Amitav Ghosh, "The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis"

Tuesday, September 21, 2021 7:30pm

Woodruff Auditorium
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Amitav Ghosh, "The Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis"

Tuesday, September 21, 2021 7:30pm


This is a hybrid event, registration is required:

For in-person attendance (Woodruff Auditorium, masks required), please register HERE
For virtual viewing, via Crowdcast, please register HERE

Acclaimed author Amitav Ghosh’s powerful new book trac­es our contemporary planetary crisis back to the discovery of the New World and the sea route to the Indian Ocean. Before the eighteenth century, every single nutmeg in the world originated around a group of small volcanic islands east of Java, known as the Banda Islands. As the nutmeg made its way across the known world, it became immensely valuable - in sixteenth-century Europe, just a handful could buy a house. As European traders became conquerors, the indigenous Bandanese communities - and the islands themselves - would pay a high price for access to this precious commodity. In Ghosh’s hands, the story of the nutmeg be­comes a parable for our environmental crisis, revealing the ways human history has always been entangled with earthly materials such as spices, tea, sugarcane, opium, and fossil fuels. Our crisis, he argues, is ultimately the result of a mecha­nistic view of the earth, where nature exists only as a resource for humans to use for our own ends.

Written against the backdrop of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, and interweaving discussions on a wide range of topics from climate change and the migrant crisis to the animist spirituality of indigenous commu­nities around the world, The Nutmeg’s Curse offers a sharp critique of Western society, and reveals the profoundly remarkable ways in which human history is shaped by non-human forces.

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