Mediation at the Moraine, Jeff Diamanti

Jeff Diamanti, University of Amsterdam

As a generative exercise, “At the Moraine” lingers in a landscape that is hypermediated by dominant discourses of climate change, economic development, prospecting, ecological mourning, and post-coloniality. Mediations matter, of course, but they are set via channels that are hardwired and compulsory, if not compulsive. But the landscape in Ilulissat makes available other channels; different concerns run through it. We hope to work out a provisional schema to unpack these concerns and draw into focus how it is that many of our orientations and analytic dispositions potentially come together. In so doing, we also hope to evaluate the premediation of the future; we are investigating new terms while we are situated among ideas, affects and histories that matter to this landscape but are otherwise rendered invisible or abstract by the climate sciences and environmental humanities alike. 

The moraine is a geophysical materialization of multiple histories. As an imprint of glacial retreat, it serves as a heuristic to inquire how materials mediate planetary knowledge; how to evaluate new disciplinary formations at the conjunction of the geosphere, the cryosphere; the hydrosphere; and the technosphere. It requires that we develop a responsiveness to the infrastructural embeddedness humans have built up across the earth’s surface and down into its depths. The moraine tells stories of a genre that is hard to hear but which is nevertheless felt as your body moves through it. It unnerves old habits of thought, undisciplining methods by making them yield to tipping points that push new questions about how climate changes theory. 

Jeff Diamanti is Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities (Cultural Analysis & Philosophy) at the University of Amsterdam. In 2016-17 he was the Media@McGill Postdoctoral Fellow in Media and the Environment where he co-convened the international colloquium on Climate Realism, the results of which appear in a book collection on Routledge and a double issue of Resilience. His first book, Climate and Capital in the Age of Petroleum: Locating Terminal Landscapes (Bloomsbury 2021) tracks the political and media ecology of fossil fuels across the extractive and logistical spaces that connect remote territories like Greenland to the economies of North America and Western Europe. His new research, Ecological Reciprocity, details the return to natural philosophy in the marine and atmospheric sciences studying the interactive dynamics of the cryosphere and hydrosphere in the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean.

His work has appeared in the journals e-flux, Radical PhilosophyStasis, New Formations, Postmodern Culture, Mediations, Western American Literature, Krisis, and Reviews in Cultural Theory, as well as the books Fueling Culture (Fordham UP) and A Companion to Critical and Cultural Studies (Wiley-Blackwell). Diamanti has edited a number of book and journal collections including Contemporary Marxist Theory (Bloomsbury 2014), Materialism and the Critique of Energy (MCM’ Press 2018), Energy Culture (West Virginia University Press 2019) and Bloomsbury Companion to Marx (2018), as well as a special issue of Reviews in Cultural Theory on “Energy Humanities.” He co-directs the ASCA Political Ecologies Seminar with Joost de Blooois, and with Amanda Boetzkes, he co-organizes “At the Moraine,” an ongoing research project on the political ecology of glacial retreat in the Arctic.