Adorno and the Reification of Nature

When:8 May 2018, 12:30pm - 2pm
Venue:The Chancellery, Committee Room 3, UNSW
Who:Harriet Johnson (University of Sydney)
Harriett Johnson

Abstract: Recent scholarship in the environmental humanities celebrates hybridity. Theorists draw attention to forms of life that blur the distinction between nature and society. In the 1940s, Theodor Adorno contended with a further problem: nature and history are already combined in troubling ways. For him, reification names how, under capitalism, naturalized histories and historicized natures spin in a carousel of fused parts. He explains that ‘all reification is a forgetting’. Failure to keep track of this movement of capitalist hybridization instigates real-world consequences. In this article, I examine how Adorno’s critique of reification issues a challenge to the terms of environmental political thought. I then draw out his proposal to discern other kinds of stories where the biophysical universe is leavened with social history.

About the speaker: Harriet Johnson studied in Germany and Australia and holds a Ph.D in Philosophy from the University of Sydney, where she is a sessional lecturer in the Departments of Philosophy and Government and International Relations. Her current book project is titled 'Late Nature: Adorno and the Perplexities of Immanent Critique'



t: 02) 9385 2373

View Past Events