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

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.

 

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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. 57 – Sylvia Wynter, “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom”

In this episode, James, Shadee, and John settle into unsettling the ongoing colonial project with Sylvia Wynter’s “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom: Towards the Human, After Man, Its Overrepresentation–An Argument.” The trio work through Wynter’s textured genealogy that traces the transmutations of the European conception of the human from its early days as a Christian subject within the Latin Church to the emergence of Man1 as a political subject during the Renaissance, followed by the Enlightenment’s Man2 — an evolutionary biological-economical creature that still dominates Western ideologies today. The discussion relates Wynter’s project to post-humanism and Afro-pessimism, and questions whether the problem of antiblack racism is a problem of the human category generally, or if Wynter’s move to rehabilitate the human by thinking it through genres is a more generative tack to take. It also takes on the ways Wynter’s anti-Man humanism engages anticolonial movements in the 1960s.

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. Thanks to listener Jordan F for the Wynter suggestion. 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. We are part of the Critical Mediations network. 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.

 

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Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. “Portrait of Jamaican novelist, dramatist, essayist and academic Sylvia Wynter, circa 1970s.”
Found at: http://kalamu.com/neogriot/2016/12/23/pov-are-you-an-intellectual/

 

Interview: Kyla Schuller on Race Science and the Biopolitics of Feeling – Epistemic Unruliness 22

Join John as he interviews Kyla Schuller (Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers) about her new book The Biopolitics of Feeling: Race, Sex, and Science in the Nineteenth Century (Duke UP, 2017). The book develops concepts of impressibility and sentimentalism in order to interrogate practices of race science, race-making, and sex differentiation in 19th century America (and beyond). The conversation opens with an exploration of sentimental biopower and race as a spatio-temporal formation assigning capacities for impressibility and species-progress, the relation of Frances Harper and W.E.B. Du Bois to discourses of heredity, eugenics, impressibility, and more. From there, we open out onto questions of the state, critiques of feminist new materialism, epigenetics, and above all the challenges and promises of biopolitical analysis.

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.

 

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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