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07.06.2019 08:24 Alter: 9 days

Alterglobal Politics

Call for Publications

Theme: Alterglobal Politics
Subtitle: Postcolonial Theory in the Era of the Anthropocene and the Nonhuman
Publication: Postcolonial Studies
Date: Special Issue
Deadline: 1.7.2019

Although they are often spoken of in the same breath, theories of the
Anthropocene and the nonhuman turn vary in their emphases. The
Anthropocene introduces a new ‘universal’ subject – the human species
as a global geophysical agent. Theories of the nonhuman, however,
seek to displace anthropocentric foci – the ‘human’ is viewed as a
part of a complex assemblage co-constituted by many others.
Postcolonial theory has, in general, been sceptical of both
trajectories. On the one hand, postcolonial theory and theorists
remain generally suspicious of the putative universal subject (the
‘human species’) that purportedly impacts this era of anthropogenic
climate-change catastrophically. On the other hand, with its focus on
what Kwame Anthony Appiah called ‘human suffering’ under oppressive
systems like colonialism and slavery, postcolonial theory has been by
and large wary of diluting this investment with a turn towards the
nonhuman (however conceived).

Recent works by Dipesh Chakrabarty, Ian Baucom, Rob Nixon, Graham
Huggan, Helen Tiffin, Sangeeta Ray and Deepika Bahri have tried to
open new interfaces and triangulated conjunctures between these three
bodies of thought. Thus, Chakrabarty calls for a ‘new global approach
to politics without the myth of a global identity’ in this era of
anthropogenic climate change.  Baucom calls for an alterglobal
politics – one that renders ‘the work of the humanities at large, and
postcolonial studies in particular, a force of nature: one indeed
capable of attending, simultaneously, to the shorelines, littorals,
and border-zones of recorded history and, in so doing, to the crises
and dangers affecting the planet’s continents and coastlines’.
Nixon’s work on ‘slow violence’ asks us to consider the complex
entanglements and slow unfoldings of multiple scales of violence that
impact human and nonhuman alike. Taking the lead from such critical
endeavours, this special issue of Postcolonial Studies will explore
hybrid assemblages of notions and imaginaries of the ‘human’, the
‘nonhuman’, of species-life and of the entanglement of different
temporal and planetary scales in this moment of accelerating climate
change. Can postcolonial theory’s focus on the ‘particular’, the
‘fragmentary’ and the ‘local enable new ways of imagining/thinking
planetarity, cosmopolitics and a global politics of climate change?
Are considerations of the entanglements between the human and the
nonhuman complementary or antithetical to postcolonial theory’s drive
to pluralise the human? Are there ways in which we can contend with
and theorise what Sylvia Wynter calls ‘genres of the human’ in this
era of climate change and species extinction?

Submission guidelines

We invite 250-word abstracts, due by 1 July 2019 that will enable us
to contend with modalities of alterglobal politics. Please email the
abstracts to the editors:

Priya Kumar

Amit Baishya

Journal website: