New Climes: Critical Theory, Environmentalism, and Climate Change, 13 June 2011

full name / name of organization: 
Adeline Johns-Putra / University of Exeter, UK

New Climes: Critical Theory, Environmentalism, and Climate Change
University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus, 13 June 2011

Climate change is an unprecedented crisis in human history. It is marked by necessary scientific imprecision and met by public confusion and controversy. Discerning climate change involves intricate scientific problems, and responding demands complex cultural strategies, spanning global, historically unprecedented action. Even as scientists, politicians, activists, and publics have struggled to respond, climate change has also begun to provoke cultural innovation and political audacity. Correspondingly, then, this cultural phenomenon of climate change might require a re-adjustment of critical approaches and methods. Climate change asks of cultural critics and theorists nothing more nor less than a re-evaluation of ourselves.

In a day-long symposium, we will explore the relationship between climate change and critical theory. How do critical concepts like power, ideology, mediation, capital, colonialism, gender, oppression, society, and construction help us to understand the challenges presented by climate change? Does the current crisis wrought by anthropocentric climate change challenge or affirm the assumptions that underpin cultural critical theory--and to what extent? Can we respond--and, if so, how--through now established critical modes, such as those signalled by deconstruction, post-structuralism, genre theory, psychoanalysis, Marxism, and science studies, or those practised under the rubrics of, among others, Agamben, Badiou, Butler, Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault, Habermas, Latour and Žižek? Or does climate change demand a new kind of theory?

We invite proposals for papers that address any aspect of the relationship between critical theory and climate change. Proposals should be 200 words long, for presentations of 30 minutes. Please email proposals to the co-organisers, Dr. Adeline Johns-Putra ( and Dr. Adam Trexler (, by 31st March 2011. We intend to publish symposium proceedings.

Confirmed plenary speakers:
Ian Buchanan (Cardiff)
Claire Colebrook (Penn State)
Timothy Morton (UC-Davis)

The symposium will take place at the University of Exeter's Cornwall Campus in Falmouth, Cornwall, UK.

It is supported by the European Social Fund and the University of Exeter's Department of English.