An Ecology of Immanent Otherness: The Onto/eco-poethics of Hlne Cixous
Valiquette, Renee A.
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Notions of identification and resemblance have been central to the onto-epistemologies of Anglo Environmental Ethics in the 20th and 21st centuries. In order to dismantle Western conceptions of the human as separate from the material world the case needed to be made for the likeness of humans and nature; nature is us (Crutzen and Schwgerl 2011). This dissertation builds on such efforts while also proposing a change of course, one that moves away from sameness and toward otherness. To contend with and address the deeply unsettling and unprecedented conditions of Anthropocenic life we need an environmental ethics of immanent otherness. To conceive such an ethics, I turn to feminist post-structuralist Hlne Cixous. Cixous remains under-represented within eco-theoretical readings of post-structuralism, despite expanding interest in her contemporaries. Too material for social constructivism, and too textual for new materialism, Cixouss singular approach to materiality and immanence have remained decidedly overlooked. (Re)reading Cixous from within the literature of new materialism and environmental (post)humanities, we discover an onto/eco-poethics of immanent otherness that not only conceives poetic textuality within materiality, but otherness as constitutive of a seething, lively immanent world. In following Cixous, we surrender enduring enchantments with environmental ethics of unity, certainty and purity and discover how the poetry and jouissance of immanent otherness can help us to better navigate these strange, contaminated and incoherent times.