Ep. 67 – Joel Olson, The Abolition of White Democracy

In this episode, John and Sid are joined by friend of the podcast Danielle Hanley of Rutgers University to discuss Joel Olson’s The Abolition of White Democracy (2004). Our discussion weaves through a number of pressing questions: How does Olson center Du Bois in political theory debates about American democracy and citizenship? In what ways are Olson’s conceptualizations of “race,” “whiteness,” and “white privilege” precisely the kind of theorizations—politically astute, materially grounded, and non-reductive—that our moment calls for? What does Olson’s analysis of the constitutive relationship between race and American capitalism add to theories of racial capitalism? How does Olson’s vision of “abolition-democracy” expand democratic imaginaries and re-think agency and participation in critical race theory? Instead of turning to the work of Robin DiAngelo and Tim Wise, what if liberals interested in understanding and/or undoing “whiteness” read Olson’s prescient work?

Across our conversation, we find that Olson’s elegant work speaks to our historical and political moment in multiple ways and has much to offer the left, theoretically and practically, within and beyond academia.

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




Image of book cover, with the title in alternative red, white, and grey text on a black background


Ep. 13 – Aihwa Ong, Neoliberalism as Exception

In this episode we focus on Neoliberalism as Exception by Aihwa Ong. We begin by discussing the distinction she draws between neoliberalism as exception and exceptions to neoliberalism, looking specifically at the technologies of power that promote the pervasion of market analysis into the details of everyday life. We also explore the ways neoliberalism as a form of governmentality relies upon the non-belonging of postcolonial and developing economies as non-members of a shared moral community, delineating who gets to be a part of neoliberal citizenry – who counts – and who does not through economic criteria. Our discussion then examines Ong’s critique of the idea of bare life in Agamben, her ecological metaphor and concept of baroque ecology, and the category of citizenship. Stay tuned as we get feisty with each other in typical fashion and answer questions pressing to our epoch: an anonymous inquirer with questions about theorists and bath salts as well as Sid, an adorable Canadian with a vital theory dating question.

Requests for texts for us to discuss? Advice questions to submit? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Like our Facebook page. Get the mp3 here. RSS feed here. This episode’s music by B.