Speculative Architecture


  • Claire Mary Colebrook Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English, Philosophy, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Pennsylvania State University (Penn State)




What is the problem of epiphylogenesis? We can define and understand the term, but what does it do and what does it demand of us? Indeed, one way of thinking about epiphylogenesis is through Bernard Stiegler’s claim that some forms of technology generate or enable long circuits of desire, and that this needs to be recalled in a time of short-circuits. Epiphylogenesis requires both that we pose problems differently, and that ‘we’ are, or should be, a problem to ourselves. Let me unpack this by beginning with what presents itself as a major problem: climate change, and the end of the world. What are we going to do? How can we change course? How do we save the world? The posing of the question in this way is only possible if there is a distinct ‘we’ who must then deliberate a course of action in relation to the world. Epiphylogenesis shifts the question towards the very possibility of this ‘we.’ How do formations of what comes to think of itself as ‘the human’ come into being, and what worlds and capacities do such formations make possible? For Stiegler the problem of climate change is ultimately the problem of who ‘we’ are, along with a constitutive tendency towards the failure to confront this question.

Author Biography

Claire Mary Colebrook, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English, Philosophy, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Pennsylvania State University (Penn State)

Claire Colebrook is the author of New Literary Histories (Manchester UP, 1997), Ethics and Representation (Edinburgh UP, 1999), Deleuze: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum 1997), Gilles Deleuze (Routledge 2002), Understanding Deleuze (Allen and Unwin 2002), Irony in the Work of Philosophy (Nebraska UP, 2002), Gender (Palgrave 2003), Irony (Routledge 2004), Milton, Evil and Literary History (Continuum 2008), Deleuze and the Meaning of Life (Continuum 2010), and William Blake and Digital Aesthetics (Continuum 2011).  She co-authored Theory and the Disappearing Future with Tom Cohen and J. Hillis Miller (Routledge 2011), and co-edited Deleuze and Feminist Theory with Ian Buchanan (Edinburgh University Press, 2000), Deleuze and History with Jeff Bell (Edinburgh 2008), Deleuze and Gender with Jami Weinstein (Edinburgh UP 2009) and Deleuze and Law (Palgrave) with Rosi Braidotti and Patrick Hanafin.  She is the co-editor, with Tom Cohen, of a series of monographs for Open Humanities Press: Critical Climate Change. She has written articles on visual culture, poetry, literary theory, queer theory and contemporary culture.  She recently completed two books on Extinction for Open Humanities Press: The Death of the Posthuman, and Sex After Life, and has co-authored (with Jason Maxwell) _Agamben_ (Polity, 2015) and (with Tom Cohen and J.Hillis Miller) _Twilight of the Anthropocene Idols (Open Humanities Press, 2016). She is now completing a book on fragility (of the species, the archive and the earth).


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