Thanks to our friends at the New Books Network, we are cross-posting John’s interview with Neil Roberts for New Books in Global Ethics here. Enjoy!
What does it mean to be free? How can paying attention to the relationship between freedom and slavery help construct a concept and practice of freedom that is “perpetual, unfinished, and rooted in acts of flight” (181)? In his book Freedom as Marronage (University of Chicago Press, 2015), Neil Roberts (Africana Studies, Religion, and Political Science, Williams College) explores this and many other questions. Proceeding from and working with the concept and practice of marronage – modes of escape from slavery emerging from the Caribbean – Roberts articulates a theory of freedom that is historically specific while having trans-historical reverberations, and that is attentive to lived experiences of freedom and slavery. In doing so, he engages histories of the transatlantic slave trade, colonialism, diaspora, the Haitian Revolution, and American slavery. Arguing for the need to creolize political theory and philosophy, Roberts also takes up the thought and practice of W.E.B. DuBois, Hannah Arendt, Philip Petit, Frederick Douglass, Angela Davis, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Edouard Glissant, Rastafari, and much more.
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”.