SAAP Annual Meeting 2015

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The Pragmatist Promise of Vibrant Materialism

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This paper provides a pragmatist evaluation of Jane Bennett’s vital materialism in terms of its underlying meliorism, and a consideration of the political implications of the reconception of political actants as assemblages of human and nonhuman materialities. Her project of redescription of the political agency of nonhuman things is at once a metaphysical and political project. Her posthumanist materialist metaphysical position is thus best understood as a pragmatic response to current problems of environmental disaster. Her metaphysical project of decentering human subjectivity through the horizontalization of human and nonhuman materialities reorients political theory in order to more successfully bring about progressive environmental policy.


Anna Cook    
University of Oregon
United States


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