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How the Earth Feels: Geological Fantasy in the Nineteenth-Century United States (Anima: Critical Race Studies Otherwise)

How the Earth Feels: Geological Fantasy in the Nineteenth-Century United States (Anima: Critical Race Studies Otherwise)

Current price: $27.95
Publication Date: January 5th, 2024
Publisher:
Duke University Press
ISBN:
9781478025702
Pages:
256
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Description

In How the Earth Feels Dana Luciano examines the impacts of the new science of geology on nineteenth-century US culture. Drawing on early geological writings, Indigenous and settler accounts of earthquakes, African American antislavery literature, and other works, Luciano reveals how geology catalyzed transformative conversations regarding the intersections between humans and the nonhuman world. She shows that understanding the earth's history geologically involved confronting the dynamic nature of inorganic matter over vast spans of time, challenging preconceived notions of human agency. Nineteenth-century Americans came to terms with these changes through a fusion of fact and imagination that Luciano calls geological fantasy. Geological fantasy transformed the science into a sensory experience, sponsoring affective and even erotic connections to the matter of the earth. At the same time, it was often used to justify accounts of evolution that posited a modern, civilized, and Anglo-American whiteness as the pinnacle of human development. By tracing geology's relationship with biopower, Luciano illuminates how imagined connections with the earth shaped American dynamics of power, race, and colonization.

About the Author

Dana Luciano is Associate Professor of English and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Rutgers University and author of Arranging Grief: Sacred Time and the Body in Nineteenth-Century America.