Interview: Frank B. Wilderson III on Afropessimism – Epistemic Unruliness 28

In this very special episode, Sid and James sit down with Dr. Frank B. Wilderson, III for a lively and wide-ranging conversation about his new highly-anticipated book Afropessimism. Culminating much of Wilderson’s critical theoretical ouevre of the last twenty years, the trio discuss this coming-of-age narrative that chronicles Wilderson’s youthful journey via radical political movements in the US and South Africa and intimate relationships through which Wilderson came to realize his iconoclastic premises of Afropessimism: “Blackness is coterminous with Slaveness…[and] social death” (102). How does Afropressimism view the relation between the libidinal and political economies in generating and sustaining anti-Blackness? Are liberationist-abolitionist projects the ruse of the Human? Should one read Afropessimism as a slave narrative, in anticipation of aporia and oxymoron? And in an Always Already exclusive scoop for our listeners, Wilderson details the wild scene from one memorable night during his stint as a bouncer at Prince’s Minneapolis nightclub.

Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music, “Desiring Machines,” from their album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

Links:

 

 

Image: Photo of Frank B. Wilderson III, facing the camera in a black jacket, with a rock formation in the background

via frankbwildersoniii.com/

 

 

Ep. 66 – Juliet Hooker, Race and the Politics of Solidarity

In this episode, Emily, John, and Sid are joined by friend of the podcast Danielle Hanley of Rutgers University for a discussion of the first half of Juliet Hooker’s 2009 book Race and the Politics of Solidarity. We ask, what is the promise of solidarity and how is it achieved? How does this argument sit differently in liberal theory against democratic theory? What work does the ontological claim of the book do? And it wouldn’t be an episode of the Always Already Podcast without the vulgar Marx question: what about class? Tune in for racial capitalism, whiteness, solidarity in the time of social distance, and more!

Stay tuned for the dramatic return of your (our) two favorite segments: My Tumblr Friend from Canada (but actually from Europe) with an advice question on choosing thesis topics, and a new twist on dream analysis in One or Several (or zero?) Wolves!

Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music, “Post Digital,” from their album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

Links:

 

Image of book cover of Race and the Politics of Solidarity

 

Interview: Practicing Critical Care Through COVID-19 and Beyond – Epistemic Unruliness 27

In this episode focusing on the hazards of COVID-19, James interviews Dr. Sarmistha Talukdar, a queer, immigrant, neurodivergent audio-visual artist and a postdoctoral geneticist, and Jess Cowing, a PhD candidate working at the intersections of critical disability studies and settler colonialism. Jointly, Talukdar and Cowing are the organizers of the online workshop, “Chronic Illness and Mutual Care in Emergent Times: Preparing for COVID-19 and other Contagious Diseases,” which detailed the late public health crisis within an intersectional healing and disability justice frame that centers the experiences of those communities already held vulnerable and made unwell by the scarcity logic of capitalism and its asymmetrical distribution of resources and knowledge through the medical-industrial complex. How do we practice “social distancing” while mobilizing critical mutual care for our communities? And in an Anthropocene Age which has featured viral apocalypse since at least 1492, can we look through the prism of global pandemic towards the horizon of alternative futures and re-arrangements of our social relations, so that we might dream, imagine, and fantasize together about the world to come after capitalism?

Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music, “Post Digital,” from their album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

 

Links:

 

Ep. 65 – Race, Capitalism, and Intersectionality

Emily, Sid, and John intervene in the resurgent and lively (and possibly trendy?) discussion on “racial capitalism.” By engaging with four articles–Michael Dawson’s (2016), “Hidden in Plain Sight: A Note on Legitimation Crises and the Racial Order“; Nancy Fraser’s (2016), “Expropriation and Exploitation in Racialized Capitalism: A Reply to Michael Dawson“; Ashley Bohrer’s (2018), “Intersectionality and Marxism: A Critical Historiography“; and Michael Ralph and Maya Singhal’s (2019), “Racial Capitalism“–the team interrogates the theoretical foundations and political stakes around the relationship between capitalism, racial domination, patriarchy, and other modalities of hierarchy and oppression.

We raise questions (and often meet them with additional questions) such as: Is race necessary or contingent to the history and structure of capitalism? How, if at all, does contemporary work on racial capitalism move us past the entrenched class versus identity debate? Is the phrase “racial capitalism” an empty signifier, or does it hold generative political possibilities for the left? Tune in and find out where you end up on these questions and more!
Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music, “Post Digital,” from their album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.
Links:
  • The Combahee River Collective Statement
  • Boston Review critical forum on slavery, capitalism, and justice
  • Robin D.G. Kelley, video of “What is Racial Capitalism and Why Does It Matter?” lecture (2017) and essay on Cedric Robinson and racial capitalism
  • Chapter 13 of Angela Davis’ Women, Race, and Class
  • The Race and Capitalism Project at the University of Chicago
  • Mayra Cotta on Michael Dawson, Nancy Fraser, race, and capitalism
  • Video of Michael Dawson talk “Race, Capitalism, and the Current Crisis” (2019)
  • Ashley Bohrer talk on “Capitalist Confinement” (2016)
  • 2016 panel discussion on Race and Capitalism at U Chicago
  • Michael Ralph discussing his book Forensics of Capital on Left on Black

Ep. 64 – Robin James, The Sonic Episteme: Acoustic Resonance, Neoliberalism, and Biopolitics

This long overdue episode brings James, B, and John together for a discussion of Robin James’s most recent book, The Sonic Episteme: Acoustic Resonance, Neoliberalism, and Biopolitics, focusing on the Introduction and Chap. 1. The AAP team starts with a reparative approach to the text’s central set of questions. What is the qualitative side to neoliberalism’s quantitative, rationalizing regime of knowledge? How does music and its study anticipate and, by dint of metaphor, reproduce the neoliberal mathesis? How does the sonic actually enable the subordination of historically marginalized groups?

To these questions the team has many varied but passionate responses. Some include questions about the book’s large, diffuse archive to question its central critique about capitalism and sound. Others explore the totalizing thematic of “neoliberalism” and its usefulness in discussing pop music, representation, and race, as in the book’s reading of Taylor Swift’s financialized neoliberal whiteness. But all invite listeners to ponder the political consequences of the text’s emphasis on music’s power to alter the allegories theorists use to tell stories about the world we share.

Thanks to Patreon supporter Roddy for the request to read R. James. Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music, “Post Digital,” from their album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

Links:

 

Image: Cover of The Sonic Episteme

 

 

Ep. 63 – Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch

[Edited to add: Federici published an earlier version of this book in Italian in 1984; the English book Caliban and the Witch, published in 2004, as a synthesis of the earlier work and her ongoing research, thinking, and experiences, including time living in Nigeria in the 1980s. This context bears on our discussions of colonialism and the slave trade in the episode. Thanks to a listener for pointing this out.] 

In this episode, join James, Emily, and John for a discussion of Silvia Federici’s Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation. We attempt to parse her engagement with/extension of Marx’s concept of primitive accumulation, and question whether the figure of the witch in this text is a historical materialist one, a metonymic one, or some combination of the two. We also ask after the analogizing of witch hunts with the slave trade, draw on James’s rich knowledge of witchcraft to interrogate the role of actual witches in the text, think through the idea of capitalism’s historical inevitability, and perhaps even reveal ourselves to be different kinds of Marxists in the process!

Thanks to listener Jonathan Lowell for the request to read Federici. Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music, “Post Digital,” from their album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

Links:

 

Image of Silvia Federici, sitting on a chair while turned to the camera.

Silvia Federici in 2014. Photo by Marta Jara, used under CC BY-SA 3.0 es license. Found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silvia_Federici#/media/File:La_escritora_y_activista_feminista_Silvia_Federici_(cropped).jpg

 

Cover of the book Caliban and the Witch

 

Interview: Jason Ortiz on #RickyRenuncia and Puerto Rican Sovereignty Movements – Epistemic Unruliness 26

In this new installment of Epistemic Unruliness, James interviews Jason Ortiz, president of the Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda, to discuss the recent #RickyRenuncia Uprising in Puerto Rico. To place these protests in their long historical context, Jason and James transport the listeners to the island of Borikén, home of the Taíno Rebellion of 1511, and condense over 500 years of anticolonial movements in Puerto Rican history to a 90-minute conversation. The pair details the various iterations of U.S. colonialism that have ensnared Puerto Ricans in global political economic confrontations over the twentieth century as the Caribbean formed a microcosm of Cold War statecraft, with Puerto Rico and Cuba figuring as proxy theaters for Washington and Moscow’s war games. As the Iron Curtain fell and the new millennium dawned, Puerto Rican colonialism entered a reconfiguring phase with the near-collapse of global financial markets during the Great Recession of 2008 and the subsequent neoliberal austerity regimes it catalyzed. Hurricane María’s devastating landfall in September 2017 served only to amplify the material and political precarity of Boricuas caught in the dual maelstroms of the American Empire and the Anthropocene.

When a team of investigative journalists released a cache of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s homophobic, misogynistic, and classist chat messages in July 2019, Puerto Ricans seized the 500-year moment once again and initiated the #RickyRenuncia/#RickyResign Uprising. Nearly a million Boricuas took to the streets of San Juan, (and many more in la diaspora), staring down police tear gas canisters as they banged their pots and danced perreo to reggaeton and trap music, giving new life to the adage of Emma Goldman lore, “if I can’t dance I don’t want to be in your revolution” (Si no puedo perrear, no es mi revolución).

Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment, potentially provide episode transcripts, and more – plus, you may have the chance to jump your request to the top of the request queue. Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the opening and interstitial music, “Post Digital,” from their album FutureCommons. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

Links:

National Puerto Rican Agenda

Full 889 page cache of Roselló documents from the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo

The New York Times interview with Colectiva Feminista en Construcción who organized the initial protests of the Uprising

Fernando Tormos-Aponte’s Jacobin article “Puerto Rico Rises”

Sandy Plácido’s historicization of Caribbean anti-imperialist movements in The Washington Post

Video montage of “Perreo Combativo” dance protest, July 25, 2019A

NPR coverage of Bad Bunny, Residente, and iLe protest song: “Afilando Los Cuchillos”

Minority Cannabis Business Association

to demonstrate the protests

#RickyRenuncia protester. Photo courtesy of Resumen Latinoamerica