Dr Mathias Thaler (Senior Lecturer, Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh)
Sabbatical Fellow, January - February 2019; September - December 2019
Project: On the politics of hope and fear: utopian tendencies in current debates on climate change.
Mathias Thaler is Senior Lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Edinburgh. His main research interest is in contemporary political theory. Thaler’s recent publications have appeared in the British Journal of Political Science, Contemporary Political Theory, Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy, European Journal of Political Theory, Philosophy & Social Criticism, Political Studies, Political Theory, Polity and Review of Politics. He is the author of Naming Violence: A Critical Theory of Genocide, Torture and Terrorism (Columbia UP, 2018), Moralische Politik oder politische Moral? Eine Analyse aktueller Debatten zur internationalen Gerechtigkeit (Campus, 2008), and co-editor (with Mihaela Mihai) of On the Uses and Abuses of Political Apologies (Palgrave, 2014). You can find out more about his research here: https://mathiasthaler.com/
At IASH, he will be working on a new book project, which seeks to contribute to the recovery of utopian thinking and acting by analysing a major global challenge: climate change. Its key assumption is that tackling such a complex problem inevitably gives rise to utopian thinking and acting. The aim is to track utopianism in three domains – political theory, art and social movements – so as to pursue two objectives: (1) to excavate the main eutopian and dystopian tendencies in contemporary discussions about climate change; and (2) to work towards a political theory of radical transformation that avoids the pitfalls of fatalism and wishful thinking. The methodology will be grounded in political theory, but is transdisciplinary in orientation, drawing simultaneously on literature within utopian studies and the environmental humanities.