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As a descriptive project in the grammar of geology, this spike naturalizes European colonial relations and their epistemological and ecological transformations.
The “nonevent” of this geologic corporeality is the very contact zone of geosocial relations that the Anthropocene attempts to speak to, yet it continues to do so in the progressive narrative arc, which is also a narrative of the asymmetries of colonial possession (of subjects, land, resources) and indigenous and black dispossession.“The Preface to the Reader” describes the people of these lands as inanimate objects, blank slates waiting to be civilized by the Europeans: "these simple gentiles lyvinge only after the lawe of nature, may well bee likened to a smoothe and bare table unpainted, or a white paper unwritten upon, upon the which yow may at the first paynte and wryte what yow lyste." As land is made into tabula rasa for European inscription of its militant maps, so too do Indigenes and Africans become rendered as a writ or ledger of flesh scribed in colonial grammars.“Black Metamorphosis,” 1452 Wynter suggests that we should in fact consider 1452 as the beginning of the New World, as African slaves are put to work on the first plantations on the Portuguese island of Madeira, initiating the “sugar–slave” complex—a massive replantation of ecologies and forced relocation of people (existing ecologies were not immune to the ravages of the new invaders, from plants and domestic animals to microbiomes and new geomorphic regimes).This spike of brutality, sadism, and death, coupled with the subsequent dispossession of indigenous peoples from their land and the beginnings of industrial global slavery, enacts a foundational spatial inscription of colonialism (and race) into a monument of global environmental change.Inscribed in this origin of the Anthropocene is what Michael Taussig calls a “space of death.” That is, the fungibility of Blackness and geologic resources (as land, minerals, and ores) is coeval, predicated on the ability of the colonizer to both describe and operationalize world-space as a global entity.
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Coloniality cuts across both flesh and earth in the economies of valuation it established, exacting an “incorporative exclusion from space” for the colonized as subjective agents and agents of geography.