Articles

Articles

(162)
“We don’t seem to live on the same planet…” — a fictional planetarium
2018

Beyond the Horizon: Designs for Different Futures (submitted)

Abstract
Architects and designers are facing a new problem when they want to build for a habitable planet. They have to answer a new question because what used to be a lame joke: “My poor fellow you seem to live on another planet”, has become literal: “Yes indeed, we do intend to live on a different planet!”. In the old days, when political scientists talked about geopolitics, they meant different nations with opposite interests waging wars on the same material and geographical stage. Today, geopolitics is also concerned with wars about the very definition of the stage itself. A conflict will be called, from now on, “of planetary relevance” not because it has the planet for a stage, but because it is about which planet you are claiming to inhabit and to defend
Translations
No Other Translations Available
Compositionism, Ecology & Political Ecology
(158)
Gaia 2.0. Could humans add some level of self-awareness to Earth’s self-regulation?
2018

Gaia 2.0 Could humans add some level of self-awareness to Earth’s self-regulation? (with Tim Lenton first author) Science14 SEPTEMBER 2018 • VOL 361 ISSUE 6407pp.1066-1068

Abstract
According to Lovelock and Margulis’ Gaia hypothesis, living things form part of a planetary scale self-regulating system that has maintained habitable condi-tions for the past 3.5 billion years (1, 2). In this concept, Gaia expanded from within the Earth system and came over time to alter the climate and dominate the surface cycling of nutrients. Gaia has operated without foresight or planning on the part of other organisms, but the evolution of humans and their tech-nology is changing that. Earth has now entered a new epoch termed the Anthropocene (3), and humans are beginning to become aware of the global consequences of their actions. As a result, deliberate self-regulation—from personal action to reduce carbon footprints, to global geoengineering schemes—is either happening or imminently possible (see the figure). We argue that making conscious choices to operate within Gaia constitutes a fundamental new state of Gaia. By emphasizing the agency of lifeforms and their ability to set goals, a Gaia perspective may be an effective framework for fostering global sustainability
Translations
No Other Translations Available
Ecology & Political Ecology
(157)
“Extending the Domain of Freedom, or Why is Gaia so Hard to Understand?”
2018

“Extending the Domain of Freedom, or Why is Gaia so Hard to Understand?” with Timothy Lenton, prepublication in Critical Inquiry

Abstract
In this paper, two specialists of Gaia theory, one from the humanities and the other from Earth System Science (Exeter University), make a sustained effort to list the misunderstandings created by those who have either rejected or accepted Gaia too readily. They argue that the uniqueness of the phenomenon and of the arguments made by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis, has been under-recognized. Neither mechanical nor organismic metaphors can render justice to the originality of Gaia. They show that the core of the discovery is to grant agency back to life forms and that Gaia is the highly complex result of their extension in space and duration in time. They conclude that Gaia is different from the concept of nature, difference that opens a new way to look at the connection between biology and politics which they define as extension of the domain of freedom.
Translations
No Other Translations Available
Compositionism, Ecology & Political Ecology, History of Science, Politics
(155)
Giving Depth to the Surface – an exercise in the Gaia-graphy of Critical Zones
2017

“Giving Depth to the Surface – an exercise in the Gaia-graphy of Critical Zones" (paper by Alexandra Arènes, Bruno Latour & Jérôme Gaillardet) in The Anthropocene Review, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2053019618782257

Abstract
Foregrounding the importance of soil and more generally the surface of the Earth —what is now often called the Critical Zone (CZ)— remains very difficult as long as the usual planetary view, familiar since the scientific revolution, is maintained. In this joint effort between a landscape architect, a historian of science and a geochemist, we offer an anamorphosis which allows to shift from a planetary vision of places located in the geographic grid, to a representation of events located in what we call a Gaia-graphic view. We claim that such a view because it gives pride of place to the CZ is much better suited to situate the new actors of the Anthropocene.
Translations
No Other Translations Available
Design, Ecology & Political Ecology, History of Science, Viualization
(152)
Gaia or Knowledge Without Spheres
2017

Edited volume by Simon Schaffer, John Tresch, Pasquale Gagliardi: Aesthetics of Universal Knowledge, Palgrave London p. 169-201, 2017

Abstract
Autrement dit, la vision de la terre comme globe terrestre est à la fois une impossibilité pratique bien qu’elle passe pour l’exemple même d’un solide matérialisme. Pourtant, au sens propre, concret, il est tout à fait faux de dire que nous habitons sur le globe terrestre. Personne ne s’est jamais vu comme un habitant de la terre vu depuis l’espace, sinon quand il lit un roman de la physique.
Translations
No Other Translations Available
Viualization
(151)
"Does the Body Politic Need a New Body?"
2006

"Does the Body Politic Need a New Body?" Yusko Ward-Phillips lecture, University of Notre Dame, 3rd of November 2016

Abstract
This paradox of insisting on sovereignty just at the time when it is becoming even more ill adapted than before, can be sharpened. A legitimate desire for protection and identity is being transformed into a denial that what allows this protection and identity actually comes from resources that exist beyond the apparent limits defining any given body. Nowhere is this requirement clearer than in the question of global climate mutation: to withdraw inside the narrow limits of nation-states is the surest way to threaten the safety and livelihood of those same nation-states, and even, for some low lying countries, to risk their existence altogether. If we accept to define Real-Politick as a selfish defense of one’s own national interest, then it should be realistic to take into account all those external factors on which the self depends. In some ways, this is what brought the 189 nation-states to some sort of agreement in Paris in December 2015: even if they reacted much too late, it is in the name of Real Politick that they were forced to take into account the legitimate power of the climate that ignores all national boundaries but that weighs on all of them. Nations did not stop to pursue their interests, but they were forced to accept that those interests were entangled in such a way that drawing the precise limits of those interests had become impossible. Even if you suppose that hard-nose geo-politics obliges States to remain selfish, you will have to recognize how terribly difficult it is for any one of them to draw the exact boundary around the self at the time of ecological crisis.
Translations
No Other Translations Available
Actor-Network-Theory, Compositionism, Ecology & Political Ecology, Modes of existence, Politics
(150)
Is Geo-Logy the Umbrella for all the Sciences ? With a few Hints for a New University
2016

Lecture given at Cornell University, 25th October 2016

Abstract
My hunch is that the disorientation everybody feels about the dislocation of politics — even more evident at this time of the presidential election — is the direct consequence of this other disorientation regarding the territory. If politics appears so vacuous, it might be because it has not a solid and shared ground on which to raise issues of substance. How can you expect to have substantial policy debates if there is no territory to map, no cosmos to share, no soil to inhabit? How could we maintain a minimum of decent common institutions if we have no land in common, literally no common ground? In this lecture I want to diagnose the origin of such disorientation and to imagine how this very special institution that we call the University could in some ways help us to land somewhere, to reach a place drawn realistically enough so that politics could start afresh. Let me look at some of the reasons why we feel so disoriented.
Translations

Language: Spanish
Journal: Humus independent booklet humus-editores.cl
Translator: Paula Hernández
Date: 2017

Ecology & Political Ecology, Politics
(149)
A life Among Conceptual Characters 
2016

New Literary History, special symposium on Latour and the Humanities edited by Rita Felski. Vol. 47, 463-476, 2016

Abstract
Oddly enough, I am able to date with a perfect degree of precision my connection with writing as a thought producing activity: 13th of October 1961. Even the hour — 7 pm — is inscribed on the cover page of the first of my personal diaries! As far as I can tell, the fourteen-year old writer had already made the connection between writing and thinking since he had penned as an incipit: “J’y noterai tous les soirs mes activités et surtout mes pensées’’ (« I will report what i do and above all my thoughts »). The “above all” is especially pleasant since at this early age he had no thought whatsoever to jot down! At least not yet. Because, as everyone in the field of humanities suspects, thinking follows and does not precede writing — at least this highly specific form of thinking associated with mid-century bourgeois European techniques of scribbling. Considering that today I am taking notes in a (by now digital) notebook numbered 212, this means I have been allowed for the last fifty-five years to continuously learn what I should think through the deciphering of some twenty thousand pages of personal pattes de mouche! squiggles. (?)
Translations
No Other Translations Available
Semiotics & Literature Studies
(148)
On a possible triangulation of some present political positions
2016

Critical Inquiry Winter, 4, pp. 1-14, 2018

Abstract
In Reset Modernity!, the Karlsruhe exhibition we just opened at ZKM, visitors are requested to follow a series of specific procedures to reset the instruments that allow them to find their way in this highly complex question: where is Modernity heading and how can we orient ourselves through its metamorphosis? An excellent way, it seems to me, to consider the theme of this year's lecture series, Zukunftswissen. Visitors are handled a precious little booklet that we call a “fieldbook” because they are invited, really, to play an active role in surveying the quickly transforming landscape. At the end of each procedure, a cryptic message is provided about a somewhat mysterious triangle. The curators seem to be arguing that once this triangle has been understood, things will become really much clearer. It is this claim which I would like to comment on by developing a bit what this triangle could mean and how it has been drawn.
Translations
No Other Translations Available
Ecology & Political Ecology, Philosophy, Politics
(147)
“Beyond belief - Why has religion become the ‘dynamite of the people’”
2018

In edited by Justin Beaumont Routledge Handbook of Postsecularity) pp.27-37 Routledge International Handbooks, London, 2018. (Publication of the keynote "On the Forms of Knowledge Proper to Religious Beings" for the 400th anniversary of Groningen University, EASR meeting, 12th May 2014)

Abstract
Religion which was the “opium of the people” has become of late the “dynamite of the people”. To ward off religious wars, it is important to revisit the idea of secularization and by implication postsecularity. This chapter makes an attempt by first criticizing the pretention of social science that a social explanation of religion is possible; I proceed to show how the notion of belief in belief renders inauthentic the articulation of religion; and, finally, I claim that belief in belief contaminates politics as well. I offer a definition of agnosticism as the refusal to use belief as an analytical category and to explore instead the plurality of modes of existence as an alternative to violence.
Translations
No Other Translations Available
Politics, Religion Studies