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.
Special guest co-host James Padilioni, Jr. joins B and John to discuss several works in the vital, burgeoning discourses of Afro-Pessimism and Black Optimism. Join us as we talk about texts from Jared Sexton, Hortense Spillers, Fred Moten, Saidiya Hartman, and Frank B. Wilderson III. After overviewing major arguments and stakes of these discourses, we discuss black social life and black social death, ‘the political’ and whether lived experience remains a valid category, the relationship between blackness and critical theory, resistance and performance, and more. Not to mention dream analysis about a labyrinthian journey and its obstacles, and advice about a potentially-racist office mate.
Thanks to James and to Eric T. for suggesting these readings. 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. 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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