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Geo-ontologies: Gaia, Ecology, and the End(s) of the World

Faculty: Peter Skafish

October 2, 9, 16, 23
7:00-9:30 p.m.
Location in West Berkeley, TBD
Price: $225.

Register for course here.

If global warming might indeed spell the end of the world, then which world—whose world—is it that is coming to a close? And how might we want to think about that end, both speculatively and practically? Finally, what might (in all seriousness) the Earth have to say about it? Anthropologist and theoretician Peter Skafish presents a liberal arts-style seminar that examines the responses to these questions coming from a group of thinkers at the intersection of anthropology, philosophy, and science and technology studies, each of whom has made an incisive contribution to rethinking the notions of nature and culture and is now using it to respond to the ecological catastrophe. Our focus will be on what is sometimes called “Gaia theory,” especially as it is developed in both Bruno Latour’s recently translated Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climactic Regime and the Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro and his philosophical counterpart Deborah Dankowski’s The Ends of the World. We will be concerned with what these texts can teach us about thinking the Earth, the planet, the world, the human/nonhuman divide, why climate change forces us to participate in “the decolonization of thought,” what myth has to do with that, and whether, as an anonymous French graffiti artist recently put it, “Another end of the world is possible.” We will also examine excerpts of texts by Isabelle Stengers, Elizabeth Povinelli, Dipesh Chakrabarty, and Donna Haraway.