Are we as a species headed towards extinction? As our economic system renders our planet increasingly inhospitable to human life, powerful individuals fight over limited resources, and racist reaction to migration strains the social fabric of many countries. How can we retain our humanity in the midst of these life-and-death struggles?
Humanity’s Last Stand dares to ask these big questions, exploring the interconnections between climate change, global capitalism, xenophobia, and white supremacy. As it unearths how capitalism was born from plantation slavery and the slaughter of Indigenous people, it also invites us to imagine life after capitalism. The book teaches its readers how to cultivate an anthropological imagination, a mindset that remains attentive to local differences even as it identifies global patterns of inequality and racism.
Surveying the struggles of disenfranchised peoples around the globe from frontline communities affected by climate change, to #BlackLivesMatter activists, to Indigenous water protectors, to migrant communities facing increasing hostility, anthropologist Mark Schuller argues that we must develop radical empathy in order to move beyond simply identifying as “allies” and start acting as “accomplices.” Bringing together the insights of anthropologists and activists from many cultures, this timely study shows us how to stand together and work toward a more inclusive vision of humanity before it’s too late.
More information and instructor resources (https://humanityslaststand.org)
About the Author
MARK SCHULLER is a professor of anthropology and nonprofit and NGO studies at Northern Illinois University. Recipient of the Margaret Mead Award and the Anthropology in Media Award, he has written or co-edited eight books, including Humanitarian Aftershocks in Haiti and Killing with Kindness (both Rutgers University Press).CYNTHIA McKINNEY is an assistant professor at North South University, Bangladesh. As a member of the Democratic Party, she served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was the first black woman elected to represent Georgia in the House. She left the Democratic Party and ran in 2008 for president on the ticket of the Green Party of the United States.
"Humanity’s Last Stand is a call to arms to elevate our thinking to the species level or, Schuller cautions, the species will face extinction."
— Cynthia McKinney
"Schuller's brilliant book is critical reading for all of us who work to envision, and bring into being, a socially and ecologically just world. Grounded in a politics of solidarity built through the understanding of, and dismantling of privilege, he mobilizes a new vision for what 'an anthropological imagination' can afford us in terms of activist practice and radical empathy."
— Paige West
"An urgent and much needed contribution to our world in crisis. Schuller lays out crucial ground work for how an anthropological reimagining of global social, political, and economic relationships can save us from ourselves. In clear prose he shows the public how anthropology can be deployed as a way to create more empathy in these troubling times."
— Jason De León
“Humanity’s Last Stand is an electrifying work that dissects a range of interconnected problems—climate change, ultra-right nationalism, and global inequality—and proposes concrete steps to avert total catastrophe. This highly readable book is prescient, if not premonitory. It is essential reading for anyone interested in our species' long-term survival. Anthropology at its finest!”
— Roberto J. González
"Mark Schuller’s approach to the convergent crises pushing us toward human catastrophe and planetary disaster should be taken to heart. With admirable conviction and commitment to radical empathy and pragmatic solidarity, he makes a bold argument for a publicly-engaged anthropological imagination that contributes a holistic understanding of and concrete solutions to urgent global crises."
— Faye V. Harrison
“Mark Schuller takes anthropology to the public with critical insights on the historical and contemporary that expose the catastrophic and complex realities of global racial capitalism. He implores the willing to forge futures where differences matter and praxis of solidarity are intentionally quotidian. Humanity’s Last Stand is a pivotal ecological intervention for these times of crisis.”
— Gina Athena Ulysse
"Mark Schuller has an 'in your face' and challenging style. It conveys his passion and the urgency of the situation addressed in the book. It is more than appropriate--it is engaging. Humanity's Last Stand is an important intervention at a moment of economic, political, cultural, and ecological crisis in the United States and the world. This is a book that has the potential to change the minds of many."
— Kevin Yelvington
"When I finished reading, I needed to catch my breath. The book is furiously and forcefully written, engaging both historical and contemporary issues. Most productively, Schuller puts analyses written by political organizers and anthropologists into conversation, showing how they inform each other and move us forward together. This book is needed for this moment in history."
— Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz
“Humanity’s Last Stand illustrates how we are living in a moment of great turmoil and great possibilities for transformation. This is a timely text for activists and scholars committed to collective liberation. Dr. Schuller not only makes it clear that we are all connected, he makes a compelling case for us all to center the environment, and land, as stewards — not owners.”
— Charlene A. Carruthers
"[Schuller's] invitation to use anthropology to imagine new ways of organizing society and economics is well taken."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Schuller offers this not as a replacement for more traditional world systems theories (such as Marxism) but as a complement, one meant to guide the way to understanding that all struggles for a just world are tied to one another and all are mutually dependent upon all the others; understanding from the bottom up, if you will, to complement analysis from the top down."