Genealogical Deforestation and the Power of Archives: A Micro-Essay

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Pile of tree logs (Unsplash)

Archives are spaces of living memory and power. The contents and size of which can tell us about who and what has been deemed worthy of an artifactual afterlife. In addition, they are legacy makers that encase the material of lived experiences in the amber of recorded history. The destruction of which is akin to violent erasure, to genealogical deforestation.

For those who already cannot see the forest for the trees with respect to our collective striving — as human and nonhuman animals — the continued destruction of our shared history at the whim of politico-agricultural world “leaders” isn’t immediately recognized as being part of the violent project of mass social death orchestrated and strategized by piggish Napoleons. They don’t see that we are raised to be razed via systemic erasure.

So, archives mark the space in-between restless bodies and evolving minds with the lifeblood of history and memory. They are reservoirs of the embodied quotidian by which the thirst for community, belonging, and recognition are quenched. Still, the imperial drought drags on and the trunks of our family trees remain in the path of the logger.

But the roots remain, too, in the lifeblood of the archived subject. In our own flesh and bone until we leave or meet the axe.

Written by

NYC-based philosophy graduate student whose work covers Genocide Studies, Repro + Enviro Justice, and Critical Race Theory. @moontwerk

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