Hibernation

In Britain, the common hedgehog goes into hibernation at just about this time of year. Its body temperature will drop (Hugh Warwick writes) by some 25°C; its heart will slow to five beats a minute; it can go for an hour between breaths. In the case of erinaceus, however, hibernation is triggered not by the cold but by the demands of the academic calendar. In other words, I’m putting the blog on hold until the spring because I’m busy with teaching. Expect a new series of weekly posts to begin next May.

In my first post here, I said that Made Ground would be mainly “an ongoing, offhand review of new publications on the ‘Anthropocene,’ in any interesting sense of that word: precis, quotation, and wilfully capricious evaluation.” That’s roughly how it’s worked out. I was expecting, though, to write mostly about a miscellaneous selection of academic journal articles, and usually to do so within a week or two of their being published.

As it turned out, I’d underestimated how many full-length books there would be to talk about, and how many new publications I’d feel more or less bound to discuss (especially by scholars whose work I’d already drawn on in the book). I’ve spent less time than I expected on curiosities that caught my eye, and more time catching up on obviously major contributions to the field.

Here are the six book reviews from the blog this year:

Ian Angus, Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System (here, here, and here)
Timothy Clark, Ecocriticism on the Edge: The Anthropocene as a Threshold Concept (here)
Lesley Head, Hope and Grief in the Anthropocene: Re-conceptualising Human-Nature Relations (here)
J. R. McNeill and Peter Engelke, The Great Acceleration: An Environmental History of the Anthropocene since 1945 (here)
Jason W. Moore, ed., Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism (here and here)
Christian Schwägerl, The Anthropocene: The Human Era and how it Shapes our Planet (here)

I’ve also spent four posts on new papers by members of the Anthropocene Working Group, here, here, here, and here. The parallel, multi-part reviews of the Angus and Moore books have been the most widely read entries on the blog this year, by a distance.

I think things might be more similar than different next year. I’m very conscious of some notable publications that I haven’t yet had an opportunity to write about, including some by writers I admire a great deal, and of other books and articles that are coming down the line. In earlier posts I’ve expressed vague plans to write about Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin’s “Orbis hypothesis,” about the events of 1952, and about Anthropocene Working Group conference reports (cp. the behind-the-scenes account in this newly published essay by Andrew Revkin), among other things. Maybe next year; maybe not.

But anyway, it’s into the hibernaculum for now. Do stop in next May. Thanks for reading.

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