Who Would You Kill to Save the World? examines how postapocalyptic cinema uses images from the past and present to depict what it means to preserve the world—and who is left out of the narrative of rebuilding society. Claire Colebrook redefines “the world” as affluent Western society and “saving the world” as preventing us from becoming the othered them who are viewed in their suffering. Colebrook further examines how the use of postapocalyptic cinema is a humanist—Western, capitalist, colonizing, white, heteronormative, and individualist—creation and challenges the notion that a world built on foundations of exploitation is worth saving.
Colebrook combines postapocalyptic fiction, concern over the global climate crisis, colonialism, and anti-Blackness to explain how contemporary postapocalypse blockbusters circulate ideas of whiteness and the right of the privileged to rebuild the world. Who Would You Kill to Save the World? is a provocative addition to the field of extinction studies and challenges the conceptual frames we use to define ourselves.
Provocations Preface 1. It’s Not the End of the World 2. Technologies of the Self 3. Save the World 4. Bifurcation Notes
Claire Colebrook is a reader in English literature at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the author of New Literary Histories: New Historicism and Contemporary Criticism; Ethics and Representation: From Kant to Poststructuralism; and Gilles Deleuze.
“A crucial contribution to the field of extinction studies. Colebrook’s book challenges philosophy itself, the whole conceptual discourse that frames what ‘we’ call ‘our place’ and how this framing produced a relegated otherness named the ‘more-than-human-world.’ Her book is an efficient and convincing demonstration of the necessity to question our drive to survival.”—Frédéric Neyrat, author of The Unconstructable Earth: An Ecology of Separation
“Unfolding like a Yoshimoto cube, one seemingly stable object—the ‘end of the world’ as allegorically navigated by twenty-first-century cinema—transforms completely under Claire Colebrook’s watch, revealing a wholly new sense of its subject. At stake: the value of humanity, its claim for a right to ongoingness, the nature of attachment, and the fraught conception of the world as such.”—Eugenie Brinkema, author of Life-Destroying Diagrams