"Capitalocene or Anthropocene?" Challenging the Marxist narrative and the science of the Anthropocene: from eco- to Anthropocene feminism

Date created: 
Posthuman Feminism
Marxist Feminism
Marxist Ecology
The Anthropocene
Feminist philosophy of science
Situated knowledge
Climate change

Essay 1: This essay takes an approach informed by Marxist Feminism and posthuman feminism in looking at the recent discussions within Marxist Ecology with a focus on the debate between John Bellamy Foster and Jason W. Moore about the ontology of the climate crisis, expressed as contestation between the terms “Anthropocene” and “Capitalocene.” By contextualizing this debate in the works of Marxist and posthuman feminist thinkers Maria Mies, Silvia Federici, and Joanna Zylinska among others, the essay argues that while “Capitalocene” more accurately describes the forces responsible for the crisis, “Anthropocene” is still a useful critical tool for structuring humanity’s relationship with the world around us. Further it is argued that while the notion “Capitalocene” identifies the way that capitalist relations have characterized nature, we must draw on the feminist scholars who have been developing a new ethics for the Anthropocene as thinking beyond capitalism and its human-centric ontology. Essay 2: This essay looks at the narratives around “the Anthropocene,” the new geological age that many scholars argue the Earth is now in. In looking at these various discourses, with special attention paid to the narratives from scientists and those in the Anthropocene Working Group, this essay will argue that the science of “the Anthropocene” has developed as a way to legitimize capitalism and the gender and racial hierarchies that it depends on. As such, “the Anthropocene” should be developed, beyond the science, as a critical tool to think through how to live within ecological crisis. In order to do this, we should follow the posthuman feminists who have already begun this work by thinking through questions of ‘ethics’ instead of ‘value.’ By reorienting the discussions around ‘ethics,’ questions about relationships between humans and between humans and the Earth stay central to the discussion, opening us up to the new ways of organizing the world by subverting the logic of capitalism and its systemic alienation that caused ecological crisis to begin with.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Senior supervisor: 
Svitlana Matviyenko
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essays) M.A.