This talk will consider a series of issues related to how the future of nature is known. It will take as its starting point the volcanoes of Indonesia, highly unpredictable and volatile, and how they are made sense of by mystics and scientists. The talk will explore different cultures of anticipation, mysticism, volcano science, and the ways that Javanese mystics transformed modern Western scientific understanding of the earth. The presentation will show how our understanding of Earth’s evolution and its future owes more to Javanese volcanoes and mysticism than conventionally appreciated.

About the speaker

Adam Bobbette is a geographer with training in philosophy, cultural studies, architecture and landscape. His research relates to the intersections of people with vulnerable and volatile environments. Following a PhD from Cambridge, he is working on a book, “At Earth’s Edge: The Political Geology of Indonesia”, that focuses on the intersection of politics and geology through the lens of Indonesia’s volcanoes.

Conversation with Adam Bobbette | Critical Ecologies 2020