Do you hunger for rich and mend-bending yet principled and careful queer (non-)reproduction theory – something in the vein of Lee Edelman’s No Future, but more feminist? I’ve discovered a magical (literally: magic-oriented) thinker who is based in Bloomington, Indiana, and I’ve written about her book The Child to Come: Life After the Human Catastrophe. Pending its publication somewhere else, I’ve posted this short-ish essay on my Patreon page* … It’s titled Relinquish Mission Control: Queer Eco-Pessimism, Communist Magic, and Non-Nihilistic Non-Reproduction. Read it there; here’s the first paragraph.
As readers may recall, in Alfonso Cuarón heavily-theorised film adaptation of the PD James novel Children of Men (2006), probably the prime example of the Anthropocene-associated genre Rebekah Sheldon calls ‘sterility apocalypse’ (p.153), the UK government in the year 2027 is “hunting Fugees [refugees] like cockroaches” and mass-distributing suicide kits. Eighteen years have elapsed since the last baby on Earth was born, and that particular human (a global celebrity) has just been murdered. British nationals, free from the cages in which migrants are kept, lay wreaths for ‘Baby Diego’, sobbing and keening for the lost future, yet, as the protagonist Theo remarks meta-textually, “it was too late before the infertility thing happened, for fuck’s sake.” A couple of minutes later, the film again questions whether irrevocable, pre-given lostness really is the ultimate horror when, in the aftermath of a bomb attack, freedom-fighters slam a hood over Theo’s head: “You know that ringing in your ears, that eeeeeeeeeee? That’s the sound of the ear cells dying, like, their swan song. Once it’s gone you’ll never hear that frequency again! Enjoy it while it lasts!”
* thanks in advance for anything you can donate – albeit Venmo-ing me @Sophie-Lewis-8. is probably better, since it won’t incur a fee.
Read my blog post, if you will, here. It is part of a whole series Verso are doing around the International Women’s Strike or, as I suggest in the post, what could also be called the gender strike.
Gestators of All Genders Unite
Say it loud: we can affirm our non-desire to work even if we don’t work hard. Even when it comes to making babies who will die if we stop working. Though much bodily reproductive work ends up not being productive for capital (in either the immediate- or long-term), we can deploy the term ‘gestational labour’ literally. The particularity is that, just as gestation’s products take a while to emerge (babies have to grow up), work stoppages in this sphere generally don’t have any immediate impact. Their blows are delayed. Omit to bathe, feed and clothe your dependents on March 8th, and cynics may well snigger: nary a capitalist seems to be quaking in her boots. Extend that strike just a few more hours, however, and workers needed for the production of profits today and in the next decade start to sicken and fade.
By Sophie Lewis | I’ve never cared about Daniel Day-Lewis particularly, and until today I didn’t know who PT Anderson is (who is she? was my awestruck thought as the credits rolled – in my head, I think I saw PJ Harvey). Anyway, I went to see The Phantom Thread the other day by accident, […]
via “Fuck Off to Back Where You Came From”: Notes on The Phantom Thread —
Academic publishing is slow, but I might as well flag, here, the fact that two parts of my PhD were published in the last six months:
Sophie Lewis, “International Solidarity in reproductive justice: surrogacy and gender-inclusive polymaternalism,” Gender, Place & Culture (2018). https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2018.1425286.
Sophie Lewis, “Defending Intimacy against What? Limits of Antisurrogacy Feminisms,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 43, no. 1 (Autumn 2017): 97 125. https://doi.org/10.1086/692518
They’re both archived here at Humanities Commons, which I urge you to join (perhaps deleting your Academia dot edu account).
There are twitter threads summarising their contents here and here.
Last month, the guys from the radio show previously known as Social Justice Warriors – now relaunched as Infantile Disorder – came round to the apartment I was cat-sitting and interviewed me about my various recent writings. We discuss my co-translation of Communism for Kids, the short article I wrote for Blind Field Journal on The Handmaid’s Tale, and – lastly – the controversy I participated in over the form of populationism (depopulationism, to be precise) in Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene by Donna Haraway.
You can listen to the SoundCloud here.
I’m not really surprised that the LRB has had quite enough of the exchange – in its Letters section – on the subject of ‘Cyborgs for Earthly Survival!‘ My letter in response to Jenny Turner, Emily Witt and Donna Haraway wasn’t published in the latest issue. So, I’m posting it here (scroll down to the end).