The brain of history or the mentality of the Anthropocene

Malabou, Catherine (2017) The brain of history or the mentality of the Anthropocene. SAQ : South Atlantic Quarterly, 116(1), pp. 39-53. ISSN (print) 0038-2876


Abstract: How is it possible to account for the double dimension of the “anthropos” of the Anthropocene ? At once both a responsible, historical subject, and a neutral, non-conscious and non-reflexive force? According to Chakrabarty, the “anthropos” has to be considered a geological force; according to Smail, it has to be considered an addicted brain. A subjectivity without being for the former, an emotional and dependent biological and symbolic entity for the latter. As an in between solution, I propose a rereading of the concept of “mentality” proposed by Braudel and his followers from the Annales School. The mental would be intermediarily located between the inorganic and the neural, thus helping to fill the gap between two opposed concepts of history, that are both implied in the current redefinition of ecology.

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