Podcast: Global Governance for the Anthropocene: Nuclear Weapons and the Global Ecology

Speaker: Dr Anthony Burke
Chair: Professor Nicholas Wheeler

The Anthropocene is now being widely taken up as naming an era in which the collective impact of human industrialisation and activity has had such profound consequences for the planetary biosphere that it will be found in the geological record. It has been proposed both as a geologic epoch to follow the climatically stable period of the Holocene, and as an ontological shift in modern understandings that render the division between nature and culture, and the moral and conceptual claims of Cartesian instrumental reason, untenable.

This seminar considers the global governance challenges of the Anthropocene in two areas: nuclear weapons, and the global ecology. Both render existing state-centric conceptualisations of international security as inadequate and implausible, create planetary scale systems of threat, and force consideration of stronger overarching cosmopolitan and ‘posthuman’ forms of global governance. It suggests reforms to the nonproliferation regime and to global environmental governance that can represent ecosystems and nonhuman communities and meet the challenges of this coming century.


Associate Professor Anthony Burke is a Reader in Politics and International Relations at UNSW Australia, and a visiting fellow at the ICCS where he is a co-investigator on the ESRC project, “Nuclear ethics and global security: reforming the nuclear nonproliferation regime”. His most recent books are Ethics and Global Security: A Cosmopolitan Approach (with Katrina Lee-Koo and Matt McDonald, 2014), and Ethical Security Studies (edited with Jonna Nyman, 2016). His book, Uranium, will be published in 2017 with Polity Press in their “Resources” series.

Recorded: Monday 12th September 2016 (16:00-17:30)

Download the transcript here