Jane Bennett: Encounters with an Art Thing

James Wescoat on Climate, Energy, and Water-conserving Design

Douglas Kysar: Who is legally responsible for climate change?

Water security in the Anthropocene: planetary hydrology, global finance, and the new development nexus

A bit of self-promotion for an upcoming talk at the University of East Anglia if you happen to be in the UK in late October.

UEA poster

New book: Love in the Anthropocene from Dale Jamieson and Bonnie Nadzam

OR Book Going Rouge

OR Book Going Rouge

This looks like a really innovative title from Dale Jamieson and Bonnie Nadzam.

Love in the Anthropocene

An audacious collaboration between an award-winning novelist and a leading environmental philosopher, Love in the Anthropocene taps into one of the hottest topics of the day, literally and figuratively—our corrupted environment—to deliver five related stories (“Flyfishing,” “Carbon,” “Holiday,” “Shanghai,” and “Zoo”) that investigate a future bereft of natural environments, introduced with a discussion on the Anthropocene—the Age of Humanity—and concluding with an essay on love.

The “love” these writer/philosophers investigate and celebrate is as much a constant as is human despoliation of the planet; it is what defines us, and it is what may save us. Science fiction, literary fiction, philosophical meditation, manifesto? All the above. This unique work is destined to become an essential companion—a primer, really—to life in the 21st century.

Mahmoud Mamdani – Settler colonialism: then and now

Mahmoud Mamdani’s new article Settler Colonialism: then and now, is now out in Critical Inquiry, which builds on talks like this one at Princeton (which I could not figure out how to embed). Here is the abstract:

“For students of settler colonialism in the modern era, Africa and America represent two polar opposites. Africa is the continent where settler colonialism has been defeated; America is where settler colonialism triumphed. My interest in this essay is the American discourse on the making of America. My ambition is to do this from an African vantage point.

Europeans who came to the New World were preoccupied with the ways in which it was not like Europe. Over the centuries that followed, there developed a body of work known as American exceptionalism. The benchmark text for this scholarship is the mid-nineteenth-century reflection on America by Alexis de Tocqueville. Democracy in America remains required reading in most programs in political theory or American politics. Among the arguments Tocqueville advanced in Democracy in America was that the key feature distinguishing America from Europe was the absence of feudalism; not tied down by the baggage of feudal tradition, America could enjoy the benefits of revolutionary change without having to pay its price. My concern here is less with Tocqueville than with how the Tocquevillians understood him.”

The politics of Nature in the Anthropocene

Worth a read for sure.

Resource politics

by Kathleen McAfee, San Francisco State University

Over the past 40-some years, Nature has entered global politics. In contentious treaty negotiations on climate change and biodiversity, governments are pressed to take action in response to planetary ecological crisis.

In conservationist discourse more broadly, this upper-cased construct is represented as singular Nature under siege by Society.

Nature, we are told, is damaged and becoming dangerously scarce: witness overflowing carbon sinks and imminent climate catastrophe, disappearing species and vanishing ecosystems, and insufficient land, water, and food for a burgeoning Humanity. But for whom, and why, has this Nature become scarce?

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The invention of nature: new book from Andrea Wulf on Alexander von Humboldt

6a014e894ef9bd970d01b7c7771434970b-800wiThis looks like a fabulous new biography, and it’s already getting rave reviews. Here is a description, and hopefully a video…vimeo is always fussy about this stuff.

“The Invention of Nature” reveals the extraordinary life of the visionary German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) and how he created the way we understand nature today. Though almost forgotten today, his name lingers everywhere from the Humboldt Current to the Humboldt penguin. Humboldt was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether climbing the highest volcanoes in the world, paddling down the Orinoco or racing through anthrax–infested Siberia. Perceiving nature as an interconnected global force, Humboldt discovered similarities between climate zones across the world and predicted human-induced climate change. He turned scientific observation into poetic narrative, and his writings inspired naturalists and poets such as Darwin, Wordsworth and Goethe but also politicians such as Jefferson. Wulf also argues that it was Humboldt’s influence that led John Muir to his ideas of preservation and that shaped Thoreau’s ‘Walden’. Wulf traces Humboldt’s influences through the great minds he inspired in revolution, evolution, ecology, conservation, art and literature.  In The Invention of Nature Wulf brings this lost hero to science and the forgotten father of environmentalism back to life.

Humboldt was, after all, as one contemporary said, ‘the greatest man since the Deluge’.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/93417125″>THE INVENTION OF NATURE</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/seabluemedia”>Sea Blue Media</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Seeds of a good Anthropocene website/blog launched

There is a growing rift over what the Anthropocene entails. Will is be a catastrophe or does it present opportunities? One new website looking for the seeds of a good Anthropocene is now up and running here.

LSE has digitized Fabian society archives from 1884-2000

Some really interesting historical tracts from the Fabian society on all sorts of topics–poverty, property, labour and so on–are now available in digital format here.