Book Talk: The Whites are Enemies of Heaven: Climate Caucasianism and Asian Ecological Protection

Friday, April 22, 2022
3:15 - 5:00 p.m. EST
Event Location: 
Minor 125

Mark W. Driscoll will be discussing his book, The Whites are Enemies of Heaven: Climate Caucasianism and Asian Ecological Protection 


The Whites are Enemies of Heaven begins around 180o when China had the world's largest economy and Japan was so prosperous it doubled its population in two hundred years without a drop in median income. The huge East Asian economic sphere was also what we would today call sustainable: responsible for less than one percent of global carbon emissions. The next hundred years saw a massive transformation in world ecology as Japan and China were turned into peripheries of US and British capitalism under an emerging formation of white supremacy and the systematic plundering of the earth I call Climate Caucasianism. Focusing on the drug, human, and weapons trafficking that gave birth to the carbon-intensive capitalism of the US and UK (responsible in the mid-igth-century for between seventy and eighty percent of emissions) affords a new reading of our current moment of the Anthropocene. While I wholeheartedly agree with scholars who suggest replacing the unmarked humanity (anthropos) of the term Anthropocene with Capitalocene, I name this racial and ecological formation Climate Caucasianism and Colonialism. This allows me to expose an economic logic centered on extraction (of non-white humans and most women, non-living fossils, and living, extra-human nature) and an epistemic logic of what I call "extra-action"- the domination of "inferior" humans and non-living extractables from outside and above. I show the rapacious "Superpredation" necessary to consolidate this planet-endangering project and, following Arturo Escobar, its audacious deforming of language to call it Freedom and Development.


Mark W. Driscoll is Professor of East Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is author of Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque: The Living, Dead, and Undead in Japanese Imperialism, 1805-1945, and the editor and translator of "Kannani" and "Document of Flames": Two Japanese Colonial Novels.