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Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm
A. D. White House, Guerlac Room
29 East Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Society for the Humanities + Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future
Annual Lecture on Sustainable Futures
Denial’s Authority: Anti-Environmentalism and the Aesthetics of Negativity in Contemporary Climate Politics
Jennifer Carlson, 2018-19 Sustainability Fellow
CENHS Visiting Scholar in Energy Humanities, Rice University
Despite overwhelming evidence that climate genocide is unfolding more rapidly than previously imagined, many policymakers around the world are rolling back environmental protections while denying climate change. This talk considers how popular assent to—and sometimes embrace of—anti-environmentalism takes shape in the Global North, focusing on coastal areas of the United States and Germany where rising illiberalism coincides with ecological degradation. Here climate denial coheres through expressive culture, working simultaneously as a commentary on power and as a register of aesthetic immersion. These cases point toward the multi-sited making of denial as a cultural form and illuminate emergent forms of environmental authority with implications for climate action.
Jennifer Carlson (A.M., University of Chicago; Ph.D., University of Texas) is a cultural anthropologist specializing in the energy humanities. Her research focuses on the relationship between energy infrastructure, public feeling and environmental action, particularly in the United States and Germany. Her book project Unruly Energies (Duke University Press) shows how sentiment shapes public engagement with—and surprising forms of exclusion from—sustainable development in the Energiewende, a national transition to renewable energy. In addition to lecturing in anthropology at Southwestern University, Jennifer is a visiting research fellow at Rice University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences, and recently held a Carson Writing Fellowship at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich.