New materialism challenges the mechanistic models characteristic of early modern philosophy that regarded matter as largely passive and inert. Instead it gives weight to topics often overlooked in such accounts: agency, vitalism, complexity, contingency, and self-organization.

This collection, which includes an international roster of contributors from philosophy, history, literature, and science, is the first to ask what is "new" about the new materialism and place it in interdisciplinary perspective. Against current theories of new materialism it argues for a deeper engagement with materialism's history, questions whether matter can be "lively," and asks whether new materialism's wish to revitalize politics and the political lives up to its promise.

Contributors: Keith Ansell-Pearson, Sarah Ellenzweig, Christian J. Emden, N. Katherine Hayles, Jess Keiser, Mogens Laerke, Ian Lowrie, Lenny Moss, Angela Willey, Catherine Wilson, Charles T. Wolfe, Derek Woods, and John H. Zammito.

chapter |18 pages

Introduction: New Materialism

Looking Forward, Looking Back

part |92 pages

Materialist Prehistories

chapter |22 pages

Plastic Matters

chapter |21 pages

Deleuze and New Materialism

Naturalism, Norms, and Ethics

part |69 pages

Humanities and the Sciences of Matter

chapter |23 pages

Engendering New Materializations

Feminism, Nature, and the Challenge to Disciplinary Proper Objects

part |47 pages

Monism, Liveliness, and the Problem of Scale

part |97 pages

The Politics of Ontology

chapter |23 pages

Detachment Theory

Agency, Nature, and the Normative Nihilism of New Materialism

chapter |19 pages

Materialism, Constructivism, and Political Skepticism

Leibniz, Hobbes, and the Erudite Libertines

chapter |31 pages

Normativity Matters

Philosophical Naturalism 
and Political Theory

chapter |22 pages

Concluding (Irenic) Postscript

Naturalism as a Response to the New Materialism 1