Olivier Remaud is a full professor of philosophy at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). He has been awarded many prizes and fellowships (AvH-Prize, IFK_Senior Fellow, FU Berlin Visiting Professor, Remarque Institute Visiting Fellow (NYU), SUNY Stony Brook-Chicago University Fulbright Fellow, Oslo University RCN Fellow, Awardee of the Ecole Française de Rome).

His publications include: Quand les montagnes dansent. Récits de la Terre intime (Arles, Actes Sud, 2023); Penser comme un iceberg (Arles, Actes Sud, 2020 [2021] – English, Spanish, Chinese translations); Errances (Paris, Paulsen, 2019); Solitude volontaire (Paris, Albin Michel, 2017 [2018] – Spanish, Korean, Turkish translations); Un monde étrange. Pour une autre approche du cosmopolitisme (Paris, PUF, 2015); Faire des sciences sociales (co-ed.), Paris, EHESS Press, 2012 (3 vols. – English, Arabic, Chinese, Turkish, Korean translations); Les Archives de l’humanité. Essai sur la philosophie de Vico (Paris, Seuil, 2004); Michelet. La Magistrature de l’histoire, Paris, Michalon, 1998 [2010].

The Elemental Earth
ICI Affiliated Project 2022

In this project, Olivier Remaud focuses on the topic of elemental agency, combining autochthonous narratives of relational ‘animacy’ (Robin Wall Kimmerer) with new materialist approaches (e.g. Jane Bennett, Stacy Alaimo, Karen Barad), and re-examines the ‘Gaia hypothesis’ (James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis) in comparison with current debates in earth and life sciences (e.g. Isabelle Daniel, Robert Hazen, Tom Battin). His argument is as follows: if the inorganic and the biological are fully entangled — from rocks, bacteria, fungi, lichens, soils, and chemical compounds of the oceans and atmospheres to plants and animals — social sciences have then to explore and describe the human connections with the ‘other others’ (Deborah Bird Rose) who make our planet habitable including geological forces, strata, and rhythms. 

Furthermore, he states that such a symbiotic dynamic calls for consideration of human discretion as a ‘situated’ capacity to ‘respond’ to ‘chthonic’ situations (Donna Jeanne Haraway) caused by anthropogenic climate crisis. When circumstances so require, rewilding and withdrawal enable people to redraw a ‘geophilic’ (Jeffrey Jerome Cohen) consent to a ‘more-than-human’ (Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, David Abram) world – think, for instance, of coastal communities who respond to rising sea levels by relocating inland and so restore the ecosystems of tidal marshes (Elizabeth Rush). Finally, he identifies new regimes of ‘mutuality’ (Val Plumwood) with the elements and the complex non-human living networks of the earth system.