In this episode, Emily, James, and John enter the Worrisome World-Making of Disney (™) via How to Read Donald Duck, a 1971 Chilean Marxist critique of the American imperial-capitalist project of Disney, republished in 2018. Our trio approaches the book in form and content, and they discuss its social opposition through state censorship — whether as literal book-burning under the Pinochet regime or the banal violence of copyright infringement litigation in the United States — as well as praise the clarity of its cultural studies analysis of the Donald Duck comic strip (1938-1995). The comic, let us remind you, depicted the bourgeois imaginaries of the ne’er-do-well Donald Duck; his miserly ol’ Uncle Scrooge McDuck; everyone’s pal Daisy; our favorite triplets Huey, Dewey, and Louis; and all the aspiring burghers of Duckburg…and the realms beyond.
Does the “fantasia” and “magic of Disney” truly serve to mystify the processes of primitive accumulation? Is Scrooge McDuck’s Monroe-Doctrine, Robber-baron aesthetic the farcical return of Hobbes’ Leviathan? What might the fetishization of gold teach children about the value of labor? Why are there only uncles and aunts in Duckburg? What happened to production, reproduction, labor, class, and social antagonism? What does Donald Duck make invisible, and what does it seek to make natural? Is Donald Trump Scrooge? Is the Marvel Cinematic Universe the bourgeois ideology machine of our time?
Bonus: Find out why you should be simultaneously terrified of the acronym E.P.C.O.T. and grateful Walt Disney’s delusions of grandeur sank right back into the swampy Florida glades from which they sprung. Double bonus: critical mallard studies.
Always Already Medici Club patron Jason H requested we discuss this book, thank you Jason! 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 FutureCommons; always already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.
In this episode we (finally!) get to the third section of Rosa Luxemburg‘s The Accumulation of Capital, “The Historical Conditions of Accumulation.” This juicy–and oft-quoted section–addresses the ongoing nature of primitive accumulation and the violences of capitalism, the non-capitalist markets required for the expanded reproduction, and the ways this reproduction necessitates imperialism and militarism. The team mulls over what, precisely, Luxemburg means by external, non-capitalist markets (can they be internal to capitalist states? Does she necessarily mean colonized states “abroad”?) We parse the difference between Luxemburg’s “political geography” and “social economy”, the implications of her critique for neo-Marxist framings of neoliberalism, and the ways she enlivens, expands, and reinvigorates Marxist thought. And, most importantly, we raise the eternal question of whether Crate & Barrel is part of Marx and Luxemburg’s schematic Department I or Department II of the capitalist economy. Join us for the final episode of the trilogy!
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 album FutureCommons; always already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.
In Part 1 of this first-ever Always Already on the Road, James attends the American Studies Association Annual Meeting in Denver, CO. This year’s theme was Home/Not Home: Centering American Studies Where We Are, and this allowed for James and attendees to discuss the urgencies created by the election of Donald Trump, including the rise of the Alt-Right and the revival of white nationalism, and concerns over American imperial policies in Palestine and Iran. Also, John is joined by Sid Issar for a conversation about whiteness and Left discourse after Trump’s election.
Stick around for Part 2 (coming soon) of Always Already On the Road for some dialogue about Puerto Rico and US colonialism, a visit by Kara Keeling (!), reflections on Standing Rock, and tips from a University Press editor on turning your dissertation into a book.
This episode features music from the Deleuze-inspired EDM musician Bad Infinity (whom we interviewed earlier this year), with clips from his songs “Monadology” and “Desiring Machines” off of the 2015 album Monadology. Check out Bad Infinity on Soundcloud. More Bad Infinity tracks coming your way in part 2. Thanks also to Leah Dion for our intro music, her “Static Loops.”
On this week’s episode we read Achille Mbembe’s On the Postcolony, focusing in particular on the Introduction and Chapters 5 and 6. We begin by discussing Mbembe’s analysis of the historical trajectory of Christian conversion and the divine libido in Chapter Six, “God’s Phallus” and its connection to Mbembe’s broader critique of rationality as constructed through eurocentric Enlightenment philosophy. We then attempt to discern Mbembe’s proposed methodology for thinking Africa after the colony without negating–but rather moving beyond mere relationality to–Western colonial depictions of Africa as hollow, devoid of reason, chaotic. We also discuss Mbembe’s use of the word ‘colony’ as it relates to violence, death, materiality and time. During everyone’s favorite segment, My Tumblr Friend from Canada, we offer our thoughts on how to address a delicate conversation with an academic advisor. Listen in as we dig into this rich and important text!
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 B for the music.