Ep. 69 – Dorfman and Mattleart on Disney and Imperialism

In this episode, Emily, James, and John enter the Worrisome World-Making of Disney (™) via How to Read Donald Duck, a 1971 Chilean Marxist critique of the American imperial-capitalist project of Disney, republished in 2018. Our trio approaches the book in form and content, and they discuss its social opposition through state censorship — whether as literal book-burning under the Pinochet regime or the banal violence of copyright infringement litigation in the United States — as well as praise the clarity of its cultural studies analysis of the Donald Duck comic strip (1938-1995). The comic, let us remind you, depicted the bourgeois imaginaries of the ne’er-do-well Donald Duck; his miserly ol’ Uncle Scrooge McDuck; everyone’s pal Daisy; our favorite triplets Huey, Dewey, and Louis; and all the aspiring burghers of Duckburg…and the realms beyond.
Does the “fantasia” and “magic of Disney” truly serve to mystify the processes of primitive accumulation? Is Scrooge McDuck’s Monroe-Doctrine, Robber-baron aesthetic the farcical return of Hobbes’ Leviathan? What might the fetishization of gold teach children about the value of labor? Why are there only uncles and aunts in Duckburg? What happened to production, reproduction, labor, class, and social antagonism? What does Donald Duck make invisible, and what does it seek to make natural? Is Donald Trump Scrooge? Is the Marvel Cinematic Universe the bourgeois ideology machine of our time?
Bonus: Find out why you should be simultaneously terrified of the acronym E.P.C.O.T. and grateful Walt Disney’s delusions of grandeur sank right back into the swampy Florida glades from which they sprung. Double bonus: critical mallard studies.
Always Already Medici Club patron Jason H requested we discuss this book, thank you Jason! 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. Patreon 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.

 

 

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Cover of How to Read Donald Duck

Ep. 68 – W.E.B. Du Bois, Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil

Join Emily, B, Sid, and John for a classic AAP text discussion, this time featuring W.E.B. Du Bois’s Darkwater: Voices From Within the Veil. Our discussion begins (perhaps unsurprisingly!) with knowledge, education, and epistemology, and spans Du Bois’s analysis of racial capitalism, his materialism, aesthetics, canonization as a political theorist, and more. We interrogate Du Bois as a democratic theorist in his own right, analyze his (maybe) humanism and (maybe) universalism, and ask, what does it mean to read DuBois as a prescient diagnostician of our own political moment (and who is the revolutionary subject?)? While we barely scratch the surface of all this book has to offer (what of “work,” whiteness, poetics, and proto-feminism in this text?!), we welcome you to join us for the close reading, and stay for the water puns!

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. Patreon 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.

 

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Black and white photograph of Du Bois, looking at the camera

W.E.B. Du Bois in 1918; from WikiMedia Commons

 

Blue-on-blue cover of Darkwater

First edition of Darkwater; from WikiMedia Commons

Interview: Jessica Blatt on Race and the Making of American Political Science — Epistemic Unruliness 34

In this episode, John welcomes Jessica Blatt, Associate Professor of Political Science at Marymount Manhattan College, for a conversation about her 2018 book Race and the Making of American Political Science. What was political science’s role in shaping a de-radicalizing ‘race relations’ paradigm? How did the early discipline of political science turned to categories of ‘race’ in a bid for foundation funding and claims to scientific knowledge? What are the pedagogical implications for political scientists today of the book and of this genealogy of racism in the discipline? Tune in to explore these and other questions about a sometimes (read: frequently) ahistorical and not particularly self-reflective discipline).

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. Patreon here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music from their album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

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Interview: Mutual Aid and Black Queer Futurities, with Empty Your Venmo Fund — Epistemic Unruliness 33

In this Epistemic Unruliness interview, James features Savanna Touré, Lincoln Mondy, and Amirio Freeman — the activists-creatives at the Empty Your Venmo Mutual Aid Fund for Black LGBTQ+ youth. The collective details their coming together within Washington, D.C. activist networks and highlights the distinction of their mutual aid/collective care mobilizations and their historic models from prevailing charity modes and non-profit/NGO strategies of social action. Far from merely offering material support, Empty Your Venmo “conjures audacity” by inspiring Black LGBTQ+ youth to dream lavishly of futurity, this institutional love praxis mirroring the intimacy that animates Lincoln and Amirio’s personal relationship. Not only will listeners of this episode learn more about the important work of Empty Your Venmo, but, with no shortage of kikis and giggity-goos, they’ll get the tea about Amirio’s experience as a student in the first class James ever taught, including the ways Amirio’s research on the house-ballroom community have informed Empty Your Venmo’s critical horizon of Black LGBTQ+ mutual aid.
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. Patreon here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music from their album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.
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Interview: Joanna Steinhardt and Tehseen Noorani on the Psychedelic Revival — Epistemic Unruliness 32

In this episode, James welcomes back friend of the podcast Joanna Steinhardt and introduces Tehseen Noorani, co-editors of the recent “The Psychedelic Revival” series published by the Society for Cultural Anthropology. From PTSD and opiate rehabilitation therapy, legalization and decriminalization initiatives, to “tech bro” microdosing and New Age spirituality eco-tourism, it seems that psychedlics are all the rage for everyone these days (including your Boomer parents!). But how did we get here?

Join James, Joanna, and Tehseen as they bring you up to speed on the plant and fungal movements and trajectories making up this psychedelic revival in its various post-1971 iterations following President Nixon’s declaration of the U.S. government’s War on Drugs. But does heralding the “revival” of psychedelia eclipse the traditional contributions of Indigenous American and African pharmacopic knowledges? Or might the revival lead to a revolution of ancestral consciousness capable of rescuing us from the crises of racial capitalism and the Anthropocene? “Turn on, tune in, drop out,” and give a listen! Special thanks to Joanna and Tehseen for providing an extensive episode bibliography!

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. Patreon here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music from their album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

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Digital Media
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Serotonin. Image by Kelsey Brooks, via Society for Cultural Anthropology: https://culanth.org/fieldsights/series/the-psychedelic-revival