“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Monday, March 3, 2014

Houston Talk

On 3.29 (Saturday) at the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference.

Victorian Hyperobjects

Hyperobjects are entities that are massively distributed in time and space. They are so massive that humans can think and compute them, but not perceive them directly.

These entities began to show up in the Victorian period. We know them for instance as capital, industry, evolution, climate phenomena such as El Niño and so on.

During this present age of ecological emergency, we are faced with numerous hyperobjects such as global warming and ourselves as a species acting as a geophysical force (hence the concept of the Anthropocene).

In my talk I'm going to argue that this means that we are still inside the Victorian period, in psychic, philosophical and social space. Our moustaches may have changed a bit, but so what?

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