Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene, staying with the trouble at Fukushima

DESOTO, Pablo. Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene, staying with the trouble in Fukushima. Thesis (Doctorate in Communication and Culture) – School of Communication, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 2016.

In the space-time of environmental devastation announced by the Anthropocene, nuclear catastrophe is one of the troubles with fuzzy boundaries that challenges our capacity for comprehension. It is characterized by a twofold invisibility, with both ionizing radiation and institutional invisibility – the claim by the authorities that the problem is “under control”. As in the case of Chernobyl, the Fukushima Daiichi disaster is a maximal 7 on the AEIA scale of accidents. It was unprecedented in that several reactors went into meltdown, and in that it occurred 200 kilometers from the most populous metropolitan area on the planet. Taking as a theoretical framework the interdisciplinary discussion of the Anthropocene, and critical formulations such as Jason W. Moore’s Capitalocene and Donna Haraway’s Chthulucene, this dissertation investigates how humans and other creatures are staying with trouble of a nature-culture altered by radioactivity in Fukushima. With their different figures and metaphors, Capitalocene and Chthulucene are alternative epochal names to the hegemonic Anthropocene, bringing other ontologies and epistemologies from the fields of contemporary Marxist theory, eco-techno-feminism and multispecies ethnography. Repurposing Anthropocene, Capitalocene and Chthulucene as analytical apparatuses and ways of knowing nuclear catastrophe, this dissertation proposes an onto- epistemology with which to construct an experimental narrative about the meaning of Fukushima in current discourse regarding environmental challenges on a planetary scale. This onto-epistemology is made possible through creating a Warburgian space of thought that combines real and imaginary, primary sources and scientific studies, artworks and pop culture. This research method, that I call Atlas SF, groups together heterogeneous media, bridges various disciplines of knowledge and establishes relations between different dramatis personae, objects, places and stories.

Keywords:
environmental humanities, science studies, art, anthropology, epistemology

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Image credits aboved: “Under nuclear threat” by Luz Interruptus. Photo by Gustavo Sanabria.