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Reinstituting Nature: A Latourian Workshop

Abstract : Translator's introduction : At the end of July 2014 there was a week-long workshop held at the Ecole des Mines in Paris, Bruno Latour's former work-place. This was a final workshop, convened by Latour's project, An Inquiry into Modes of Existence, which was not only a book, but a website that was an experiment in interactive metaphysics that had been going on for four years. About 30 participants gathered to workshop and rewrite some key contested areas that had been challenged on the site with discussions and counter-examples. One of the round tables working away during the week, occasionally with changes in personnel, was on Nature. Their job (like the other round tables on Politics, Diplomacy, Religion and Economics) was to ‘reboot’ or reinstitute a concept close to the heart of the Moderns. The assumption was that the traditional concept of nature, as developed through modern European history, would no longer be adequate to a future beset by environmental crises. The main people working on a draft were Didier Debaise, Pablo Jensen, Pierre Montebello, Nicolas Prignot, Isabelle Stengers and Aline Wiame. When they finished the draft, I translated it and it was presented, in French and English, in a final two-day public session at Science Po, to a group of seven international scholars designated as “chargés d'affaires,” or “diplomats from the future” whose job was to assess the results of our labours in terms of how they might be met by Gaia, the ur-representative of future planetary crises. The text, originally under the title of Our “Nature,” was as follows. [Stephen Muecke]
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Didier Debaise, Pablo Jensen, Pierre Montebello, Nicolas Prignot, Isabelle Stengers, et al.. Reinstituting Nature: A Latourian Workshop. Environmental Humanities, [Kensington] N.S.W.: Environmental Humanities Programme University of New South Wales, 2015, 6 (1), pp.167 - 174. ⟨hal-02178038⟩

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