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From the classical era through to the French Enlightenment, oysters were considered the hingepoint between plants and animals. Unable to move, possessing only the sense of sense itself, they were the very figure of bare life. Rather than claiming that oysters should be granted "agency," as the new materialist habit would be, I argue that humans should instead "oystermorphize" themselves, to recognize that our agency is not the dominant condition of our being.


This work was originally published in "Oceanic New York," edited by Steve Mentz and available at



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