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Not Paralyzed

(p.171) Afterword
Weak Planet
Wai Chee Dimock
University of Chicago Press

The Afterword comes back to these mediating networks one more time, making an explicit case now for a form of nonlinear agency and collateral resilience. Left-field developments rather than targeted hits, collateral resilience inversely matches collateral damage and, like the latter, speaks to the importance of cascading side effects, multiply authored and peripherally propagated, emerging where one might not expect them to. The redress networks occasioned by the late-life frailties of Sitting Bull are a case in point. The nineteenth-century Lakota warrior, celebrated for his military prowess in his youth, was held prisoner by the United States government on the Standing Rock Reservation in his last decades. The Afterword also looks at the writings of Luther Standing Bear and the present-day climate activism of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Lakota language classes at Sitting Bull College as oblique responses to these past defeats, a nonlinear mediation bearing the input of many. Persevering against all odds and granting assisted life to finite beings, these precarious experiments make up a poetics of non-paralysis, keeping alive hopes in a future still unforeclosed, weakly but meaningfully open to our efforts.

Keywords:   mediating networks, nonlinear agency, collateral resilience, Sitting Bull, Luther Standing Bear, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Lakota language, Sitting Bull College, climate activism, Dakota Access Pipeline

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