“The World at the End of the World: Colonial and Counter-Colonial Fantasies of Outer Space”
Rockefeller Hall 200
A lecture by philosopher of science and religion Mary Jane Rubenstein
Mary Jane Rubenstein has been a prominent voice in the new materialisms and nonhuman turn, co-editing (with Catherine Keller) Entangled Worlds: Religion, Science, and New Materialisms (2017), and publishing many original contributions such as her Pantheologies: Gods, Worlds, Monsters (2018), Worlds without End: The Many Lives of the Multiverse (2014), and Strange Wonder: The Closure of Metaphysics and the Opening of Awe (2009). In these books, she goes from Spinoza’s metaphysics to the works of the microbiologist Lynn Margulis, from Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas to Galilei, Kepler, Newton, Descartes, Giordano Bruno and quantum physics’ history, and engages indigenous pantheologies and multiverse thought as well, to complicate notions of the agency and animacy of the nonhuman world, as well as matter, temporality, the multiverse, and more. Her more recent book, Astrotopia: The Dangerous Religion of the Corporate Space Race (2022), has offered a critique of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and such hubristic fantasists whose colonial space imaginaries she’s problematized and shown to be deeply infused with religious and colonial myths. She is now turning further (having started this endeavor in this last book’s last chapters) to the exploration of decolonial, pluralizing of space imaginaries, which will be the focus of her talk.