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)
In this episode of Always Already, John and B explore the meaning (and afterlife) of the deaths of trans women of color at home and abroad through through “Trans Necropolitics: A Transnational Reflection on Violence, Death, and the Trans of Color Afterlife” by C. Riley Snorton and Jim Haritaworn. In tackling the larger conceptual framework of necropolitics and biopower, the duo unpack what an ‘afterlife’ does in its circulation amongst competing homonormative and transnormative discourses. How do trans of color lives and deaths come to stand in not for their particular moments, but a more generalized notion of social violence? In that way, do their narratives service larger, homogenizing and thus obviating forces in neoliberalism, gentrification, and LGBTQI community activism? How can the concept of the archive (as both inclusive and exclusive) come to represent our cultural memory, the fund of our social knowledge?
Of course, My Tumblr Friend from Canada invites us to think about a utopian future where power is distributed, affect theory and mental health, and, critically, what breed of dog we perceive ourselves and each other to be.
Requests for texts for us to discuss? Advice questions for 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 Jordan Cass.
C. Riley Snorton’s page at Cornell and Twitter; Jin Haritaworn’s page at York