Being Earthbound: Arendt, Process, and Alienation in the Anthropocene

Authors: Oliver Belcher*, Durham University, Jeremy Schmidt, Durham University
Topics: Political Geography, Environment, Cultural Ecology
Keywords: Arendt, Anthropocene, Nature, Ontology
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: 8211, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper identifies two senses of 'being earthbound' to argue that Hannah Arendt has more to offer Anthropocene studies than previously recognized. The first explores Arendt's political ontology of process with special attention to how human actions broke modernist distinctions of humans from nature. The second considers her concept of earth alienation and the effects of scientific and technological disclosure on common sense experiences that provide orientation to the political. A fulsome reading of Arendt demands attending to her dual concern with how atomic power and increased scientific and technological action into nature--rather than upon nature--transform the human condition. Taken together, the two senses of being earthbound contextualize Arendt's call for a radical form of non-sovereignty and her to turn to values of forgiveness and promise as the basis for freedom on an Earth transformed by human action.

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