Saba Mahmood’s Politics of Piety; Carol Gould on Interactive Democracy (Part I of Interview)

In this episode B, John, and guest-host Joanna Tice talk about Politics of Piety by Saba Mahmood (Chapters 1 and 5). Everyone was enthralled with this complex work, and we discuss why in terms of Mahmood’s account of agency as it relates to embodiment, religion, and social conditions, her deep engagement from and learning from the practices of the women in the Egyptian mosque movement she studied, and her engagement and critique of Western feminism for its overemphasis on resistance at the expense of understanding actors and their agential practices.

We also interview Carol Gould (Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Political Science at The Graduate Center and Hunter College, CUNY) on her forthcoming book, Interactive Democracy: The Social Roots of Global Justice. Our conversation covers contemporary democracy’s failed promises, social ontology, how to justify human rights, Gould’s new “interactive” conceptualization of democracy, and democratizing education.

Finally, we give advice on dissertation anxiety/writer’s block and on what to do if one’s dissertation distances them from their romantic partner.

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.


  • Saba Mahmood’s page at Berkeley
  • Politics of Piety on Google Books
  • Interview with Mahmood on the piety movement
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on poststructural feminist perspective on power
  • Review and critique of the book in Jadaliyya
  • Carol Gould’s homepage
  • Cambridge Univ. Press page for Interactive Democracy



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.