This essay explores the political efficacy of the concepts of autonomy and antagonism in the contemporary milieu of anthropogenic climate change and toxicity. It stages this examination through an imaginary colloquium attended by Italian members of the autonomist movement, geological proponents of the Anthropocene, the science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, and the indigenous members of the Karrabing Film Collective. The essay asks, even as anthropogenic climate change and toxicity have created revolutionary ethical, political, and conceptual problems and antagonisms, what if the concepts of antagonism and autonomy no longer capture the strange condition of contemporary human and nonhuman existences? What if there is no human, or even any humans, but merely regionally more or less densely compacted forms and modes of existence, one component of which has been abstracted out and named “the human”? And what if these regions of existence are off-gassing in such a way that they are producing themselves as their own waste products?
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Research Article| April 01 2017
Elizabeth A. Povinelli; The Ends of Humans: Anthropocene, Autonomism, Antagonism, and the Illusions of Our Epoch. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 April 2017; 116 (2): 293–310. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-3829412
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