Caribbean Carnival Complex – Epistemic Unruliness 25

In this special installment of Epistemic Unruliness, James brings you a student-assembled episode produced by some the intrepid undergraduates who took his spring 2019 Swarthmore College course, “When the Saints go Marching in! Festivals and Parades of Latin America.” This course and the podcasts presented here focused on the Caribbean Carnival Complex — a heuristic that has emerged within Caribbean cultural studies that takes the Carnival performance season common across the region as a metonymic expression of a fractalized Caribbean identity, history, culture, and cosmology.

Drawing on complexity studies, chaos theory, the Blackened Afro-Caribbean phenomenology and kinaesthetics of Frantz Fanon, as well as participant-observation at Philadelphia’s El Carnaval de Puebla, this episode plunges listeners into the “Caribbean of the senses” (Benítez-Rojo 1992) through an exploration of the embodied, choreographic archives carnavaleros use to generate and transmit forms of knowing (Roach 1996). This performance modality, called “playing Mas” in the Anglo-Caribbean (Browne 2018), centers the affective immediacy but rhetorical indirection of communicative forms like masking, veiling, costuming and other dramaturgical aspects of Caribbean mytho-poesis. The Caribbean Carnival Complex entails a fugitive praxis that emerges from the fragments of liberatory-emancipatory potential made sensible and perceptible by mass street rituals.

A special thank you to the students who worked on the following segments:

  • “Culture Chat” – Liv Elmore, Alejandra King, Jayna Jones, Megan Ruoff
  • “Caribbean Curries” – Arpita Joyce and Catherine Williams
  • “Sounds of El Carnaval de Puebla en Filadelfia” – Edna Olvera and Miryam Ramírez (click here for a .pdf of their listening notes)

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 opening and interstitial music, “Being in the World,” from their album FutureCommons. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

Syllabus for “When the Saints go Marching in! Festivals and Parades of Latin America.”

The Traditional Mas Archive, an online resource for festival drama in the Caribbean region.

Blue Devils of Paramin. Photo courtesy of Matthew Fung, Traditional Mas Archive

Interview: J.T. Roane on Plotting the Black Commons – Epistemic Unruliness 24

After a dissertating hiatus, James returns with a new Epistemic Unruliness interview featuring Dr. J.T. Roane, Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Univ. of Cincinnati. The pair discuss J.T.’s article, “Plotting the Black Commons,” recently published in Souls, A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, that reads an archive of Black ecology and social life out of Black folks’ engagements with the Chesapeake Bay estuary in the Tidewater region of Virginia and Maryland. Through multiple reads of “the plot” and “plotting,” J.T. holds up practices of subsistence farming as well as small-scale fishing, oystering, and crabbing traditions as exemplifying a Black epistemology of reciprocity for the commons that stands in distinction to the theologies of dominion and mastery that undergird the logics of white supremacist settler colonialism, and that gave rise to our current climate crises — or as J.T. explains it, “the so-called Anthropocene or the racial capitalocene.” James and J.T. also discuss pedagogical praxis, and James answers a listener email on-air about Afro-pessimist takes on the Anthropocene.

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, “Post Digital,” from their new album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

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Ep. 48 – Calvin Warren and Frank Wilderson III on Antiblackness, Nihilism, and Politics

This episode features James, John, and newly-christened Always Already Correspondent M. Shadee Malaklou in a discussion drawn from a cross-reading of Calvin L. Warren’s “Black Nihilism and the Politics of Hope” (2015) with Frank Wilderson III’s “Gramsci’s Black Marx: Whither the Slave in Civil Society?” (2003). The spirited conversation covers the relation of (anti)Blackness to the constitution of the p/Political, its structuring logics of linear progressive time and rational civic engagement, and how the Political ultimately fails to achieve emancipation. We interrogate whether Western metaphysics is constitutively anti-black (spoiler alert: yes), and position Black Nihilism alongside Afropessimism, Black Optimism, and Afro-Futurism (all with their due™) to think through their various genealogies of production, the deeply affective labor asked of Black scholars who work on Black suffering. The episode concludes with an ode to the ever-needed wisdom of Black feminism. Is all hope lost? Take a listen and find out.

Thanks to the anonymous listener who requested this episode. 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.

 

 

 

Ep. 43 – Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

In our first text-discussion episode in a while (sorry podcast fam!), John is joined by two special guest hosts, his Beloit College colleagues M. Shadee Malaklou (Critical Identity Studies) and Michelle Bumatay (French). We discuss Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon, focusing on the Introduction, “The Man of Color and the White Woman” (chap. 3) and “The Lived Experience of the Black Man” (chap. 5).  How does anti-blackness make black ontology impossible? How does the white gaze phenomenologically fix and objectify and reify? How does Fanon link temporality, racism, colonialism, and psychic structures? How does Fanon critique the white Continental philosophical tradition? All this and much more, including finding out which one of us has a ‘Humanism is a Racism’ bumper sticker.

Later on, we’re joined by Robin Zebrowski (Cognitive Science at Beloit) to help give some advice on deciding to apply for grad school and analyze a dream about a spectral boss, tree canopies with glass walls, and telepathy.

Remember to support us on Patreon to help offset/reimburse the cost of our fancy new microphone, which we have named Lacan. 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, Rocco & Lizzie, and B for the music. Get the mp3 here.

 

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Roundtable on the Movement for Black Lives – Epistemic Unruliness 15

In this special round-table discussion on Black Lives Matter, James is joined by Travis Harris, Shana Haines, and Tyrell Cooper, activist-scholars from the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. This robust conversation details the wider Movement for Black Lives and covers issues related to the many forms of state-instantiated violence against Black bodies beyond police brutality, the representation of #BlackLivesMatter in media, and critically raises the question of visibility for sexual and gender queerness within Black liberation movements. Though this difficult subject matter is approached soberly, this dynamic grouping was able to bring levity to the conversation, and at times the tea in this episode is served piping hot! Get up to speed on Black social death and resistant Black joy in contemporary America by listening now.

Remember to support us on Patreon to help offset/reimburse the cost of our fancy new microphone, which we have named Lacan. 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 and to Jordan and to B for the music. Get the mp3 of the episode here.

 

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Muhammed Ali, Race, and Sports – Epistemic Unruliness 12

In this special episode of EU, James takes the role of guest as he joins a panel on the YouTube show Akil’s Ruminations to pay tribute to the legacy of Muhammad Ali by discussing the intersection of sports, race, and politics. The panel tackles the question of whether Ali “transcended race,” and why such transcendence seems to be a necessary precondition in order for American media to mourn the loss of Black celebrities.

Thanks to Akil for letting us post the audio here.

Remember to support us on Patreon to help offset/reimburse the cost of our fancy new microphone, which we have named Lacan.

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 and B for the music. Get the mp3 of the episode here.

 

 

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Interview: Lester Spence on Neoliberalism and Black Politics – Epistemic Unruliness 9

Join James as he talks with Dr. Lester Spence (Political Science and Africana Studies, Johns Hopkins), about his book Knocking the Hustle: Against the Neoliberal Turn in Black Politics. Dr. Spence makes a critical intervention to analyzing how the neoliberal turn in American politics since the 1970s has created a crisis of shrinking material resources and waning political imagination within Black communities. How has grindin’ and being about the hustle gone from something culturally shady into the valorized ethos of 21st Black life? Listen and learn!

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.

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