The speaker, James Fleming, author of Fixing the Sky (Columbia University Press, 2010), has been chosen as the winner of this year's Sally Hacker Prize by the Society for the History of Technology. The Sally Hacker Prize is awarded to recognize the best book in the history of technology directed to a broad audience of readers, including students and the interested public.
With geoengineers proposing to “fix” the climate system to reduce global warming, the number of wild proposals in this field has been proliferating. Shade the planet by launching a solar shield into orbit. Shoot sulfates into the upper atmosphere, turning the blue sky milky white. Fertilize the oceans, turning the blue seas soupy green. Some proposals are idealistic, perhaps hopelessly so, while others are quite humorous; many that use military equipment are quite ominous, but are any really feasible?
In this presentation, I examine the history of geoengineering since the late nineteenth century and its role in public policy. In addition to fixes proposed and actually attempted, I pay special attention to visual semiotics of imaginaries—William Gibson’s phantasmagoric "fragments of the mass dream"—as mediated today through the not-so-rosy lenses of climate angst and apprehension.
Sponsored by Public Policy, Economics and HTS.