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Call for Papers - Anthroposcenes in Africa: lived experiences of planetary transformation


We are inviting article submissions for the upcoming special issue "Anthroposcenes in Africa: lived experiences of planetary transformation." Full description below.

Important dates:

Deadline for extended abstracts (750 words) 31 December 2023
Deadline for final paper (5,000 words) 30 April 2024
For audiovisual essays and activist contributions see details below

Please refer to the "publish with us" link in our website for submission guidelines or read the instructions below

Anthroposcenes in Africa: lived experiences of planetary transformation

Confronting the Anthropocene, in Africa and elsewhere, requires fresh sources of imagination. And these sources must be found at the frontlines of planetary transformation (...)

Gabrielle Hecht, ‘African Anthropocene’, 2018

Climate change and extreme weather events – droughts, floods, and storms – across the African continent, as well as the ‘new scramble for Africa’s resources’ raise questions about Anthropocene futures. Historical insights into trajectories of waste, toxicity, pollution (Hecht 2009, 2018; Peša 2022; Yusoff 2021) and forms of ‘slow violence’ (Nixon 2011) have effectively problematised the framing of a single, planetary Anthropocene. Anthropocene responsibilities and vulnerabilities are unevenly distributed across the globe: anthroposcenes look differently everywhere. New Anthropocene realities and narratives for Africa are emerging, ranging from apocalyptic scenarios (Roe 1999) to dreams of technological salvation. Such unfolding discourses largely render local experiences and voices mute. In this special issue we invite for reflections on grassroots’ challenges, lived experiences and perspectives, and ask how interdisciplinary environmental humanities approaches can better bring the plural lived experiences of Anthroposcenes in Africa into view.

Endowed with renewable energy potential and natural resources, Africa features prominently in global future techno-imaginaries as a leader in carbon removal and as a biodiversity hotspot with global significance. However, the optimism and promise that underpin such future-oriented Anthropocene discourses and technologies, largely unfold in depoliticised ways as they obscure the historically produced and sustained forms of violence, toxicity, and socio-environmental harm experienced by local communities.

Debates about ‘climate coloniality’ (Sultana, 2022), ‘global black ecologies’ (Hosbey, Lloréns and Roane, 2022), and the ‘decarbonisation divide’ (Sovacool et al. 2020) attend to the historically produced unequal and racialised histories of colonial and capitalist extraction and environmental degradation. Yet other scholars have urged to move ‘beyond the colonial paradigm’ (Beinart 2009), or the ‘decolonisation trope’ to take African agency seriously (Táíwò 2023). These debates invite for novel reorientations and interdisciplinary reflections on the old questions around agency and structure, (in)dependence and sovereignty in postcolonial Africa.

How can grassroots’ experiences and voices be visibilised in global conversations about climate change, the heightened global demand for ‘green’ energy, and low-carbon technologies? We seek contributions that show the importance of gender, class, and locality in adapting to the Anthropocene and shaping its futures. Do historical and contemporary studies of the science-technology-environment nexus hold the potential to contribute to more equitable futures? What can we learn from studying past and present environmental injustices, e.g. conservation, resource extraction, waste, slow violence, and toxicity? How can local lived experiences, knowledge and struggles over sovereignty of natural resources and land inform these global debates?

Different regional and inter-disciplinary approaches are most welcome. The premise of this special issue is that by studying past and current lived experiences of various Anthroposcenes in Africa - at the frontline of newly emergent planetary transformations - we can gain insights into its likely future dynamics. This would help us better address Anthropocene injustices. We are interested in the following cross-cutting topics and broad thematic orientations:

■ Disaster and climate change adaptation
■ Conservation and nature protection
■ Mining, toxicity, waste, and pollution
■ Agricultural and pastoral change
■ Forms of activism, protest, agency, and resistance
■ The role of (tacit) knowledge, knowledge encounters, power, and expertise
■ Weather forecasting, anticipation, and other forms of foreknowledge and speculation that bring new futures into being

About Grassroots

Grassroots is a new section of the Journal of Political Ecology dedicated to the publication of short articles on environmental realities at multiple scales. We are a space for the circulation of individual or collaborative ideas between activists and academics of political ecology, or branches associated with the social sciences.

In the midst of the global environmental crisis, the goal of Grassroots is to circulate local experiences and stories and reflections on the political dimensions of environmental change, which can motivate political and academic debates. We are interested in grassroots movement initiatives that work to build sustainable alternatives to inhabit the planet, and in critical reflections on political ecology and environmentalism. We are also interested in the challenges to territorial sovereignty and environmental conflicts that local populations face when trying to influence the way in which their natural resources are governed.

Contributions to Grassroots can take many different formats, including: essays written by activists, scholarly reflections and academic activism, or creative work in the form of visual essays based on images, videos, interviews, or other creative expressions.

Academic articles should not exceed 5,000 words and should include a 100-word abstract. We support the publication of articles that are co-written between academics and socio-environmental activists, but other options are also possible. All articles must be properly referenced. They must follow the APA 2021 format and will be included in a volume of the Journal of Political Ecology. Articles can be written in Spanish, English and French and must be submitted directly through the Journal of Political Ecology platform (

Activist contributions can vary in content: they can draw attention to local socio-environmental mobilization processes, analyze the trajectory of a particular grassroots movement, or interview social leaders in written or audio and video format. Written contributions should be limited to 2,000 words while the length of audiovisual contributions should be discussed with the editors. Activist contributions should be sent to and will be posted on the Grassroots page.

Audiovisual essays must contain no less than 4 and no more than 7 images coherently related through a written description. Visual essays can, for example, reflect the history of a socio-environmental movement, its territory or its more than human allies. Visual essays should be sent to and will be posted on the Grassroots page. If you have any questions, please contact us through the following email:


Benjamin K. Sovacool e.a., ‘The Decarbonisation Divide. Contextualizing Landscapes of Low-Carbon Exploitation and Toxicity in Africa’, Global Environmental Change 60 (2020) 102028.

Emery Roe. 1999. Except-Africa: Remaking Development, Rethinking Power. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

Farhana Sultana, ‘The Unbearable Heaviness of Climate Coloniality’, Political Geography (2022)

Gabrielle Hecht, ‘Interscalar Vehicles For an African Anthropocene: On Waste, Temporality, and Violence,’ Cultural Anthropology: 33, 1 (2018), 109-141.

Gabrielle Hecht, ‘African Anthropocene’, Aeon. (2018)

Iva Peša. ‘A Planetary Anthropocene? Views From Africa’. (2022) Isis 113(2), 386-395.

Justin Hosbey, Hilda Lloréns, and J.T. Roane, ‘Global Black Ecologies’, Environment and Society: Advances in Research 13 (2022), 1-10.

Olúfémi Táíwò. 2023. Against Decolonisation. Taking African Agency Seriously. London: Hurst Publishers.

Rob Nixon. (2011). Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Kathryn Yusoff, ‘The Inhumanities’, Annals of the American Association of Geographers 111:3 (2021): 663-676.

William Beinart. 2009. ‘Beyond The Colonial Paradigm. African History and Environmental History in Large-Scale Perspective’. In: Edmund Burke (ed.), The Environment and World History, pp. 211-228. University of California Press.


[1] Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
[2] Friedrich Meinecke Institute, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
[3] Department of History, University of York, United States
[4] Department of History, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
[5] Institute for History/ African Studies Centre Leiden, Leiden University , The Netherlands