The Great Derangement

Ghosh’s critical work stands at the crossroads where the environmental humanities, postcolonial studies, and the public humanities converge. Best known as a novelist, Ghosh ventures into nonfiction in The Great Derangement as he explores the imaginative, historical and political implications of the Anthropocene.

Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer launched the idea of the Anthopocene in this brief piece in 2000. 

Here Rob Nixon outlines why the Anthropocene has resonated strongly for humanities scholars:

The responses to Ghosh’s book have been wide ranging. Here’s one from fellow novelist, Neel Mukherjee. 

And two suggestive engagements with Ghosh’s core ideas by two prominent ecocritics, the Americanist Ursula Heise. and the Victorianist Jesse Oak Taylor.

 Although the Anthropocene was initially centered in the history of European industrialization, various respondents have reconsidered what the Anthropocene might look like if we foregrounded the histories of other continents, viz. the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australasia. Here is a stimulating forum on Ghosh’s Asia-centric perspective on the Anthropocene. 


Crutzen, Paul J. and Eugene F. Stoermer. The “Anthropocene.” Global Change Newsletter, 41 (2000), 17–18.

Heise, Ursula. “Climate Stories: Review of Amitav Ghosh’s ‘The Great Derangement.'” b20, February 19, 2018,

Mukherjee, Neel. “How Global Warming Has Frozen Fiction.” New Statesman, October 4, 2016. 

Nixon, Rob. “The Anthropocene: The Promise and Pitfalls of an Epochal Idea. Edge Effects, Last Modified October 12, 2019:

Oak Taylor, Jesse. “The Work of Fiction in an Age of Anthropogenic Climate Change: Review of Amitav Ghosh’s ‘The Great Derangement.'” b20, January 31, 2018,

Thomas, Julia Adeney, Prasannan Parthasarathi, Rob Linrothe, Fa-ti Fan, Kenneth Pomeranz, and Amitav Ghosh. “JAS Round Table on Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable.” The Journal of Asian Studies 75, no. 4 (2016): 929–55.