Skip to main content

Questioning The Present: History 4° Celsius

The Center of Global Culture and Communication (An interdisciplinary initiative of Northwestern University’s School of Communication) & the Center for Transcultural Studies

Jointly present

Questioning the Present: An Online Public Forum on

History 4° Celsius: Search for Method in the Age of Anthropocene‘  

(Duke University Press, 2020)

Ian Baucom

(English, Provost, University of Virginia)


In History 4° Celsius Ian Baucom continues his inquiries into the place of the Black Atlantic in the making of the modern and postmodern world. Putting black studies into conversation with climate change, Baucom outlines how the ongoing concerns of critical race, diaspora, and postcolonial studies are crucial to understanding the Anthropocene. He draws on materialist and postmaterialist thought, Sartre, and the science of climate change to trace the ways in which evolving political, cultural, and natural history converge to shape a globally destructive force. Identifying the quest for limitless financial gain as the primary driving force behind both the slave trade and the continuing increase in global greenhouse gas emissions, Baucom demonstrates that climate change and the conditions of the Black Atlantic, colonialism, and the postcolony are fundamentally entwined.



Prathama Banerjee (History, Center for the Study of Developing Societies <CSDS>, New Delhi)

Claire Colebrook (English, The Pennsylvania State University)

Debjani Ganguly (English, University of Virginia)


ON ZOOM, October 7, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm C.T.