Northwestern Events Calendar


Arendt on Earth | Workshop II: Earth and Expropriation

When: Friday, November 22, 2019
All day  

Where: Scott Hall, 212, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Stephen Monteiro   (847) 491-7450

Group: Department of Political Science

Category: Academic


Arendt on Earth takes the elusive concept of “earth” in the thought of Hannah Arendt as a frame, impetus and provocation to “think what we are doing” in the face of multiple, interconnected crises: rapid, unpredictable climate change; the boundlessness of modern production and consumption; the rule of instrumentality over science; fears of technology out of control; the “defactualization” of the world and the corruption of truth in politics; global catastrophes of poverty, displacement, statelessness and rightlessness; and the crises of legitimacy, power, and freedom that face democratic peoples and polities today. Our purpose is not only to foster scholarly engagement with Arendt’s writing, but to envision how the humanities can promote public comprehension of the burdens of our time. 

The project comprises four two-day workshops, each devoted to intensive discussion of papers contributed by invited scholars and project members

The Anthropocene Working Group (convened by the International Commission on Stratigraphy to undertake the sociotechnical work of creating a new geological era) is currently debating various ways of marking the boundary that separates us from the Holocene. While some experts have advocated for the advent of human agriculture and others for the industrial revolution as the decisive watershed, the emerging settlement seems to be that the Holocene ended in the mid-twentieth century, as nuclear testing began dispersing radioactive elements across the planet. The second workshop, “Earth and Expropriation,” addresses the implications of the Anthropocene in relation to the human condition, as well as questions of global justice given the asymmetry in contributions to ecological destruction by advanced capitalist economies, and the outsize impact on developing countries. We will consider how Arendt's phenomenological anthropology might speak to ecological issues, and what resources her work contains for environmental politics. 

Arendt on Earth is supported by a three-year grant through the Humanities Without Walls grand research challenge, "The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate." 

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