Ep. 56 – Donna Haraway, When Species Meet

In this episode Emily, James, and John discuss Donna Haraway‘s When Species Meet (2008), a personal and at times intimate figuring/figuration of human-companion species relations. We plot this work within Haraway’s journey from her essay “A Manifesto for Cyborgs” (1985) to her recent book Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (2016), as well as think through its placement within the academic discourses of posthumanism and critical animal studies. Following Haraway’s playful writing style, we eventually arrive upon the terms companion species and ethics of flourishing and we flesh out how Haraway reconfigures these points of reference and in so doing reconfigures the “Great Divide” that separates the ontology of human-animal encounters. How can one capacious reading of Haraway lend itself to banter about prison dogs, Catholicism, homo ludens and epistemologies of play, demons, etymology, Marxist value theories, and (perhaps most-irreverently), Derrida’s doubly naked body, materially nude and existentially undressed by the lingering gaze of his cat? Moreover, how does all of the preceding reside in an episode that also features an emergent drinking game that tries to distill the essence of the royal wedding? Companions, Become all of this together with us as you listen along!

Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment, potentially provide episode transcripts, and more – plus, you may have the chance to jump your request to the top of the request queue. 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. We are part of the Critical Mediations network. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music, and always already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

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Haraway and her dog Cayenne; image via Wikimedia Commons licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

 

 

Emily’s companion, Ripley

 

Derrida, with his cat (apparently named Logos) https://twitter.com/thelitcritguy/status/840148505398247424

 

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Interview: Charles Mills on Racial Liberalism

In this very special episode, John talks with Charles W. Mills (Philosophy, The Graduate Center, CUNY) about his new book, Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism (Oxford UP, 2017). Mills walks us through some of the main arguments and concepts from the book, including the terminology of racial liberalism, the importance of white supremacy as a concept, his critiques of Kant and Rawls, the prospects for a “black radical liberalism,” and much more. But, the two build out the conversation to also discuss whiteness in the academy, race and ontology, the ongoing importance of historical materialism, whether liberalism can be reconstructed, and race and pedagogy in the political philosophy/theory classroom.

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with Mills – don’t miss out on the dialogue.

Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment. 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 for the intro music, and to Bad Infinity for music during the break and for the outro. Get the mp3 of the episode here.

 

 

 

Ep. 50 – Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway

In this especially agentic episode, Emily, John, and B attempt to meet Karen Barad halfway–examining three chapters from her major work, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Exploring how the concepts of agency, quantum theory, feminist science studies, and “the real” might be updated through Barad’s notion of intra-action, the team tackles everything from Barad’s agential realism right down to the heart of whether “yous dudes” can be a thing. Along the way, they puzzle over the difference between a phenomena and an apparatus, ask what a Barad-influenced interpretation of liberalism would be, explore how Barad can influence our pedagogy, and quasi-heatedly debate the relationship of Barad’s work to phenomenology,  They even have time for Emily’s favorite segment, One or Several Wolves–in this installment, bears, poop, a dog iPhone, and a sense of belonging are all found in a listener’s recurring dream from childhood.

Thanks to listener Marianne in Norway for the request to read Barad!

Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment. 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 for the intro music, and to B for the outro music. Get the mp3 of the episode here.

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Ep. 49 – Eric L. Santner on Sovereignty, Flesh, and Biopolitics

Join B, John, and Emily for a patron-suggested discussion of Eric L. Santner‘s book The Royal Remains: The People’s Two Bodies and the Endgames of Sovereignty. The conversation explores the book’s use of the terms sovereignty and flesh as we attempt to parse out its central aims and contributions. How do those concepts relate to biopolitics? What are the multiple uses of ‘flesh’? Is psychoanalysis a useful paradigm in which to think through sovereignty and modernity? We also attempt to put Santner in conversation with thinkers like Franz Fanon and Hortense Spillers, and wonder to what extent we ourselves have been guilty of a paranoid reading of the text.

The episode concludes with an advice question regarding some of the concerns that arise when deciding whether and how to continue on with higher education.

Thanks to Dana Logan (@popapologist) who requested this episode, and due to their support of us on Patron, got the request to the top of the queue! Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment. 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 for the intro music, to B for the outro music, and to Bad Infinity for the music between segments. Get the mp3 of the episode here.

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Ep. 43 – Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

In our first text-discussion episode in a while (sorry podcast fam!), John is joined by two special guest hosts, his Beloit College colleagues M. Shadee Malaklou (Critical Identity Studies) and Michelle Bumatay (French). We discuss Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon, focusing on the Introduction, “The Man of Color and the White Woman” (chap. 3) and “The Lived Experience of the Black Man” (chap. 5).  How does anti-blackness make black ontology impossible? How does the white gaze phenomenologically fix and objectify and reify? How does Fanon link temporality, racism, colonialism, and psychic structures? How does Fanon critique the white Continental philosophical tradition? All this and much more, including finding out which one of us has a ‘Humanism is a Racism’ bumper sticker.

Later on, we’re joined by Robin Zebrowski (Cognitive Science at Beloit) to help give some advice on deciding to apply for grad school and analyze a dream about a spectral boss, tree canopies with glass walls, and telepathy.

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, Rocco & Lizzie, and B for the music. Get the mp3 here.

 

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Ep. 38 – Annemarie Mol on Ontology, Science, and Politics

Join John, Emily, and the lamp specter of B for this week’s discussion of some of the work of Dutch anthropologist and philosopher of medicine, Annemarie Mol. In this episode, we read several essays of Mol’s spanning three decades, and grappling with such questions as: who know what a woman is and how do the sciences both create and obscure her? What does Actor Network Theory (ANT) make of such terms as “coordination” and “order,” and can ANT make good on the promise of “theory” more generally? How are the “real” and “political” implicated in and through one another, and what is the ontological turn in Science and Technology Studies?

Our conversation asks about the relationship between epistemology and ontology, about the consequences of these views for democratic theory and democracy more broadly, and we even try our hand at engaging in a little Rawlsian thought experiment! We’ll leave it up to you to decide how well it plays out. The episode closes with a My Tumblr Friend from Canada question regarding some recents comments made by Bill Nye the Science Guy about the relevance of philosophy to science and in general.

We would also like to announce the launch of our new Patreon account. The first few minutes of the episode are replete with details regarding donating to the podcast, and rewards for our patrons. Please give it a listen, check out the site here, and consider sponsoring us if you are a fan! We are greatly appreciative and (we hope) appropriately humbled and reflexive by/about our neoliberal subjectivity. Thank you for your support!

Thanks to listener dmf of Synthetic Zero for suggesting we read these texts.  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. Thanks to Leah Dion and to B for the music.

 

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Ep. 29 – Frank B. Wilderson III on Cinema and the Structure of US Racial Antagonisms

In this episode, John, B, and Emily gather for a discussion about the ontology of blackness in Frank B. Wilderson III’s book Red, White, and Black: Cinema and the Structure of US Antagonisms, and in particular his analysis of the film Monster’s Ball. Bear with us as we again (attempt to) flex our critical theory chops in the visual text genre! We spend time unpacking Wilderson’s ontology, and his important distinction between the grammar of alienation and exploitation in emancipatory discourses versus the ontology of suffering of slavery. How is this distinction related to those of conflict/antagonism and identity/ontology, and to (the unspeakability of) ethics? We talk through his extensive interrogation of the dissonance between the narrative structure of the film and its strategies of cinematic form, discuss whether the film implicitly recognizes the limitations of its own grammar of suffering, and analyze the film’s (in)famous sex scene. Our conversation ends by answering new co-host James Padilioni Jr.’s question about freedom.
Also in this episode, a complex Tumblr Friend advice question about the academia’s co-optation of radical theorizing, and some more One or Several Wolves dream analysis about the job market (except this time with more Kelis). It is clearly a common trend among our dreamer-listeners. Enjoy!
Thanks to Eric T. for suggesting this 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. This episode’s music by Jordan Cass and by B.
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