Ep. 27 – Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism

Special guest co-host Lindsey Whitmore (Rutgers) joins Rachel and John to talk about Lauren Berlant’s 2011 book Cruel Optimism. Join us as we traverse this notably title-colon-less text in queer theory and cultural studies (among other fields). We start by asking what is cruel about cruel optimism and how it is related to attachment and temporality. From there, we ask after the way affect works in the text, what we might say Berlant’s method is, how her book relates to the work of Sara Ahmed and José Esteban Muñoz, her rethinking of agency and sovereignty, and more. There are some critical questions to discuss as well: What does her analysis of fatness and obesity miss? What other relations to futurity are possible? Is optimism always (already) cruel? The discussion closes by Lindsey telling us about how Berlant’s concept of “slow death” works in her own project on debility and care and by thinking through optimism’s relationship to survival.

In One or Several Wolves?, we analyze a dream about Tina Turner and Hogwarts; In My Tumblr Friend From Canada, we advise on summer body hair.

Thanks to Hanna 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. Follow us on twitter. Subscribe on iTunes. Like our Facebook page. Get the mp3 of the episode here. RSS feed here. This episode’s music by Jordan Cass and by B.

Links!

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Ep. 8 – Jasbir K. Puar’s Terrorist Assemblages

Join B and John as they welcome back Rachel and collectively explore two chapters from the now-classic text by Jasbir Puar, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Topics include issues of empire, frames of war, bodies and affect, the concept of homonationalism, as well as the disposability of certain bodies and identities. You’re also invited to listen to Rachel and John spar with B over Puar’s use of affect against Ahmed.

In My Tumblr Friend from Canada, the group gives advice on doing interdisciplinary work and applying to political theory programs, as well as on conference presentations.

Thanks for Nathan J. for suggesting we read Puar. 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. Get the mp3 here. RSS feed here. This episode’s music by B.

Links!

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Ep.2 B-Sides: Ahmed, continued

The B-Side to episode 2 brings you more of our discussion of The Cultural Politics of Emotion by Sara Ahmed. In this mini-episode we think about emotion and cognition, critique, movement, affective economies, and historicity in the text. B also uses Star Trek and The X-Files to illustrate some key concepts.

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. Get the mp3 here.

Thanks to Ricky Perry of Go-getter for the music in the episode.