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  • AnthropoceneNatalityFINAL12-7-16

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Anthropocene bodies, geological time and the crisis of natality

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Forthcoming
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/10/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Body and Society
<mark>State</mark>Accepted/In press
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

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.