The UCI Center in Law, Society, and Culture, Law and Society Association Collaborative Research Network on Law and Climate Change, and UCI Environmental Humanities Research Cluster welcome Eve Darian-Smith to discuss her new book, Global Burning: Rising Antidemocracy and the Climate Crisis (SUP, 2022).

With comments from:

Dina Gilio Whitaker, CSU San Marcos

Julie Sze, UC Davis

James Nisbet, UCI

Fabio de Sa e Silva, The University of Oklahoma

Moderated by Swethaa Ballakrishnen and Keramet Reiter.

About the Book

Recent years have seen out-of-control wildfires rage across remote Brazilian rainforests, densely populated California coastlines, and major cities in Australia. What connects these separate events is more than immediate devastation and human loss of life. In Global Burning, Eve Darian-Smith contends that using fire as a symbolic and literal thread connecting different places around the world allows us to better understand the parallel, and related, trends of the growth of authoritarian politics and climate crises and their interconnected global consequences.

Darian-Smith looks deeply into each of these three cases of catastrophic wildfires and finds key similarities in all of them. As political leaders and big business work together in the pursuit of profits and power, anti-environmentalism has become an essential political tool enabling the rise of extreme right governments and energizing their populist supporters. These are the governments that deny climate science, reject environmental protection laws, and foster exclusionary worldviews that exacerbate climate injustice.

The fires in Australia, Brazil and the United States demand acknowledgment of the global systems of inequality that undergird them, connecting the political erosion of liberal democracy with the corrosion of the environment. Darian-Smith argues that these wildfires are closely linked through capitalism, colonialism, industrialization, and resource extraction. In thinking through wildfires as environmental and political phenomenon, Global Burning challenges readers to confront the interlocking powers that are ensuring our future ecological collapse.

About the Author

Eve Darian-Smith is Chair of the Department of Global and International Studies, Professor of Global Studies, and affiliated faculty in Law; Anthropology; and Criminology, Law & Society at UCI. Trained as a lawyer, historian and anthropologist, Darian-Smith is a critical interdisciplinary scholar interested in issues of postcolonialism, human rights, legal pluralism, and sociolegal theory. Her current work focuses on authoritarianism and crises of democracy. Her research has been supported by five grants from the National Science Foundation, as well as grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, American Philosophical Society, and the UC Center for New Racial Studies.

Darian-Smith has published widely, including thirteen books, edited volumes and special issues. Her first book, Bridging Divides: The Channel Tunnel and English Legal Identity in the New Europe (2009) was the co-winner of the Law & Society Association Herbert Jacob Book Prize. Her book, Laws and Societies in Global Contexts (2013) won the International Book Award in Law and the Kevin Boyle Book Award. Her  book, coauthored with Philip McCarty, The Global Turn: Theories, Research Designs, and Methods for Global Studies (2017), is widely considered a foundational text in the emerging field of global studies.

Registrants will receive a code for 20 percent off book purchases.

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