In the face of debates about the Anthropocene – a geological epoch of our own making – and contemporary concerns about ecological crisis and the sixth mass extinction, it is more important than ever to locate the timeframe of human activity within the deep time of planetary history. This path-breaking book is a timely critical review of the anthropology of time, exploring our human relationship with the timescale of geological formation. Richard D. G. Irvine shows how the time-horizons of social life are a matter of crucial concern, and lays bare the ways in which human activity becomes severed from the long-term geological and ecological rhythms on which it depends.
1. Time Depth
2. Time Travelling Pits and Migrant Rocks
3. Excluding Water
4. The Problem With Presentism
5. Mapping Deep Time
6. Geology and Biography
7. Enter Catastrophe
Richard D. G. Irvine is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews.
"If much of the current sense of ecological crisis turns on how resources are abstracted from the conditions of their renewal, suppose that very evocation of the future were itself an abstraction we cannot afford. Told with verve and wit, this foray into encounters with deep time asks us to see the time that we are hiding from ourselves. Irvine's clarity of argument opens out the 'anthropology of time' onto a new horizon of global significance."
– Marilyn Strathern, University of Cambridge