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

 

 

Interview: Joel Schlosser on Herodotus in the Anthropocene – Epistemic Unruliness 31

In this episode, James and John interview Joel Alden Schlosser about his new book Herodotus in the Anthropocene (University of Chicago Press, 2020). The trio accompany Herodotus on his inquiry through the Ancient Mediterranean world to run headfirst into a conversation about the urgency of twenty-first century climate catastrophe. What are the stakes of earthly flourishing when “the gods” and anthropos each access the powers of agency and destiny? How can the affect of wonder and the experience of mystery infuse our political ethics with humility? And what can we rediscover from Herotodus about the nature of law, custom, and culture that yet holds out hope for a pluralistic and verdant world composed of diverse peoples, topographies, and matrices of meaningfulness?

Tune in as we discuss these questions, possible tensions between grappling with non-human actants and theorizing human activity, the covering-over of antiblack racism and settler colonialism in discourses of the Anthropocene (and how Herodotus can or cannot help us think through this), and much 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. 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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photo of Joel Schlosser, looking toward the camera and smiling

 

Ep. 67 – Joel Olson, The Abolition of White Democracy

In this episode, John and Sid are joined by friend of the podcast Danielle Hanley of Rutgers University to discuss Joel Olson’s The Abolition of White Democracy (2004). Our discussion weaves through a number of pressing questions: How does Olson center Du Bois in political theory debates about American democracy and citizenship? In what ways are Olson’s conceptualizations of “race,” “whiteness,” and “white privilege” precisely the kind of theorizations—politically astute, materially grounded, and non-reductive—that our moment calls for? What does Olson’s analysis of the constitutive relationship between race and American capitalism add to theories of racial capitalism? How does Olson’s vision of “abolition-democracy” expand democratic imaginaries and re-think agency and participation in critical race theory? Instead of turning to the work of Robin DiAngelo and Tim Wise, what if liberals interested in understanding and/or undoing “whiteness” read Olson’s prescient work?

Across our conversation, we find that Olson’s elegant work speaks to our historical and political moment in multiple ways and has much to offer the left, theoretically and practically, within and beyond academia.

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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Image of book cover, with the title in alternative red, white, and grey text on a black background

 

Interview: Zakiyyah Iman Jackson on Becoming Human — Epistemic Unruliness 30

In this episode, Emily is delighted to talk with Dr. Zakiyyah Iman Jackson about her new book Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World. Turning to African diasporic literature, Jackson theorizes the relationship between blackness and animality, bringing black critical theory and posthumanism to bear on one another. Our conversation traces Jackson’s intellectual journey to the book project and to the question of animality more broadly, examines the methodological approaches of the book and the possibilities and poetics of language, and unpacks the project’s political stakes. On the way, we discuss plasticity, Jackson’s ontology, the importance of cultural production for theorizing the human, the relationship between science/positivism and colonialism, 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.

 

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Interview: Michael Sawyer on the Political Philosophy of Malcolm X – Epistemic Unruliness 29

In this episode, Sid and John have the pleasure of talking with Dr. Michael Sawyer about his new book, Black Minded: The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X. Offering a systematic account of Malcolm X’s philosophy, Sawyer surfaces the distinctive radical humanism suffusing Malcolm X’s thought. Against the backdrop of ongoing anti-Black state and vigilante violence, we ask: What are the stakes of reading Malcolm X as a political philosopher, and what does it mean to be “Black minded”? How does Malcolm X theorize and practice the body as a site of Black subjectivity and self-sovereignty in the face of white supremacy, especially in white supremacy’s expression through the violent policing of Black bodies? In ways is Malcolm X a “bridge” between W.E.B Du Bois and Franz Fanon, and what do we learn from reading Malcolm X through Audre Lorde? What are the resonances and differences between Malcolm X’s conception of the New Human and the anti-humanism of Afro-pessimism? How should we grasp his often misunderstood notions of Black nationalism, violence, and revolution? Our conversation works though these pressing questions, clarifying the complexity, continued relevance, and radical horizon of Malcolm X’s political and philosophical critique of the white supremacist social order. We close with Sawyer’s reflections about contemporary struggles against white supremacy and the Black Lives Matter movement.

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, “Third Precinct on Fire“; always already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

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Photo courtesy of Michael Sawyer

 

Malcolm X behind the counter at a restaurant, photographing Cassius Clay.

One of the images analyzed by Sawyer in the book.
Photo originally by Bob Gomel/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images; sourced from http://fightland.vice.com/blog/cassius-x-when-muhammad-met-malcolm