The Anthropocene and the Undead describes how our experience of an increasingly erratic environment and the idea of the undead are more closely linked than the obvious zombie horde signaling the end of the world. In fact, as described here, much of how we understand the anthropocene both conceptually and in practice involves undead entities from the past that will not die, undead traumas that rise up and consume the world, and undead temporalities that can never end. Fifteen original essays by cultural and anthropological experts such as Kyle William Bishop, Nils Bubandt, Johan Höglund, and Steffen Hantke, among others, study the nature of humanity’s ongoing complicated relationship to the environment via the concept of the undead. In doing so, The Anthropocene and the Undead sheds invaluable light on adjacent concepts such as the Capitalocene, Necrocene, Disanthropocene, Post-anthropocene, and the Symbiocene to trace real and imagined trajectories of our more-than-human selves into undead and undying futures.
Simon Bacon is an independent scholar.
The undead, in their many forms, have never been more popular and never felt more relevant than in a cultural landscape plagued by global pandemic and ecological disaster, making Simon Bacon’s Anthropocene and the Undead a timely analysis. Bringing together a dream-team of cultural commentators discussing representations of the Anthropocene and its demise across film, television, literature and theatre through the prism of the undead, this book offers a richly nuanced consideration of the fractured relationship between humanity and the natural world. The chapters are provocative, insightful and richly interconnected, inviting reflection and action.
There is a cascade of books examining the Anthropocene, but this collection stands out for its brilliant elucidation of the many ways the ‘undead’ represent a present era that is increasingly defined by humans’ impact on the planet. Expertly organized and contextualized by Simon Bacon, essays consider the ways in which the ‘undead’ figure identity, space, time, life, death and undying in the Anthropocene. Reading both cultural texts and material reality, the essays collectively illuminate how everything about life on Earth is becoming an ‘undying’ that is also, inevitably, an ongoing history of the evolution of life on Earth.