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By Robert P Marzec (auth.)

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Extra resources for An Ecological and Postcolonial Study of Literature: From Daniel Defoe to Salman Rushdie

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In order not to fall into the same trap of thinking the land as a positive entity (as a phenomenon having an “inner substantiality” that remains unchanged regardless of historical, economic, or national shifts in context), it will be necessary to find ways to characterize the meaning of the land from the concrete specificity of earthly relation. I begin by addressing specifically the land’s “earthly materiality” and how it relates to the logic of imperialism, turning first to an ontological analysis of this problem with reference to Heidegger and Deleuze and Guattari, before dealing with the historical sources.

As I have been arguing, the metaphysical rationale informing these common currencies has its origin in the formation of imperial orders from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. Edward W. Said succinctly phrases imperialism’s bearing upon land in his Culture and Imperialism: “[W]e must attempt . . [to] set . . art in the global, earthly context. Territory and possessions are at stake, geography and power. ”50 Indigenous inhabitancy is coded as the very notes toward an ontology of land / 23 force that disables the polity of a transcendental epistemology; it signifies a fall away from the great platform of a common humanity.

In the work of Deleuze and Guattari, on the other hand, the terms “territory” and “territorialization” (and their correlative term “coding”) do not always refer to an act of colonization. In Anti-Oedipus, “coding” (and later in A Thousand Plateaus, “territorializing”) refers to precapitalist social machines that define themselves according to highly complex, differentially coded flows of desire that reflect a “collective investment” among groups. Itinerant groups, in other words, are not so pluralistically fluid as to be without an identity.

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