Mangrovian Encounters between Epistemologies of the South and New (Feminist) Materialism
Keywords:new materialism, decoloniality, epistemology, Eurocentrism, tropical materialism, epistemologies of the South, new feminist materialism
With the increased interest sparked across academia in both new materialism and epistemologies of the South, old colonial and patriarchal habits rear their vicious heads. On the one hand, feminist contributions are, in many cases, ignored or watered down in mainstream discussions in both approaches, pushing feminist political projects at the core of these epistemologies to the margins. On the other hand, the engagement in conversations and commitment to the ideas that emerge from the epistemologies of the South are limited or not recognized, a situation that contributes to perpetuating coloniality of knowledge. Accounting for these challenges, this paper puts into conversation epistemologies of the South (focusing on theorists from the Americas) and new feminist materialism in terms of specific concepts such as dualism, difference, time, universality, body-land, and relationality. By showing both the affinities and differences between the two, this paper demonstrates the richness and diversity of arguments; furthermore, it investigates what new materialism has to do with decolonization and tropicality. This paper concludes by addressing the questions: to what extent and in what way might new (feminist) materialism need to be decolonized? And how does it speak to “tropical materialisms”? Although this paper does not specifically focus on the tropics, tropical images of thought such as the “mangrove,” are evoked throughout the text.
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