• Queer Futures for an Aging Planet

    Author(s):
    Jacob Jewusiak (see profile)
    Date:
    2023
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/hez6-c759
    Abstract:
    Associated with disaster metaphors such as floods, avalanches, tsunamis, and icebergs, older people have come to take the symbolic form of the environmental impacts they are imagined causing. Yet even as older people are posited as the cause and imaginatively take the shape of the disaster, they are also registered as especially vulnerable to the effects of rising temperatures and extreme weather. While the tendency toward blame and care are not logically incompatible, this tension has resulted in a cultural narrative that fuels a deep sense of unfairness across generations. This article reads the sterility dystopia—a subgenre of science fiction where a global inability to have children results in aging populations and societal collapse—as registering the anxiety that arises at the intersection of age and the environment. Taking The Children of Men as a case study, I suggest that P. D. James’s novel expresses the demographic dread arising from the relative shift in younger and older populations—not of a world lacking children, as we might expect, but of one catastrophized by the overabundance of the old and aging. Pushing against the link between climate activism and generational futurity, I draw on queer theory to argue that intergenerational kinship in the present privileges the values of affiliation, contingency, and immediacy that can inspire a more sustainable future.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    6 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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