1st Edition

Narratives of Unsettlement Being Out-of-joint as a Generative Human Condition

By Madina Tlostanova Copyright 2023
    240 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book uses an interdisciplinary inter-mediational approach to reflect on the relational complexity of unsettlement as a predominant sensibility of the present époque.

    The book tackles interrelated aspects of unsettlement including temporality, the disconcerting effects of the Anthropocene, the biomedical facets of unsettlement, and the post-pandemic futures. It uses a chimeric approach combining essayistic and speculative fiction writing methods, negotiating rational, affective and imaginative ways of inquiry, and showing rather than merely explaining. The book poses questions, but gives no ready-made answers, and invites us to think together on the unsettlement as a negatively global human condition that can be collectively made into a generative move of resurgence and refuturing.

    Contributing to critical reflections on the main features and sensibilities of the current époque, the book will be of interest to scholars and undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the general public, interested in critical global and future perspectives, in decolonial research, gender studies, and posthumanities.

    Part I. Introduction

    Overture: The Chimera of unsettlement

    Part II. Variations on the time of unsettlement 

    1. Furia and the zärdaly jam

    2. Can we fix the disjointed time?

    Part III. We will never be settled again 

    3. A tower on the Simurgh Mountain 

    4. The unsettled worlding(s)

    Part IV. Against immunity

    5. A cream-cheese choux 

    6. Biomedical coloniality and the Covid-19 conundrum 

    7. A portrait of an unknown lady

    Part V. Carmen Saeculare

    8. The song of the age that has never come

    9. Hikikomori in the time of plague


    Madina Tlostanova is a Professor of Postcolonial Feminisms at Linköping University, Sweden. She has written widely on existential, epistemic, gender and aesthetic aspects of coloniality and decoloniality, on the intersections of the post-socialist and postcolonial human conditions, fiction and arts over the past twenty years. Her recent books include Postcolonialism and Postsocialism in Fiction and Art: Resistance and Re- existence (2017), What Does it Mean to be Post-Soviet? Decolonial Art from the Ruins of the Soviet Empire (2018), A New Political Imagination. Making the Case (2020, co-authored with Tony Fry).

    "With this book, Madina Tlostanova invites us to refuture our worlds, by disinterring ourselves from the ‘scorched soil’ of the personal and planetary crises currently occupying the wake of western/colonial/Eurocentric hegemony. To rupture paralytic entanglements enabled by the ‘hollow silence’ and ‘cultural stagnation’ that underwrite our incapacities to re-imagine beyond straightjackets of fear, privilege, disavowal and hatred."

    Alice Feldman, University College Dublin, Coordinator of the Masters` Program "Race, Migration and Decolonial Studies"

    "Madina Tlostanova method is to inter-weave sharp critical argument with richly imagined speculative fictions. These stunning fables evoke past and future disasters with pathos and humour: a forgotten flu epidemic, failed extractivism in the Caucasus told through several generations; the last inhabitant of a leper colony; a future of socially distanced isolation as the permanent condition of technologically enhanced elites sealed off from the abandoned majority."

    Anne-Marie Willis, Studio at the Edge of the World, Tasmania

    "Blowing up the Western(ized) categories of critical and epistemological thinking inborn to Modernity/Coloniality, Tlostanova endeavors to reconfigure those issues by unexpectedly knitting nonfiction and fiction, essays and speculative narratives, in other words, by beautifully juxtaposing thinking and feeling, scientific truth and poetic truth. Finally, inviting the reader to yield to the unsettling way of getting knowledge by thinking with art, Tlostanova also invites us to learn to live unsettlement as a potentially fulfilling condition and, paradoxically, a provisional exit from our space and time out of joint."

    Luigi Cazzato, University of Bari "Aldo Moro", Italy