On Not Saving the World; Or, the Problem with Sustainability

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Earth
Tomorrow, April 6, Matt Taylor (UNC Chapel Hill) will speak to us “On Not Saving the World; Or, the Problem with Sustainability” at 3pm in Skiles 002. His presentation, which looks at “planetarity” and globalization through a cultural lens, will be especially relevant to faculty and students with an interest in science studies, speculative fiction, and philosophy. Please join me for this third and last presentation in the LMC Distinguished Speaker Series.
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On Not Saving the World; Or, the Problem with Sustainability
This talk contends that “planetarity” is insufficiently divorced from globalization—its putative opposite—to provide a critical lens for understanding and countering its effects: specifically, anthropogenic climate change and global economic inequality. The talk looks at the links between planetarity’s redemptive, world-building ambitions and the articulations of “planetary consciousness” in early twentieth-century speculative fiction, including H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, finally considering the way attempts to meet global problems with global solutions often end in violence (an effect of the difficulty inherent in the planetary scale itself).
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Matt Taylor is Associate Professor at UNC Chapel Hill. His research focuses on the intersections among environmental humanities, critical theory (including posthumanism, science and technology studies, and critical race theory), and nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature. His first book, Universes without Us: Posthuman Cosmologies in American Literature (U of Minnesota Press, 2013), examines cosmologies that challenge the utopianism of both past and present attempts at fusing self and environment.