I’ve been using the metaphor of the Sustainability Bottleneck in my teaching, but another one that is more immediately graspable is The Bubble.

Two things landed in my in-box this morning that testify to this (but that’s a pretty daily occurrence, e.g., see this, this, this, this, this, this, and this, all from the past week). One of these is a New York Times op-ed by a meteoreological business guy, called “A New Dark Age Looms.” The second is an interesting piece by Australian eco-anarchist farmer Glenn Albrecht called “Exiting the Anthropocene and Entering the Symbiocene” (which originally appeared on his blog in December).

Where they concur is that, as scientists have been increasingly predicting, we can expect a Coming Unraveling — an unraveling of the “established patterns and regularity of Holocene phenology” of the past 12,000 years, followed by a “new abnormal” in which

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At long last, Shane Denson’s and Julia Leyda’s anthology Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film has come out in Catherine Grant’s Reframe Books open-access series.

This mammoth anthology features some of the leading theorists of our cinematic/media moment including Lev Manovich, Steven Shaviro, Richard Grusin, Vivian Sobchack, Francesco Casetti, Patricia Pisters, Mark Hansen, and many others. It includes an entire section on “Ecologies of Post-Cinema” (which includes my chapter on cinema “in & beyond the Capitalocene”), as well as several rich dialogues on digital and post-cinematic politics.

Some books I’ve recently received and/or am currently reading… If you’d like to review any of them for this blog, let me know. And if there are others published in the last year that should be on this list, let me know that too (in the comments).

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Both Open Culture and The New York Times have reported on the Open Syllabus Project, which has tallied over a million college course syllabi to determine the 10,000 or so most commonly assigned texts.

The project also provides a cluster map of these texts, which is probably less interesting (and more confusing) in its large form than when one pokes into it from a given text — to find, for instance, that The Communist Manifesto (at #3) is assigned most commonly with Capital, The Social Contract, and Leviathan; Thoreau’s Walden (#31) with texts by Emerson; and Barbara Bush’s The White House (at #69?!) with William Rehnquist’s The Supreme Court, Time, Inc.’s World War Two, and Hitler’s Mein Kampf (interesting…).

(Meanwhile, The Guardian recently polled booksellers, librarians, publishers, and the public to create a list of the 20 most influential academic books of all time. The overlap between the two lists is interesting, even if the Guardian‘s methodology leaves a great deal of room for improvement. Darwin’s On the Origin of Species topped that list, followed by The Communist Manifesto, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Plato’s Republic, and Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.)

Here are a few quick observations about the Open Syllabus Project mega-list.

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Indiana sale

My book Claiming Sacred Ground is available for half price from the publisher, Indiana University Press, all this week.

But then you can always get a copy from me for at least as good a deal as that, as I still have some kicking around at the office.

(Here’s how it relates to my later work.)

I shared my previous post on the Peirce-L discussion forum and received about 16 responses in five days. The following is an edited version of the summary response I sent to the forum regarding the main comments presented there. I’ve eliminated names or substituted them with single initials where that seemed warranted.

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I’ve been struggling with how my triadic framework for interpreting art works relates to C. S. Peirce’s categories.

When I first developed my triadism (fleshed out in Ecologies of the Moving Image) into the non-Peircian terms of materiality, experience, and representation — which I did in the context of teaching a course on the environmental arts — I loosely considered the first of these to be analogous to Peircian firstness, the second to secondness, and the third to thirdness.

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Front Cover copy

Vegetarianism has been part of my identity for the last 25 years (thanks to arguments like this one and this one), but I’ve been increasingly recognizing the term’s limits.

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He left us with this to mull over.

(Thanks to Roy Scranton for the title idea.)

This article has been revised since it was first posted. It consists of a list of useful sources providing ongoing coverage of, and initial post-conference reactions to, the COP21 conference and mobilizations in response to it. Please suggest any other helpful sources and links in the “Comments.” (Previously suggested links have been added and the comments removed.) 

Originally published: Dec. 3. Last (& probably final) revision: Dec. 16

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The Paris climate talks were successful in that they resulted in an agreement that is both better than nothing and better than most of us expected. They were a failure in that even if they are followed to the letter — and there’s no provision for enforcing whether anyone follows them or not — they would still likely result in changes to the world climate that will bring tremendous hardship to millions, possibly billions, of humans and countless other organisms.

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Here’s how I would explain the concept of Climate Justice in four easy steps:

  1. The wealthiest 1% emit 2500 times more greenhouse gases than the poorest 1%.
  2. Those greenhouse gases are in the process of changing the Earth’s climate to render it uninhabitable for the kind of mix of human & nonhuman species that exists today.
  3. The poorest & most vulnerable will suffer the worst & the soonest from that change; many are feeling it already.
  4. This sucks & needs to be remedied.

A few years ago, the concept was largely unknown; a few years from now it will have become the reason for the next global revolution. Climb aboard now or run for your lives later.


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