The Time of Catastrophe : Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Age of Catastrophe book cover
1st Edition

The Time of Catastrophe
Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Age of Catastrophe

ISBN 9781138384064
Published June 7, 2019 by Routledge
160 Pages

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Book Description

If catastrophes are, by definition, exceptional events of such magnitude that worlds and lives are dramatically overturned, the question of timing would pose a seemingly straightforward, if not redundant question. The Time of Catastrophe demonstrates the analytic productiveness of this question, arguing that there is much to be gained by interrogating the temporal conceits of conventional understandings of catastrophe and the catastrophic. Bringing together a distinguished, interdisciplinary group of scholars, the book develops a critical language for examining 'catastrophic time', recognizing the central importance of, and offering a set of frameworks for, examining the alluring and elusive qualities of catastrophe. Framed around the ideas of Agamben, Kant and Benjamin, and drawing on philosophy, history, law, political science, anthropology and the arts, this volume seeks to demonstrate how the question of 'catastrophic time' is in fact a question about something much more than the frequency of disasters in our so-called 'Age of Catastrophe'.

Table of Contents

When is catastrophe?: an introduction, Christopher Dole, Robert Hayashi, Andrew Poe, Austin Sarat and Boris Wolfson; Catastrophe’s apocalypse, Joseph Masco; Law and community in Fritz Lang’s M., BBC’s Luther: permanent catastrophe?, Elizabeth Stewart; Photographs of catastrophe and the representation of vulnerable humanity, Carolyn J. Dean; Catastrophe and human order: from political theology to political physiology, David W. Bates; Disaster, ruin, and permanent catastrophe, Lewis R. Gordon; Index.

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Christopher Dole is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Amherst College, USA. Robert Hayashi is Associate Professor American Studies at Amherst College, USA. Andrew Poe is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Amherst College, USA. Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science and Associate Dean of the Faculty at Amherst College, USA. Boris Wolfson is Associate Professor of Russian at Amherst College, USA.


"Pervasive reporting of events has brought us back to the catastrophe as central to governing. This imaginative collection refuses to define catastrophe as exceptional, or by its limits in time and space. The chapters pose the times of catastrophe as multiple, integrating catastrophic events with the everyday and with how we envision futures. The authors creatively cross critical theory with historical and cultural analyses, generating a rich research agenda and teaching us all why we ought to turn to disaster to understand governing." - Susan Sterett, Virginia Tech, USA

"The Time of Catastrophe poses critical questions about how we think about events, conditions, and practices that have located humanity on the threshold of total destruction. The chapters develop exciting and innovative bridges between theory and everyday life, and offer compelling new possibilities for understanding the past, present, and future." - Sylvia Schafer, University of Connecticut, USA

"This timely collection shifts from the places of human catastrophes to a consideration of their temporality. Innovative and challenging, the collection considers how catastrophes are endured, remembered, and projected. Far from being a moment in time, whether inside or outside history, the chapters in this book establish the catastrophes as trajectories: passages in time that mark our era."Ronen Shamir, Tel-Aviv University, Israel