„Property Will Cost Us the Earth“: A Conjunctural Analysis of the Climate Crisis
Human ecologist Andreas Malm’s How to Blow Up a Pipeline: Learning to Fight in a World on Fire (2020) reads like a militant call to arms in the struggle against runaway global warming. Part history, part manifesto, part climate science, the book relies on Malm’s seminal historical materialist study of the roots of catastrophic climate change in Fossil Capital (2016) and his critique of various so-called New Materialisms in The Progress of this Storm (2017). We will use Malm’s work as an entry point for a theoretical discussion of the climate crisis and its representation in popular media to explore the possibilities and limits of “conjunctural analysis” (Stuart Hall) and its methodological presuppositions. We will address the intersection and articulation of race, class, and gender as well as socio-ecological relations in general. If it is true, after all, that “we cannot legislate and spend our way out of catastrophic global warming” (Jasper Bernes) for systemic reasons, or what Søren Mau (after Marx) calls Mute Compulsion (2021), what follows from this, both theoretically and practically? Possible examples of radical climate science (and fiction) to be studied include Our Changing Climate (YouTube 2016-2021), Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140 (2017) and The Ministry for the Future (2020), Florian Opitz’s System Error (2018), Geoff Mann’s Climate Leviathan (2018), Phil Neel’s Hinterland, Mary Robinson’s Climate Justice (2018), Nick Estes’s Our History is the Future (2019), and the Zetkin Collective’s White Skin, Black Fuel: On the Danger of Fossil Fascism (2021).