Verso: A Billion Black Anthropocenes

What happens when the Anthropocene meets critical race studies?

A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None (Kathryn Yusoff)The figure of Anthropos – Man – made in relation to what was not-Man, and one of the things – yes, things – that was (is) not-Man: Black bodies, starting with the bodies of slaves. Talk of the Anthropocene brings geology into contact with historical time. Yusoff: “The Anthropocene is a retooling of geology, from a discipline of extractive and originary science to a philosophical material formation.” (14) And has to be critiqued as such. “I want to alter how we think and imagine geological relations in nonextractive modes, to think about encountering the coming storm in ways that do no facilitate its permanent renewal.” (104)


Lest we think the racialized exclusion of the non-white from the category of Man is all in the past, consider: “A material and temporal solidarity exists between the inscription of race in the Anthropocene and the current descriptions of subjects that are caught between the hardening of geopolitical borders and the material de-stratification of territory.” (62) The storm is falling hardest and fastest on non-white bodies, and is one of drivers causing such populations to seek refuge.


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Published in: Verso
By: McKenzie Wark