March 12: The Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis by Amitav Ghosh
March 12, Saturday
12pm New York | 5pm London | 10:30pm Kolkata
Friendly guided discussion about The Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis by Amitav Ghosh. As always, the author will join at the end of the session to chat with participants.
Published by University of Chicago Press.
Discussion hosted by Aruni Kashyap
b. Read the book before the meeting! (No one is checking if you've finished the book, but you will get the most out of the club and the chat with the author if you read ahead.)
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About the book
Combining history, essay, testimony, and polemic, Amitav Ghosh’s new book traces our contemporary planetary crisis back to the discovery of the New World and the sea route to the Indian Ocean. The Nutmeg’s Curse argues that the dynamics of climate change today are rooted in a centuries-old geopolitical order constructed by Western colonialism. At the center of Ghosh’s narrative is the now-ubiquitous spice nutmeg. The history of the nutmeg is one of conquest and exploitation—of both human life and the natural environment. In Ghosh’s hands, the story of the nutmeg becomes a parable for our environmental crisis, revealing the ways human history has always been entangled with earthly materials such as spices, tea, sugarcane, opium, and fossil fuels. Our crisis, he shows, is ultimately the result of a mechanistic view of the earth, where nature exists only as a resource for humans to use for our own ends, rather than a force of its own, full of agency and meaning.
Writing against the backdrop of the global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, Ghosh frames these historical stories in a way that connects our shared colonial histories with the deep inequality we see around us today. By interweaving discussions on everything from the global history of the oil trade to the migrant crisis and the animist spirituality of Indigenous communities around the world, The Nutmeg’s Curse offers a sharp critique of Western society and speaks to the profoundly remarkable ways in which human history is shaped by non-human forces.
About the author
Amitav Ghosh is an award-winning Indian writer who has published 10 novels and 7 essay collections. He is considered one of the most important writers today and a transformative and global thinker on the topic of climate change.
About the host
Aruni Kashyap is a writer, translator (from and into Assamese) and academic. He is the author of His Father’s Disease, a collection of stories, The House With a Thousand Stories, novel and There is No Good Time for Bad News, a poetry collection.
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