Inescapable Atmospheres: From Climate Realism to Decarbonized Desire

Thursday, November 3, 2022, 6:30 - 7:30pm

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Join us for the Cooper Faculty Presents series to engage with a mix of scholars across disciplines as they share their research and pedagogy in new conversations that unite, inspire, and uplift.

On campus and around the world, Cooper Union’s accomplished faculty are engaged in critical research, advancing knowledge, exploring complex issues, and solving global problems. Most critically, their teaching provides opportunities for a brighter future for the next generation, as they share their passion for scholarship, commitment to rigor, and desire to change the world with our students. At a time when the disciplines of The Cooper Union are so critical to rejuvenating our cities and our people, their voices are more important than ever.

Matt Bower, adjunct assistant professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, will present a talk exploring the imaginative limits to moving beyond fossil-fuel based capitalism, the ways in which capital thwarts and constrains our ability to imagine alternatives even as its expanding processes of social and ecological extraction make life unbearable. Why is maintaining this system at all costs widely represented as more “realistic”—and perhaps even more desirable—than trying to escape from it? Critical theory might help us make sense of this weakness in our imagination by examining subjectivity as a social effect of carbon intensity, that is, by revealing how our desires, ideas, and ways of living are constituted by globe-spanning relations of capital accumulation and greenhouse gas emissions.

The talk will be held in The Cooper Union library, there will be a Zoom option for those not able to participate in person. Click here to register. 

Located at 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.