This article argues that the thesis of the Anthropocene offers grounds for a reconciliation between human history and natural history, abolishing the Enlightenment ideology of history as the progressive conquest of nature by Man. Drawing on research in biology, ecology, postcolonial theory, and Marxism, Chakrabarty recuperates the category of the human species in respect to climate change, not so as to abolish social and political distinctions among humans but rather in order to consider the way in which climate change demands a planetary perspective on history. Chakrabarty's article has served as a touchstone for a number of projects wishing to reconsider the relations among the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and has suggested that certain aspects of Enlightenment universalism might still find purchase in contemporary analyses.
Critical Inquiry 35.2 (Winter 2009): 197-222.
Chakrabarty, Dipesh, “"The Climate of History: Four Theses.",” Legacies of the Enlightenment, accessed April 26, 2018, http://enlightenmentlegacies.org/items/show/111.