From the postmodern to the warming condition: some thoughts on the return of time and nature

Speaker: Dr Andreas Malm

4pm, Monday 21st November 2016

 Richard Hoggart Building room 137, Goldsmiths

Andreas Malm, author of Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming (Verso, 2016), and Associate Senior Lecturer in Human Ecology at Lund University, Sweden, will deliver a talk at Goldsmiths on some of his latest work. Malm’s research has focused on the role that fossil fuels have played in the historical development of capitalism, as well as questions of how to move beyond the fossil economy. He is currently working on a sequel to his book, provisionally titled Fossil Empire, on how Britain employed the fuels and associated technologies of the fossil economy to ‘create, subordinate and penetrate the peripheries of the nineteenth-century world economy’.

Malm’s talk is part of a series of events organised by members of CUSP at Goldsmiths. It will focus on questions of time and nature, and the abstract is as follows:

Fredric Jameson has famously defined postmodernity as the disappearance of time and nature in the space of late capitalism. But as temperatures continue to soar, the legacy of two centuries of accumulated CO2 bursts into the present, in the form of, most spectacularly, extreme weather events, while the Earth system ratchets up the warming on its own accord through a host of accelerating feedback mechanisms. Have time and nature come back to haunt us? This talk will offer some thoughts on the theoretical and cultural implications of a warming world, its peculiar temporality and historicised nature. How can we make sense of the ongoing climate chaos – most recently afflicting the propertyless masses on Haiti – and, more importantly, intervene in it? What sort of analytical equipment could be of use here? Discussing some contemporary theories of the imbroglio of nature and society, this talk will sketch a historical materialist approach to the dialectics between them.

All are welcome and no registration is required. For details on how to find Goldsmiths, click here.


You can now listen to a podcast of Andreas Malm’s lecture below.