Video of the “Breaking the Manichean Chains” Panel

This past Friday I was on a panel that Mark William Westmoreland organized for the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs conference on Revolutions: Past, Present, and Future. Mark, Melanie Kampen, and myself all delivered papers which were recorded. The video is available to watch and please feel free to use this page for any comments or discussion. I thought Melanie’s and Mark’s papers were truly excellent and was very honored to be included. Some of what I presented comes out of discussions with Daniel Colucielleo Barber towards a paper I’m hoping we write together when we can carve out the time. The research is very much in early stages and very preliminary here.

Another Laruelle related event post

At some point soon I hope to return back to blogging. I have been working very diligently over the past few months on a number of projects that have taken up most of my time. While you don’t come here for my whinging (that’s what my locked twitter account is for) I haven’t had a day since August that I didn’t work for at least eight hours. It’s getting a bit much! But should end soon and you’ll have some Laruelle related goodies to show for it, like the translation of Introduction to Non-Marxism (final proofing is going on right now) and my introduction and guide to Principles of Non-Philosophy, which will be out in May with EUP. I should have my synthetic introduction to his work finished in January (coming out with Polity) and then I will be finished with my duties to the secondary literature, translations, and editing. I really am thankful for the method and insights that Laruelle has given me, but it’s important that his work is, for me, a method for doing work not “Laruelle-oriented” and so I am looking forward to finishing these projects and focusing on the on-going generic secular project with some others (more details about that as they develop).

Until these projects are finished, edited, and dusted, I am here to give you two more Laruelle related announcements. First, the Laruelle in Translation series hosted by Michael O’Rourke, took place in July. The videos of the lectures by Joshua Ramey, Alex Dubilet, Alice Rekab, and myself are now online at the media page of the Global Art & Ideas Nexus. Also you will find there a short film by Alice Rekab. Unfortunately we don’t have video of the discussion that took place after she showed her video, but it was a genuinely interesting and exciting use of non-philosophy. I am very excited to see it come to fruition. The film was created in collaboration with an artist in Sierre Leone, People Pikeen, and was a genuine work of generic translation. Alice will soon be helping to raise awareness about the Ebola crisis hitting that community and I will be posting a link to that when it is up. You can see another collaboration between the two to help raise awareness about precautions against Ebola on her Vimeo page.

Secondly, for those in the New York area, next weekend (Oct 10-11th) there will be a symposium at Parsons The New School for Design. The symposium will feature a number of friends of the blog, like Alex Dubilet and Dave Mesing, and will represent the diversity of uses to which Laruelle’s project has been put in the Anglophone world. The poster below contains all the pertinent information. Superpositions_Laruelle_Symposium

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“A City of Heretics: François Laruelle’s Non-Philosophy and Its Variants” Published

Angelaki has just published a special issue on François Laurelle’s non-philosophy and variants thereof (click here for the cover, the black cow being a reference to Harman’s review that I use as a trope in my introduction). I edited this collection and was very humbled and honored to try and bring together a number of thinkers whose pick up on Laruelle’s own. The topics covered move from animal ethics to religion to epistemology to art to media to politics and others. I see this as a testament to the plasticity and freedom that non-philosophy allows, something that was on display this last week in Cerisy where a a similar themed colloquium was held. I have listed the table of contents for the journal below with links to free downloads. These are limited to fifty and so I ask if you are interested but have institutional access to Angelaki to please not use the links below. I have invited the other authors in the journal to include their links here, but many will have their own ways of disseminating the link and will want to use their avenues instead. If you are interested in the journal and cannot gain access let me know.

Table of Contents:

1. Laruelle Does Not Exist: Editor’s Introduction

2. Principles for a Generic Ethics by François Laruelle (translated by APS)

3. A Science of Christ? by François Laruelle (translated by Aaron Riches)

4. Sexed Identity by François Laruelle and Anne-Françoise Schmid (translated by Nicola Rubczak)

5. Theorems on the Good News by François Laruelle (translated by Alexander R. Galloway)

6. The Theoretical Pragmatics of Non-Philosophy: Explicating Laruelle’s Suspension of the Principle of Sufficient Philosophy with Brandom’s Meaning-Use Diagrams by Rocco Gangle

7. With One’s Eyes Half-Closed, a Particle of Laruelle by Drew S. Burk

8. The Autism of Reason by Alexander R. Galloway

9. Notes on the Axiomatic of the Desert by Eugene Thacker

10. Proletarian Gnosis by Gilles Grelet (translated by APS)

11. Violence: The Indispensible Condition of the Law (and the Political) by Katerina Kolozova

12. The Animal Line: On the Possibility of a ‘Laruellean’ Non-Human Philosophy by John Mullarkey

13. On Generic Epistemology by Anne-Françoise Schmid and Armand Hatchuel (translated by Robin Mackay)

14. Against Tradition to Liberate Tradition: Weaponized Apophaticism and Gnostic Refusal by Anthony Paul Smith

15. Mediation, Religion, and Non-Consistency in-One by Daniel Colucciello Barber

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Contra Dad Rock Pedagogy

I woke up this morning to a retweet of JKAS’ Wall Street Journal “Has Anyone Seen Last Year’s Promising Freshman?” It was, umm, “interesting” to read a pedagogical perspective dripping with utter contempt for his students especially as I had gone bed late last night reading bell hooks’ Teaching to Transgress. hooks encourages her readers to foster an openness in the classroom driven in part by student desire but also that recognizes that every pedagogical decision is a political decision, that when one teaches only the canon that one has advocated something. Teaching is never simply teaching and if you think it is you’re either not thinking or being willfully ignorant. Now, if we take JKAS at his word at being “invited into this exclusive club” of “liberal enlightenment”, would should, I suppose, trust that he is smart enough to know how insulting his article will be taken as an insult. After all, in it he lambasts professors, his very colleagues (I suppose tenure makes rascals of folks), for not simply  extolling the virtues of the Western and instead “confuse teaching with advocacy”. But setting aside the veracity of such a claim (it seems to me to lack merit) we may assume that while JKAS is aware enough to know it will cause offense we may also assume, since he wrote the article, that he enjoys the fact that it will be offensive. He may even feel that he’s struck a blow against the complex of PC college professors whose only taste for intolerance is against the intolerant. In other words, JKAS is a contrarian and so shares less in common with the lover of wisdom than he does with the sophist who likes the way the words feel in his mouth. Ironically this means he shares more in common with the common right-wing caricature of “social justice warriors” who get off on their outrage as he clearly is enjoying his own smug denigration. Read the rest of this entry »

These Young Men Are Heroes: Kill the Whitey in Your Head

heroes

It is quite possible that tomorrow we will wake up this photo on the covers of major newspapers. Reportedly the photo was taken in Ferguson, MO where the militarized police force murdered a young man named Michael Brown in cold blood for the crime of being Black in america. The anger at this injustice is not the anger at just this iteration of the open season on Black people in america. No, this anger runs deep, it runs down to the very foundations of anti-Blackness the wealth of the West was built upon. In the morning, today for those reading it, you may have woken up to the media using this photo to spread anti-Blackness. The body of the young Black man as a violent body, as a threatening body. That’s what they want you to see. But they want you to see that because the media is a wing of american white supremacy, it enshrines the cultural values of white supremacy through the way it directs your vision. Resisting that, refusing it, is a small part of the resistance that is required.

The militarized cops in Ferguson and the rest of the structures of the state want you to look at these photos and see scary “black boys” whose violence may be committed against you (and especially the “you” who is white or middle class or can pass as such). But that is not what is happening in this photo. These young men are heroes. These young men are braver than the shock troops of capital showing up with the powers of air, land, and sea to fight individuals with barely any weapons. These young men are braver than the cops in Ferguson, MO who take off their badges and ID tags. Who hide behind machine guns, tear gas, body army, urban tanks, and other accoutrements of the modern cowardly police officer. When you see these young men refuse to pathologize their blackness like the media wants you to do. Did they kill an unarmed teenager? Did they respond to their crime against humanity by refusing to face up to it? And when their community rose up to demand justice did these young men shot teargas, wooden and plastic bullets at people standing on their own lawns? Did they declare a no-fly zone and kick out the reporters, suspending the 1st amendment? No, they did not do that. White supremacy did. A popular piece of graffiti in the 60s read “kill the cop in your head”. Well, today the imperative for you today is to kill the whitey in your head. When I see these young men I see an ultimatum and an imperative. Something that I would hope I could live up to, even while I fear I would not. These young men inspire me. The cops and their actions are ugly, but these young men, well, they are beautiful.

An Index of an Archive — Blood Book Event

“For what and where, Derrida rightly insisted, is the archive?” – Anidjar, Blood (241)

I want to understand what kind of text Blood is—what Blood does—in the light of Anidjar’s claim that it is not a book: “I will merely assert that I did not wish for this to be a book.” What does it mean that this text, that gives us the impression of being a book, that has the heft of a book, that has the citational apparatus of a scholarly tome, that has the right organization into parts and chapters and subheadings, that moves deftly amongst a whole range of thinkers whom the papers and the pundits would puzzle at, what does it mean to claim that this text isn’t a book or that he didn’t want it to be? Do we take Anidjar at his word? Do we trust him? What would it mean for us, us Christians, if we are Christians, and Anidjar suggests that we all are covered by the blood, to trust a man named Gil Anidjar? A polyglot, who moves from familiar European languages like French and German to Greek, the acceptable Mediterranean language as an ancient source of European identity, but who also speaks in Arabic and Hebrew and do we detect something of a North African accent, something that would make the ears of border control agents prick up? Suddenly it becomes a matter of distance and boundaries marked by waters littered with rafts and bodies. Marked, of course, by a history of blood. Or perhaps it would be better, in light of Blood not being a book of history, to say it becomes a matter of a story of blood as it is diluted in the sea. The tinnie taste of blood rich in iron flowing out of a body by way of steel and dissipating into a salty sea. But it also a matter of love, of the salt of love, but also the claws of love. “—I remembered you, when I kissed your man face, slowly, slowly kissed it, and when the time came to kiss your eyes—I remembered that then I had tasked the salt in my mouth, and that the salt of tears in your eyes was my love for you (Lispector, The Passion According to G.H., 86-87).” Read the rest of this entry »

Untimely Italians: A Profile of The Italian List and Interview with Alberto Toscano

When someone begins to study European philosophy and theory, or Continental philosophy as the unhelpful designation goes, the focus is usually on the traditions of French and German philosophy (leaving the term analytic to denote the work of the British, those living on that island off the coast of Europe proper). The relationship between this kind of national identity and those philosophers varies. Oftentimes the position of these philosophers disappoint us, as with Bergson during World War I writing about “French spirit” needing to overcome the “German barbarism” or Heidegger during the rise of the Nazi party in Germany doing much the same with more horrific results. But there is something to naming these traditions if only because the way in which language and location shapes one’s thinking, to say nothing of the importance of particular political situations that arise within these fictional but nonetheless efficacious spaces of the various nation-states. Italian philosophy has largely been ignored by those anglophone readers interested in European thought. This despite the fact that the fictional element of the nation-state is perhaps nowhere better on display than Italy, which never quite coalesced its various cultures into a singular Italian culture the way that French republicanism did. This creates an interesting dynamic and leads to a different style of philosophy. This seems to me to hold especially true for leftwing theorists and perhaps arises from what Roberto Esposito identifies as the clear manifestation of antagonism within the Italian context. Nothing like Italy the nation-state exists except through the process of conflict, the creation of antagonism that continues when Italy the nation-state has to become a part of Europe the economic union.

Italian philosophy has long been an interest for many authors here, with Adam’s work on Agamben and my own less intenstive work on Negri, as well as with many of our readers. We have here discussed Esposito’s attempt to reclaim the distinctiveness of Italian philosophy, already mentioned, and many readers will be familiar with the collection edited by Lorenzo Chiesa and Alberto Toscano The Italian Difference with re:press. So I was excited to see that Alberto was editing a new series called The Italian List with Seagull Books (which has the support of the University of Chicago Press, but apparent autonomy from the usual deadends of academic publishing). While the list has published three shorter texts by Agamben, I wanted to highlight the lesser known figures that Alberto and Seagull Books were bringing to a new audience. In what follows you will find a conversation between Toscano and myself as well as a few side remarks where I provide some summary information about the texts. Because of the length of this post I have also generated it as a PDF for those who prefer that medium for reading longer texts. Read the rest of this entry »

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