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Vol. 17 No. 1 (2024): Drawing Anthropocene

Drawing Anthropocene: Editorial

  • Sarah Casey
  • Gerry Davies
12 February 2024


This edition of TRACEY examines connections between drawing and the concept of Anthropocene. 

The term Anthropocene, coined at the start of the new millennium by geochemist Paul Crutzen and freshwater researcher Eugene Stoermer, denotes a new period of geological time, reflecting the extent to which human activity is making its mark on geologic stratigraphy. While there remains debate about the precise starting point of the Anthropocene, the concept is now widespread and in common usage as a byword for human impact on the environment. For the humanities and social sciences and arts, the term has a useful flexibility, used to bring together thinking about the ways in which traces of human presence impact upon the earth. 

The motivation for this special edition of TRACEY was twofold. Firstly, there has been an explosion of literature from many different fields accounting for developments in relation to Anthropocene thinking. It is high time to acknowledge and bring together a selection of the many rich and varied research applications of drawing encompassed under this term. Secondly, we have a sense that at its core, drawing is intimately connected to the concept of Anthropocene. Put simply, reduced to is basics Anthropocene is about trace, of action and its imprint. We might say the same about drawing. As such, Drawing Anthropocene is a particularly timely addition to the growing body of drawing research that looks beyond the borders of drawing to other disciplines and issues in the world.