Kathryn Yusoff, “Geo-Logics: Natural Resources as Necropolitics”

Courtesy of the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries

The GSD is pleased to present a series of talks and webinars broadcast to our audiences via Zoom.

*This lecture will be ONLINE ONLY. For security reasons, virtual attendees must register. Scroll down to find complete instructions for how to register.

Event Description

This talk addresses how natural resources are the dominant and normative modality of matter, one that is predicated on and institutionalizes racialized relations. Two stratal relations deployed in the making of natural resources in the U.S. are addressed. First, the stratigraphic imagination of race in Louis Agassiz’s geographic race maps and portraits of the enslaved, alongside his scientific and political claims about polygenesis, plantations and the enduring legacy of racial difference. The second strata examines a convict lease prison mine in Birmingham, Alabama, which helped build the ‘Magic City’ and floated U.S. Steel on the stock exchange. This example of the carceral form of ‘natural resources’ and the undergrounding of black life during and after Reconstruction built the white surfaces of Modernity, enacting the stratigraphic imagination of racial difference as surface and mine. I consider both these accounts of materiality as affective infrastructures of White Geology that point to broader sites in the racializing geo-logics of natural resources and the decolonizing of matter. Within the talk I will address questions of material memory and redress, alongside the weaponization of geology through natural resources as an affectual architecture of racializing difference.

A screenshot of Kathryn Yusoff giving a presentation on Zoom. Yusoff is visible on the right side of the image. The presentation shows an image from the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

A screenshot of Kathryn Yusoff giving a presentation on Zoom. Yusoff is visible on the right side of the image. The presentation gives an overview of Yusoff's central theories that she will review in the presentation.d


Headshot of Kathryn Yusoff, who wears glasses and a black shirt and stands in front of a hillside with cactus.Kathryn Yusoff is Professor of Inhuman Geography in the School of Geography at Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road E1 4NS, U.K.  Most recently, she is author of A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None, Minneapolis (University of Minnesota Press, 2018), a SI on “Geosocial Formations and the Anthropocene” (with Nigel Clark) in Theory Culture and Society, “Epochal Aesthetics” in E-flux, and Geologic Life: Inhuman Intimacies and the Geophysics of Race (forthcoming). Yusoff can be reached at [email protected].

Follow Kathryn Yusoff on Twitter.

How to Join

Register to attend the lecture here. Once you have registered, you will be provided with a link to join the lecture via Zoom. This link will also be emailed to you.

The event will also be live streamed to the GSD’s YouTube page. Only viewers who are attending the lecture via Zoom will be able to submit questions for the Q+A. If you would like to submit questions for the speaker in advance of the event, please click here.

Live captioning will be provided during this event. A transcript will be available roughly two weeks after the event, upon request.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].