One Species, Same Difference? Postcolonial Critique and the Concept of Life
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This article examines a recent challenge to postcolonial studies: the emergence of species thinking. Species thinking calls for a shift away from postcolonial studies and its characteristic emphasis on racial, ethnic and cultural difference in favour of a new and fully inclusive concept of human collectivity that is attentive to our basic sameness and our common vulnerability to the forces that threaten our future on this planet. I suggest that the move to species thinking is too hasty, and I argue that its recourse to the rhetoric of life preservation warrants much deeper scrutiny. As I demonstrate, to uncritically portray life and its prolongment as the goal to which we all aspire is to ultimately profile new patterns of neocolonial domination where exploitation is legitimized not in the name of “progress” and the civilizing mission but in the name of longevity and the reproduction of the species.