Kathrin Bartha reviews 'Facing Gaia: Eight lectures on the new climatic regime' by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter

Kathrin Bartha reviews 'Facing Gaia: Eight lectures on the new climatic regime' by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter

Facing Gaia: Eight lectures on the new climaticregime

by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter

Polity, $42.95 pb, 334 pp, 9780745684338

Have you heard of the Anthropocene, the so-called Age of Humans? Our geological epoch has been renamed because human influences on Earth are so profound that not only is our climate changing, but so are our soils, water, and social order. Bruno Latour, prolific French philosopher and historian of science, dedicates his book, Facing Gaia, to this ‘new climatic regime’, which leads to questions no smaller than how the Anthropocene changes our understanding of the planet, species, and politics. As the title indicates, the book is centred around the ancient Greek goddess Gaia, who became patron of the scientific Gaia theory developed by British chemist James Lovelock and American microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1960s and 1970s. But why does a respectable science philosopher born of the French academies devote his book to the ‘monstrous, shameless, primitive’ Gaia when facing this new reality that will determine war and peace, food and water? Why do we need a silly goddess for serious times? The answer is intricately woven and presented in eight lectures, originally drafted for the Gifford Lectures in Edinburgh, and translated back and forth between English and French.

Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month.

We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Published in December 2017, no. 397
Kathrin Bartha

Kathrin Bartha

Kathrin Bartha is a doctoral researcher at Monash and Goethe University Frankfurt. She holds degrees from Freie Universitaet Berlin and has written about Australian literature, German memory culture, and migrant experiences. She is an activist for the Fossil Free University network.

Social Profiles

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.