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Book Launch: Challenging Anthropocene Ontology

Modernity, Ecology and Indigenous Complexities

Hannah Richter, KWI International Fellow

North Cloisters, UCL Wilkins Building (main building), London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom

Undoing Anthropocene Certainties: Book Launch

Come join us for the launch of two new books that develop radical interventions in the philosophical and political discourse of the Anthropocene. Both books interrogate and undo some of the certainties that mark and limit contemporary environmental thinking. They open-up space for a genuinely decentred, plural and dynamic ecology that, ontologically and politically, dares to leave Anthropocene complexity intact.

  • Climate, God and Uncertainty. A Transcendental Naturalistic Approach beyond Bruno Latour (UCL Press) by Arthur Petersen (UCL)
  • Challenging Anthropocene Ontology. Modernity, Ecology and Indigenous Complexities (Bloomsbury) by Elisa Randazzo (UCL) and Hannah Richter (University of Sussex)

The launch event will feature short notes from guest speakers and authors. We will reflect on the key themes of the individuals books as well as their connections, to which attendees are warmly invited to contribute. Wine and snacks will be provided.


Climate, God and Uncertainty

Climate, God and Uncertainty moves beyond Bruno Latour’s thought to understand what climate change means for philosophical anthropology and wider culture. What are, for example, the philosophical implications of climate change and its associated uncertainties?

Referring mainly to works by Latour, William James and Heinrich Rickert, Petersen develops ‘transcendental naturalism’ to reinterpret the interface between science and politics in the context of climate change. He highlights, for instance, issues such as the religious disenchantment of nature, the scientific disbelief in a plurality of value-laden perspectives, and the disregard for non-modern worldviews in politics. In developing its argument, the book makes a methodological intervention on the sort of naturalism that guides both Latour’s work and a large part of the academic field called ‘science and religion’.

Challenging Anthropocene Ontology

In the face of climate change, critical political scholarship that responds to the Anthropocene primarily does so in the register of ontology. Elisa Randazzo and Hannah Richter interrogate ecology’s ontological turn in the critical mirror of Indigenous cosmologies, Indigenous scholarship and Indigenous political activism. Where Anthropocene ecology draws on Indigenous thought for an ontological solution to the possessive individualism and human exceptionalism of liberal modernity, this book argues that the complexities of Indigenous thinking and activism in fact challenge the narratives of the ontological Anthropocene. Anthropocene ecology, in theory and political-legal practice, remains trapped in a modern/nonmodern binary. It prioritises ontological alterity over political change. Indigenous thought and activism, on the contrary, offer a dynamic link between ontology and politics that defies determinism and centres radical political action.