Ep. 63 – Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch

[Edited to add: Federici published an earlier version of this book in Italian in 1984; the English book Caliban and the Witch, published in 2004, as a synthesis of the earlier work and her ongoing research, thinking, and experiences, including time living in Nigeria in the 1980s. This context bears on our discussions of colonialism and the slave trade in the episode. Thanks to a listener for pointing this out.] 

In this episode, join James, Emily, and John for a discussion of Silvia Federici’s Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation. We attempt to parse her engagement with/extension of Marx’s concept of primitive accumulation, and question whether the figure of the witch in this text is a historical materialist one, a metonymic one, or some combination of the two. We also ask after the analogizing of witch hunts with the slave trade, draw on James’s rich knowledge of witchcraft to interrogate the role of actual witches in the text, think through the idea of capitalism’s historical inevitability, and perhaps even reveal ourselves to be different kinds of Marxists in the process!

Thanks to listener Jonathan Lowell for the request to read Federici. 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.




Image of Silvia Federici, sitting on a chair while turned to the camera.

Silvia Federici in 2014. Photo by Marta Jara, used under CC BY-SA 3.0 es license. Found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silvia_Federici#/media/File:La_escritora_y_activista_feminista_Silvia_Federici_(cropped).jpg


Cover of the book Caliban and the Witch


Ep. 33 – Kara Keeling, The Witch’s Flight

Emily, John, and B take on cinema theory at the intersection of critical race theory in this installment of Always Already, discussing Kara Keeling’s book Witch’s Flight: The Cinematic, The Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense. How does the concept and figure of the “black femme” create the conditions for the possibility of rethinking race, gender, and sexuality–or common sense? But, conversely, what conditions the creation of the black femme in cinematic space that make the normative white and capitalist subject safe? Using Deleuze as a creative font, Keeling offers us a glimpse into “the cinematic” in order to untangle how a radical repositioning of our thinking can offer new ways of understanding common sense. Along the way we also talk about the figure of the witch, Afro-pessimism and Black optimism, racial capitalism, the importance of affectivity and the sensor-motor complex, rationality, and Keeling’s interventions into critical theory.

Don’t miss out on advice on how to deal with family members during the holidays disrespecting your romantic partner, and dream analysis for a nightmarish dream featuring accidental killing.

Thanks to listener Hanna for suggesting the Keeling 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. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. Get the mp3 of the episode here. RSS feed here. NEW intro music, “Static Loops”, from our friend Leah, with the old standby music from B as our outro music. Stick around all the way until the end for the full version of another of Leah’s original songs, “Swim Swim Swim”.