This week is Günther Anders week on the “Bedtime Stories” podcast. Anders might be little known amongst environmental historians, but he is arguably one of the most important catastrophic thinkers of the twentieth century, and would reward some study. I came across Anders’s work while reading Jean-Pierre Dupuy’s work on “enlightened catastrophism,” and was immediately hooked. There is a moving lucidity in his writing when it comes to catastrophe. His correspondence with Claude Eatherly is particularly powerful as an introduction, but there are bits and pieces of his work that have been translated. I have referred to Anders a few times on this blog (start here and here and here). But the truth is that the bulk of his work has not yet been translated into English, which is a shame.
Which is not to say that Anders’s work has received any attention from English-speaking scholars. Looking for more access to Anders and his writing on catastrophe, I discovered Jason Dawsey’s PhD dissertation, “The Limits of the Human in the Age of Technological Revolution: Günther Anders, Post-Marxism, and the Emergence of Technology Critique.” The discussion below is another result of a cold call to a gracious colleague I’d not met before. It serves as a terrific introduction to Anders’s work and thinking. Dawsey is an historian at the University of Tennessee, and the editor, with Günther Bischof and Bernhard Fetz, of The Life and Work of Günther Anders: Émigré, Iconoclast, Philosopher, Man of Letters (Transatlantica Series, Volume 8). (Review here).
Next week: 17 October: “Convergence: Climate, Capitalism, Catastrophe” (with Andreas Malm)
5 September: “Dysfunctional Relationships: Love Songs for Pesticides” (with Michelle Mart)
12 September: “Catastrophic Environmentalism: Histories of the Cold War” (with Jacob Hamblin)
19 September: “Disaster Narratives: Predictions, Preparedness, & Lessons” (with Scott Knowles)
26 September: “Catastrophe in the Age of Revolutions” (with Cindy Ermus)
3 October: “Histories of the Future & the Anthropocene” (with Libby Robin)