After Elizabeth Povinelli's Geontologies


  • Wesley Brunson University of Toronto




ife and non-life, ethnographic desire, resonance, encyclopedia


This prose poem explores autobiography as a trace site for the affective encounters between life and non-life. Using my own memories of making a childhood bug collection, I attempt to answer a question Povinelli asks in Geontologies—What does life desire? —by merging it with a question raised in my own ethnographic fieldwork—What do I desire? The affective resonance between my childhood bug collection, my ethnographic fieldwork as part of my PhD program in anthropology, and Povinelli’s 2016 book disrupts linear notions of time and argues that desire for difference itself produces the distinction between life and non-life.


Original Publication
Brunson, Wesley. “Dragonfly.” Anthropology and Humanism, vol. 47, no. 1, 2022, pp. 235–239.

© 2022 by the American Anthropological Association. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1111/anhu.12372.

Author Biography

Wesley Brunson, University of Toronto

Wesley Brunson is a poet and Ph.D. candidate in sociocultural anthropology at the University of Toronto. His writing can be found in Anthropology & Humanism and in the anthology A Day Is a Struggle. Wes grew up in Minneapolis and lives in Toronto.


Macauley, David, and Neil Ardley. The Way Things Work. Houghton Mifflin, 1988.

Povinelli, Elizabeth A. Geontologies: A Requiem to Late Liberalism. Duke UP, 2016




How to Cite

Brunson, W. (2022). Dragonfly: After Elizabeth Povinelli’s Geontologies. UnderCurrents: Journal of Critical Environmental Studies, 21, 49–52. https://doi.org/10.25071/2292-4736/40294