Digital Humanities: The Anthropocene Shows in Everything

Throughout the semester, we have learned about many ways that the digital humanities is very helpful to all aspects of research, academia, and even entertainment. All of the maps, graphs, and timelines and conglomeration of works to become more interactive may have produced a whole new era. The anthropocene could be seen as a metaphor for the technology age changing the social, science, and humanities communities, but some people actually believe the term could apply for how society and the environment are changing overall from more than just computer communication.

When reading Bethany Nowviskie’s article on the anthropocene, I struggled a little bit to understand what I was reading. I was wondering why biology and geology were being discussed in an English class. Reading more into the article, it becomes evident that the digital humanities are indeed making every aspect of knowledge more correlated and the lines between disciplines are becoming more gray. The subject material of this article was pretty dreary, but it was also very intriguing. The idea of humanity dying and that we have to accept the civilization dying together instead of just individuals dying a little at a time was difficult to read. De-extinction of the previous creatures of earlier geological eras seemed impossible to me before I read the article. I thought it could be a negative idea because of overpopulation, but when I looked more into it, I found that if only a few animals are brought back to life, then it could be very beneficial.

Comparing the resurrection of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures is much like the resurrection of old books, poems, stories, and manuscripts of history. We could become extinct as well, which Bethany discusses, but we may not be able to be resurrected since we have the most power over all other species at this point. We never know if we really will become extinct or not though, so we might as well do as much as we can to educate others and ourselves with technology and research in the past and present humanities. Another species could always come after us and use the research we have found. We could be the first intelligent life form to leave enough of our knowledge for more individuals to use after our demise. The digital humanities are so important because they bring many old manuscripts that had never been seen in our lifetimes to the light to be studied and to bring advancements for further creations as well.

There are many people that are trying to learn about the anthropocene, display its importance, and maybe counteract its affects. Ms. Nowviskie talked a little about the Long Now Foundation and Dark Mountain. I preferred the Long Now Foundation because it was much more positive and it related towards more of a long term thought process of how past works and future works in the digital humanities can be helpful. Dark Mountain talked more about how we are bound to become extinct. The Long Now Foundation did discuss how the human languages we have now could be extinct in about 10000 years and that much landscape and even waterfalls will probably erode by this point as well. However, this project talks about long term plans. The Dark Mountain Project is very interesting and somewhat macabre because of its discussion of  what is happening that it most likely cannot be prevented. After looking on their website, it almost seems like they are trying to be lighthearted about the future and its demise and to focus our research on just how bad it will be rather than how to fix it. It seems to relate more with the Gothic literature of our society like Edgar Allan Poe. I normally prefer this type of writing, but when it comes to our future I think Long Now Foundation is more helpful and scientific.

Works Cited

Hine, Dougald, and Paul Kingsnorth. “Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto.” Dark Mountain Project. WordPress, n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2016. <;.

Jackson, Jaime. “Sign 11.” Dark Mountain Project. WordPress, Oct. 2013. Web. 11 Apr. 2016. <;.

– – -. “Sign 21.” Dark Mountain Project. WordPress, Oct. 2013. Web. 11 Apr. 2016. <;.

Turpin, Etienne, and Heather Davis. “Art & Death: Lives Between the Fifth Assessment & the Sixth Extinction.” Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments and Epistemologies. Ed. Heather Davis and Etienne Turpin. London: Open Humanities, 2015. 3-30. Print.


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