From books and heretics burnt on the pyres of the Inquisition to self-immolations at protest rallies, from the burning of fossil fuels to inflammatory speech, from the imagery of revolutionary sparks ready to ignite the spirits of the oppressed to car bombings and “scorched earth” policy, fire proves to be an indispensable element of the political. Pyropolitics in the World Ablaze builds upon the scintillating, by turns horrifying and hopeful, images and realities of flames, hearths, sparks, immolations, melting pots, incinerations, and burning in political thought and practices. Relying on classical political theory, theology, philosophy, literature and cinema, as well as an analysis of current events, Michael Marder argues that geo-politics, or the politics of the Earth, has always had an unstable, at once shadowy and blinding, underside—pyro-politics, or the politics of fire. If this obscure double of geopolitics is increasingly dictating the rules of the game today, then it is crucial to learn to speak its language, to discern its manifestations and to project where our world ablaze is heading.
This new edition includes recent examples of the uses and accusations of ‘incendiary speech’ both by Donald Trump and by European populist right and exploration of threats of global warming that have now reached a turning point in our collective relation to the dangers and promises of fire .