published on September 15, 2022
The Planetary Sublime
(Part II of The Problem of an Unloving World)
This essay interprets Dipesh Chakrabarty’s The Climate of History in a Planetary Age in light of the European tradition of thought about the sublime. The first half of the essay stages Chakrabarty’s historiography within that tradition focusing on a critical understanding of Kant. Then, the essay considers how the trace of the sublime in Chakrabarty’s approach to planetary history is interpretable as a form of social alienation. That argument draws on the critical theory of Steven Vogel and decolonial critique. Finally, the essay considers the moods of protest as non-alienated responses to the planetary bypassing the coloniality of the sublime.