Nature as a Resource of Critique. ‘Romantic Anti-Capitalism’ in a Changing Climate

Date / Time

January 22, 2021

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


A talk by Max Kade Visiting Professor Patrick Eiden-Offe

Recent debates of the Anthropocene and the ecological catastrophe unfolding all over the planet, stress that we must overcome our modern understanding of ‘nature’ in order to transform our relationship to the environment we life in. As the main culprit for the current misguided, exploitative, and destructive way we interact with nature the same debates identify – perhaps surprisingly – the very activity and habit of ‘critique.’ Bruno Latour, for instance, suggests that we need to shift from critique to ‘post-critique’ to adequately account for ‘post-nature’ now called ‘Gaia’.

The talk traces these concerns back to Romanticism as the shared origin of both, our modern concepts of nature and of critique. In Romantic literature and theory, we find an understanding of nature that escapes its ‘post-critical’ dismissal. By going back to the Romantic core of nature, we are furthermore able to release its ultimate critical potential – and, at the same time, to re-calibrate our notion and practice of critique. Thus, nature may become a renewed and renewable resource for a form of critique Georg Lukács once called ‘Romantic anti-capitalism’.

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