Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society Organization Logo Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society

Research Project

Hidden Abodes of the “Great Acceleration”: Fossil Metabolism, Infrastructure, and the Climate/Nature Crisis

2024 – 2025
Detail of a U.S. military map charting the international movement of iron and steel.

Detail of a U.S. military map charting the international movement of iron and steel. Source: Army Specialized Training Division, 1943 Army Service Forces Manual M-101 Atlas of World Maps (Washington, D.C., 1943), p. 20.

Key Question

Project Summary

Widely advocated by proponents of the Anthropocene, the Great Acceleration thesis posits that the decisive inflection point for today’s climate crises occurred during the postwar golden age of capitalism (1947-1974). This project will elaborate an alternative account of the contemporary climate and nature emergencies, devoting particular attention to the “hidden abodes” of the Great Acceleration—veiled yet essential dynamics associated with the construction of large-scale infrastructural systems to extract and exploit natural resources.

Research Team

Neil Brenner

Neil Brenner

Flower Professor of Urban Sociology in the Department of Sociology and the Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization (CEGU)

University of Chicago

Neil Brenner is Lucy Flower Professor of Urban Sociology in the Department of Sociology and Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization (CEGU) at the University of Chicago. His writing and teaching focus on the theoretical, conceptual, and methodological dimensions of urban questions,...

Aaron G. Jakes

Aaron G. Jakes

Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the Committee on Environment, Geography, and Urbanization

University of Chicago

Aaron G. Jakes is assistant professor in the Department of History and the Committee on Environment, Geography, and Urbanization at the University of Chicago. His work deals broadly with the histories of the modern Middle East and South Asia, the historical geography of capitalism, global...

Jason W. Moore

Jason W. Moore

Professor of Sociology

Binghamton University

Jason W. Moore, a historical geographer and environmental historian, is Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University. He co-coordinates the World-Ecology Research Network. His books and essays include

Reading List

Barca, Stefania

Forces of Reproduction: Notes for a Counter-hegemonic Anthropocene Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020 Read

Barak, On

Powering Empire: How Coal Made the Middle East and Sparked Global Carbonization Oakland: University of California Press, 2020 Read

Ekers, Michael; Prudham, Scott

“The Socio-ecological Fix: Fixed Capital, Metabolism, and Hegemony” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 109 (2018): 17-34. Read

Fraser, Nancy

Cannibal Capitalism New York: Verso, 2023 Read

Görg, Christoph; et. al.

“Scrutinizing the Great Acceleration: The Anthropocene and its Analytic Challenges for Socio-ecological Transformations” The Anthropocene Review 2019, 1-19. Read

Harvey, David

Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference Spain: Wiley, 1996 Read

Kadri, Ali

The Accumulation of Waste: A Political Economy of Systemic Destruction London: Brill, 2023 Read

Khalili, Laleh

Sinews of War and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula New York: Verso, 2020 Read

Moore, Jason W.

Capitalism and the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital New York: Verso, 2015 Read

Pineault, Eric

A Social Ecology of Capital London: Pluto, 2023 Read

Williams, Raymond

“Ideas of Nature" Problems in Culture and Materialism (London: Verso, 1985), 67-85. Read

Weis, Tony

The Ecological Hoofprint: The Global Burden of Industrial Livestock London: Zed Books, 2013 Read

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