As the Anthropocene has migrated from the life and physical sciences into the humanities as both a theoretical and material condition, there have been a growing number of critics who have critiqued the Anthropos of the Anthropocene, arguing that the monolithic humanity imagined whitewashes the asymmetric inequities of the humans of humanity. While much of this work has advocated for a dismissal of the Anthropocene concept, this article traces an alternate trajectory that has begun to emerge at the juncture of Black studies and literary theory. In this article, the author considers how a number of Black studies theorists have begun to argue for the centrality of blackness in our engagement with the nonhuman world. Bringing together three recent works, including Zakiyyah Iman Jackson’s Becoming Human, Joshua Bennett’s Being Property Once Myself, and Jayna Brown’s Black Utopia, this article argues for an alternative conception of the Anthropocene that originates in and through Blackness. Moreover, this article looks at the centrality of literary studies (and its attending methodologies) in building and envisaging the nascent field of Black ecology.
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Research Article| May 01 2022
Ecology in the Wake: Black Studies, Literary Method, and the Nonhuman
Henry Ivry is a Social Science and Humanities Research Council postdoctoral fellow with the Department of English at the University of Pittsburgh. His monograph Transscalar Critique: Climate, Blackness, Crisis is forthcoming from Edinburgh University Press.
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the minnesota review (2022) 2022 (98): 61–72.
Henry Ivry; Ecology in the Wake: Black Studies, Literary Method, and the Nonhuman. the minnesota review 1 May 2022; 2022 (98): 61–72. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00265667-9563877
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