Cover image for Every Living Thing: The Politics of Life in Common By Jenell Johnson

Every Living Thing

The Politics of Life in Common

Jenell Johnson

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$104.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09456-4

$24.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09457-1

Available as an e-book

198 pages
6" × 9"
4 b&w illustrations
2023

RSA Series in Transdisciplinary Rhetoric

Every Living Thing

The Politics of Life in Common

Jenell Johnson

Winner of the 2023 Tarla Rai Peterson Book Award in Environmental Communication from the National Communication Association

“Rhetoric needs more audacious scholarship, and Every Living Thing is audacious yet rigorous. The inclusive nature of Johnson’s approach is exemplary. Scholars of rhetoric will be citing from all parts of this book for years to come.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Sample Chapters
  • Subjects
This book examines the question of what we mean when we talk about life, revealing new insights into what life is, what it does, and why it matters. Jenell Johnson studies arguments on behalf of life—not just of the human or animal variety, but all life. She considers, for example, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s fight for water, deep ecologists’ Earth First! activism, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, and astrophysicists’ positions on Martian microbes. What she reveals is that this advocacy—vital advocacy—expands our view of what counts as life and shows us what it would mean for the moral standing of human life to be extended to life itself.

Including short interviews with celebrated ecological writer Dorion Sagan, former NASA Planetary Protection Officer Catharine Conley, and leading figure in Indigenous and environmental studies Kyle Whyte, Every Living Thing provides a capacious view of life in the natural world. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in biodiversity, bioethics, and the environment.

“Rhetoric needs more audacious scholarship, and Every Living Thing is audacious yet rigorous. The inclusive nature of Johnson’s approach is exemplary. Scholars of rhetoric will be citing from all parts of this book for years to come.”
Every Living Thing is a highly original work that is also readily recognizable, which is a testament to how on point its concept is. It is brilliantly novel yet familiar. Jenell Johnson’s style and scholarship, which are of the highest caliber, are worthy of deep respect.”

Jenell Johnson is Associate Professor of Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is the author of American Lobotomy and has edited or coedited numerous volumes, including The Neuroscientific Turn, Biocitizenship, Rhetoric of Health and Medicine As/Is, and Graphic Reproduction, this last also published by Penn State University Press.

Acknowledgements

Introduction: This Thing We Call Life

Life Is Like a Verb: A Conversation with Dorion Sagan

1. Life in Water, Life in Stone: The Limits of Bioidentification

Kinship, Consent, and Mutual Responsibility: A Conversation with Kyle Whyte

2. A Sense of Commonality: Bioidentification in Deep Ecology

3. Death Itself: The Politics of Human Extinction

4. “This Universe Belongs to Life”: Planetary Protection and Planetary Belonging

Signs of Life: A Conversation with Catharine Conley

Conclusion: De Anima

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Download a PDF sample chapter here: Introduction