Join us for a discussion and reception celebrating the release of Bowdoin Professor of English David Collings’ new book, Stolen Future, Broken Present: The Human Significance of Climate Change, moderated by Collin Roesler, Associate Professor of Earth and Oceanographic Science at Bowdoin.
In Stolen Future, Collings argues that we are virtually out of time to prevent severe, irreversible climate change – with a devastating effect on how we think about the future.
Nearly everything we do, Collings says, is premised on the assumption that the world we know will endure into the future and provide a sustaining context for our activities. But today the future of a viable biosphere, and thus the purpose of our present activities, is put into question. A disappearing future leads to a broken present, a strange incoherence in the feel of everyday life.
We thus face the unprecedented challenge of salvaging a basis for our lives today. That basis may be found in our capacity to assume an infinite responsibility for ecological disaster. By owning disaster and accepting our small place within the inhuman forces of the biosphere, we may discover how to live with responsibility and serenity whatever may come.
David Collings teaches courses in British Romanticism, critical theory, sexuality and gender, and environmental studies. He is the author of Wordsworthian Errancies: The Poetics of Cultural Dismemberment (1994) and Monstrous Society: Reciprocity, Discipline, and the Political Uncanny, c. 1780-1848 (2009), among others.