The materialism of historical materialism
Book synopsis: New Materialisms rethinks the relevance of materialist philosophy in the midst of a world shaped by forces such as digital and biotechnologies, global warming, global capital, and population flows. Moving away from modes of inquiry that have prioritized the study of consciousness and subjectivity over matter, the essays in this collection show that any account of experience, agency, and political action demands renewed attention to the urgent issues of our own material existence and our environment. The editors propose “new materialisms” as a way to take matter seriously without falling into the conceptual dualism that posits an opposition between matter and thought, materialism and idealism, and body and mind. They locate new materialisms within post-humanist discourses, explaining that new materialist philosophies do not privilege human bodies, but rather view human bodies as one of many bodies, or agential materialities, in the world. By revealing how emerging accounts of matter, materiality, and corporeality are combining with developments in science and technology to demand radically new conceptions of nature, agency, and social and political relationships, New Materialisms makes a significant contribution to the recent resurgence of interest in phenomenology and materialist philosophy in the humanities.