AAP After Dark 1: The Badness of Academia; Willow and Jaden Smith

Join James, John, and Emily for an extra special episode of Always Already “After Dark,” a potentially new series. This episode is “after dark” in two senses: 1) we recorded it dangerously near bedtime, and 2) we deviated from our usual format and content! The conversation takes up two broad topics, both of which are anchored in a series of short internet articles. In part 1, we tackle the amorphous and illusive “Academy,” and whether it is good or bad. We discuss academia’s forsaking of the affective body, the “public” with which it is engaged, how it engages with that public, our own understandings of the role the podcast plays in our academic lives, and the sheer volume of airquotes required to develop this episode description! (Okay, not that last part.) Part 2 grapples with the philosophy of Jaden and Willow Smith, their understanding of time, whether they are the Deleuzians of our day, the Afrofuturist art of Willow’s ARDIPITHECUS album cover, and the cosmologies of “New-Age” thinking. We know what you’re thinking: The Smith children are philosophers? Tune in to hear our take on their now (in?)famous interview with T Magazine.

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. Get the mp3 of the episode here. RSS feed here. Thanks to Leah Dion and to B for the music.


  • Karen Kelsky, “Is The Academy Good
  • New Feminist Formations issue on “Institutional Feelings: Practicing Women’s Studies in the Corporate University”, including a roundtable featuring friend of the podcast/previous guest host Lindsey Whitmore
  • James Mulholland, “Academics: Forget about Public Engagement, Stay in Your Ivory Towers”
  • Slate Culture Gabfest podcast episode talking about Mulholland’s piece (at 39:30)
  • Interview with Willow and Jaden Smith in T Magazine by Su Wu
  • An anonymous philosophy prof interprets the Smiths, at Vice
  • Jaden Smith models Louis Vuitton womenswear
  • Jack Qu’emi Gutiérrez on Jaden Smith’s modelling and gender binaries, at Black Girl Dangerous
  • Willow Smith’s ARDIPITHECUS on Spotify
  • Willow explains the album title and origin to Fader




Ep. 20 – Mel Chen, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect

On this week’s episode, we discuss two chapters from Mel Chen’s Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect. We ask what Chen’s main project is throughout the segments we read, pondering the meaning of sociality, toxicity and animacy, and the critical ambivalence generated by the work. We also talk briefly about the use of affect theory in the book, as it combines with broader themes related to environmentalism, queer theory (its institutionalization, re-animation, de-animation and various lexical uses), and cognitive linguistics. We conclude, as always, by giving advice to our dear listeners, in this case advice on writing an abstract to submit to a conference.

Thank you to wallsaremean for suggesting we read this text! Requests for texts for us to discuss? Advice questions for us to answer on the show? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Like our Facebook page. Get the mp3 of the episode here. RSS feed here. This episode’s music by B and by Rocco & Lizzie.

Further links…


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Ep. 4 – Ernesto Laclau’s Emancipation(s); Part 2 of Amy Schiller interview on philanthropy and neoliberalism

Join B, John, and guest-host Emily Crandall in a (sign)nificant conversation about Universalism, Particularism, and the Question of Identity and Why Do Empty Signifiers Matter to Politics? by Ernesto Laclau on political identities, universals, particulars, and the role of empty signifiers in democratic politics. The group analyzes the relationship between the universal and particular, where identity comes from, agency and subjectivity, and what it would mean to use Laclau to think about gender identities. At points contentious, but always reflective, the group takes on multiple methods of interpreting these two chapters from Emancipation(s) –whether it be rejection of Laclau’s dismissal of post-modernism’s embrace of pure particulars, or B putting on a pouty face about Lacanianism and semiotics.

The episode also includes Part 2 of John’s interview with Amy Schiller on her recent pieces, discussing philanthropy, neoliberalism, and time-traveling with Luce Irigaray. We give advice on revise-and-resubmits to academic journals and work through B’s promising but tricky dating life.

Requests for texts for us to discuss? Advice questions to submit? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Like our Facebook page. Download the mp3 here. RSS feed here. This episode’s music by B Aultman.