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  • Acknowledgments ix

    Introducing the New Materialisms / Diana Coole and Samantha Frost 1

    The Force of Materiality

    A Vitalist Stopover on the Way to a New Materialism / Jane Bennett 47

    Nondialectical Materialism / Pheng Cheah 70

    The Inertia of Matter and the Generativity of Flesh / Diana Coole 92

    Impersonal Matter / Melissa A. Orlie 116

    Political Matters

    Feminism, Materialism, and Freedom / Elizabeth Grosz 139

    Fear and the Illusion of Autonomy / Samantha Frost 158

    Materialities of Experience / William E. Connolly 178

    The Politics of "Life Itself" and New Ways of Dying / Rosi Braidotti 201

    Economies of Disruption

    The Elusive Material: What the Dog Doesn't Understand / Rey Chow 221

    Orientations Matter / Sara Ahmed 234

    Simon de Beauvoir: Engaging Discrepant Materialisms / Sonia Kruks 258

    The Materialism of Historical Materialism / Jason Edwards 281

    Bibliography 299

    Contributors 319

    Index 323
  • Jane Bennett

    Pheng Cheah

    Melissa A. Orlie

    Elizabeth Grosz

    William E. Connolly

    Rosi Braidotti

    Rey Chow

    Sara Ahmed

    Sonia Kruks

    Jason Edwards

  • “New Materialisms... [is], in the truest sense, [a] timely volume; [it] ... illuminates and reflects contemporary compulsions in critical theory while making important contributions to transdisciplinary feminist and queer posthumanist inquiry, a minor arc of theory that nevertheless has an extensive history in feminist studies of science, technology, and epistemology, as Sara Ahmed (2008) has argued elsewhere.” — Women’s Studies Quarterly

    New Materialisms is an extraordinary and in fact interdisciplinary collection in its own right. . . . [T]he work coming out of the material turn is mind-blowing work, both in scholarly and in artistic research, and in art”. — Iris van der Tuin, Women’s Studies International Forum

    “New materialisms offer democratic theory an important opportunity to
    regard its own parameters and function – what can be hoped for and why.
    And Coole and Frost’s volume offers a new view of the human (and the
    thing) that are well worth regarding. . . .” — Andrew Poe, Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy

    “Overall, the volume makes a convincing case for the renewal of materialism, in terms of both its theoretical purchase and its radical political potential. It shows, in ways that are often exemplary, that there are rich, and sometimes surprising, resources in the philosophical tradition for renewing materialisms.” — Keith Ansell Pearson, Radical Philosophy

    Reviews

  • “New Materialisms... [is], in the truest sense, [a] timely volume; [it] ... illuminates and reflects contemporary compulsions in critical theory while making important contributions to transdisciplinary feminist and queer posthumanist inquiry, a minor arc of theory that nevertheless has an extensive history in feminist studies of science, technology, and epistemology, as Sara Ahmed (2008) has argued elsewhere.” — Women’s Studies Quarterly

    New Materialisms is an extraordinary and in fact interdisciplinary collection in its own right. . . . [T]he work coming out of the material turn is mind-blowing work, both in scholarly and in artistic research, and in art”. — Iris van der Tuin, Women’s Studies International Forum

    “New materialisms offer democratic theory an important opportunity to
    regard its own parameters and function – what can be hoped for and why.
    And Coole and Frost’s volume offers a new view of the human (and the
    thing) that are well worth regarding. . . .” — Andrew Poe, Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy

    “Overall, the volume makes a convincing case for the renewal of materialism, in terms of both its theoretical purchase and its radical political potential. It shows, in ways that are often exemplary, that there are rich, and sometimes surprising, resources in the philosophical tradition for renewing materialisms.” — Keith Ansell Pearson, Radical Philosophy

  • “The essays collected here—authored by leading political theorists and feminist and cultural critics—examine the ‘choreographies of becoming’ and move beyond constructivism and humanism to track processes of de- and re-materialization. The effect is to scramble habitual categories of thought—active versus passive, inert versus animate, political versus ontological, causality versus spontaneity—and force us to think materiality. As the editors put it, ‘materiality is always something more than “mere” matter: an excess, force, vitality, relationality, or difference that renders matter active, self-creative, productive, unpredictable.’” — Bonnie Honig, author of Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy

    “This is a strong and timely collection, one that could very well direct future discussions of the ‘new materialisms’ toward an experimental, process-oriented, and politically-engaged ‘new ontology.’” — Ellen Rooney, Brown University

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  • Description

    New Materialisms brings into focus and explains the significance of the innovative materialist critiques that are emerging across the social sciences and humanities. By gathering essays that exemplify the new thinking about matter and processes of materialization, this important collection shows how scholars are reworking older materialist traditions, contemporary theoretical debates, and advances in scientific knowledge to address pressing ethical and political challenges. In the introduction, Diana Coole and Samantha Frost highlight common themes among the distinctive critical projects that comprise the new materialisms. The continuities they discern include a posthumanist conception of matter as lively or exhibiting agency, and a reengagement with both the material realities of everyday life and broader geopolitical and socioeconomic structures.

    Coole and Frost argue that contemporary economic, environmental, geopolitical, and technological developments demand new accounts of nature, agency, and social and political relationships; modes of inquiry that privilege consciousness and subjectivity are not adequate to the task. New materialist philosophies are needed to do justice to the complexities of twenty-first-century biopolitics and political economy, because they raise fundamental questions about the place of embodied humans in a material world and the ways that we produce, reproduce, and consume our material environment.


    Contributors
    Sara Ahmed
    Jane Bennett
    Rosi Braidotti
    Pheng Cheah
    Rey Chow
    William E. Connolly
    Diana Coole
    Jason Edwards
    Samantha Frost
    Elizabeth Grosz
    Sonia Kruks
    Melissa A. Orlie

    About The Author(s)

    Diana Coole is Professor of Political and Social Theory at Birkbeck College, University of London, England. She is the author, most recently, of Merleau-Ponty and Modern Politics after Anti-Humanism. She is a Leverhulme Research Fellow, 2010–13.

    Samantha Frost is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, the Gender and Women’s Studies Program, and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of Lessons from a Materialist Thinker: Hobbesian Reflections on Ethics and Politics.

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