The Plantationocene is a proposed alternate name for the epoch often called the Anthropocene. Inspired by the scholars, artists, and activists visiting University of Wisconsin–Madison as part of the 2019-2020 Sawyer Seminar “Interrogating the Plantationocene,” this Edge Effects series aims to foster conversations that address multiple forms of plantations, past and present, as well as the ways that plantation logics organize modern economies, environments, bodies, and social relations. For an introduction to the term and the questions surrounding it, read the essay that begins the series: “Plantation Legacies” by Sophie Sapp Moore, Monique Allewaert, Pablo F. Gómez, and Gregg Mitman.
The Anthropocene gives a name to human-caused environmental change. The Plantationocene puts colonialism, capitalism, and enduring racial hierarchies at the center of the conversation and asks what past and future modes of resistance might emerge.
An audio-visual essay by Deborah A. Thomas responds to the 2010 state of emergency in West Kingston, Jamaica, known as the "Tivoli Incursion" and asks how archiving affects—not just events—might be a way to re-imagine justice, politics, and repair.
What haunts the land? Artists R.L. Martens and Bii Robertson dig up the tangled history of "the vampire crop," slavery, and soil exhaustion in Maryland, revealing that the past is more present than you might think.
A "plantation-style community" might ease houselessness in Hawaiʻi. But it also erases violent histories of labor exploitation and Native dispossession. Leanne Day and Rebecca Hogue discuss Kahauiki Village and the dangers of plantation nostalgia.
Drawing from postcolonial, Caribbean, Black, and Indigenous Studies, Sophie Sapp Moore and Aida Arosoaie curate a reading list that highlights the complex dynamics of plantation worlds, past and present. Their syllabus is the perfect end to our series on the Plantationocene.