This essay advances Marxist feminism’s attention to social reproduction in order to account more fully for the relations that support life-making. The ecology of life-making is, I argue, an under-developed facet of social reproduction theory and an extension of its reach. I begin by clarifying social reproduction theory’s explanations of the value of reproductive labor time to life-making. I then turn to feminist political ecology’s attention to capital’s deregulation of life and to Native feminist onto-epistemologies as they expand the material history of capital’s theft of time and imposition of embodied debt. In the essay’s final section, I consider the writings of Meridel Le Sueur as theoretical contributions to a feminist ecology of life-making. I highlight literature’s capacity to render a history of life-making under capitalism as a complex and contradictory felt experience. From the 1930s through the last decades of the twentieth century, Le Sueur attended to the embodied debts incurred by capitalism’s theft of reproductive time and elaborated an ecology enriched by materialist and Indigenous thought. In countering capital’s fragmented temporalities, knowledges, and dependencies, her work exemplifies a timely feminist representation of life-making as critical re-membering and contributes to an ecology of life-making that more effectively addresses capital’s escalating squeeze on life.
"Toward an Ecology of Life-making: The Re-membering of Meridel Le Sueur."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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