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  • VerticalFireFINAL

    Rights statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Geoforum. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Geoforum, ??, ??, 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.04.006

    Accepted author manuscript, 308 KB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 28/04/22

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


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Vertical Fire: For a Pyropolitics of the Subsurface

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/04/2020
Pages (from-to)0-0
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date28/04/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The geopolitical - or more specifically pyropolitical - crisis
triggered by combusting fossilized hydrocarbons can be viewed in the
context of a much longer human history of utilising fire as a means of
traversing and utilizing the Earth's subsurface. The paper develops a
conceptual framework to show how the developing fire-subsurface nexus
advances through a succession of different human enfoldings or
‘involutions' of fire that serve to intensify its force. This is
explored at three critical junctures: the earliest hominin uses of fire
in the geologically active landscape of the Great Rift Valley, the
chambering of fire by ancient artisans and the material and political
significance of its products in emergent city-states, and the role of
explosive weapons in gunpowder empires. Finally, the paper circles back
on the question of how revisiting the longue durée of human fire-subsurface
entanglements might help us conceive of alternative pyropolitical realities.