Adrian J Ivakhiv’s Books of the decade in ecocultural theory
Ten years ago, I posted an article on this blog with the exact same title as this one. It was enjoyable, at the time, to create a list of ten books I found both most personally influential and most significant in the intersectional study of ecology and culture. The list resonated fairly widely, attracting one of the highest number of visits on the blog to that point. (The blog looked different back then; you can see that in a screen shot here.)
Reviewing that list today, I can reaffirm the significance of each of its “top ten,” even if my ordering might be different in retrospect. Arturo Escobar’s Territories of Difference (second on that list) strikes me as the most forward-looking in terms of how it anticipated the most important stream of ecocultural thinking over the past ten years (the decolonial, though that term covers a great deal of complexity, which I will touch on below). Karen Barad’s Meeting the Universe Halfway (#4) is, of the ten, the book that has appeared on the greatest number of reading lists and graduate theses since then, in the areas that I read and advise in. And while the book I listed in first place, William Connolly’s Neuropolitics, has perhaps not aged as well as some of Connolly’s other books (so much has been written about “neuropolitics” since then), its intervention at the time of its writing was substantial and the author’s ongoing productivity merits great respect.
It’s not as easy to write a similar list today, in part because of the dynamics of the “present moment”: this year, in particular, with its global pandemic, its racial-justice convulsions, and its political insanity (here in the United States) has left me with a certain abyssal feeling of the loss of bearings. Can anyone today feel confident that they know what’s going on and what the future holds? (Other than that things will get much worse before they get any better.) [continues here]