Interview: Jane Gordon and Drucilla Cornell on Creolizing Rosa Luxemburg — Epistemic Unruliness 36

This episode, Rachel and John have the honor and pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jane Anna Gordon and Dr. Drucilla Cornell about their new edited volume, Creolizing Rosa LuxemburgPart of the Creolizing the Canon series, this volume examines the political economy and political philosophies of Polish Marxist thinker and revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg, from her work on imperialism and the expanded reproduction of capital, to the violence of fascism, and her theory of primitive accumulation. The volume also considers her reception across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, asking how her work can be expanded and applied in contemporary revolutionary politics.

As you have may have guessed from our podcast series on Luxemburg and our episode on Geraldine Heng, Rachel, Sid, and John have a chapter in the volume! We rethink primitive accumulation as a concept for theories of racial capitalism. For more about the book, check out the book panel from the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung’s Rosa Luxemburg at 150: Revisiting Her Radical Life and Legacy conference from March 2021.

We begin by asking Gordon and Cornell about the concept of “creolization” and its relevance for the work of Luxemburg. Next we turn to ask about racism and capitalism, about social reproduction and Marxist feminism, and about how Rosa’s work points us to the co-constitutive nature of racism, heteropatriarchy, and capitalism. Finally, we ask what Rosa would think about theories of neoliberalism and contemporary forms of imperialism. Join us for this rich discussion of the creolized Rosa Luxemburg’s socialist horizons.

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 or Spotify. 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 FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here

Links:

Ep. 68 – W.E.B. Du Bois, Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil

Join Emily, B, Sid, and John for a classic AAP text discussion, this time featuring W.E.B. Du Bois’s Darkwater: Voices From Within the Veil. Our discussion begins (perhaps unsurprisingly!) with knowledge, education, and epistemology, and spans Du Bois’s analysis of racial capitalism, his materialism, aesthetics, canonization as a political theorist, and more. We interrogate Du Bois as a democratic theorist in his own right, analyze his (maybe) humanism and (maybe) universalism, and ask, what does it mean to read DuBois as a prescient diagnostician of our own political moment (and who is the revolutionary subject?)? While we barely scratch the surface of all this book has to offer (what of “work,” whiteness, poetics, and proto-feminism in this text?!), we welcome you to join us for the close reading, and stay for the water puns!

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 FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

Links:

Black and white photograph of Du Bois, looking at the camera

W.E.B. Du Bois in 1918; from WikiMedia Commons

 

Blue-on-blue cover of Darkwater

First edition of Darkwater; from WikiMedia Commons

Interview: Joanna Steinhardt and Tehseen Noorani on the Psychedelic Revival — Epistemic Unruliness 32

In this episode, James welcomes back friend of the podcast Joanna Steinhardt and introduces Tehseen Noorani, co-editors of the recent “The Psychedelic Revival” series published by the Society for Cultural Anthropology. From PTSD and opiate rehabilitation therapy, legalization and decriminalization initiatives, to “tech bro” microdosing and New Age spirituality eco-tourism, it seems that psychedlics are all the rage for everyone these days (including your Boomer parents!). But how did we get here?

Join James, Joanna, and Tehseen as they bring you up to speed on the plant and fungal movements and trajectories making up this psychedelic revival in its various post-1971 iterations following President Nixon’s declaration of the U.S. government’s War on Drugs. But does heralding the “revival” of psychedelia eclipse the traditional contributions of Indigenous American and African pharmacopic knowledges? Or might the revival lead to a revolution of ancestral consciousness capable of rescuing us from the crises of racial capitalism and the Anthropocene? “Turn on, tune in, drop out,” and give a listen! Special thanks to Joanna and Tehseen for providing an extensive episode bibliography!

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 from their album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

Links:

Digital Media
Books

 

Serotonin. Image by Kelsey Brooks, via Society for Cultural Anthropology: https://culanth.org/fieldsights/series/the-psychedelic-revival

 

 

Ep. 67 – Joel Olson, The Abolition of White Democracy

In this episode, John and Sid are joined by friend of the podcast Danielle Hanley of Rutgers University to discuss Joel Olson’s The Abolition of White Democracy (2004). Our discussion weaves through a number of pressing questions: How does Olson center Du Bois in political theory debates about American democracy and citizenship? In what ways are Olson’s conceptualizations of “race,” “whiteness,” and “white privilege” precisely the kind of theorizations—politically astute, materially grounded, and non-reductive—that our moment calls for? What does Olson’s analysis of the constitutive relationship between race and American capitalism add to theories of racial capitalism? How does Olson’s vision of “abolition-democracy” expand democratic imaginaries and re-think agency and participation in critical race theory? Instead of turning to the work of Robin DiAngelo and Tim Wise, what if liberals interested in understanding and/or undoing “whiteness” read Olson’s prescient work?

Across our conversation, we find that Olson’s elegant work speaks to our historical and political moment in multiple ways and has much to offer the left, theoretically and practically, within and beyond academia.

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 FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

Links:

 

Image of book cover, with the title in alternative red, white, and grey text on a black background

 

Ep. 65 – Race, Capitalism, and Intersectionality

Emily, Sid, and John intervene in the resurgent and lively (and possibly trendy?) discussion on “racial capitalism.” By engaging with four articles–Michael Dawson’s (2016), “Hidden in Plain Sight: A Note on Legitimation Crises and the Racial Order“; Nancy Fraser’s (2016), “Expropriation and Exploitation in Racialized Capitalism: A Reply to Michael Dawson“; Ashley Bohrer’s (2018), “Intersectionality and Marxism: A Critical Historiography“; and Michael Ralph and Maya Singhal’s (2019), “Racial Capitalism“–the team interrogates the theoretical foundations and political stakes around the relationship between capitalism, racial domination, patriarchy, and other modalities of hierarchy and oppression.

We raise questions (and often meet them with additional questions) such as: Is race necessary or contingent to the history and structure of capitalism? How, if at all, does contemporary work on racial capitalism move us past the entrenched class versus identity debate? Is the phrase “racial capitalism” an empty signifier, or does it hold generative political possibilities for the left? Tune in and find out where you end up on these questions and more!
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 FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.
Links:
  • The Combahee River Collective Statement
  • Boston Review critical forum on slavery, capitalism, and justice
  • Robin D.G. Kelley, video of “What is Racial Capitalism and Why Does It Matter?” lecture (2017) and essay on Cedric Robinson and racial capitalism
  • Chapter 13 of Angela Davis’ Women, Race, and Class
  • The Race and Capitalism Project at the University of Chicago
  • Mayra Cotta on Michael Dawson, Nancy Fraser, race, and capitalism
  • Video of Michael Dawson talk “Race, Capitalism, and the Current Crisis” (2019)
  • Ashley Bohrer talk on “Capitalist Confinement” (2016)
  • 2016 panel discussion on Race and Capitalism at U Chicago
  • Michael Ralph discussing his book Forensics of Capital on Left on Black