Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dipesh Chakrabarty Liveblog 1

At Rice University, the Mellon Sawyer Seminar “Cultures of Energy.”
His talk is called “Climate Justice and the Anthropos of the Anthropocene”

Introduction by John Zammito.
Cultures of Energy was launched in 2011 in response to the Provost's call to develop energy and environment as a main campus concern.
University of Houston faculty are also here as part of the seminar.
Zammito lists the distinguished speakers who are coming.

Chakrabarty is about to go to the IAS at Princeton. He studied Physics and Management in Calcutta. He founded Subaltern Studies. Ph.D from ANU in 1984. Postcolonial Studies. Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He's working on The Calling of History, and The Climate of History.

What can a traditional humanities scholar have to say about climate change?
Conference in Berlin where he was the only humanist. He was asked all the time “What use is this?”
He couldn't use the Sahlins defense, “Oh no in Chicago we don't do anything useful!”

People are asking for practical solutions
But this is the biggest crisis in human history
So your training: does it equip you to say anything?
What is the business we are actually engaged in

The first step might be to think about what does the problem do to myself as a historian?
To look at myself.
It's impossible to have one discipline's answer to that question, as a template for another discipline's answer. But we do learn from each other.

When Dipesh got a copy of Ecology without Nature. In the hotel the woman asked if he would like to sit inside. He said that maybe outside wouldn't be pleasant. “Of course, it's all air conditioned.”

He begins with the proposition that there are assumptions about the human within humanities... (cont.)

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