1. This work is forthcoming in the book Geologic Life.
Geology, Race, and Matter
1. When I use the term geologic life, I do so to signal the corporeality of geology as a material embodiment and a systematic framing of materiality that has geopolitical and biopolitical consequences for the possibilities of being and nonbeing (see Yusoff 2013, 2015, 2018).
2. It should be noted that the only reason we know anything about geology is because of fossils uncovered through mining and the motivation for the development of geologic knowledge in order to mobilize this extraction frame.
3. The fields of indigenous studies and black studies are complex in their differences and their exactitude of cojoined but differently enacted historical experience, especially in the context of natality and genealogies of land rights.
4. For example, while writing up this work on an Advanced Institute Fellowship at Durham University, we had a tour of the Palace Green library, where substantial archives on the British colony on Sudan are kept. In this colonial archive were maps of relations between tribes and attempts to decipher their genealogy to establish a cartography of authority. This was complemented by anthropology reports on tribal markings, earth eaters, tattooing, female circumcision, and native surgery (Sudan 1908), in an attempt to decipher markers of sexuality and rites and rituals that produced the native as other.
Golden Spikes and Dubious Origins
1. Thanks to Nigel Clark for this formation of thought.
3. Wynter (2015, 23) reminds us that the “larger issue is, then, the incorporation of all forms of human being into a single homogenized descriptive statement that is based on the figure of the West’s liberal monohumanist Man. And this conception of being, because ostensibly natural-scientific, is biocentric.” Thus this Man is restricted in its biopolitical horizon to a liberal form of subjectivity that denies the ecologies and geophysics of existence. Furthermore, as Katherine McKittrick argues, “the human is tied to epistemological histories that presently value a genre of the human that reifies Western bourgeois tenets; the human is therefore wrought with physiological and narrative matters that systematically excise the world’s most marginalized” (quoted in Wynter 2015, 9).
4. Wynter’s claim on indigenization and learning new forms of planting subjectivity in the earth is a means to claim back a stolen subjective-geographic relation and should not be confused with a claim of indigeneity. Within the context of settler colonialism, indigeneity rightly makes specific material claims about sovereignty and territory that are different from the claims that Wynter is making for black slaves. I believe Wynter is arguing for us to notice the creation of new material grammar outside of plantation geo-logics that humanize inhuman conditions through a relation to the earth that is planetary, not territorial.
6. ‘Project 4.1 Biomedical Studies: Studies of Response of Human Beings Exposed to Significant Beta and Gamma Radiation due to Fall-Out from High Yield Weapons”: “The purposes of [Project 4.1] were to (1) evaluate the severity of radiation injury to the human beings exposed, (2) provide for all necessary medical care, and (3) conduct a scientific study of radiation injuries to human beings” (Martin and Rowland 1982, 186, 188).
7. The use and return of the suits indicate a certain performative quality in the U.S. military’s subjection of the Marshallese citizens, not unlike the rented clothing that slave dealers used on the slave blocks.
8. The subtests involving plutonium, uranium, and beryllium and were code-named “Kittens,” “Rats,” and “Vixen,” which ironically are representative of the feral ecologies that accompanied settlers and had such a devastating effect on the unique flora and fauna of Australia.
11. And even Otherness positioned in the pursuit of freedom was itself “romancing the shadow.” Morrison (1992, 37–38) suggests, “The slave population, it could be and was assumed, offered itself up as surrogate selves for meditation on problems of human freedom, its lure and its exclusiveness. . . . Nature without limits, natal loneness, internal aggression . . . in other words, this slave population was understood to have offered itself up for reflections on human freedom in terms other than the abstractions of human potential and the rights of man.
1. The black feminist Audre Lorde (1984) challenges Baldwin’s attachment to the American dream as a patriarchal instantiation: “Deep, deep, deep down I know that dream was—never mine. . . . Nobody was studying me except as something to wipe out. . . . Even worse than the nightmare is the Blank. And Black women are the blank. . . . We have to admit and deal with difference. . . . If we can put people on the moon and we can blow this whole planet up, if we can consider digging 18 inches of radioactive dirt off the Bikini atolls and somehow finding something to do with it—if we can do that, we as Black cultural workers can somehow begin to turn that stuff around.”
Insurgent Geology: A Billion Black Anthropocenes Now
1. McQueen’s film was screened in the abandoned, subterranean Lumiere cinema in St. Martin’s Lane, London, in November 2002.
2. Wynter (n.d., 128) describes how, in colonizers’ descriptions of slave crucifixion, slaves appeared to them as little affected by their sadistic torture, “behaving all the time with a degree of hardened insolence, and brutal insensibility,” suggesting an inability on the colonizers’ part to perceive the sensibility of black pain or to understand the courage marshaled against it.