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Of Animacy Reading Group: A Billion Black Anthropocenes
Institute of Contemporary Arts

Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Of Animacy Reading Group gathers in April to discuss a chapter in Kathryn Yusoff’s recent book, A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None.

In the chapter ‘Golden Spikes and Dubious Origins’, Yusoff outlines the dominant origin stories of the Anthropocene – the Columbian exchange, the Industrial Revolution and the Great Acceleration – to address the structural Whiteness of geology as a discipline, and to demonstrate how coloniality and anti-Blackness are inscribed into the very notion of the Anthropocene. Navigating the literature of Black studies and harnessing their critiques of humanism, Yusoff proposes the idea of a Black Anthropocene to bring geology and the Anthropocene in touch with the historical, social and material conditions of their emergence.

Under discussion:

Kathryn Yusoff, ‘Golden Spikes and Dubious Origins’, A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None (The University of Minnesota Press, 2018)

Trigger warning: This chapter entails historical accounts of colonial violence.

Further reading:

Kathryn Yusoff, ‘Geology, Race, and Matter’, A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None (The University of Minnesota Press, 2018)

For access to the text and further information on the reading group, please email
Led by curator Nella Aarne, this monthly reading group thinks through feminist engagements with human and non-human agents in the material world, spanning philosophy and science. The texts and discussions meander through a multiplicity of concepts and ways of thinking, developing into a vibrant web of ideas – the shape and character of which will organically unfold over time.

Of Animacy fosters learning through open discussion in a democratic space, with an aim to recognise vital alliances for our daily life and political thought. Reading the selected text in advance is recommended but not necessary. Printed copies will be available at the gathering and excerpts of the text will be read together to support open discussion. Of Animacy meets every month at the ICA and is always open to all.

Free, booking is required.

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