A Conversation on Planetary Social Thought

∞ “Nigel Clark and Bronislaw Szerszynski: A conversation on Planetary Social Thought” (2022)

On Friday, February 11, 2022, the UW-Madison workshop “Alien Earth: Introduction to Planetary Humanities” met with Nigel Clark and Bronislaw Szerszynski to discuss their book Planetary Social Thought: The Anthropocene Challenge to the Social Sciences (Polity Press, 2020). In a conversation spanning environmental politics, geology, and exoplanet science, Clark and Szerszynski discuss what it means to live on a planet that must always “become other to itself.”

Nigel Clark is Professor of Human Geography at Lancaster University, UK. He is the author of Inhuman Nature: Sociable Life on a Dynamic Planet (2011), co-author with Bronislaw Szerszynski of Planetary Social Thought: The Anthropocene Challenge to the Social Sciences(2021), and co-editor with Kathryn Yusoff of a special issue of Theory, Culture & Society on “Geosocial Formations and the Anthropocene” (2017).  He is currently thinking about the paleogeography of human care relations, and European violence as a planetary phenomenon – and considering the question ‘are white people human?’

Bronislaw Szerszynski is Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University.  His research seeks to situate social life in the longer perspective of human and planetary history, drawing on the social and natural sciences, arts and humanities.  He is co-author with Nigel Clark of Planetary Social Thought (2021), author of Nature, Technology and the Sacred (2005), and co-editor of Risk, Environment and Modernity (1996), Re-Ordering Nature (2003), Nature Performed (2003) and Technofutures (2015).  As well as academic publications, his outputs also include performances, creative writing, art-science exhibitions and events, and experimental participatory workshops.  He was co-organiser of the public art–science events Between Nature: Explorations in Ecology and Performance (Lancaster, 2000), Experimentality (Lancaster/Manchester/London, 2009-10), and Anthropocene Monument, with Bruno Latour and Olivier Michelon (Toulouse, 2014-2015).