April 21: ESPF colloquium, Jennifer Rubenstein (Virginia) on Democratic Emergency Claim-making about Climate Change.

April 21: ESPF colloquium, Jennifer Rubenstein (Virginia) on Democratic Emergency Claim-making about Climate Change.

Wednesday 21st April, 3.15pm - 5pm, online ESPF colloquium, link can be requested


It's an Emergency... Let's Deliberate! Democratic Emergency Claim-making about Climate Change'

Over the past few years, myriad activist groups, scientists, governments, and other entities have claimed that climate change is an emergency. Yet while emergency claim-making about climate change is increasingly widespread and accepted, some critics have deemed it un-democratic because it squelches discussion and deliberation, invites dangerous forms of populism, and undermines just and equal relationships. Climate emergency claim-making can be undemocratic. But many of these allegations are inaccurate or exaggerated because they are based on an overly-stylized conception of emergency, which in turn is based on a narrow set of empirical cases centered on threats of violent conflict. While we should of course remain vigilant about possible threats that climate emergency claim-making poses to democratic political life, I argue in this talk that we should not focus too narrowly on this stylized account of emergency and its corresponding examples. Instead, we should also closely examine practices of climate emergency claim-making themselves, such as Extinction Rebellion’s demand for Citizen Climate Assemblies and climate emergency declarations by cities. If we do this a more democratic and hopeful picture of climate emergency politics— and perhaps even emergency politics more generally— comes into view.


Send an e-mail to Dr. Charlotte Knowles to request a Google Meet link: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Photo: Extinction Rebellion in Cardiff

by Haydn Blackey, Flickr Creative Commons

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