Ep. 17 – Walter Benjamin on the Concept of History

Welcome back Rachel to the podcast by joining us for our reading of Walter Benjamin’s theses on The Concept of History. Moved by our joint out loud reading at the start and end of the podcast, Rachel, John, and B explore the ways that history, for Benjamin, has become a tool of conquerors–a condition that only historical materialism has the ability to articulate. Yet, can historical materialism become an orthodoxy, homogenizing the past it wishes to liberate? And what other kinds of orthodoxies, ways of reading, and disciplinary attitudes foreclose desubjugating the knowledge of history? In the process of thinking through these and other questions, we explore themes and concepts of messianism, temporality, teleology, agency, class struggle, fragmentation and wholeness, redemption, and more; we also touch on queer temporality, Adorno, Foucault, Levinas, Kathi Weeks, and Lukács.

Of course, Our Tumblr Friend from Canada has plenty of questions, and a cameo from Sid Issar, featuring advice on: a pesky roommate tension; how NOT to reproduce power in the pronunciation of proper names; and how being powerful is not, in itself, always already problematic.

Requests for texts for us to discuss? Advice questions for 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 B and by Jordan Cass.

Links!

Klee's Angelus Novus (1920), discussed by Benjamin in the 9th Thesis as the Angel of History

Klee’s Angelus Novus (1920), discussed by Benjamin in the 9th Thesis as the Angel of History

Benjamin plays chess with Brecht

Benjamin plays chess with Brecht

Benjamin-sm

 

 

Advertisements

Interview: James Padilioni Jr. on St. Martín de Porres, modernity, and black radical theology and aesthetics

Join John as he interviews James Padilioni Jr., a doctoral student in American Studies at the College of William and Mary. Building out from a discussion of Padilioni Jr.’s paper “Mortified but Incorruptible: The Radical Black Mysticism of St. Martín de Porres,” we learn about St. Martín, a mulato lay brother in the Dominican order in colonial Lima, Peru and how his practices as well as the cult that grew after his death open up ways to think about black radical aesthetics, theology, and political traditions in relation to colonial modernity. The conversation covers Spanish colonialism, the construction of racialized bodies, Catholic mysticism, the experience of blackness and a black dialectical struggle life, sainthood as a radical alternative practice and subjectivity, and time travelling with Hegel.

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!

James Padilioni Jr., on the roof of the monastery where St. Martín lived

James Padilioni Jr., on the roof of the monastery where St. Martín lived, el Convento de Santo Domingo