© 2019

Political Geology

Active Stratigraphies and the Making of Life

  • Adam Bobbette
  • Amy Donovan
  • Brings together key thinkers on geological politics and political geology as well as emerging topics in human and cultural geography

  • Explores the intersections of geology and politics

  • Builds on the enthusiasm for the geological generated by the Anthropocene


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Adam Bobbette, Amy Donovan
    Pages 1-34
  3. Political Geologies of Knowledge

  4. Amodern Political Geologies

  5. Political Geologies of the Future

  6. Epilogue

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 345-345
    2. Adam Bobbette, Amy Donovan
      Pages 347-371
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 373-379

About this book


This book builds on the enthusiasm for the geological generated by the Anthropocene but expand beyond it in three ways. First, it will probe deeper into the politics, history, and contemporary practices of the geological sciences as a way of thinking, representing, and communicating the geos. This will open up the history of the earth sciences as a science that has been fundamentally imbricated with politics and that its politics has been one of making the geological sensible. Second, it will consider in detail geologies that are volatile and vulnerable and that because of this are subject to practices of governance. Finally, it will multiply the tradition of geological thought in the sciences by considering subaltern, amodern, vernacular, and counter traditions of geological practice and science and its political resonances. This volume will consider these three frameworks through essays historical, ethnographic and conceptual, mindful of the richness of empirical detail and the innovative consequences of looking at the intersections of geology and politics.  

The book brings together key thinkers on geological politics and political geology as well as emerging topics in human and cultural geography. It will include ten clearly structured chapters,  and will seek to solidify a field of inquiry that is of interest to geographers, philosophers of science, anthropologists and sociologists.


Political geology political ecology Anthropocene history of sciences geology human-geological interactions Geomorphological Techniques Geo-politics Geopower non-Western theories of geology ‘geostory’ cultural geography human geography Amodern Political Geology magmatic politics climate change carbon footprint

Editors and affiliations

  • Adam Bobbette
    • 1
  • Amy Donovan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of Cambridge CambridgeUK
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of Cambridge CambridgeUK

About the editors

Adam Bobbette is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of New South Wales, Australia.

Amy Donovan is a lecturer in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge, UK and at King’s College London, UK. 

Bibliographic information


“It has been widely assumed that social scientists should confine their attention to the surface of the Earth: in consequence, they have had little to say about the Earth’s geology. This wonderful collection finally ends this strange silence and, in bringing the study of politics to the Earth’s depths, opens up a whole new field of historical and geographical enquiry.” (Andrew Barry, Department of Geography, University College London, UK)

“Whether the most recent epoch in the history of our planet should be termed the Anthropocene has yet to be determined, but the ensuing disputes have left no doubt that we live in an era of political geology. Controversies about resource use, climate change, and distinctions between the geological, biological and human have brought a new appreciation of the political dimensions of the Earth sciences. Ranging from India and Korea to Poland and Mexico, this wide-ranging volume is vital reading for anyone who wishes to understand the role of the geosciences in current debates.” (James A. Secord, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, UK)

Political Geology is a smart and inspiring collection that includes some of the best writers on the topic. Don’t however be mistaken: it is not merely about the solid ground beneath our feet; instead, the earth is moved as numbers, calculations, projects; it haunts as colonial memories and as material dynamics. This book is one key collection that helps to outline the (geo)political stakes of the Anthropocene.” (Jussi Parikka, University of Southampton, author of A Geology of Media)