Ep. 53 – Byung-Chul Han, The Burnout Society

In this episode of AAP, Rachel, Emily, and John tackle a special request from Patreon supporter Alex. We discuss Byung-Chul Han‘s The Burnout Society, positioning the account alongside other contemporary theories of neoliberalism. We interrogate the relationship of the disciplinary society to what Han posits as the achievement society, think through the consequences of his view for democracy, and question the ‘view from nowhere’ in the text. Along the way, we get into his engagements with Hannah Arendt and Friedrich Nietzsche, unpack his use of the terms ‘negativity’ and ‘positivity’ as they relate to violence and power, and tire ourselves out engaging his chapter on tiredness. And we, of course, ask our favorite AAP question – how (if at all) can the argument account for dynamics of race, class, gender, and (neo)colonialism? Plus! A very beautifully vivid dream that harkens back to a recent text discussion on mushrooms.

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 intro music, and always already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

Links!

 

 

 

Cover of The Burnout Society

Byung-Chul Han
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On the Cornel West – Ta-Nehisi Coates Brouhaha

James and John are joined by our official Fanon correspondent M. Shadee Malaklou for an impromptu, lo-fi episode delving into the ongoing dustup between Cornel West and Ta-Nehisi Coates. We puzzle through both the substance of their ongoing arguments and what is attending the spectacle of it all on social media. In the process we think about neoliberalism and form, Fanonian psychoanalysis, the white masculinist gaze, black feminism, academic boundary politics, Afropessimism, and racialized phallocentrism. Join us as we explore who’s being petty, who’s being neoliberal, and who’s bringing receipts in this brouhaha (bro-haha?).

Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment and eventually fund episode transcription. 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, and always already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

Links to media we discussed on the show:

Image: Cornel West

Used under CC BY-SA 4.0 license; image by DarrellNance

 

Image: Ta-Nehisi Coates

from Flickr, used under CC BY-ND 2.0 license; image by Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

 

Ep. 52 – Geraldine Heng, The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages

We’re back, and with an episode featuring frequent guest of the show Sid Issar joining Rachel and John! The trio engages with a two-part article (here and here) by Geraldine Heng, “The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages.” How does Heng’s work reconfigure the temporality of race and racism? What does race-making look like in the Middle Ages, and how does that change our political analyses of the present? In what ways does medieval race-making consolidate whiteness? What genealogies of racialization are lost when we focus on modernity as the exclusive origin of racism? How is Heng’s work related to other investigations into race and racism? How many times can we use Heng’s work to pithily resignify Marxist concepts in just one hour?

Join us for this journey as we come to realize that maybe not EVERYTHING is modernity’s fault.

Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment. 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 Leah Dion for the intro music, and always already to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

The Hereford Mappa Mundi (world map) from c. 1300. Heng uses the map to demonstrate medieval modes of racialization.
By Unknown – unesco.org.uk, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41201813

 

Ep. 51 – Anna L. Tsing on Capitalism, Mushrooms, and the End of the World

In this episode, Emily and John are joined by a new guest and friend of the podcast Joseph Bookman for a lively discussion of Anna L. Tsing‘s book The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Join us as we try to unpack Tsing’s conceptualization of “salvage capitalism,” as we think through her use of “precarity,” and as we ruminate on the relationship between form and content in the book. Is there a politics of salvage capitalism and precarity to be drawn out of this work? Does the book’s form – a “riot of short chapters” – change the way we might critically engage with its arguments? Is capitalism always already about ruin and salvage? Plus, a very on-topic dream about a fancy cabin in the woods (capitalism, nature, and Freud – oh my!).

Thanks to listener @conteanth for the request to discuss Tsing.

Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment. 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 Leah Dion for the intro music, to Bad Infinity for the music in between segments, and always already to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

Links:
Anna L. Tsing
New Republic review of the book.
Interview with Anna Tsing for “Allegra Laboratory”
Anna Tsing keynote on “Landscapes and the Anthropocene”
Epistemic Unruliness 14: Joanna Steinhardt on mushrooms and ecological movements
Matsutake mushrooms

 

 

Teaching the Political Theory Canon – AAP Pedagogy Hour

Join us for this special episode of the AAP – special because all of your hosts are actually in the same place, and special because we devote the whole episode to pedagogy. Rachel, John, and previous guest host Siddhant Issar convene in St. Louis  to discuss what it means to teach the political theory canon in our contemporary political situation. How important are all these dead white European men in shaping the politics of today? What is the best way to engage students in teaching the canon? How can one both teach the canon – as many have to do – while also challenging structures and discourses of racism, patriarchy, and colonialism? Listen in as we try to puzzle through some of these challenges. Stick around for some dream analysis, as we try to interpret a listener’s dream about mahogany rooms and never-ending curtains.

Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment. 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 Leah Dion for the intro music, to Jordan Cass for the music in between segments, and always already to B for the outro music. Get the mp3 of the episode here.

N.B. John’s syllabi are available here.

 

Interview: Charles Mills on Racial Liberalism

In this very special episode, John talks with Charles W. Mills (Philosophy, The Graduate Center, CUNY) about his new book, Black Rights/White Wrong: The Critique of Racial Liberalism (Oxford UP, 2017). Mills walks us through some of the main arguments and concepts from the book, including the terminology of racial liberalism, the importance of white supremacy as a concept, his critiques of Kant and Rawls, the prospects for a “black radical liberalism,” and much more. But, the two build out the conversation to also discuss whiteness in the academy, race and ontology, the ongoing importance of historical materialism, whether liberalism can be reconstructed, and race and pedagogy in the political philosophy/theory classroom.

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with Mills – don’t miss out on the dialogue.

Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment. 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 Leah Dion for the intro music, and to Bad Infinity for music during the break and for the outro. Get the mp3 of the episode here.

 

 

 

Ep. 50 – Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway

In this especially agentic episode, Emily, John, and B attempt to meet Karen Barad halfway–examining three chapters from her major work, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Exploring how the concepts of agency, quantum theory, feminist science studies, and “the real” might be updated through Barad’s notion of intra-action, the team tackles everything from Barad’s agential realism right down to the heart of whether “yous dudes” can be a thing. Along the way, they puzzle over the difference between a phenomena and an apparatus, ask what a Barad-influenced interpretation of liberalism would be, explore how Barad can influence our pedagogy, and quasi-heatedly debate the relationship of Barad’s work to phenomenology,  They even have time for Emily’s favorite segment, One or Several Wolves–in this installment, bears, poop, a dog iPhone, and a sense of belonging are all found in a listener’s recurring dream from childhood.

Thanks to listener Marianne in Norway for the request to read Barad!

Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment. 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 Leah Dion for the intro music, and to B for the outro music. Get the mp3 of the episode here.

Links!