Climate Machines, Fascist Drives, and Truth

Book Pages: 136 Illustrations: Published: September 2019

Politics > Political Theory, Sociology > Social Theory, Theory and Philosophy > Critical Theory

In this new installation of his work, William E. Connolly examines entanglements between volatile earth processes and emerging cultural practices, highlighting relays among extractive capitalism, self-amplifying climate processes, migrations, democratic aspirations, and fascist dangers. In three interwoven essays, Connolly takes up thinkers in the "minor tradition" of European thought who, unlike Cartesians and Kantians, cross divisions between nature and culture. He first offers readings of Sophocles and Mary Shelley, asking whether close attention to the Anthropocene could perhaps have arrived earlier had subsequent humanists absorbed their lessons. He then joins Deleuze and Guattari's notion of an abstract machine with contemporary earth sciences, doing so to compare the Antique Little Ice Age of the late Roman empire to contemporary relays between extractive capitalism and accelerating climate processes. The final essay stages a dramatic dialogue between Alfred North Whitehead and Michel Foucault about the pursuit of truth during a time of planetary turbulence. With Climate Machines Fascist Drives, and Truth, Connolly forges incisive interventions into key issues of our time.


“As ever, William E. Connolly writes prophetically timely work. Even for those of us who read most everything he writes, this book installs fresh strategies, thematics, and illustrations in the vibrant assemblage of his oeuvre. It oscillates between a clarion call to all who have ears to hear as a manifesto for today and a philosophically nuanced, attractive meditation for an open plenary of moments. It shouldn't work. But it does.” — Catherine Keller, author of Political Theology of the Earth: Our Planetary Emergency and the Struggle for a New Public

"This is one of William E. Connolly's most exhilarating books to date. In a riveting exploration of planetary volatility and complex entanglements of human and nonhuman agencies and forces, he moves beyond the 'sociocentrism' of the humanities, human sciences, and contemporary politics in ways that are distinctive and urgent. A searching and brilliant contribution." — Romand Coles, author of Visionary Pragmatism: Radical and Ecological Democracy in Neoliberal Times

"These essays are interventions designed to disrupt our affective confidence in the notion that the world offers us some distinctive and privileged place within it. Moreover, the essays present the world and its climate as given not to simple stability, but rather brimming with a host of amplifiers and triggers, forces and agents, irruptions and disturbances that create immediate and irrevocable change." — Chadwick Jenkins, Popmatters

"Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. General readers." — E. J. Eisenach, Choice

"Connolly recognizes that the question for the twenty-first century is about climate truth, not just about the truth of climate change; truth takes the form of multiple complex, dynamic, and bumpy planetary processes. In an era of climate change, how do we negotiate the fundamentalism of a neoliberal regime that borders on fascism when it denies the planetary? Connolly’s response is collective and connective, expanding the world to include the planet." — Claire Colebrook, Contemporary Political Theory


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

William E. Connolly is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor at Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches political theory. His recent books include Facing the Planetary and The Fragility of Things, both also published by Duke University Press, and Aspirational Fascism.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii
Introduction. Climate, Fascism, Truth  1
1. Sophocles, Mary Shelley, and the Planetary  17
2. The Anthropocene as Abstract Machine  46
3. The Lure of Truth  72
Notes  99
Bibliography  115
Index  121
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0655-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0589-6