Razmig Keucheyan

March 22-April 2, 2017
US TOUR

Razmig Keucheyan is an assistant professor in sociology at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. He is the author of Le constructivisme. Des origines à nos jours and has recently edited a selection from Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks in French. He is also the author of Nature is a Battlefield (Polity Books, 2016) and  The Left Hemisphere: Mapping Critical Theory Today (Verso 2013).

Proposed lectures

1-A Radical Approach to the Environmental Crisis » (on Nature is a Battlefield).

2-Mapping Critical Theory Today » (on The Left Hemisphere).

 

About the book

Nature is a Battlefield: Towards a Political Ecology

Published by Polity Books

In the midst of the current ecological crisis, there is often lofty talk of the need for humanity to ‘overcome its divisions’ and work together to tackle the big challenges of our time. But as this new book by Razmig Keucheyan shows, the real picture is very different. Just take the case of the siting of toxic waste landfills in the United States: if you want to know where waste is most likely to be dumped, ask yourself where Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and other racial minorities live and where the poorest neighbourhoods are. This kind of ‘environmental racism’ is by no means restricted to the United States: it is very much a global phenomenon.

Keucheyan show how the capitalist response to the crisis has been marked by a massive expansion in ‘environmental finance’. From ‘carbon markets’ to ‘pollution permits’, ‘climate derivatives’ and ‘catastrophe bonds’, we are seeing a proliferation of nature-related financial products. Instead of tackling the root of the problem, the neoliberal strategy seeks to profit from environmental risks.

Moreover, with the rise in natural disasters, resource scarcity, food crises, the destabilization of the poles and oceans and the prospect of tens of millions of ‘climate refugees’, Western powers are increasingly adopting a military response to ecological problems. The Cold War is over: welcome to the ‘green wars’. From New Orleans to the Siachen glacier via the Arctic floes, Keucheyan explores the landmark sites of this new ‘climate geostrategy’.

Through a sharp critique of the way capitalism responds to environmental disaster, this innovative book provides a fresh perspective on some of the most critical issues confronting our societies today.

About the book

The Left Hemisphere: Mapping Critical Theory Today

As the crisis of capitalism unfolds, the need for alternatives is felt ever more intensely. The struggle between radical movements and the forces of reaction will be merciless. A crucial battlefield, where the outcome of the crisis will in part be decided, is that of theory.

Over the last twenty-five years, radical intellectuals across the world have produced important and innovative ideas. The endeavour to transform the world without falling into the catastrophic traps of the past has been a common element uniting these new approaches.

This book—aimed at both the general reader and the specialist—offers the first global cartography of the expanding intellectual field of critical contemporary thought. More than thirty authors and intellectual currents of every continent are presented in a clear and succinct manner. A history of critical thought in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is also provided, helping situate current thinkers in a broader historical and sociological perspective.

Tour Program

March 27-28: Cornell University

March 29 at 4PM: New School


If you would like to invite this author to speak at your university or bookstore, please fill out the application form and email it to Anne-Sophie Hermil anne-sophie.hermil@diplomatie.gouv.fr.