2022 Dewey Lecture Explores the Intersection of Climate Change and Humanism

The 2022 Dewey Lecture in Law and Philosophy examined the intersection of climate change and humanism through the lens of Indian poet and thinker Rabindranath Tagore. During the lecture, University of Chicago History Professor Dipesh Chakrabarty discussed the anthropocentric nature of climate change, and, pointing to Tagore's words on the relationship between human beings and nature, urged attendees to interrogate humanocentric thinking.  

"[The] conception of humanity as a geological force—as a kind of Newtonian force—or as a thing-like entity, as a hyper-object, was so different from the way I used to think about human beings as a historian," said Chakrabarty, who is the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College. "There is a human way of decentering humans from the story, and we come so late in the story that we can’t seem to be put at the center of it. Whereas if we tell the story of capitalism, empires, development, growth—then we are the makers of that history. We are squarely in the middle of it.”

A full video of the Dewey Lecture can be viewed above.

Climate change