0. “Introduction,” Grusin

  • Context: this was a conference for the C21 at UW-Madison just like Grusin’s Nonhuman Turn volume.
  • Collection proceeds from the observation that the Anthropocene restates Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto” problematic of nonhuman, cultural, and natural entanglement (viii); “Indeed, the concept of the Anthropocene has arguably been implicit in feminism and queer theory for decades, a genealogy that is largely ignored, or, worse, erased, by the masculine authority of an institutional scientific discourse that now seeks to name our current historical moment the Anthropocene. By the same token, feminists have long argued that humans are dominating and destroying a feminized earth, turning it into standing reserve, capital, or natural resource to devastating ends. We were concerned, therefore, that this recent articulation of the Anthropocene, even as it affirms those arguments in many ways, could deprive feminism of some of the ethical ground on which such indictments are based, evident in recent efforts by scientists, geoengineers, and futurists, for example, to bring about what has begun to be called a ‘good Anthropocene’” (viii–ix). Compare w/ Sheldon.
  • “In contradistinction to the too often unquestioned masculinist and technonormative approach to the Anthropocene taken by technoscientists, artists, humanists, or social scientists, we created the concept of anthropocene feminism to highlight the ways in which feminism and queer theory might offer alternatives to these approaches” (x). This is a vital counterformation to, say, Bratton.
  • Chakrabarty as frequent oppositional interlocutor; also Foucault but in the biopower rather than archive sense.

1. “We Have Always Been Post-Anthropocene,” Colebrook

  • The shifting scales of the Anthropocene, following Latour, reconfigure our modern proclamations of a posthuman future: rather than boundless expansion, we now have relentless contraction: “We are not faced with infinite and open potentiality or becoming; the modern notion of self-definition and a world devoid of any kinds or essences is giving way to difference and distinctions that force themselves upon us; we cannot look back on what we have become and how we have evolved and argue that nothing prevents us from becoming anything we want to be” (3). [Is this also an argument against Meillassoux?]
  • “An anthropocene feminism would not accept the Anthropocene as an epoch, as a line or stratum whose significance would not be in dispute. Rather than think of this line as privileged and epochal, we might ask for whom this stratum becomes definitive of the human” (10); “The policy implications of the Anthropocene have tended to suspend the typically feminist questions of this ‘we’ that we seek to maintain and has instead led to the return to supposed species solidarity” (11)
  • As a rhetorical device, the Anthropocene counterfactual allows Colebrook to speculate on the conditions that would have been necessary to sustain an “other” history (12).
  • “By analogy, this loss of nature, this exceptional volatility and antihuman hostility of nature (where nature is now changing on us, refusing to be stable), is the condition from which what we know as the Anthropocene manufactured a stable nature. What we now call climate change is the re-emergence of what made climate possible. Climate was manufactured from climate change” (19).

2. “Four Theses on Posthuman Feminism,” Braidotti

  • The four theses: “that feminism is not a humanism; that Anthropos has been decentered and so is the emphasis on bios; and that, as a result, nonhuman life, zoe, is now the ruling concept. Last, but not least, the chapter works out the implications of these shifts of perspective for feminist theory and practice, arguing that sexuality is a force beyond, beneath, and after gender” (21).
  • “The postanthropocentric turn takes off as two major issues converge: the first is climate change, which, as Naomi Klein claims, changes everything, including the analytic strategies of feminist and postcolonial studies. The second is information technologies and the high degree of global mediation they entail. These challenges open up new global, ecosophical, posthumanist, and postanthropocentric dimensions of thought” (28).

3. “Three Figures of Geontology,” Povinelli

  • In place of biopolitics, geontopolitics.
  • Develops three geontological figures for thinking in the Anthropocene: DESERT, ANIMIST, and TERRORIST, which are useful and provocative in their own way.

4. “Foucault’s Fossils,” Huffer

  • “I will argue in this essay that ‘life itself’ is a problem of our time and, specifically, of our anthropogenic age: like sex in Foucault, life is ‘an especially dense transfer point of power’ that emerges at a particular historical moment, the contemporary moment of our biopolitical present” (66).
  • “Those traces include not only the archive of human lives struck down by power but also the fossilized traces of nonhuman lives, what Quentin Meillassoux calls the philosophical problem of ‘ancestrality.’ This archival fossilization of matter opens the recoiling movement of ethics as a question. The fractured ground of such a question acquires material form in the figure of the fossil. I read that figure not as the trace of life but as the mark of absence and death: as nature’s archive, the fossil record is an archive of extinction” (68).

5. “Your Shell on Acid,” Alaimo

  • “Thinking with these aquatic creatures provokes an ‘ecodelic,’ scale-shifting dis/identification which insists that whatever the ‘anthro’ of the ‘Anthropocene’ was, is, or will be, the Anthropocene must be thought with the multitude of creatures that will not be reconstituted, will not be safely ensconced, but will, instead, dissolve” (89).
  • Anthropocene discourse relies on earlier formations (species pride, God’s-eye view) incapable of actually addressing the problem at hand (90-91).
  • Continues w/ an extensive response to Chakrabarty, in particular that his final thesis re: the human species fails to take into account feminist and indigenous knowledge (97). “Chakrabarty’s assertion that no one ever ‘experiences being a concept’ is also strange, given the body of scholarship focusing on how those who inhabit marked identities and subjectivities, those who have been cast outside the Western conception of ‘man’ or ‘the human,’ have negotiated, resisted, and transformed identity categories and subject positions” (97).
  • Turn from stone to sea: “It is vital to contemplate the Anthropocene seas, not only because marine ecosystems are gravely imperiled but also because the synchronic depth and breadth of the oceans present a kind of incomprehensible immensity that parallels the diachronic scale of anthropogenic effect” (107).

6. “The Arctic Wastes,” Hird and Zahara

  • “In this chapter, we examine waste within the wider context of colonialism as well as contemporary neoliberal governance practices to argue that waste is part of the colonial context within which Inuit and other aboriginal peoples in northern Canada continue to live: waste, in other words, has become a particular neocolonial symptom. Neocolonial governance leads to the configuration of waste as capitalism’s fallout—its unanticipated supplement—which can be managed as a technological issue (bigger and better waste facilities) and individual responsibility for diversion (primarily recycling). Perhaps the failure of waste in Canada’s northern communities to conform to Euro-Canadian governance may be understood as a living-with the historical colonial legacy that continues to indelibly shape the northern landscape and its people” (122–23).

7. “Gender Abolition,” Clover and Spahr

  • “The meeting of land and sea is a paradigmatic ecotone, the meeting of two biomes: a transition zone, a contact zone, a space of flows” (149).

8. “The Anthropocene Controversy,” Schneiderman

  • “In this chapter, I explain why scientists and humanists are right to question the proposed time designation, reserve judgment on the geological facts of the scientific issue, and promote debate about which name to use should geologists recognize a new epoch of geologic time” (173).

[And then it ends w/ a conversation that I’m skipping for now.]