The notion of materiality is relevant for the discussion of habitats for many forms of life, including humans but also mosses, birds and others.


  • What are materials? (inert, chemically active, living, important and less important, composite and simple, etc.)
  • How much is there and where are they distributed? (land, water, air, surfaces, Moon, asteroids, living bodies, etc.) Anthropocene: human-made materials now weigh as much as all living biomass, say scientists ( Statistics. 1
  • Where do they come from? (cosmic, geological, biological, industrial processes)
  • Who and how uses them?
  • How do they matter for living beings and living cultures?
  • How do they change with human impact and into the future?


  • Industrial
  • Dirt, soil, living tissue, dead tissue...

Topics and Issues

  • Biomaterials
  • Materials for devices
  • Materials for energy and catalysis
  • Materials for optics
  • Nanoscale materials
  • Soft materials
  • Structural materials


Hüpkes, Philip, and Gabriele Dürbeck. ‘The Technical Non-Reproducibility of the Earth System: Scale, Biosphere 2, and T.C. Boyle’s Terranauts’. The Anthropocene Review, 2021, 20530196211048936.


Material Science

Engineering and Design

Material Ecocriticism

Oppermann, Serpil. ‘The Scale of the Anthropocene: Material Ecocritical Reflections’. Mosaic: An Interdisciplinary Critical Journal 51, no. 3 (2018): 1–17.

Material Practices: The Anthropocene Earth in Formation | MPIWG (

Cycling of Materials

Waster of human industry, recycling, upcycling, etc.

Steel from old tyres and ceramics from nutshells – how industry can use our rubbish (

And overview of landfill mining:

Krook, Joakim, Niclas Svensson, and Mats Eklund. ‘Landfill Mining: A Critical Review of Two Decades of Research’. Waste Management 32, no. 3 (2012): 513–20.


Technofossils are Future Fossils that Tell the Human Story (

Zalasiewicz, Jan, Mark Williams, Colin N. Waters, Anthony D. Barnosky, and Peter Haff. “The Technofossil Record of Humans.” The Anthropocene Review 1, no. 1 (2014): 34–43.

Types and Groups


Edensor, Tim. Stone: Stories of Urban Materiality. Singapore: Springer, 2020.




A general introduction into material science:

Callister, William D, and David G Rethwisch. Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction. 10th ed. 2000. Reprint, Hoboken: Wiley, 2018.

An attempt to link back to design:

Ormondryod, Graham, and Angela Morris, eds. Designing with Natural Materials. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2018.

On the cumulative significance of human-made materials:

Dijkstra, Joris J., Rob N. J. Comans, Jeroen Schokker, and Michiel J. van der Meulen. ‘The Geological Significance of Novel Anthropogenic Materials: Deposits of Industrial Waste and by-Products’. Anthropocene 28 (2019): 100229.


  1. Elhacham, Emily, Liad Ben-Uri, Jonathan Grozovski, Yinon M. Bar-On, and Ron Milo. ‘Global Human-Made Mass Exceeds All Living Biomass’. Nature 588, no. 7838 (2020): 442–44.˄