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  • Szerszynski - Indigenous worlds and planetary futures postprint

    Accepted author manuscript, 140 KB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 16/08/21

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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Epilogue: Indigenous worlds and planetary futures

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Abstract

I argue that there are aspects of our emerging understanding of planets that have a curious affinity with Amerindian thought, articulating a deeper understanding of planetarity struggling to get out of the straitjacket of Western naturalism. Indigenous cosmologies foreground fluidity and transformation, as different entities shift between what might otherwise be seen as wholly separate categories; multiple times seem to operate at once, and originary immanence is just a blink away. Beings exist in and are defined by meshworks of reciprocity and generosity; grasping the deepest truth can involve departing radically from everyday perception and knowledge; everything is alive, aware, a potential interlocutor. In ways that are resonant with contemporary theory, the Earth is not a dead mechanism, but sensitive (Latour 2017), ticklish (Stengers 2015), and maybe dangerous (Hamilton 2017). The cosmological accounts in this volume articulate a world that is a set of relations, obligations, and mutual dependencies, warning us of what happens when these relationships are not maintained. That world has to be actively maintained in being, through gift exchanges among humans and non-humans, against the ever present danger of the apocalypse. They are protecting the virtual—defending important, hard-won planetary preconditions that enable the future to arrive, combating a present apocalypse already occurring as a 'combined and uneven geo-spiritual formation'.