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Violent Inheritance deepens analysis of settler colonialism’s endurance in the North American West and how infrastructures that ground sexual modernity are both reproduced and challenged by publics who have inherited them. E Cram redefines sexual modernity through extractivism, wherein sexuality functions to extract value from life including land, air, minerals, and bodies. Analyzing struggles over memory cultures through the region’s land use controversies at the turn of and well into the 20th century, Cram unpacks consequences of western settlement and the energy regimes that fueled it. Transfusing queer eco-criticism with archival and ethnographic research, Cram reconstructs the linkages—“land lines”—between infrastructure, violence, sexuality, and energy and shows how racialized sexual knowledges cultivated settler colonial cultures of both innervation and enervation. From the residential school system to elite health seekers desiring the “electric” climates of the Rocky Mountains to the war-time incarceration of Japanese Americans, Cram demonstrates how the environment promised to some individual access to vital energy and to others the exhaustion of populations through state violence and racial capitalism. Grappling with these land lines, Cram insists, helps interrogate regimes of value and build otherwise unrealized connections between queer studies and the environmental/energy humanities.

Violent Inheritance: About


"More than any other book I have encountered, Violent Inheritance persuasively reckons sexual modernity as an ecological formation, one jaggedly woven through the capitalist extractions and settler dispossessions that mold bodies and landscapes alike in the American West. The book's intellectual wager is vast. Without this book, I do not think you can fully understand the sexual politics of energy, nor the environmental politics of sexuality, and that makes Violent Inheritance a bracing, powerful, and essential achievement." — Gabriel N. Rosenberg, author of The 4-H Harvest: Sexuality and the State in Rural America 

"E Cram grapples with the violent inheritance of settler cultures in the US West with unflinching honesty and attunement to the regenerative possibilities lived by queer decolonial thinkers. Cram's searching, often intimate Violent Inheritance reaches for worlds beyond petromodernity, futures that even now struggle to emerge through messy, fierce solidarities." —Stephanie LeMenager, Moore Endowed Professor of English and Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Oregon

"This compelling and original book brings the energy humanities into dialogue with queer studies, crafting a conversation that will have a lasting impact on both fields. Moving deftly across multiple histories and methodologies, Cram dwells on the intimate crossings between land and bodies, expanding our understanding of how biopower operates. Beautifully researched and written, Violent Inheritance is at once deeply responsive to histories of dispossession and damage and attentive to possibilities for regeneration and care." — Dana Luciano, author of Arranging Grief: Sacred Time and the Body in Nineteenth-Century America 

"Few books give me pause as this one has. What, I wonder, does it mean to trace the racialized and colonial land lines of sexual modernity across all landscapes? How might we theorize extractivism with and against vitality in all modes of energy? These are the questions and directions that emerge across this historic, archival, and deeply personal book. It is a must read for those immersed in rhetorical, environmental, queer, and critical race projects." —Lisa A. Flores, author of Deportable and Disposable: Public Rhetoric and the Making of the "Illegal" Immigrant 

"Cram's extraordinary achievement in Violent Inheritance is nothing short of a remapping of the North American West through a brilliantly incisive and beautifully written engagement with environment, region, sexuality, race, and memory. Bringing together energy studies and queer studies through innovation critique and imaginative archival labor, Cram traces the 'land lines' of violence and vitality in shaping modern sexuality, a transformation in how one thinks about cultural bequeathment and its consequences. This book is a decolonial and queer tour de force. Like encountering Big Sky for the first time, you will never see or remember the same way again." — Charles E. Morris III, Co-Editor, QED:A Journal in GLBQ Worldmaking, Syracuse University

"E Cram's Violent Inheritance is a work at once searing and tender, confronting white queer complicities with settler-colonial visions of landscape while tracking possibilities for coalition and collaboration. It skillfully demonstrates how regimes of modern sexuality depend upon stolen land—and, crucially, redefines "sexuality" not as individual orientation or identity but as larger-scale phenomena of reproduction, domesticity, and biopolitical control. This is a rare and rewarding invitation to think through the intersection of queer studies, environmental humanities , and decolonial/indigenous studies." —Nicole Seymour, author of Bad Environmentalism: Irony and Irreverence in the Ecological Age 

"I know of no other book that quite puts together such a transdisciplinary constellation of concerns with this kind of intellectual sophistication and lived connection to the subject matter. This book blazes exciting new trails across academic territories!"—Gregory Seigworth, Professor of Digital Communication and Cultural Studies, Millersville University of Pennsylvania

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