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Document Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Political Science

Year Degree Awarded

2015

Month Degree Awarded

September

First Advisor

Barbara Cruikshank

Second Advisor

Ivan Ascher

Third Advisor

Angela Willey

Subject Categories

Continental Philosophy | Ethics and Political Philosophy | Feminist Philosophy | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Political Theory

Abstract

My dissertation is a Feminist contribution to Environmental Political Theory focused on temporality. My research investigates the tension between the urgent need to act fast in a fast-changing world, and the necessity for time to pause and think through such radical and rapid changes. As it signals our nearing the planet’s limits, the emergence of the “anthropocene” crisis challenges growth-driven “progress.”

I begin this dissertation with a survey of Environmental Thought that helps situate my contribution to the ongoing debates in this field, underscoring that as ecosophers pose the question of the nonhuman, in so doing they also are confronted with problems related to temporality. Then, building on the concept of “utopia,” I critique a temporality that assumes infinite growth on a planet with finite resources, while constantly postponing its promises of abundance to an impossible future. The concept I propose is “uchronia”: growth-driven progress is a timeless (ou-chronos), dangerously idealized (eu-chronos) temporality, just like “utopia” refers to both a “nowhere” place and an “ideal” place (ou- and eu-topos). I draw from Nietzsche’s concept of eternal return to problematize teleologies of progress: the eternal return prompts us to live our lives as though we were prepared to re-live them eternally.

In contrast with uchronia, alternative, queer eco-temporalities – I call these “anti-uchronia,” “heterochronia,” and “synchrony” – build upon and radicalize sustainability. However, not all “eco-temporalities” – alternatives to the hegemonic, in-crisis temporalities – constitute themselves as non-linear or radical – i.e not all of them are queer: I have also coined the concept of “counter-uchronia” to describe certain understandings of “sustainable growth,” justifications of geoengineering and carbon markets creation, as well as primitivist (often virilist) environmentalist discourses which respectively advocate the “return” to a golden past of harmony with (often feminized) “Nature,” or technofixes and green capitalism to amend and resume growth-driven progress’ uchronian course.

To advance this conceptual framework, I offer close readings of environmental science fiction stories, activist manifestos, graffiti art, performing arts including contemporary dance and circus, as well as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientific reports.

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