ISSN 1475-5661
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 42
Issue 3
Pages 363-376
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Matless, D. (2017), The Anthroposcenic. Trans Inst Br Geogr. doi:10.1111/tran.12173, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Contract Date Nov 29, 2016


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