Join James, John, and Emily for an extra special episode of Always Already “After Dark,” a potentially new series. This episode is “after dark” in two senses: 1) we recorded it dangerously near bedtime, and 2) we deviated from our usual format and content! The conversation takes up two broad topics, both of which are anchored in a series of short internet articles. In part 1, we tackle the amorphous and illusive “Academy,” and whether it is good or bad. We discuss academia’s forsaking of the affective body, the “public” with which it is engaged, how it engages with that public, our own understandings of the role the podcast plays in our academic lives, and the sheer volume of airquotes required to develop this episode description! (Okay, not that last part.) Part 2 grapples with the philosophy of Jaden and Willow Smith, their understanding of time, whether they are the Deleuzians of our day, the Afrofuturist art of Willow’s ARDIPITHECUS album cover, and the cosmologies of “New-Age” thinking. We know what you’re thinking: The Smith children are philosophers? Tune in to hear our take on their now (in?)famous interview with T Magazine.
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.
New Feminist Formationsissue on “Institutional Feelings: Practicing Women’s Studies in the Corporate University”, including a roundtable featuring friend of the podcast/previous guest host Lindsey Whitmore
James Mulholland, “Academics: Forget about Public Engagement, Stay in Your Ivory Towers”
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.
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.