Oceans, Gardens, and Jungles: World Politics and the Planet

21 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2022

Date Written: April 27, 2022


Contemporary world politics is structured around the world order of nation-states in turn founded largely upon a Newtonian cosmology and an associated worldview. I develop a conceptual framework around the ‘epistemic engine’ which organizes and circulates the cosmological and institutional structures of Enlightenment modernity. Subsequently, I explore how the imperial Chinese world order-- functional until at least the late 19th century--reveals a different cosmology shaping a different world order and politics. I also explore the contemporary PRC view of the world order probing the extent to which its historical experiences can be seen to re-shape the hegemonic epistemic engine. In the final section, I draw from a paradigm of ‘oceanic temporality’ to grasp counter-finalities generated by the epistemic engine on the earth and the ocean itself. Can the counter-flows of social movements allow us to imagine a post-Enlightenment, planetary cosmology?

Keywords: Anthropocene, Enlightenment, international relations, cosmology, ocean policy, world politics, worldviews, Imperial China, contemporary China, planetary cosmology, environment

Suggested Citation

Duara, Prasenjit, Oceans, Gardens, and Jungles: World Politics and the Planet (April 27, 2022). Duke Global Working Paper Series No. 46, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4095399 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4095399

Prasenjit Duara (Contact Author)

Duke University ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

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