Facing Gaia by Bruno Latour | Book Launch

28 November 2017, 19.30


Bruno Latour, Lotte van den Berg, Thijs Middeldorp, Anne van Leeuwen, Jelmer Mommers, Anoek Nuyens, Rebekka de Wit, and Kristine Steenbergh


Evanne Nowak

Being heavily influenced by his work, Veem invited thinker and philosopher Bruno Latour to elaborate on his new book Facing Gaia. 

About the book: 

The emergence of modern sciences in the seventeenth century profoundly renewed our understanding of nature. For the last three centuries new ideas of nature have been continually developed by theology, politics, economics, and science, especially the sciences of the material world. The situation is even more unstable today, now that we have entered an ecological mutation of unprecedented scale. Some call it the Anthropocene, but it is best described as a new climatic regime. And a new regime it certainly is, since the many unexpected connections between human activity and the natural world oblige every one of us to reopen the earlier notions of nature and redistribute what had been packed inside. So the question now arises: what will replace the old ways of looking at nature? 

This book explores a potential candidate proposed by James Lovelock when he chose the name Gaia for the fragile, complex system through which living phenomena modify the Earth. The fact that he was immediately misunderstood proves simply that his readers have tried to fit this new notion into an older frame, transforming Gaia into a single organism, a kind of giant thermostat, some sort of New Age goddess, or even divine Providence. In this series of lectures on natural religion, Bruno Latour argues that the complex and ambiguous figure of Gaia offers, on the contrary, an ideal way to disentangle the ethical, political, theological, and scientific aspects of the now obsolete notion of nature. He lays the groundwork for a future collaboration among scientists, theologians, activists, and artists as they, and we, begin to adjust to the new climatic regime.

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