Cultivating Autonomy from Empire: Exploring the Edges of Anarchism and Permaculture
This project explores autonomy-oriented currents within permaculture and anarchism. Drawing on a minor current of Western thought influenced by Baruch Spinoza, autonomy is reconceptualized as a situational process that entails both connection and separation. Autonomy is thus an always-partial departure from the toxic patterns nurtured by capitalism, white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, settler colonialism, state domination, and other forms of subjection. This investigation focuses on the way autonomy-oriented currents transform their own relationships and situations, rather than seeking to ameliorate Empire’s institutions. As a project-based thesis undertaken through Cultural Studies, this investigation involved a number of components in addition to this text, including a blog, co-authoring a book, and propagating perennials and fruit trees. These activities are drawn into conversation with other autonomy-oriented texts and practices, and their potentials and pitfalls are analyzed in relation to liberalism, morality, counterhegemony, academia, oppression, industrialization, militancy, and settler colonialism.
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