This essay addresses current theories of matter and materialism, particularly ontological approaches. My key proposition is that the Humanities’ ontological turn is a theoretical primitivism that presents itself as a methodological avant-garde. It is so because it fetishizes the sundering of human and object worlds. We need to ask why these primitivist ontologies have come to prominence. “The molecular” – a critical object that exemplifies this primitivist turn – is the focus of my analysis here. Combining Marxism, queer studies, and Joel Olson’s conception of a “fanatical approach,” I argue that molecular ontologies mediate a dual intensification specific to the present: that of neoliberal forms of settler colonialism and financialized capital accumulation.

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