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  • AnthropoceneNatalityFINAL12-7-16

    Rights statement: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Body & Society, 23 (3), 2017, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2017 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Body & Society page: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/bod on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/

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Anthropocene bodies, geological time and the crisis of natality

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Body and Society
Issue number3
Number of pages25
Pages (from-to)156-180
Early online date7/08/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In its explicit engagement with the possibility of human extinction, the Anthropocene thesis might be seen as signalling a `crisis of natality’. Engaging with two works of fiction - Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) and Anne Michaels’ Fugitive Pieces (1997) – the paper explores the embodied, affective and intimate dimensions of the struggle to sustain life under catastrophic conditions. Though centred on male protagonists, both novels offer insights into a `stratigraphic time’ (Colebrook, 2009) associated primarily with maternal responsibility – involving a temporal give and take that passes between generations and across thresholds in the Earth itself. If this is a construction of inter-corporeality in which each life and every breath has utmost value, it is also a vision that exceeds the biopolitical prioritization of the organismic body - as evidenced in both McCarthy and Michaels’ gesturing beyond the bounds of the living to a forceful, sensate and enigmatic cosmos.

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The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Body ///////