The Environmental Apocalypse : Interdisciplinary Reflections on the Climate Crisis book cover
1st Edition

The Environmental Apocalypse
Interdisciplinary Reflections on the Climate Crisis

Edited By

Jakub Kowalewski

ISBN 9781032038063
Published November 16, 2022 by Routledge
280 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This volume brings together scholars working in diverse traditions of the humanities in order to offer a comprehensive analysis of the environmental catastrophe as the modern-day apocalypse. Drawing on philosophy, theology, history, literature, art history, psychoanalysis, as well as queer and decolonial theories, the authors included in this book expound the meaning of the climate apocalypse, reveal its presence in our everyday experiences, and examine its impact on our intellectual, imaginative, and moral practices.

Importantly, the chapters show that eco-apocalypticism can inform progressively transformative discourses about climate change. In so doing, they demonstrate the fruitfulness of understanding the environmental catastrophe from within an apocalyptic framework, carving a much-needed path between two unsatisfactory approaches to the climate disaster: first, the conservative impulse to preserve the status quo responsible for today’s crisis, and second, the reckless acceptance of the destructive effects of climate change.

This book will be an invaluable resource for students and scholars interested in the contributions of both apocalypticism and the humanities to contemporary ecological debates.

Table of Contents

PART 1 Conceptualising the Environmental Apocalypse 1. On the Apocalyptic Theme in Modern Scientific Discourse 2. The Shapes of Apocalyptic Time: Decolonising Eco-Eschatology 3. Queer Ecologies and Apocalyptic Thinking 4. Slow Catastrophe: A Concept for the Anthropocene 5. Apocalypticism in Islamic Environmental Thought: The Anthropocene as a Theological Concept PART 2 Representing the Environmental Apocalypse 6. The Disappointing Apocalypse: Climate Collapse and Visual Art since 1960 7. Avoiding the Apocalypse: The How-To Guide as a Method 8. Waiting for the End: Narrating and Grieving Extinction 9. ‘The Evening(s) of Our Day’: Melville, McCarthy, and the Anthropocene’s Double Apocalypse PART 3 The Ethics of the Environmental Apocalypse 10. "Guilty?"/"Not Guilty?": Kierkegaardian Reflections on Carbon Ideologies 11. Apocalyptic Time and the Ethics of Human Extinction 12. Eschatology and Teleology in the Environmental Ethics of Hans Jonas PART 4 Beyond the Environmental Apocalypse 13. The Improper Apocalypse: Vitalism with and against a Psychoanalytic Approach to the End of the World 14. Wiping Away the Tears of Esau: Adorno’s Reconciliation with Nature 15. Looking beyond the Apocalypse: Environmental Crisis, Colonial Environmentalism and Eastern India’s Tribal Communities

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Jakub Kowalewski is an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, Religions and Liberal Arts at the University of Winchester, UK.


"Jakub Kowalewski has compiled a set of essays that investigate the multiple roles that apocalypticism can play in addressing climate change as well as its diverse colonial and capitalist roots. The authors offer accounts of eco-apocalypticism in shifting theological, philosophical and political contexts. In addition to advancing discussions in political theology, these chapters break new ground in their consideration of apocalyptic ideas in areas ranging from literature to Muslim environmentalism to the genre of how-to guides. In acknowledging the dominance of Christian eschatology for apocalyptic thought, but refusing to allow this dominance to go unchallenged, this volume is an important contribution to thinking about a world that appears to be ending around us."

Thomas Lynch, Reader in Political Theology, University of Chichester, UK


"All too often, apocalyptic rhetoric is invoked to lend urgency to the environmental crisis, but can the age-old concept of ‘apocalypse’ have any analytical power facing a catastrophe without event such as the Anthropocene? The essays in this volume show that it can. They give the term a much-needed update, providing rich insights into its history and its usefulness for the predicament we live in."

Eva Horn, Professor of Modern German Literature and Cultural History, University of Vienna, Austria


"This important collection offers a bold attempt to contest the apocalyptic tropes through which the ecological disaster is brought to our consciousness. Without any guarantee of a redemptive offering, the authors engage the environmental apocalypse to trace multiple paths whereby critical thought meets political hope to emerge renewed, ready to imagine a better world."

Joanna Zylinska, Professor of Media Philosophy and Critical Digital Practice, King’s College London, UK