Anthropocene Slam Keynote Talk by Kathryn Yusoff

Anthropocene Slam Keynote Talk by Kathryn Yusoff

kathryn_yusoffIn conjunction with the Anthropocene Slam Zurich on May 13, 2015, a keynote talk will be given by Kathryn Yusoff, senior lecturer in human geography at University of London.

Keynote: 14:30-16:00, UZH Zentrum, Room KO2-F-152, May 13

Anthropocene Slam Zurich: 19:00 – 22:00, ETH Zentrum, Polyterrasse Alumni Pavillion, May 13

 

Keynote talk abstract:

Geopower: genealogy after life

The Anthropocene thesis contains within it a notion of geologic planetary agency and thus it furnishes a new mode of subjectivity that is constituted by – and constituting of – geologic forces. After a century of biologic thought, a sharp “turn” is being enacted towards an inchoate geological futurism, and all things mineralogical. This turn, in a biopolitical critique, disputes the dominant tenets of a corporeal materiality (and modernity) that have secured imaginaries of life that enact violence across social and earthly bodies. However, if we are to be truly epochal in our thought at all, such a “turn” needs to go beyond biopower to rethink the attendant critiques of those social and political lives. While geopower was an explicit, if underdeveloped concept, within Foucault’s thought, its foregrounding within the origination of Anthropocenic Man (sic) requires a far more extensive understanding of the genealogies of what I have been calling “geologic life”. Given the centralisation of life as an organising concept within biopolitical thought, the consideration of political subjectivity in the Anthropocene raises the question of what “geopolitics after life” might look like. In an attempt to respond to this question, I take as my starting point an examination of the possible genealogies of geology; connecting geopower to political subjectivity through an examination of the potential of geological powers and politics. This is not just a question of how life is politicised, but how political thought is able to accommodate the flows of geology through bodies, agency, and, ultimately, the cosmos. Staying with the fractured ontology of geology, as corporeal condition *and* a question of political subjectivity that needs to refute the implicit imperial (racist, masculinist and universalising) claims of the Anthropocene thesis, I examine the *pre*political condition of geopower. The express concern is to think a genealogy of geologic life beyond life.

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