Detailed Table of Contents
The question of “What even is the Anthropocene?” is oddly open and self-deferring, which is even further complicated yet significantly expanded by a cultural tendency to neologize around the -cene: Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chtuhlucene (Haraway), Anthrobscene (Parikka), Mediocene (Engell and Siegert), Black Anthropocene(s) (Yusoff), just to mention a few. New feminist materialisms are emerging at a time in need for alternative visions of the world threatened by human exceptionalism, ecological terror(ism), and devastating, extinction-fostering capital flows: they pose the question of how to theorize and practice ethical and decidedly posthuman and non-anthropocentric feminisms in the geological era of the (late capitalist) Anthropocene. What is at stake here, is a new awareness of the ontological relationality of always-already non-individual bodies and the potential for entangled agencies in an age of looming planetary crisis; what Joanna Zylinska theorizes as a minimal ethics of distributing rather than rehumanizing responsibility (also see Pulsifer’s article in this issue). This is directly linked to shedding light on the affectivity of matter and varieties of nonhuman agents/actants, to use Latourian terms, in processes of gendering and racialization, or the emergence of the body and social bodies as affective human-nonhuman assemblages: this can be the starting point for new –isms, as well as new politics of feminist intervention, calling attention to a shared yet stratified nonhuman condition and Anthropocene.…
Abstract: Director Ali Abbasi’s filmBorder (2018; Swedish: Gräns) contributes to new materialism’s ontological and ethical reconsiderations of matter, which call for new cultural imaginaries that equipoise the concerns of interdependently connected humans and nonhumans. This essay examines Border as a new materialist intervention in debates about the meaning and ethics of care in a more-than-human world. The essay also gestures toward how works of representation may contribute to new materialist inquiry, pointing toward underexplored archives by highlighting the multimodal forms through which theoretical inquiry may take place. I argue that Border’s articulation of care work does more than represent material entanglements; it also redefines human responsibility for a posthuman age, one of the most pressing tasks of recent research in new materialism.
Author’s Bio: Rebecah Pulsifer is an assistant professor of English at Kettering University, where she specializes in modern and contemporary literature, cinema and media studies, and the cultural histories of disability, medicine, and bioscience. She is at work at a book tentatively titled Cognitive Citizenship: Intelligence and Intellectual Disability in Twentieth-Century British Culture, which argues that interwar and post-WWII British literature primed readers to recognize intelligence as a predictor of national belonging. Her scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in Modernist Cultures, Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, Journal of Modern Literature, and Studies in the Novel.
Abstract: Australian singer-songwriter Sia (Kate Isobelle Furler) has become known as much for hit songs such as “Elastic Heart” and “Chandelier,” as for unusual claims to anonymity and privacy: Sia performs with her face covered by an oversized wig topped with a big ribbon or a hat, while child-dancer Maddie Ziegler takes the spotlight. Sia discussed her avoidance of visibility as an attempt to preserve a sense of privacy and freedom that celebrity culture does not usually afford stars.Ziegler has become the face and body of Sia’s videos and concerts, sometimes accompanied by other child actors. In Sia’s videos, the girl signifies multiply. She not only catalyzes the artist’s larger preoccupation with consumption and sacrifice in celebrity culture, but performs the entrapment, vulnerability, and will for a livable life of a neoliberal youth subsumed to the logic of self-investment (Wendy Brown). This article analyzes how the girl, usuallya figure of preoccupation, hope, and worthy investment (Angela McRobbie, Anita Harris), appears as one of strained persistence who defies both concern and hope, while, instead, spurring questions about the affective modalities available to young women in the age of increased neoliberal precarity.
Author’s Bio: Alina Haliliucis Associate Professor in the Communication Department, at Denison University. She studies how popular culture, material and symbolic geographies, and political communication are implicated in the formation of post-communist and global neoliberal subjects. In addition to publications in anthologies, her essays appear in TheJournal of Popular Culture, Communication, Culture & Critique, M/C Journal, and Text and Performance Quarterly.
Abstract: World War Z’s (Palestinianized) zombies and Annihilation’s anthropocenic Shimmer postor rework conceptions of humanist and anthropomorphic monstrous bodies as sociologically knowable and biologically bound entities, as they are monstrosities of entanglement in nonhuman, informational, technological, ecological, and geological Latourian actor-networks. The monstrous of canonical monster theory, as a nonindividual discursive network of power, mediates a specific cultural body, whilst, in a conceptualization of monstrosity as actor-network, the monster would not be monstrous because it is the othered, not-quite-human alterity-body of humanity, but because it demonstrates (monere) the transcorporeality and nonhumanness of humans in the first place, as well as their status as nonexceptional and non-autonomous actors and actor-networks within larger-than-life actor-networks. The Jerusalem scene from World War Zlinks the posthuman terrorist becomings and resistances of the zombie and the (Palestinian) suicide bomber: the zombie bite, which collapses undeath into undeath, body and flesh into body and flesh, is comparable to the explosive death of the ballistic suicide bomber confusing boundaries between flesh, metal, life, death, and undeath. World War Z’s zombie and the racialized suicide bomber share the monstrous potentiality of posthuman contagion and networkability. In Annihilation,the Shimmer, the Alienocene as analogy of the Anthropocone, is a demonstrative monstrosity, cautioning that it is not simply humans changing themorphism of the Earth, but that the Earth itself is a nonhuman actor-network whose alterations effect alterations in the morphisms of the human. The monsters of climatological and geological change, the monsters of what-we-have-done-to-the-earth, will ultimately get us, precisely because we irreducibly intra-act with our Anthropocene.
Author’s Bio: Christian David Zeitz is a PhD student in Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto. His research interests revolve around intercultural intimacies and affective politics in German and Anglophone film and television and, more generally, postcolonial theory, media & cultural studies, as well as theories of affect and the post/nonhuman. His publications can be found in gender forum and the Journal of Alterity Studies and World Literature.
Author’s Bio: Yuwei Geis currently a doctoral candidate at Philipps-Universität Marburg. Her doctoral project is focused on women and political leadership in the United States, and her research interests include gender studies, American politics, and social media studies. She has presented multiple papers at international conferences organized by The Oxford Research Center for Humanities, the Association for Art History, the German Association for American Studies, the Nordic Association for American Studies, the Atlantische Akademie, and the International Association of Inter-American Studies. Her paper and review are published respectively in Gender Forumand American Studies Journal of GAAS.