Periodizing the Capitalocene as Polemocene

Militarized Ecologies of Accumulation in the Long Sixteenth Century


  • John Peter Antonacci SUNY Binghamton



History of Capitalism, Military History, Capitalocene, New World, world- ecology


Lewis and Maslin explore geological markers for the beginning of the “Anthropocene”-beginning, in their periodization, in either 1492 (naming the birth of capitalism as the cause of planetary crisis) or 1945 (naming elite-driven militarization as its cause). In this essay, I argue for a synthesis of these two dynamics, locating both the birth of capitalism and a transformation of elite-driven militarization in the conquest of the New World during the Long Sixteenth Century. As such, I propose narrating planetary history through a “capitalocene as polemocene,” “the age of capital as an age of war” framework.

Author Biography

John Peter Antonacci, SUNY Binghamton

John Peter Antonacci is a PhD Student at Binghamton University’s Department of Sociology. His research explores relations of war-making, environment-making, and capital accumulation through a world-ecological frame. He holds an M.A. in Sociology from The New School for Social Research, and a B.A. in Sociology from St. Joseph’s College New York.


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How to Cite

Antonacci, J. P. (2021). Periodizing the Capitalocene as Polemocene: Militarized Ecologies of Accumulation in the Long Sixteenth Century . Journal of World-Systems Research, 27(2), 439–467.



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