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Mathias Thaler

Mathias Thaler

NIAS Fellow

Project title

Other Ends of the World are Possible: Exploring the Arts and Politics of Environmental Breakdown

Research question

How can different artistic depictions and narrations of environmental disaster beneficially inform political responses to anthropogenic climate change?

Project description

The escalating ecological crisis makes it imperative not only to picture positive alternatives to the status quo, but also to ponder the real possibility of systemic failure and collapse.

Against the view of catastrophist thinking as inherently defeatist, Mathias Thaler’s interdisciplinary project examines the potential of various depictions and narrations of climate disaster across different art forms to beneficially inform political responses to anthropogenic climate change.

Methodologically, the project brings into a conversation three academic disciplines that grapple with the broad topic of systemic failure and collapse in the context of the Anthropocene: eco-theology, political theory and the environmental humanities.

Selected publications

  • Thaler, Mathias. No Other Planet: Utopian Visions for a Climate-Changed World. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022.
  • Thaler, Mathias. “What If: Multispecies Justice as the Expression of Utopian Desire.” Environmental Politics 31, no. 2 (2022): 258–76. https://doi.org/10.1080/09644016.2021.1899683.
  • Thaler, Mathias. “Eco-Miserabilism and Radical Hope: On the Utopian Vision of Post-Apocalyptic Environmentalism.” American Political Science Review 118, no. 1 (2024): 318–31. https://doi.org/10.1017/S000305542300031X.