12 January 2021

New publication from SUSY: Displacing the Anthropocene: Colonisation, extinction and the unruliness of nature in Palestine

The Anthropocene

The authors of a new peer-reviewed publication foreground nature–human entanglement as crucial for understanding the operations and instability of settler colonialism in Palestine.

The article returns to the Anthropocene’s focus on universal human extinction and ethical consciousness by critically engaging with it from the standpoint of colonised and displaced Indigenous populations, like the Palestinian refugees. The authors of the article, Associate Professor Olaf Corry and colleague, provide a historical and ethnographic account of past and emerging entanglements between Palestinian refugees and their nature, ultimately arguing that indigeneity is recalcitrant to obliteration.

"For Palestinian refugees and their nature, the threat of collective extinction is not a future common risk, but a process entrenched in their everyday reality since 1948. Like aboriginal Australians and other native populations, Palestinians were ‘fossilised’ and their entanglements with nature were forced to the Nonlife side of the geonto-political distinction (the ‘desert’ and the ‘virus’, to use Povinelli’s evocative figures)."

The authors explore the historical and contemporary example of settler colonialism in Palestine suggesting that the recasting of the Life/Nonlife divide has been not incidental to, but part-constitutive of, the political operation of this project. In conclusion, only when the profoundly unequal access to Life entrenched in settler colonialism is foregrounded and addressed, does a real possibility of recognising any common, global vulnerability that the species faces emerge.

Read the article.