Summer 2016 Courses
**video-conferencing NOT AVAILABLE
Political Science 255 (Great Issues of Politics)
Prof. Ivan Ascher
"Climate Change, or The Politics of the Anthropocene"
June 13-July 23
As the earth’s atmosphere continues to warm, and as our awareness of anthropogenic climate change begins finally to set in, the very categories of our political life are also bound to change. Already, traditional distinctions between nature and culture, human and non-human are being upended, as are the once-familiar stories of human progress and steady enlightenment. Ours, it turns out, is not only a time of extraordinary devastation known to ecologists as the ‘Sixth Extinction’; it is also said to mark a new geological era -- the Anthropocene -- defined by man’s unprecedented and irreversible effect on the very structure of the planet.
Some, of course, have denied the role of man in ushering climate change, while others have pointed out that it is European man, not anthropos in general, that bears the most responsibility in these matters. Some have also claimed it is capitalism that is to blame, while others yet have argued that capitalism is our best hope for solving these planetary problems. And so we ask: what are the analytic and theoretical resources at our disposal, by which to understand both the nature of climate change and the political struggles with which it leaves us? Can we find in the so-called “Gaia hypothesis” the basis for a new natural philosophy? Or is geo-engineering the key to a better, colder future? These are among the questions to be explored in this 6-week session. Likely readings by Bruno Latour, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Clive Hamilton, Naomi Klein and others.