Who is (Not) Afraid of the Climate Apocalypse? On the Planetary Perspectives of Anthropocene Political Theology through New Images of the Earth


  • Stefan Janković Department of Sociology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade




Anthropocene, Gaia, planet, Earth, political theology


The paper comparatively explores the projects of Gaia and the planet as the new images of the Earth, proposed by Bruno Latour and Dipesh Chakrabarty respectively. With critical emphasis placed on the political theology of the apocalypse present in both projects, the paper draws broader implications of such a geospiritual turn in the Anthropocene debates. Whereas the introduction gives a glimpse into the problem of the Anthropocene, the second section explores Latour's reinterpretation of the “Gaia Hypothesis” in the anti-holistic key through the critique of modernity, theory of agency and novel methodology of geotracing, designed to unravel the organic transactions and links of the so-called critical zone. The third section discusses Latour's geophilosophical experiment of building the mythical prototype of the Earthlings, as a special kind of ecological sensitivity, and points out the problem of setting up science as a new earthly religion. Section four focuses on Chakrabarty's concept of the planet, which revolves around the “discovery” of the deep history of the planet, a confrontation with anthropocentrism and the “shallow” history of human formations, but also the insertion of radical climate uncertainty into everyday life and restoration of planetary habitability. In the fifth section we explain in more detail the problem of scale that arises in Chakrabarty's work, that is, the question of how to open sensibility for such a cumbersome set of entities as the planet is. Expressing a relative distrust of science, Chakrabarty prefers to opt for theological awe, which, we claim, is difficult to achieve precisely in a planetary context. In the conclusion we look briefly at the concept of resilience as a potential complement to these views.


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How to Cite

Janković, Stefan. 2022. “Who Is (Not) Afraid of the Climate Apocalypse? On the Planetary Perspectives of Anthropocene Political Theology through New Images of the Earth”. Etnoantropološki Problemi / Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 17 (4):1449–1482. https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v17i4.14.