Professor Elizabeth Povinelli (Columbia University)

Pitt Rivers Lecture TheatreFrom Friday Mar 7, 2014 at 16:00 to Friday Mar 7, 2014 at 17:30

‘Native Life', Or, Being outside the Carbon Imaginary

This talk critically examines contemporary scientific discussions of the Anthropocene and climate change and contemporary theoretical theories of New Vitalism, New Animism, and Relational Ontology. Using examples from settler Australia, the talk argues that rather than opposed epistemologies, these natural sciences and theoretical approaches share a "carbon imaginary," namely, the idea that there is a natural and foundational distinction between life and nonlife; and that life, and human life in particular, sets the ethical, social and political conditions within which all activity can and should be assessed. The talk asks us to consider how a multitude of Indigenous geontologies are currently acting as a kind of subjugated knowledge, an energetic pressure registering on human thought and action.