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.
Join B, John, and Emily for a patron-suggested discussion of Eric L. Santner‘s book The Royal Remains: The People’s Two Bodies and the Endgames of Sovereignty. The conversation explores the book’s use of the terms sovereignty and flesh as we attempt to parse out its central aims and contributions. How do those concepts relate to biopolitics? What are the multiple uses of ‘flesh’? Is psychoanalysis a useful paradigm in which to think through sovereignty and modernity? We also attempt to put Santner in conversation with thinkers like Franz Fanon and Hortense Spillers, and wonder to what extent we ourselves have been guilty of a paranoid reading of the text.
The episode concludes with an advice question regarding some of the concerns that arise when deciding whether and how to continue on with higher education.
Thanks to Dana Logan (@popapologist) who requested this episode, and due to their support of us on Patron, got the request to the top of the queue! 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 B for the outro music, and to Bad Infinity for the music between segments. Get the mp3 of the episode here.
What is the relationship between state power and self-destructive violence as a mode of political resistance? In her book Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons (Columbia University Press, 2014), Banu Bargu (Politics, The New School) analyzes the Turkish death fast movement and explores self-inflicted death as a political practice. Amid a global intensification of the “weaponization of life,” Bargu argues for conceptualizing this self-destructive use of the body as a complex political and existential act. In doing so, she theorizes a reconfiguration of sovereignty into biosovereignty and of resistance into necroresistance. To accomplish this, the book innovatively weaves together political and critical theory with ethnography in a way that enables the self-understanding and self-narration of those in and around the death fast movement to speak to canonical thinkers and concepts.
In this episode, John, Emily, and B get down to the brass tacks of an affirmative biopolitics in Roberto Esposito’s book Bios: Biopolitics and Philosophy. After exploring what Esposito’s project and method are, generally, the team wonders: Is it Nietzsche-the-ironist (ahem…B) and/or Nietzsche-the-dark-eugencist who offers a more generative analysis of biopolitics’ beginnings? We leave that to the listeners to decide. The team then dives into developing the stakes of an affirmative biopolitics (whatever that means) through the darkest moments of modernity, namely Nazism (with a few digs at Heidegger). Emily rightfully asks where the HELL are all the feminist political thinkers in all of this (tsk tsk Esposito). And John is dismayed by the passing remarks about Mbembe’s work on necropolitics. Our new dream interpretation segment (!) – One or Several Wolves – features an interpretation of a dream involving werewolves and Sara Ahmed. And our Tumblr Friend from Canada wants to know about rice and our use of the word ‘productive’.
Thank you to Craig for suggesting we read this text! Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? 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.
On this week’s episode, we discuss two chapters from Mel Chen’sAnimacies: 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.
Mel Chen on the Faculty Research Panel at the Gender and Women’s Studies 20th Anniversary Conference (YouTube)