An Anthropogenic Table of Elements: Experiments in the Fundamental
Published: October 2022© 2022
246 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.53 in, 10 b&w illustrations, 1 b&w map, 3 b&w figures
An Anthropogenic Table of Elements provides a contemporary rethinking of Dmitri Mendeleev’s periodic table of elements, bringing together "elemental" stories to reflect on everyday life in the Anthropocene.
Concise and engaging, this book provides stories of scale, toxicity, and temporality that extrapolate on ideas surrounding ethics, politics, and materiality that are fundamental to this contemporary moment. Examining elemental objects and forces, including carbon, mould, cheese, ice, and viruses, the contributors question what elemental forms are still waiting to emerge and what political possibilities of justice and environmental reparation they might usher into the world.
Bringing together anthropologists, historians, and media studies scholars, this book tests a range of possible ways to tabulate and narrate the elemental as a way to bring into view fresh discussion on material constitutions and, thereby, new ethical stances, responsibilities, and power relations. In doing so, An Anthropogenic Table of Elements demonstrates through elementality that even the smallest and humblest stories are capable of powerful effects and vast journeys across time and space.
Timothy Neale, Courtney Addison, and Thao Phan
Xenia Cherkaev, Heather Paxson, and Stefan Helmreich
Émélie Desrochers-Turgeon, Ozayr Saloojee, and Zoe Todd
Alison Kenner and Sarah Stalcup
Derek P. McCormack
Janelle Lamoreaux and Ayo Wahlberg
J.R. Latham and Kate Seear
"Through provocations challenging innateness and foundational forms, An Anthropogenic Table of Elements invites us to think and feel more capaciously about the elements that compose, inflect, and refract across our mutual worlds. A must-read collection for the emergent elemental turn in the human sciences and more-than-human studies."Cymene Howe, Professor of Anthropology, Rice University
"Immerse yourself in this open-ended catalogue and move through the fantastic itineraries of the elemental it proposes. Yearnings for possibility within the elemental forces of our time – colonialism, extractivism, racism, capitalism – will be attended to. This is a table of elements geared towards times to come, anticipating its own transformation by offering a notion of elementality that emphasizes recombinatory capacities. This book is a wonderful methodological and political achievement that sparks the imagination, ignites new connections, and keeps the fire of political commitments alive."Andrea Ballestero, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Ethnography Studio, University of Southern California
"Looking at landscapes, bodies, and relations shot through with mining and endocrine disruptors and fires, this volume turns not to the keywords of the twentieth century, but to the elements of the twenty-first. A wide-ranging set of things and connections unfolds from the question of the unit of inquiry and narrative in an anthropogenic world. By turns sober and creative, this group of accomplished writers plays with and on the periodic table of elements to analyse forms and formations of the element, in social life, in social science, and in the scientific and experiential work of living in a world in which every natural thing is socially and materially shaped by colonialism, industry, and technological activity. The result is writing that settles somewhere in the space between the essay and the assay: curious, experimental, informative."Hannah Landecker, Professor of Sociology & Society and Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles