Anthropology Colloquium

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Date(s) - 14/02/2018
10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Anthro Building, AP 367


Prof. Elizabeth A. Povinelli,  Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Columbia University

Dialogues with Elizabeth A. Povinelli, on Geontologies: A Requiem to Late Liberalism

In Geontologies Elizabeth A. Povinelli continues her project of mapping the current conditions of late liberalism by offering a bold retheorization of power. Finding Foucauldian biopolitics unable to adequately reveal contemporary mechanisms of power and governance, Povinelli describes a mode of power she calls geontopower, which operates through the regulation of the distinction between Life and Nonlife and the figures of the Desert, the Animist, and the Virus. Geontologies examines this formation of power from the perspective of Indigenous Australian maneuvers against the settler state. And it probes how our contemporary critical languages—anthropogenic climate change, plasticity, new materialism, antinormativity—often unwittingly transform their struggles against geontopower into a deeper entwinement within it. A woman who became a river, a snakelike entity who spawns the fog, plesiosaurus fossils and vast networks of rock weirs: in asking how these different forms of existence refuse incorporation into the vocabularies of Western theory Povinelli provides a revelatory new way to understand a form of power long self-evident in certain regimes of settler late liberalism but now becoming visible much further beyond. Geontologies was the 2017 recipient of the Lionel Trilling Book Award.

Elizabeth A. Povinelli is Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Columbia University. Povinelli’s writing has focused on developing a critical theory of late liberalism that would support an anthropology of the otherwise. Informed primarily by the traditions of American pragmatism and continental immanent theory and grounded in the circulation of values, materialities, and socialities. This potential theory has unfolded primarily from within a sustained relationship with Indigenous colleagues in north Australia and across five books, numerous essays, and four films with the Karrabing Film Collective.

Suggested reading; Geontologies (Elizabeth A. Povinelli)

limited space given to those who have registered (click on link in calendar above)


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