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Book Launch: The Whites are Enemies of Heaven: Climate Caucasianism and Asian Ecological Protection

January 26, 2022 at 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

UNC Professor Mark Driscoll will launch his new book The Whites are Enemies of Heaven: Climate Caucasianism and Asian Ecological Protection (published by Duke University Press in 2021).

In this book, Prof. Driscoll examines nineteenth-century Western imperialism in Asia and the devastating effects of “climate caucasianism”—the white West’s pursuit of rapacious extraction at the expense of natural environments and people of color conflated with them. Drawing on an array of primary sources in Chinese, Japanese, and French, Driscoll reframes the Opium Wars as “wars for drugs” and demonstrates that these wars to unleash narco- and human traffickers kickstarted the most important event of the Anthropocene: the military substitution of Qing China’s world-leading carbon-neutral economy for an unsustainable Anglo-American capitalism powered by coal. Driscoll also reveals how subaltern actors, including outlaw societies and dispossessed samurai groups, became ecological protectors, defending their locales while driving decolonization in Japan and overthrowing a millennia of dynastic rule in China. Driscoll contends that the methods of these protectors resonate with contemporary Indigenous-led movements for environmental justice.

This talk will be moderated by Cemily Ayden, Professor of the Department of History at UNC.

More details are forthcoming. For more information on this book launch, please email Kevin Fogg, at