On the body and the human-ecology distinction
Links to Fileshttps://muse.jhu.edu/article/711080
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DepartmentTowson University, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies
Citation of Original PublicationParker, E. A. (2018). On “The Body” and the Human-Ecology Distinction: Reading Frantz Fanon after Bruno Latour. PhiloSOPHIA, 8(2), 59–84. https://doi.org/10.1353/phi.2018.0015
Reading Fanon yields a critique of a concept that he did not himself explicitly criticize, but which his project in effect renders deeply problematic, “the body.” I therefore question this concept in the present as it suggests a supposedly generic body whose meanings and therefore intuitions and fears are also denied. I argue that reading Frantz Fanon after Bruno Latour, it is possible to understand where “the body” as a concept comes from: “The body” becomes the meaning of the modern political precisely in its exclusion of “ecology.” If for Latour, modernity means the attempt to purge culture of nature and thereby to exacerbate natural disasters precisely in this effort, for Fanon, modernity is Manichaean: Moderns (wielders of colonial power) seek to purge humanness of all things ecological, including bodily difference, which threatens the political and ecological distinction. “The body” is far from a benign figure of speech. It pretends to a genericity that is in fact nowhere to be found on earth. “The body” is a distinctly modern legacy, evidence and fuel of modernity’s planetary alienation.