Ep. 24 – Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter

In this very special episode of Always Already, join all four co-hosts as they peer into the depths of Jane Bennett’s vital materialism in Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. That’s right! Emily, Rachel, John, and B are all together to unravel the meaning of non-human agency, objects-as-subjects (or the collapse of that divide all together), and the co-implication of living and non-living entities within a political ecology…or does that distinction even ‘matter’? Along the way they talk about thing-power and its relation to politics, whether Bennett’s approach is irretrievably anthropocentric, and more. Is there an ethics to be derived from Bennett’s analysis? Listen as we lucidly (we hope) explore what an object-oriented ontology tells us about the “we” in our political engagements–and how can “we” prepare an equitable system on a plant of things and (non/human) animals? Can the group coexist all together in a hot, tiny, room? All this, and then advice about what gift to bring to a significant others’ family and about going to conferences without presenting, plus analysis a dream about flooding bathrooms.

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 Rocco & Lizzie and by B.

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Ep.22 – Burka Avenger // Upstream Color

In this episode of Always Already, Emily, John, and B engage in a little film analysis for their first time on the show (and possibly in their lives!) Starting with the Pakistani cartoon Burka Avenger, your critical team struggles to uncover whether there is a reproduction of liberal rights discourse. Is there a colonized narrative behind the superheroine, whose full burka cloaks her schoolteacher identity as she confronts evildoers with books and pens and the ancient arts of inner peace? Always Already then tackles the highly abstract movie, “Upstream Color,” wondering WTF?, linking its metaphysics from Descartes to its more clearly metaphorical references to rape, trauma, and agency in a completely confusing world. What does it say, we ponder, about the relationships between human animals, non-human animals, and nature? We also deconstruct a dream about a plane in autopilot, and determine each others’ Star Wars characters. Don’t miss it!

Thank you to Brett for suggesting we watch Burka Avenger, and to Carter for asking after Upstream Color. Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer on the show? 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 Rocco & Lizzie and by B.

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Ep.3 – Bruno Latour’s Reassembling the Social; Interview with Amy Schiller on Philanthropy, Neoliberalism, and Government

In this ‘action’ filled episode, listen to B, John, and guest-host Lindsey Whitmore discuss Latour’s sociologically controversial book Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Covering topics from the infamy of agency to the ethics of documenting individual lives and experience(s), the team attempts to reassemble Latour for the purposes of critique. What is agency, and how do non-human entities act as agents? Can Actor-Network Theory be used to critique capitalism itself, or only the explanations used by critical theory that posit capitalism as an all-invasive force? What’s the deal with social construction and science?

This episode also includes part one of John’s interview with PhD student and freelance writer (and meme-maker extraordinaire) Amy Schiller, discussing her recent pieces on philanthropy and the way that marketized, consumer-driven “philanthro-capitalism” subsumes public, collective programs under ultra-wealthy private money and neoliberal market logics. We conclude by giving advice on attending a conference for the first time and academics dating non-academics without being pretentious elitists.

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. Download the mp3 here.

Thanks to Jordan Cass for the music in the episode.

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