Alexander G. Weheliye: Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human (2014)

11 November 2017, dusan

Habeas Viscus focuses attention on the centrality of race to notions of the human. Alexander G. Weheliye develops a theory of ‘racializing assemblages,’ taking race as a set of sociopolitical processes that discipline humanity into full humans, not-quite-humans, and nonhumans. This disciplining, while not biological per se, frequently depends on anchoring political hierarchies in human flesh. The work of the black feminist scholars Hortense Spillers and Sylvia Wynter is vital to Weheliye’s argument. Particularly significant are their contributions to the intellectual project of black studies vis-à-vis racialization and the category of the human in western modernity. Wynter and Spillers configure black studies as an endeavor to disrupt the governing conception of humanity as synonymous with white, western man. Weheliye posits black feminist theories of modern humanity as useful correctives to the ‘bare life and biopolitics discourse’ exemplified by the works of Giorgio Agamben and Michel Foucault, which, Weheliye contends, vastly underestimate the conceptual and political significance of race in constructions of the human. Habeas Viscus reveals the pressing need to make the insights of black studies and black feminism foundational to the study of modern humanity.”

Publisher Duke University Press, Durham, 2014
ISBN 9780822356912, 0822356910
x+209 pages

Reviews: Ashon Crawley (LARB, 2015), Marianna Szczygielska (Parallax, 2015), Aditi Surie von Czechowski (Comp Stud South Asia, Africa and Middle East, 2015), Marianela Munoz and Charles Holm (Afro-Paradise, 2015), Megan H. Glick (Hypatia Rev, 2015), Shelleen Greene (Somatechnics, 2016), Amber Jamilla Musser (philoSOPHIA, 2016), Gabriela Radulescu (Allegra Lab, 2016), Ander Mendiguren Nebreda (Athenea Digital, 2017, ES).

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Erich Hörl, James Burton (eds.): General Ecology: The New Ecological Paradigm (2017)

3 October 2017, dusan

“Ecology has become one of the most urgent and lively fields in both the humanities and sciences. In a dramatic widening of scope beyond its original concern with the coexistence of living organisms within a natural environment, it is now recognized that there are ecologies of mind, information, sensation, perception, power, participation, media, behavior, belonging, values, the social, the political… a thousand ecologies. This proliferation is not simply a metaphorical extension of the figurative potential of natural ecology: rather, it reflects the thoroughgoing imbrication of natural and technological elements in the constitution of the contemporary environments we inhabit, the rise of a cybernetic natural state, with its corresponding mode of power. Hence this ecology of ecologies initiates and demands that we go beyond the specificity of any particular ecology: a general thinking of ecology which may also constitute an ecological transformation of thought itself is required.

In this ambitious and radical new volume of writings, some of the most exciting contemporary thinkers in the field take on the task of revealing and theorizing the extent of the ecologization of existence as the effect of our contemporary sociotechnological condition: together, they bring out the complexity and urgency of the challenge of ecological thought-one we cannot avoid if we want to ask and indeed have a chance of affecting what forms of life, agency, modes of existence, human or otherwise, will participate-and how-in this planet’s future.”

With texts by Erich Hörl, Luciana Parisi, Frédéric Neyrat, Bernard Stiegler, Didier Debaise, Jussi Parikka, Bruce Clarke, Cary Wolfe, David Wills, James Burton, Elena Esposito, Timothy Morton, Matthew Fuller and Olga Goriunova, and Brian Massumi.

Publisher Bloomsbury Academic, London/New York, 2017
ISBN 9781350014695, 1350014699
xv+384 pages

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Cultural Anthropology 25(4): Multispecies Ethnography (2010)

9 February 2015, dusan

“A new genre of writing and mode of research has arrived on the anthropological stage: multispecies ethnography. Creatures previously appearing on the margins of anthropology—as part of the landscape, as food for humans, as symbols—have been pressed into the foreground in recent ethnographies. Animals, plants, fungi, and microbes once confined in anthropological accounts to the realm of zoe or “bare life”—that which is killable—have started to appear alongside humans in the realm of bios, with legibly biographical and political lives. Amid apocalyptic tales about environmental destruction, anthropologists are beginning to find modest examples of biocultural hope—writing of insect love, of delectable mushrooms that flourish in the aftermath of ecological destruction, and of microbial cultures enlivening the politics and value of food.

Multispecies ethnographers are studying the host of organisms whose lives and deaths are linked to human social worlds. A project allied with Eduardo Kohn’s “anthropology of life”—“an anthropology that is not just confined to the human but is concerned with the effects of our entanglements with other kinds of living selves”—multispecies ethnography centers on how a multitude of organisms’ livelihoods shape and are shaped by political, economic, and cultural forces. Such ethnography also follows Susan Leigh Star, who suggests “it is both more analytically interesting and more politically just to begin with the question, cui bono? than to begin with a celebration of the fact of human/non-human mingling”.” (from the Introduction)

Edited by Eben Kirksey and Stefan Helmreich, with contributions by Eva Hayward, Agustin Fuentes, Celia Lowe, and Jake Kosek.

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