Pluralizing Debates on the Anthropocene Requires Engaging with the Diversity of Existing Scholarship

Jonathan Pickering, James Patterson, Frank Biermann, Sarah Burch, Aarti Gupta, Cristina Yumie Aoki Inoue, Atsushi Ishii, Agni Kalfagianni, James Meadowcroft, Chukwumerije Okereke, Åsa Persson

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Letter to the editorAcademicpeer-review


A recent article in this journal (Jackson 2021) validly emphasized that debates about the Anthropocene need to recognize a diverse range of perspectives, worldviews, and forms of knowledge. In doing so, however, the author mischaracterized scholarship on earth system governance as being antithetical to a critical and pluralistic stance on the Anthropocene. In this commentary we address key concerns about the article: selective and misleading quotations regarding the earth system governance literature’s diversity; unwarranted insinuations that juxtapose the implications of this literature with those of slavery and holocausts; and neglect of the breadth and diversity of scholarship on earth system governance. We underscore the need for scholarly debates on the Anthropocene to be informed by a balanced and rigorous assessment of existing scholarship, and for a constructive dialogue between global and locally situated ways of understanding the earth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e-i-e-vi
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Anthropocene
  • diversity
  • earth system governance
  • inclusion
  • pluralism


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