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Dipesh Chakrabarty ‘The Climate of History: Four Theses’


An essay by Dipesh Chakrabarty, The University of Chicago titled ‘The Climate of History: Four Theses’ that discusses the link between human history and climate change. The reading discusses the environmental history of the planet, the ‘Anthropocene’ and how humans have become geological agents with respect to climate change. Chakrabarty presents four arguments in his essay. 

  • Thesis 1: The distinction between natural and human history is a distinction that has to be dropped in this new era.
  • Thesis 2 talks about the emergence of humans as a geological force and how this “severely qualifies humanist histories of modernity/ globalisation”.
  • Thesis 3: The Anthropocene requires us to put global histories of capital in conversation with the species history of humans.
  • Thesis 4 talks about how we can probe the limits of historical understanding by the cross hatching of species history and capital history.

Students will learn about the ‘Anthropocene’ and the link between environmental history and human history. They will further understand the relationship between global histories of capital and the species history of humans.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. How does the crisis of climate change spell the collapse of the distinction between natural history and human history?
  2. What is the idea of the ‘Anthropocene’ and how does it qualify humanist theories of freedom?
  3. How do you reconcile the global histories of capital and the species history of humans in the Anthropocene?
About Tool
Tool Name The Climate of History: Four Theses
Discipline Humanities
Topic(s) in Discipline History, Cultural Studies, Anthropocene, Environmental History
Climate Topic Climate and the Anthroposphere, Climate and Society
Type of tool Reading
Grade Level Undergraduate, Graduate
Location Global
Language English
Translation      –
Developed by Dipesh Chakrabarty The Climate of History: Four Theses Critical Inquiry (Vol 35 No. 2)
Hosted at Faculty of Law, University of Victoria, Canada
Access Online/Offline
Computer Skills Basic


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