“It matters what matters we use to think other matters with,” Donna Haraway writes in her 2016 monograph Staying with the Trouble (12). This sentence can be understood as a manifesto for the entrance of new materialism into environmental cultural studies. At its best, new materialism marks the particularity of intimate material relations and refuses familiar Western narratives of the bounded, individualized human subject; at its worst, it shades into totalizing claims of material and epistemological novelty (“the Anthropocene”) and struggles to locate footholds for necessary critique. To recognize that “it matters what matters we use” is to reframe new materialism such that it might engage in environmentalist cultural critique without retreating to humanist imaginations of human subjectivity. Together, Stacy Alaimo’s Exposed and Rebekah Sheldon’s The Child to Come demonstrate that new materialism and cultural critique can be usefully, and excitingly, brought...
Exposed: Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Posthuman Times
The Child to Come: Life after the Human Catastrophe
Rebecca McWilliams Evans is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Winston-Salem State University, where she researches and teaches American literature, speculative fiction, and environmental humanities. Her current work focuses on the formal innovations through which contemporary novels trace the social and environmental violence of the Anthropocene. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, ASAP/Journal, Science Fiction Studies, The Cambridge History of Science Fiction, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Public Books, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Rebecca McWilliams Evans; Exposed: Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Posthuman Times
The Child to Come: Life after the Human Catastrophe. American Literature 1 December 2018; 90 (4): 879–881. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-7208659
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