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Seminar - 23rd January 2018, Joshua Nall

On the 23rd January Joshua Nall, the Curator of Modern Sciences, Whipple Museum of the History of Science, University of Cambridge, will be visiting to give a seminar and answer questions on his work. Please fill out the form below to register attendance and allow sufficient catering.

Location: IAS seminar room and reception


12:00 - 13:00 - Seminar

13:00 - 14:00 - Lunch/Discussion

Escape to Mars: Capitalist fantasies of planetary habitation, c. 1900 / c. 2017

Mars, we are told, will soon be inhabited. Space entrepreneurs and so-called tech-visionaries have declared it so. These manifestos for an off-earth future explicitly eschew the politics of climate change in favour of a ‘pure’ technological solution to planetary demise. In this talk I will argue that this form of capitalist delusion has a longer history than we might expect. Planetary decay and the allure of Mars have been implicated in the fantasies of industrialists for at least 120 years. Recovering this long history, I want to suggest, helps us better understand the pernicious blend of ecological determinism and techno-triumphalism at the heart of these fantasies, then and now.

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