The World as Abyss: The Caribbean and Critical Thought in the Anthropocene

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Product Details
University of Westminster Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.26 inches | 0.38 pounds

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About the Author
Jonathan Pugh is Reader in Island Studies, Newcastle University, UK. He has more than 90 publications and is particularly noted for his engagements with the 'relational' and 'archipelagic' turns which have disrupted notions of the insular island. He is co-author (with David Chandler) of Anthropocene Islands: Entangled Worlds (University of Westminster Press). Jonathan leads the 'Anthropocene Islands' initiative (see https: // ORCiD: https: //

David Chandler is an Earphones Award-winning narrator who has read numerous titles for New York Times bestselling authors William Kent Krueger and C. J. Box, among others.


"How is it that ontology has come to be seen as the antidote for modernity? While Foucault denigrated ontology as a mistaken and parochial exercise, contemporary social theory holds out the promise that new modes of planetary knowledge will save us from our own excesses. Drawing together long traditions in Caribbean scholarship with Afro-pessimist thought, Pugh and Chandler illustrate how the search for more emancipatory ontologies - relational ontologies, indigenous ontologies, non-human ontologies, etc. - not only misunderstands the problem of modernity but (more importantly) works to veil the negative force that marks both the limit and cause of all such knowledge practices: what they term the abyss. To engage in abyssal thought - as they lay out - is to inhabit a site of refusal: a determination not to be drawn into the lure of ontological 'correction' and to recognise that the practice of world making cannot not bear the imprint of colonial violence. Articulated in passionate declarative prose, these authors powerfully illuminate the trap of the emancipatory instinct and the promise of a deconstructive ethic." - Mitch Rose, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Aberystwyth University, UK

"A much-needed intellectual effort in the non-reductionist and non-essentialising style of Pugh and Chandler's previous book. The World as Abyss gives Caribbean thought and culture the place they deserve within critical theory and materialist studies." - Mónica Fernández Jiménez, Valladolid University, Spain

"For some time now scholars have questioned the overly general assumptions about the 'anthropos' of the Anthropocene, but much work needs to be done to flesh out what a decolonized Anthropocene might be. Pugh and Chandler's The World as Abyss provides an original, intriguing and compelling counterpoint to bland Anthropocene humanism (and posthumanism). This timely work explores the poetics of the Caribbean and provides a way to think about the Anthropocene and the future beyond the managerialism of the present. This book is essential reading for those working in the environmental humanities or Anthropocene studies." - Claire Colebrook, Professor, Penn State University, USA

"This book names an apocalypse that began long ago. Pugh and Chandler patiently follow the journey of thought as it travels from the Middle Passage to the Caribbean. This brings them face-to-face with the horror of anti-Black violence, not as just another resource to strip-mine, but as an unavoidable abyss that confines all thought. Its reminder: that we have still not yet begun to think a truly Black world." - Andrew Culp, Professor, California Institute of the Arts, USA