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This essay offers a critique of the vitalist turn in queer and ecological theory, here represented by the work of Karen Barad. Whereas Barad advances an image of life geared towards meaningful connection with others, human and nonhuman, Deleuze advances an a-signifying ontology of self-dismissal. The point of this essay isn’t to separate their two views, but to draw out the consequences of their entanglement. Insofar as Barad’s work conceptualizes life (and art) as a vitalizing encounter, it cannot, this essay argues, account for the queer negativity at play in environmental politics, including the politics of climate change.


This work was originally published in Postmodern Culture, available at doi:10.1353/pmc.2019.0003.



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