“Feeling the Vibrations: On the Micropolitics of Climate Change”. Seminar by visiting PhD Stephanie Erev from John Hopkins University.

This seminar begins from the premise that local climates—the rhythms, temperatures, sounds, and other intensities of place—help to compose the qualities of lived experience. On this view, climate change is more than a discrete “issue” demanding political attention and response. A changing climate permeates political life as large-scale planetary transformations reverberate in our bodies, affecting subterranean processes of attention and eliciting bodily responses at and below the register of awareness. Such attention to micropolitics augments the focus on what political subjects think, feel, and perceive about climate change with questions of how climatic changes may be influencing processes of thought, feeling, and perception on a more visceral register. Drawing from diverse literatures and areas of study—including affect theory, 19th century romantic poetry, Nietzschean philosophy, decolonial Indigenous environmental studies, and the geological arts and sciences—the seminar also explores how positive interventions on the micropolitical register to amplify bodily experiences of climate change might carry issues of climate change into more vivid attention and concern on the macro register of politics, as well.

Stephanie Erev’s research is situated at the intersection of ecopoetics and ecophilosophy. Trained as a political theorist, Erev draws from ideas in the environmental humanities to rethink political concepts—public-private, action, authority, and so forth—in more ecological directions. Her current project, “Earthy Considerations: A Theory of Geopolitics,” explores how some late-modern European political thinkers (e.g., Friedrich Hayek and Hannah Arendt) cultivate and promote ethico-aesthetic sensibilities that are desensitized to the agencies of certain groups of humans and earth others. Finding inspiration in Jamaica Kincaid, Friedrich Nietzsche, and others who strive to affirm the earthy conditions of politics, the project also develops a theory of more-than-human action. Erev is an avid urban gardener currently living in Baltimore, Maryland. She will be Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Portland State University starting September, 2019.