• Geontologies: A Requiem to Late Liberalism

    Author(s): Elizabeth  A. Povinelli
    Published: 2016
    Pages: 232
    Illustrations: 9 illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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  • Acknowledgments  x

    1. The Three Figures of Geontology  1

    2. Can Rocks Die? Life and Death inside the Carbon Imaginary  30

    3. The Fossils and the Bones  57

    4. The Normativity of Creeks  92

    5. The Fog of Meaning and the Voiceless Demos  118

    6. Downloading the Dreaming  144

    7. Late Liberal Geontopower  168

    Notes  179

    Bibliography  195

    Index  209
  • "Geontologies is a dense work that resists being described in telegraphic terms, based as it is in dazzling and far-reaching theoretical and philosophical readings. But Povinelli’s key concepts of “geontology” and “geontopower” are an invaluable contribution to our much-needed critical lexicon, [and] the concepts and modes of engagement presented in Geontologies, though firmly rooted in the experience and particular governance of Australian settler late liberalism, demand to be taken up and translated in other contexts." — Shela Sheikh, Avery Review

    Reviews

  • "Geontologies is a dense work that resists being described in telegraphic terms, based as it is in dazzling and far-reaching theoretical and philosophical readings. But Povinelli’s key concepts of “geontology” and “geontopower” are an invaluable contribution to our much-needed critical lexicon, [and] the concepts and modes of engagement presented in Geontologies, though firmly rooted in the experience and particular governance of Australian settler late liberalism, demand to be taken up and translated in other contexts." — Shela Sheikh, Avery Review

  • "Between bios and geos, Life and Nonlife: not an opposition, rather a composition. Beyond biopolitics lies the realm of 'geontology,' where the living and the nonliving co-compose to produce singular modes of existence and forms of power—and empowerment. In Geontologies Elizabeth A. Povinelli presents exemplary figures of geontology that are once symptomatic of the late liberal condition and open it onto its own beyond. Her thought-provoking analyses engage political and ontological complexities with an uncommon richness of detail and insight toward a rethinking of cultural politics." — Brian Massumi, author of, Ontopower: War, Powers, and the State of Perception

    "Elizabeth A. Povinelli’s writing remains a continual confrontation with the otherwise. On one hand we have a classical anthropologist totally at home and committed to her field; on the other hand, gone are the attempts to 'capture' and 'explain.' Instead, we have indigenous categories engaging in an exciting intellectual gymnastics with philosophy and theory to help us think our moment: the moment when the nonliving erupts into our spaces, transforming itself from a background to something that makes demands on us." — Ghassan Hage, author of, Alter-Politics: Critical Anthropology and the Radical Imagination

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  • Description

    In Geontologies Elizabeth A. Povinelli continues her project of mapping the current conditions of late liberalism by offering a bold retheorization of power. Finding Foucauldian biopolitics unable to adequately reveal contemporary mechanisms of power and governance, Povinelli describes a mode of power she calls geontopower, which operates through the regulation of the distinction between Life and Nonlife and the figures of the Desert, the Animist, and the Virus. Geontologies examines this formation of power from the perspective of Indigenous Australian maneuvers against the settler state. And it probes how our contemporary critical languages—anthropogenic climate change, plasticity, new materialism, antinormativity—often unwittingly transform their struggles against geontopower into a deeper entwinement within it. A woman who became a river, a snakelike entity who spawns the fog, plesiosaurus fossils and vast networks of rock weirs: in asking how these different forms of existence refuse incorporation into the vocabularies of Western theory Povinelli provides a revelatory new way to understand a form of power long self-evident in certain regimes of settler late liberalism but now becoming visible much further beyond.

    About The Author(s)

    Elizabeth A. Povinelli is Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Columbia University and the author of, most recently, Economies of Abandonment: Social Belonging and Endurance in Late Liberalism, also published by Duke University Press.
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