Title

Mestizos Know Why the Earth Eats the Dead

Lead Author Major

English

Lead Author Status

Senior

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Jeffrey Hole

Faculty Mentor Department

English

Abstract/Artist Statement

The suffering of Black and Brown bodies due to environmental destruction has been largely ignored in the white geology of the Anthropocene. As noted in Kathryn Yusoff’s A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None, the Anthropocene “neatly erases histories of racism that were incubated through the regulatory structures of geologic relations.” The history of the Anthropocene is a history of Black and Indigenous communities being continually extracted for resources as if they were earthly materials themselves. Being seen as inanimate material means Black and Brown people exist in a subcategory of humanity that I call the Dead. The intersectional identities of the Dead force them to live intimately with their own mortality and the mortality of all life on Earth. Donna Haraway in Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene calls this state of consciousness compostist, as opposed to post-humanist, wherein all life is understood as being part of the cycle of matter. In this paper, I argue that the Mestizo experience is one of living as the Dead by making kin with the constant exchange of earthly material through death. Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead confronts the history of Mestizos living in the borderlands between Mexico and the United States, whose lives are always in contrast with their inevitable death. The Dead inhabit a space that is uniquely intimate with the natural world, exhibiting the qualities of Haraway’s compostist theory.

Location

Yosemite Learning Lab, William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center

Start Date

30-4-2022 10:20 AM

End Date

30-4-2022 10:39 AM

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Apr 30th, 10:20 AM Apr 30th, 10:39 AM

Mestizos Know Why the Earth Eats the Dead

Yosemite Learning Lab, William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center

The suffering of Black and Brown bodies due to environmental destruction has been largely ignored in the white geology of the Anthropocene. As noted in Kathryn Yusoff’s A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None, the Anthropocene “neatly erases histories of racism that were incubated through the regulatory structures of geologic relations.” The history of the Anthropocene is a history of Black and Indigenous communities being continually extracted for resources as if they were earthly materials themselves. Being seen as inanimate material means Black and Brown people exist in a subcategory of humanity that I call the Dead. The intersectional identities of the Dead force them to live intimately with their own mortality and the mortality of all life on Earth. Donna Haraway in Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene calls this state of consciousness compostist, as opposed to post-humanist, wherein all life is understood as being part of the cycle of matter. In this paper, I argue that the Mestizo experience is one of living as the Dead by making kin with the constant exchange of earthly material through death. Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead confronts the history of Mestizos living in the borderlands between Mexico and the United States, whose lives are always in contrast with their inevitable death. The Dead inhabit a space that is uniquely intimate with the natural world, exhibiting the qualities of Haraway’s compostist theory.