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Chapter 6 argues that the application of stratigraphy organized the material production and imagination of empire, as stratigraphy was applied to race. Theoretical geology provided the conceptual armature that initiated an epoch of vertical thinking for surface gain, which in turn opened inhumanism as the vertical strategy. Historically, this chapter shows how empires engage stratigraphic rearrangements to mobilize racial capital—through the episteme of strata—and that these raced and gendered colonial geo-logics organize ongoing geophysical architectures, such as racism, climate change, extraction, and extinction, among other forms of enforced (near and far) finitudes. Stratigraphy captured the imagination as a concept, methodology, and worldview and thus underpinned both scientific and social thought as a material hermeneutics and a way of doing racial metaphysics via geophysics.

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