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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Ep. 33 – Kara Keeling, The Witch’s Flight

Emily, John, and B take on cinema theory at the intersection of critical race theory in this installment of Always Already, discussing Kara Keeling’s book Witch’s Flight: The Cinematic, The Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense. How does the concept and figure of the “black femme” create the conditions for the possibility of rethinking race, gender, and sexuality–or common sense? But, conversely, what conditions the creation of the black femme in cinematic space that make the normative white and capitalist subject safe? Using Deleuze as a creative font, Keeling offers us a glimpse into “the cinematic” in order to untangle how a radical repositioning of our thinking can offer new ways of understanding common sense. Along the way we also talk about the figure of the witch, Afro-pessimism and Black optimism, racial capitalism, the importance of affectivity and the sensor-motor complex, rationality, and Keeling’s interventions into critical theory.

Don’t miss out on advice on how to deal with family members during the holidays disrespecting your romantic partner, and dream analysis for a nightmarish dream featuring accidental killing.

Thanks to listener Hanna for suggesting the Keeling text.  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. NEW intro music, “Static Loops”, from our friend Leah, with the old standby music from B as our outro music. Stick around all the way until the end for the full version of another of Leah’s original songs, “Swim Swim Swim”.

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Ep. 29 – Frank B. Wilderson III on Cinema and the Structure of US Racial Antagonisms

In this episode, John, B, and Emily gather for a discussion about the ontology of blackness in Frank B. Wilderson III’s book Red, White, and Black: Cinema and the Structure of US Antagonisms, and in particular his analysis of the film Monster’s Ball. Bear with us as we again (attempt to) flex our critical theory chops in the visual text genre! We spend time unpacking Wilderson’s ontology, and his important distinction between the grammar of alienation and exploitation in emancipatory discourses versus the ontology of suffering of slavery. How is this distinction related to those of conflict/antagonism and identity/ontology, and to (the unspeakability of) ethics? We talk through his extensive interrogation of the dissonance between the narrative structure of the film and its strategies of cinematic form, discuss whether the film implicitly recognizes the limitations of its own grammar of suffering, and analyze the film’s (in)famous sex scene. Our conversation ends by answering new co-host James Padilioni Jr.’s question about freedom.
Also in this episode, a complex Tumblr Friend advice question about the academia’s co-optation of radical theorizing, and some more One or Several Wolves dream analysis about the job market (except this time with more Kelis). It is clearly a common trend among our dreamer-listeners. Enjoy!
Thanks to Eric T. for suggesting this text. 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. This episode’s music by Jordan Cass and by B.
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