Dying Well In the Anthropocene

On the End of Archivists

  • Samantha R. Winn Virginia Tech


Humanities scholars argue that the Anthropocene forces humanity to confront its death as a species. For memory workers, the specter of biological annihilation is accompanied by a more immediate existential crisis: if there will be no one to remember what was, then what will have been the purpose of memory work? This essay reviews emerging literature on archivy’s affective and structural adaptations to climate change alongside speculative futures of memory work in climate fiction. The article argues for Anthropocene archivists to adopt a palliative practice based on transdisciplinary principles of radical care, intentional degrowth, anticipatory grief, and maintenance theory.

Pre-print first published online 06/13/2019