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Children of a modest star: Planetary thinking for an age of crises

Book presentation by Jonathan S. Blake and Nils Gilman

Add to calendar 2024-06-24 12:00 2024-06-24 13:30 Europe/Rome Children of a modest star: Planetary thinking for an age of crises Hannah Arendt Room and Online Palazzo Buontalenti YYYY-MM-DD


24 June 2024

12:00 - 13:30 CEST


Hannah Arendt Room and Online

Palazzo Buontalenti

We welcome Jonathan S. Blake and Nils Gilman to present their book “Children of a Modest Star” which posits an urgent vision for a new system of political governance to manage planetary issues and their local consequences.

Deadly viruses, climate-changing carbon molecules, and harmful pollutants cross the globe unimpeded by national borders. While the consequences of these flows range across scales, from the planetary to the local, the authority and resources to manage them are concentrated mainly at one level: the nation-state. This profound mismatch between the scale of planetary challenges and the institutions tasked with governing them is leading to cascading systemic failures.

In Children of a Modest Star, Jonathan S. Blake and Nils Gilman not only challenge dominant ways of thinking about humanity's relationship to the planet and the political forms that presently govern it, but also present a new, innovative framework that corresponds to our inherently planetary condition. Drawing on intellectual history, political philosophy, and the holistic findings of Earth system science, Blake and Gilman argue that it is essential to reimagine our governing institutions in light of the fact that we can only thrive if the multi-species ecosystems we inhabit are also flourishing. 

Following a presentation of the book by the authors, we are delighted to welcome the perspectives from our discussants, before moving onto an open Q&A with the audience.  

Jonathan S. Blake is Associate Director at the Berggruen Institute, where he leads the Planetary Program. He is the author of Contentious Rituals: Parading the Nation in Northern Ireland (2019).

Nils Gilman is Senior Vice President at the Berggruen Institute and Deputy Editor of Noema magazine. He is the author of Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America (2004).

All are welcome to attend. Please register at the link, indicating whether you intend to attend online or in person.

Scientific Organiser(s):

School of Transnational Governance


Jonathan S. Blake (Associate Director, Berggruen Institute)

Nils Gilman (Senior Vice President, Berggruen Institute)

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