1 March 2023 - 1 March 2023
4:00PM - 5:00PM
Hybrid (Room TBC/Zoom)
Sivamohan Valluvan and Peter Mitchell deliver the following seminar.
Sivamohan Valluvan & Peter Mitchell
While climate collapse is increasingly recognised as the defining structural context of the present era, populist-nationalisms have concomitantly emerged as the prevailing political force both in the West and elsewhere. This talk considers accordingly how such a nationalism, as it exits its initially denialist phase, is poised to respond to the realities of climate collapse. Indeed, as some have tentatively suggested, might we also be seeing the normalisation of eco-fascist movements? Such movements appeal to the virtues of ethno-racial coherence as tied to the nation in contending with climate breakdown by drawing upon the logics of bordering, a romanticist conservationism, and support for authoritarian statism, while also extending already-established far-right masculinist sub-cultures as tied to survivalism and militarism. However, the planetary immanence of climate collapse, alongside the sense of common vulnerability it engenders even if that vulnerability remains internally stratified by race and citizenship, might allow for a rejuvenation of anti-nationalist politics. Similarly, the talk will also explore how the globally diffuse planetary enchantment that inheres in climate politics might also be the terms by which alternatives to nationalist seduction are finally realised. Sivamohan Valluvan is Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Warwick. He is the author of The Clamour of Nationalism (MUP) and has written widely on race and racism, nationalism and multiculture, and social theory more broadly.
This talk considers the place of the past – of historical memory, frontier and colonial mythologies, and geological/ecological time – in constructing the political imaginaries that feed the nationalist response to climate change. Drawing on popular media, literature, film and TV, and engaging with emergent currents of discourse surrounding nature, wilderness and the Anthropocene, I ask how the ways in which we are encouraged to relate to nature, and to imagine climate catastrophe and ways of surviving it, relate to the politics of ethnonationalism and ecofascism. Finally, I ask whether these imaginaries can be refigured or redirected towards more explicitly anti-nationalist and collectivist ways of planning for survival. Peter Mitchell has worked at Queen Mary University of London and the Universities of Sussex and Manchester. His first book is Imperial Nostalgia: How the British Conquered Themselves (MUP, 2021).
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