Age of Catastrophe

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* Article / Special Issue: The age of catastrophe. CAIRNS Dossier, Volume 4, Issue 9, October 2020



"Which term do you prefer? Apocalypse, catastrophe, collapse, or extinction? It’s just a matter of taste. For some years now, the fear of cataclysmic climate change has spawned a vast literature in the social sciences, and France has not stood on the sidelines. This dossier presents a broad overview of the main arguments put forward. In his piece, the historian François Hartog sets out to contextualize our present-day situation in relation to a long history of foretold apocalypses, which he traces back to the book of Daniel, the Jewish tradition, and the prophets. The economist and futurologist Emmanuel Hache offers a wary review of seven recently published works in this area (just seven of many). The philosopher Pierre Charbonnier’s contribution is a critique of “collapsology,” a term coined by the independent researcher Pablo Servigne . Romain Noël, an art historian, argues for what he regards as a necessary rejection of the Anthropocene concept in favor of a kind of redemptive melancholy. Meanwhile, Gabriel Salerno, a researcher in the field of geosciences, explores three broad types of attitude toward tomorrow: the aftermath of collapse. Our final contributor is the American philosopher Eugene Thacker, who makes a case for radical pessimism."