“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Queer Ecology Revisited

An undergrad just wrote with a query about queer ecology. Always happy to help, I decided to post my response here.

One could think of queer theory as the exploration of how identity is not given, but rather performed.

Queer ecology simply sees this performance happening "below" the human level of meaning, at the level of the genome and other physical beings.

This is because, from an OOO standpoint, there is a rift between essence and appearance. This gives rise to identity as an illusion-like display that can't be pinned down to some sort of givenness.

What is called Nature just is the reduction of things to their givenness for humans. This reduction must be policed, since it is inherently spurious and unstable.

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