This essay argues that while the science of climate change treats the Earth as one, political responses to climate change are marked profoundly by the fact that humanity can never speak as one. Questions of climate justice and sustainable human futures have deepened fractured and contested histories of modernity in which the West/non-West division intersects with emergent distinctions between postcolonial and decolonial approaches. But none of these distinctions are absolute. By discussing the works of Déborah Danowski and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, I seek to show how traditions of European and non-European thought remain entangled even as we seek, intellectually, to decolonize the world. In a connected world, the not-one-ness of humanity acts as a ground for dissension within the humanities but not for any absolute differences.
However one looks at the difficulties of creating a politics of climate change, the question of “anthropological difference” seems to be at the root of those difficulties. Issues of “climate justice,” for instance, or those about historical responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions point, ultimately, to inequalities and power relations between rich and poor nations as well as between the rich and the poor generally, across and inside nations. What makes for a “climate emergency” is the fact that a humanity that is not one finds it difficult to respond as one to a calendar of carbon budgets and coordinated actions issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which, in effect, treats the planet as one. How to think about intrahuman differences in the face of a planet that climate scientists see as “one” has become “the one and the many” aspect of climate politics. Sociologists Nigel Clark and Bronislaw Szerszynski have recently sought to introduce the idea of “planetary multiplicities” (by which they refer to the undeniable fact that “the Earth has an inherent potential to shift from one state to another and to do this quickly”), but acknowledge the oneness of this planet by seeing it as “a dynamic and self-organized” entity.1 Come to think of it, all the scenarios of transition to a “zero carbon” global economy and the carbon budgets chalked up by the IPCC do not make sense unless one assumes the planet to be one. Differences between humans have therefore emerged as the truly political aspect of what the IPCC sees as a “climate emergency.”2
What I wish to do in this essay is show how the humanist literature on the politics of attending to the challenges of planetary climate change draws on two contrasting ways of thinking about “modernity” and thus about differences between humans. One might broadly imagine these approaches as reflecting an emergent decolonial/postcolonial divide, a division that is, I hasten to add, by no means total. There are many connections between these approaches. They also draw, ironically but differently, on some identifiable traditions of European thought, particularly French theory after May 1968. My treatment of these approaches is necessarily partial, preliminary, exploratory, and illustrative. There are critical aspects to these approaches that I have deliberately left out of consideration for reasons of space.
Philosopher Déborah Danowski and anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s compelling and thoughtful book The Ends of the World gives me an excellent starting point not least because they put forward their propositions with such admirable clarity.3 I appear in the section of the book in which they criticize my having resorted to the biological concept of “species” (as used by the recently departed E. O. Wilson) in the original version of my 2009 essay “The Climate of History: Four Theses,” now revised and reprinted as chapter 1 of The Climate of History in a Planetary Age.4 As they explain,
We must begin by rejecting any sole candidate to the (in)dignity of being the Anthropocene’s eponymous. The [E. O.] Wilsonian notion of species is dismissed less on the grounds of its phenomenological evanescence, as in Chakrabarty, than because it is a tributary of modernity’s apolitical, ahistorical conception of Nature, as well as of the Science’s absolute power of arbitrage. But neither are the revolutionary masses of the classical left, that other recurring incarnation of the modern universal, up to the task; . . . their liberation continues to depend on a generalization and intensification of the modernization front, on the practical (environmental destruction) as well as theoretical (the cult of Nature and Reason) levels.5
Their particular criticism of my essay is not important here. Instead I want to highlight two terms of their critique that are central to this discussion: “modernity’s apolitical, ahistorical conception of Nature” and “Science’s absolute power of arbitrage.” Danowski and de Castro go on to write:
The properly ethnopolitical situation of “human” as intensive and extensive multiplicity of peoples must be acknowledged as being directly implicated in the Anthropocene crisis. If there is no positive human interest, it is because there is a diversity of political alignments among the various world peoples or “cultures” with several other non-human actants and peoples (constituting what Latour calls “collectives”) against the self-appointed spokespeople of the universal Human.6
This line of critique is in continuity with the intellectual program that de Castro had mapped out in his earlier collection of essays Cannibal Metaphysics.7 That program was to make anthropology into a “permanent exercise in the decolonization of thought.”8 Based on his imaginative reading and analysis of what he called Amerindian “perspectivism” and their “multi-naturalism,” this decolonizing vision saw both humans and the world as “non-unified,” with all prospects of unification lying “in the future, under what we would call a multiple hypothetical mode, and will depend on negotiating capacities once the ‘war of the worlds,’ as Latour has called it . . . has been declared.”9 As de Castro’s writings make clear and as he often explains, much of the inspiration for this particular mode of decolonizing thought came from the explosive impact that Deleuze and Guattari’s work on the figures of the “savage,” the “primitive,” the “rhizomatic,” and the nomad had on French thought following the events of May 1968, when France was rocked by a revolutionary upheaval of working-class and student protesters, resulting in many weeks of violent civil unrest, economic and political uncertainty, and a profound questioning of orthodox Communists. “For my generation,” writes de Castro, “the name of Gilles Deleuze immediately evokes the change in thought that marked the period circa 1968, when some key elements of our contemporary cultural apperception were invented. The meaning, consequences and the very reality of this change have given rise to a still-raging controversy.”10 He introduces his own book Cannibal Metaphysics as one that “puts forward and illustrates a theory of multiplicities–the Deleuzian theme that has carried the greatest repercussions in and for contemporary anthropology,” influencing, among others, Latour’s critique of modernity in his We Have Never Been Modern.11 As de Castro further explicates, echoing the title of Latour’s book,
the concept of multiplicity may have only become thinkable–and therefore thinkable by anthropology–because we are currently entering a nonmerologic, postpopular world where we have never been modern; a world that, more through disinterest than any Aufhebung, is leaving in the dust the old infernal distinction between the One and the Multiple that governed so many dualisms, the anthropological pairs and many others as well. . . . Thinking through multiplicities is thinking against the State.12
And then again: “Multiplicity is not something like a larger unity, a superior plurality or unity; rather it is a less than one obtained by subtraction (hence the importance of the idea of the minor, minority, and minoritization in Deleuze).”13
Whether we look at de Castro and Danowski’s work or that of Deleuze and Guattari, the Indigenous remains the privileged site and the original instance of this subversive principle of multiplicity, often seen as embodying some kind of an Other to the statist ideas of history and modernization that imperial Europe epitomized.14 “Thinking through multiplicities,” writes de Castro, “is thinking against the state.”15 In a significant footnote, de Castro mentions that he wrote this sentence in memory of Pierre Clastres, “who was (and remains) one of the rare French anthropologists who knew how to make something out of Anti-Oedipus’s ideas, besides being one of the inspirations for the theory of the war machine developed in Plateaus 12 and 13 of A Thousand Plateaus.”16 Indeed, one of the pivotal oppositions around which the text of Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus turned was that between the nomadic and the sedentary. In his preface that described the book as an “introduction to the non-fascist life,” Michel Foucault exhorted the reader to
withdraw allegiance from the old categories of the Negative (law, limit, castration, lack, lacuna), which Western thought has so long held sacred as a form of power and an access to reality. Prefer what is positive and multiple, difference over uniformity, flows over unities, mobile arrangements over systems.
And in all this the figure of the nomad that subsumed that of the “savage” or the “primitive” came to occupy a central position. Foucault’s injunction to the reader of Deleuze and Guattari was telling: “Believe that what is productive is not sedentary but nomadic.”17
Deleuze and Guattari opened the famous third chapter of their Anti-Oedipus– “Savages, Barbarians, Civilized Men”–by asking, “where do we find enough innocence” that would allow humans to generate “universal history” after “the universal” had been brought to an end by “the conditions determined by an apparently victorious capitalism?”18 “Innocence” was not a matter of a dialectical reversal of a binary opposition, not in the way that the idea of a “primitive communism” would be preserved and sublimated into the Marxist ideal of communist society. For Deleuze and Guattari recognized that “universal history” was always “the history of contingencies, and not the history of necessity.” The “primitive system” was self-sustaining, its “death . . . always comes from without: history is the history of contingencies and encounters.”19 The path back to universal history would similarly include “ruptures and limits,” “great accidents . . . and amazing encounters that . . . might have never happened.”20 The “primitive” or the “savage,” however, supplied a principle critical to the generation of a universal human history, the potential for which capital had destroyed. And hence Deleuze and Guattari’s perennial interest in the ethnographic literature on segmentary, acephalic societies. The critical political principle was articulated by placing the nomadic in opposition to the State in their respective relationships to the Earth. “Only the apparatus of the State will be territorial,” write our authors, citing Engels, for “it ‘subdivides not the people but the territory,’ and substitutes a geographic organization for the organization of gens.” But “where kinship seems to predominate over the earth, it is not difficult to show the importance of local ties.” Deleuze and Guattari continue:
This is because the primitive machine subdivides the people, but does so on an indivisible earth where the connective, disjunctive, and conjunctive relations of each section are inscribed along with other relations (thus, for example, the coexistence or complementarity of the section chief and the guardian of the earth). When the division extends to the earth itself, by virtue of an administration that is landed and residential, this cannot be regarded as a promotion of territoriality; on the contrary, it is rather the effect of the first great movement of deterritorialization on the primitive communes. . . . Hence the savage, primitive was indeed the only territorial machine in the strict sense of the term. . . . before there is State.21
Ethnographic information about “primitive, segmentary societies” was eventually worked up into the science of nomadology, the twelfth chapter of A Thousand Plateaus, published in 1980 as the second volume of Anti-Oedipus. A part of this chapter–Proposition II–was written in amicable disagreement with but also as “a tribute to the memory” of Pierre Clastres.22 The starting point once again was the observation that “primitive, segmentary societies” were not only “societies without a State”; they were actively organized to keep the state at bay. In disagreement with Clastres, however, Deleuze and Guattari also claimed that such societies did not inhabit “a state of nature” that would enable them to remain untouched by the state. The sedentary and nomadic thus did not constitute a mutually exclusive binary.23 “The law of the State is not the law of All or Nothing (State-societies or counter-State societies) but that of interior and exterior.”24 There are “huge worldwide machines”–like multinational corporations or religious organizations–that “enjoy a large measure of autonomy in relation to States,” and there are also “local mechanisms of bands, margins, minorities, which continue to affirm the rights of segmentary societies in opposition to the organs of State power.”25 Together they constitute the exterior to the state but not a binary outside. And “local mechanism” of bands and minorities embodies and illustrates the principles of nomadology.
It is on this terrain of thought–and especially the pacesetting work of Deleuze and Guattari in the wake of May 1968–that the figure of the Indigenous presents itself on the pages of Latour’s We Have Never Been Modern and in Danowski and de Castro’s decolonizing exercise in The Ends of the World. Three parties are created in effect in this narrative of a global history of modernity and modernization. I will present them as they are depicted in Danowski and de Castro’s text, which is in deep conversation with Latour’s work, predominantly the latter’s two books, We Have Never Been Modern and Facing Gaia.26 These parties are–in order of their “importance” and in my terminology–“the original Moderns,” “the Indigenous,” and “the later moderns.” I am not sure where the enslaved of the North Atlantic would fall in this three-fold distinction, but some of their representatives will turn up in my discussion below. For now, let me stay with this three-fold division.
We know the theoretico-historical lineages of the Indigenous in this body of thought on the Europeanization of the Earth. They are designated “non-Moderns.” Who are the original-Moderns and why are they “original”? The “original-Moderns” are North-Western Europeans, for they are the “Humans of the Holocene” against whom the Terrans (the living who are opposed to the forces that cause global warming) are up in arms in the geostory that Latour presented in his Gifford Lectures published as Facing Gaia. As Danowski and de Castro gloss Latour’s text, “These are, it is well understood, none other than the Moderns, that race–originally North-Western, but increasingly less European and more Chinese, Indian, Brazilian.”27 The “Original-Moderns” are “original” in two senses. They are the first to become “modern”; it is only later that they discover that, “in the East and in the South, other people had learned their lesson too well, taking upon themselves the will and the responsibility for modernization, but in their own, frightful terms.”28 Thus, as modernizers in the East and the South, the Chinese, [the Japanese], the Indians, the Brazilian, and others become un-original in two senses: they are un-original in that they come later with the Europeans as their predecessors, but they are also un-original in that they are “derivatives,” pale copies, as indeed the etymology of the word “original”–from Latin origo meaning source, birth–suggests.
Danowski and de Castro are aware of the contemporary demographic weight of the unoriginal-Moderns compared to numbers of the non-Moderns. The 370 million Indigenous people “spread over 70 countries in the world, according to a recent United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues (2009) estimate,” are “certainly nowhere near the roughly 3.5 billion (read half the human species) crowding our ‘technical metropolises,’ around a billion of which, it should be noted, live in not particularly ‘technical’ slums.”29 Yet in spite of their demographic minority–or because of it–the “non-Moderns” will carry in Danowski and de Castro’s account a moral weight far out of proportion to their numbers. The reason is simple. The Moderns, original or late, represent a failed project that has now resulted in a catastrophe:
Assured of their privileged access to Nature, Moderns saw themselves as a civilizing force come to convince recalcitrant people to rally to the flag of a common world (a single ontological and cosmopolitical regime) that was also, not by coincidence, the world of the Moderns.30
The scientific facts are not at issue, for “we are not discussing if there are such things as global warming and an ongoing environmental collapse; these are among the best-documented . . . phenomena in the history of sciences. . . . [T]here is hardly any significant controversy among scientists concerning the anthropic origin of climate catastrophe.”31 The dissemination of this knowledge may even be an “important factor” in bringing people over to the side of the good. But the project of the Moderns cannot unite humanity anymore. “All unification lies in the future,” in a postcatastrophic world.32 The forces for the good “cannot but be an ‘irremediably minor’ people” (minor in a Deleuzian sense), resembling
less the “phantom public” of Western democracies than the people that is missing which Deleuze and Guattari speak of: Kafka and Melville’s minor people, Rimbaud’s inferior races, the Indian that the philosopher becomes . . . – the people, that is, to come; capable of launching a “resistance to the present” and thus of creating a “new earth,” the world to come.33
It is in “a post-catastrophic time, or, if one wishes, in a permanently diminished human world” that “the generally small populations and ‘relatively weak’ technologies of indigenous peoples and so many other sociopolitical minorities of the Earth could become a crucial advantage and resource.”34
Now, the question is not whether Indigenous peoples’ thoughts and practices could provide both intellectual and practical resources as humans search for a way out of their planetary environmental crises. They, of course, do, and Danowski and de Castro’s work (here and elsewhere) shows us how. But it is interesting to observe that their method of effecting a “permanent decolonization” of anthropological thought–much like the Deleuzian tradition from which they take inspiration–does not connect with the emancipatory dreams not only of the late and revolutionary modernizers of Japan, China, India, and Africa, but also of someone like Franz Fanon or, for that matter, B. R. Ambedkar, the greatest modern leader of the Dalits in India, who once publicly asked for Indian society to be completely rebuilt on the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity!35 Instead, these late-Modernizers, considered “unoriginal” and “derivative,” are folded back into the story of the “original” European-Moderns. But this is ignoring–to continue to speak with Deleuze and Guattari–the ruptures, discontinuities, and contingencies that made modernity what it was in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, where lives were impacted by the domination and racism of European powers but without, as in the case of India, any active elaboration of the near-genocidal logic of European settler-colonial rule.36 Without that history of Asia (and parts of Africa and Latin America), as we have seen, human history would not have undergone the Great Acceleration or acquired its complexity, what Foucault, always more of a historian than Deleuze and Guattari, called “our immediate and concrete actuality.”37
Imagine how the present could have been different if the human population had stabilized in the 1950s or if the world had sourced its energy requirements from nuclear power. Many of our current problems would have still been there and the problem of disposing of radioactive waste would have been much more intense, but the warming would have been less. There is no politics of the planetary predicament of humans without dealing with issues of climate justice that have to do, profoundly, with the emancipatory aspirations and expectation, and not just fossilized carbon, that still fuel the desire for “growth and development” in the new, populous nations that have now experienced for decades the phenomenon of “mass poverty.” There is nothing morally wrong, as such, with humans wanting to live better and longer, so long as they did not imperil themselves. Besides, while I agree with Latour, de Castro, and others that the consumerist model of capitalist development is unsustainable for most humans, nothing guarantees de Castro’s hope: that a climate disaster resulting in “permanently diminished” human capabilities will give humanity yet another chance at flourishing by making the right use of the accumulated wisdom of the Indigenous non-Moderns. That may or may not come to pass.
Bruno Latour and historian Christophe Bonneuil have helpfully reminded us that there are many ideas about planetarity that circulate at any given time.38 This was as true of the past and as it is of the present. From the prehistoric humans who settled the Pacific Islands thousands of years ago navigating the seas by the night sky to ancient Greek and Indian astrology to peasants’ sayings about seasons, through to the Copernican revolution in the sciences and its consequences: these are all instances of planetary thinking. Bonneuil, borrowing from Hartog’s expression “regimes of historicity,” makes the additional useful suggestion that while there have been different traditions of planetary thinking, there have also been dominant regimes of planetarity–planetary ideas that enjoyed the backing of powers that be in any society.39
One could similarly argue that the “Earth system” that Earth system science speaks of–a planet for which geological and biological processes and histories cannot be thought in complete separation from one another–is a particular way of conceiving of the planet we live on, while there may very well be other competing ways of thinking about the planet (as both Latour and Bonneuil show), ancient, Modern, and non-Modern. I would also happily concede the point that Earth system science, given the role it has played in both positing and explaining the anthropogenic origins of the current episode of planetary warming that the Earth is undergoing, represents a dominant regime of planetarity, given the big-ticket funding that has made this science possible, and the backing it has received from the powerful nations of the world, the United Nations, and various other international organizations. This is also what gives this science a touch of irony. It is a product of the Cold War and is dependent on the technological advances that conflict produced. As Paul Crutzen, the pioneer of the Anthropocene idea in our generation, once said, putting a positive spin on the irony:
Our negative impacts help us to understand the world. My research on our atmosphere has really terrified me. But finally I thought: What would we have known about the atmosphere if it had not been polluted? Because pollution gave us the impetus and triggered the funding to study the workings of the environment.40
I would also submit, against those who seem to conflate “scientific knowledge” with the power structures within which scientific research is embedded, that while power structures may very well determine what kinds of knowledge the sciences will produce–a poorly funded climate science may indeed look different (whence follow the politics of funding)–the knowledge produced still must go through the acceptable procedures and protocols of such production. Every consensus in the sciences exists only to be challenged by new research, which is why consensuses are much harder won than in the humanities, which in contrast and by its very nature often appears to be a collection of schismatic churches and their conflicting dogma.
What distinguishes “the regime of planetarity” that Earth system science represents is what the singular word system suggests. It refers to the way that geology and biology have come to combine in the history of this planet to act like a system supporting the existence of life–complex, multicellular life–on Earth, making it the only “Goldilocks planet” we so far know.41 This system is not something we can directly perceive or experience even through a telescope; the word system here refers to an implicitly heuristic model built on the basis of both observed data and computer modeling, something that seeks to approximate how the Earth system works. Unlike in the case of Indigenous or peasant ideas of planetarity, the idea of the Earth system refers to the roles that parts of the planet that humans have never experienced–the deep seas, for instance, or the ozone layer or the carbon cycles of the planet–play in maintaining its climate system, a system thought of as planetary in scope. Unlike in many other traditions of planetary thinking, Earth system science speaks of time and space on scales that go far beyond what humans can phenomenologically experience. It is for this reason that, read through the findings and propositions of Earth system science, the climate crisis becomes a human encounter with the idea of ourselves as a geological force, an encounter, that is, both with geological deep time and with our entanglement with other forms of life and thus with the geobiological history of the planet. Humanists are still working out the implications of this encounter.
The problem of the “we” is, in fact, the most critical human aspect of our current planetary crisis. There is no one we to respond to a planet that is studied by climate scientists as one. If the evidence of human history is anything to go by, there never has been a one we of humans. Yet a fallacious aspect of much rational thinking in the humanities is signaled by the constant invoking of a potential we of humans as part of conditional solution-proposing statements that take the form of “If only we . . . .” Steven Pinker, the well-known devotee of the European Enlightenment and its legacies, is a good case in point. Here is how he explains his “conditional optimism,” faced with the facts of anthropogenic climate change:
Despite a half-century of panic, humanity is not on an irrevocable path to ecological suicide. The fear of resource shortage is misconceived. So is the misanthropic environmentalism that sees modern humans as vile despoilers of a pristine planet. . . . Problems are solvable. That does not mean they will solve themselves, but it does mean that we can solve them if we sustain the benevolent forces of modernity that have allowed us to solve problems so far, including societal prosperity, wisely regulated markets, international governance, and investments in science and technology.42
Pinker’s conditional optimism leads him to support physicist David Keith’s projects for “moderate, responsive, and temporary” climate engineering designed “only to give humanity breathing space until it eliminates greenhouse gas emissions and brings the CO2 in the atmosphere back to preindustrial levels.”43 But there is no agreement among even those who study the phenomenon of geoengineering that it will be an unmixed good for humanity. There is, for instance, philosopher Frédéric Neyrat’s considered, humanist, and thoughtful critique of geoengineering that argues for humans acquiring “a capacity for stepping back and regaining some distance [from what they have an impact on]” in a gesture that does not assume a seamless continuity between humans and their “environment.” But will Neyrat’s argument find any more consensus than Pinker’s? One can safely say, “no.” Yet the question of “what is to be done?” will resonate through human thought even as humans remain decisively not-one. This mismatch between the oneness of the planet (IPCC’s assumption) and the not-one-ness of humans will keep open the place for decolonial and postcolonial political thought jostling together and around the intensifying problems of anthropogenic climate change.
- 1Nigel Clark and Bronislaw Szerszynski, Planetary Social Thought: The Anthropocene Challenge to the Social Sciences (Cambridge: Polity, 2021), 11, 21.
- 2“IPCC Report: ‘Code Red’ for Human Driven Global Heating, Warns UN Chief,” UN News, August 9, 2021.
- 3Déborah Danowski and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, The Ends of the World, trans. Rodrigo Nunes (Cambridge: Polity, 2017; first published in Portuguese in 2014).
- 4Dipesh Chakrabarty, The Climate of History in a Planetary Age (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2021).
- 5Danowski and de Castro, The Ends of the World, 90 (emphasis added).
- 7Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Cannibal Metaphysics, ed. and trans. Peter Skafish (Minneapolis: Univocal Publishing, 2014; first published in French in 2009).
- 8Ibid., 48. See also the statement “Anthropology is ready to fully assume its new mission of being the theory/practice of the permanent decolonization of thought.” Ibid., 40.
- 9Danowski and de Castro, The Ends of the World, 90. See also de Castro, Cannibal Metaphysics, chap. 2 and 3, for explication of the ideas of “perspectivism” and “multinaturalism.”
- 10De Castro, Cannibal Metaphysics, 97.
- 11Ibid., 108. In personal conversations, Latour has mentioned to me the influence of Deleuze on his thinking. See also Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern, trans. Catherine Porter (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993; first published in French in 1991).
- 12De Castro, Cannibal Metaphysics, 108–109.
- 13Ibid., 110.
- 14See Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen Lane (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983; first published in French in 1972), chap. 3.
- 15Ibid., 109.
- 16Ibid., 109, n. 64.
- 17Michel Foucault, “Preface” to Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, xiii.
- 18Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, 139.
- 19Ibid., 195.
- 20Ibid., 140.
- 21Ibid., 145–146.
- 22Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991, 1987; first published in French in 1980), 357.
- 23Ibid., 359.
- 24Ibid., 360.
- 26Bruno Latour, Facing Gaia, trans. Catherine Porter (Cambridge: Polity, 2017).
- 27Danowski and de Castro, The Ends of the World, 92–93 (emphasis added).
- 28Ibid., 91.
- 29Ibid., 96.
- 30Ibid., 91.
- 32Ibid., 90.
- 33Ibid., 94–95.
- 34Ibid., 95.
- 35B. R. Ambedkar cited in Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000, 2008), 246. See also the discussion in ibid., chap. 2.
- 36On the genocidal logic of settler-colonial rule, see Patrick Wolfe, Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race (London: Verso, 2016).
- 37Michel Foucault cited in Naoki Sakai, The End of Pax Americana: The Loss of Empire and Hikikomori Nationalism (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2022), 177.
- 38See Bruno Latour and Dipesh Chakrabarty, “Conflicts of Planetary Proportions,” Journal of Philosophy of History 14 (3) (2020); and Christophe Bonneuil, “Der Historiker und der Planet–Planetaritätsregimes an der Schnittstelle von Welt-Ökologien, ökologischen Reflexivitäten und Geo-Mächten,” in Gessellschaftstheorie im Anthropozän, ed. Frank Adloff und Sighard Neckel (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2020), 55–94.
- 39Bonneuil, “Der Historiker und der Planet,” 73–74.
- 40Christian Schwägerl, “‘We Aren’t Doomed’: An Interview with Paul Crutzen,” in Welcome to the Anthropocene: The Earth in Our Hands, ed. Nina Möllers, Christian Schwägerl, and Helmuth Trischler (Munich: Deutsches Museum, 2015), 36.
- 41Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams, The Goldilocks Planet: The Four Billion Year Story of the Earth’s Climate (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); Julia Adeney Thomas, Mark Williams, and Jan Zalasiewicz, The Anthropocene: A Multidisciplinary Approach (Cambridge: Polity, 2020); and Julia Adeney Thomas, ed., Altered Earth: Getting the Anthropocene Right (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022).
- 42Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (New York: Viking, 2018), 154–155 (emphasis added).
- 43Ibid., 153.