The climate justice position is necessary but not sufficient for comprehending the current crisis, writes Dipesh Chakrabarty. As a geophysical force, the human species wields a new kind of agency unaccounted for in familiar narratives of the history of capitalist growth.
is Professor of History, South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (2000), and currently working on two books, entitled Presentism and the Predicament of Postcolonial History and The Climate of History: Four Theses.
While freedom has been the most important motif of accounts of human history since the Enlightenment, there has never been an awareness of the geological agency human beings were gaining through processes linked to their acquisition of freedom. Whatever the rights we wish to celebrate as our freedom, we cannot afford to destabilize conditions that work like boundary parameters of human existence.