Storytelling the Anthropocene

Co-authored manuscript (with Stefanie Fishel) under advanced contract to Routledge’s Worlding Beyond the West book series, to be delivered in December 2020.

International Relations (IR), as a traditionally Western discipline, “hyper-separates” humanity from nature both politically and ethically. Its tendency toward state centric understandings of human relations often misses or elides other political and social processes at work globally. At another level, the anthropocentric approach focuses only on human processes. Many critical approaches in IR seek to rectify this to create a more complex picture of global politics and this book seeks to add to these explorations. This is done to be better able to understand and respond to the complex issues facing human and non-human communities affected by the changes that are produced by—and that initially resulted in—the Anthropocene. To begin to address this more complex world, this book project twins a new method in IR—a narrative approach to politics—to an understanding of the micro and macro levels of the biome and biosphere which are so crucial to the Anthropocene. This serves two purposes: firstly, to shift the focus from a human-centred understanding of IR’s core concepts of harm, suffering and vulnerability to one that acknowledges both the non-human, as well as the other-than-human. Secondly, a narrative approach demonstrates how the statist and anthropocentric character of IR scholarship may be reimagined for the 21st century. This dual approach begins to frame IR as a wider project of biospheric worlding, or cosmo-politics, rather than only matters of state and national concern. Ultimately, we reach the conclusion that the biosphere and its biomes need healing.