Anonymous asked: hey, do you know any good critical stuff on jane bennett/new materialisms in general? /sorry to bother you but you seem to be knowledgeable about that stuff and i'm struggling to find good things

Yes well I don’t know if Bennett is synonymous with “New Materialisms” but you basically have two strands or fields that are often cited under its auspices: object oriented ontology/speculative realism and what I would align with a post-marxist, non dialectical account of material causality (this including some “neo vitalism” stuff but also work interested in thinking biopolitics and neoliberalism, or rethinking the relationship between psychic and material life outside the confines of form). These two fields can and do intersect (I think mostly in science and technology studies, people like Bruno Latour or what have you).

I always recommend the New Materialisms collection from Duke UP. Everyone in there is pretty solid, and it provides a map of some of the scholars thinking through these problems: Liz Grosz, Pheng Cheah, William Connolly, Rosi Braidotti, Jane Bennett, and Sara Ahmed (tho to a less extent than the others) in particular. Aside from those, I’d add Nikolas Rose, Roberto Esposito to that list. Brian Massumi and Manuel DeLanda are often cited and I find them to be hit or miss. Miguel Vatter and Maurizio Lazarratto if you’re interested in it from a political theory/biopower perspective. Bruno Latour and Catherine Malabou if you’re interested in it from a science/technology perspective. Mel Chen is a more convincing/cooler Jane Bennett.

I’m probably forgetting some—anyone out there want to add?

@2 weeks ago with 11 notes

Anonymous asked: Have you read a page of Hegel in your life

lolll not only have I taken a graduate seminar entirely on Hegel with Judith Butler, I’m reading Hegel right now boo (Phil. of Right). Is there a particular issue you have or are you just about being a big baby?

@2 weeks ago with 15 notes



This coming week, our union—United Auto Workers Local 2865—has called a system-wide strike in protest of unfair labor practices (ULPs) by the university. Although particular grievances differ from campus to campus, in aggregate, they concern the university’s unwillingness to bargain over key aspects of our employment, including class size and the length of our workweek. Also at issue is the university’s history of illegal intimidation of student workers. For example, this past November, an administrator at UCLA threatened overseas students with the loss of their visas for participating in a sympathy strike—a claim as insulting as it was untrue.

The reasons for striking are serious, but also banal. By any measure, our labor is appallingly undervalued by the managers of the UC, its remuneration calibrated neither to the ballooning costs of living in present-day California nor to the wages of our peers at equivalent out-of-state universities. Nonetheless, many of us persist in believing that, no matter how untenable or degrading, our working conditions can always be tolerated, since they are only temporary, lasting no longer than our apprenticeships. The ideology of grad school rationalizes this deficit as the price of shelter from the “working world,” of which the academy is surely the opposite. Those who do not support the strike will claim that grad students are not workers at all, but rather professionals in the chrysalis stage of a post-laborious life cycle. Labor is the fate of the unlucky, the futureless, the unspecial—of all who fail admittance to the academy, or who find themselves passed over in the competition for grants, honors, and jobs. Today’s strikers, tomorrow’s adjuncts.

The academy has always warmed to such delusions. To exist, universities depend on the extraction of un- and underpaid labor from students and faculty, exploiting a population convinced of its special intelligence and competitive edge. Fear of imposture, of mere adequacy, is the coin of the academic realm. As minter of this coin, the university holds its subjects in a state of blind dependency: students compete for the attention of a shrinking pool of professionals (part-time instructors currently outnumber tenure-track faculty by a ration of four to one), while the latter scurry to commodify the drippings of a hive-mind on the brink of colony collapse. A population that does not recognize itself as working will not mind working harder, longer, and more obediently, whatever the personal cost. For many grad students, the very idea of a contract governing the limits and conditions of our labor is a source of skepticism, and even derision. This system is not an alternative to the working world; it is the model every employer would eagerly adopt. Far from prefiguring an emancipated society, the university offers a foretaste of the total domination of workers by management.

Perhaps our peers are right: perhaps we strikers are the futureless, the luckless, the unspecial. To which we should reply—Yes, and so are you! Of course, logic dictates that some of us will be retained by the academy as its favored prodigies; that some of us will best our peers on a tightening job market; that odds will always (ever) be in someone’s favor. But this is not a logic, not a system, that we could ever willingly endorse. The university profits by our atomization, our disunity; it encourages our delusions of specialness, our faith in anointment and meritocratic providence; it thrives on our belief, against every shred of evidence, that we are not workers. We are striking because we are workers. We are striking, not to withdraw our labor arbitrarily, but so that we can find each other outside the walls of the academy. We are striking so that we do not to end up like the fortunate ones.

There are no fair labor practices in the academy or anywhere else; there are only the gains we win for ourselves, together, fighting.


Some strikers, some friends

This is all the things I’ve been feeling and thinking in regards to this career I’ve chosen. If you’re at a UC, please do not cross picket lines Wednesday and Thursday in solidarity with us.

@2 weeks ago with 122 notes

noirnites said: Liz Grosz’s recent work!! It’s all about using Deleuze to combine Darwin and Irigaray : D

I LOVE the two chapters on Irigaray in Becoming Undone—Grosz’s reading of her is what revitalized my interest in Irigaray and brought me to think of her as a kind of precursor to “new materialism” in that she’s one of the few 20th century thinkers, besides Deleuze and maybe Foucault/Derrida, to think matter outside the confines of form.

But yeah, I’m lecturing to a classroom of 80 undergrads who have most likely never encountered her work/don’t know much about psychoanalysis, plus I’m obliged to stick to the primary text (This Sex Which is Not One). I ended up writing a little bit about why Irigaray’s theory of sexual difference is really an indictment of metaphysics and an attempt to think difference in itself/prior to identity, and the new conception of ontology that comes along with that. But I’m afraid it’ll be over their heads a little, so I want to supplement the lecture with some concrete examples (I’m using a power point). You know like pictures of phallic buildings and selections from biology text books or something. Any ideas?

@4 weeks ago with 2 notes

YEAR PAST 23 by Kera and the Lesbians

summer jamz cuz it’s 75 degrees in the bay

@1 month ago with 5 note and 395 play

"The violence of forgetting. Writing, a mnemotechnic means, supplanting good memory, spontaneous memory, signifies forgetfulness…because it is a mediation and the departure of the logos from itself. Without writing, the latter would remain in itself. Writing is the dissimulation of the natural, primary, and immediate presence of sense to the soul within the logos.Its violence befalls the soul as unconsciousness. Deconstructing this tradition will therefore not consist of reversing it, of making writing innocent. Rather of showing why the violence of writing does not befall an innocent language. There is an originary violence of writing because language is first, in a sense I shall gradually reveal, writing. “Usurpation” has always already begun."

Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology
@1 month ago with 92 notes
#writing #difference #forgetting #violence #deconstruction 

Anonymous asked: Thanks a lot for discrediting me outright as a "big baby". I almost didn't ask my question to someone with as elitist of an attitude as yours. What is your view on Difference and Repetition and the reformulation of dialectics, or do you still think Deleuze is ~~anti-Hegelian~~

Because rhetorically asking someone if they have ever read a page of Hegel in their life is certainly not “elitist.”

"Hegel’s technique lies in the movement of contradiction. It consists of inscribing the inessential in the essence, and in conquering the infinite with the weapons of a synthetic finite identity…All that is discovered is a ground which relates the excess and default of difference to the identical, the similar, the analogous and the opposed: reason—that is, sufficient reason—has become the ground which no longer allows anything to escape. Nothing, however, has changed: difference remains subject to malediction, and all that has happened is the discovery of more subtle and more sublime means to make it atone, or to redeem it and subject it to the categories of representation.

Thus, the Hegelian contradiction appears to push difference to the limit, but this path is a dead end which brings it back to identity, making identity the sufficient condition for difference to exist and be thought. It is only in relation to the identical, as a function of the identical, that contradiction is the greatest difference. The intoxication and giddiness are feigned, the obscure is already clarified from the outset. Nothing shows this more than the insipid monocentrality of the circles in the Hegelian dialectic” (DR 263).

But even if you didn’t get that far, he situates the subject of D&R as a “generalized anti-Hegelianism” on the first page of the preface like literally the first page of the book. I don’t know why I even bother.

@2 weeks ago with 10 notes 



anyway, if the humanities requires a neil degrasse tyson I nominate trashthetics

NDT is a liberal and his project is deeply liberal in ways that are not only violently colonial but irrevocably unrealizable and impossible because of the material divisions between…

David, related but unrelated: what do you think of the push for “new media studies” in the humanities? I tend to think of it as another symptom of this move to make the humanities more “useful” “legible” “science-y” etc.

(via trashthetics-deactivated2014040)

@2 weeks ago with 46 notes

"i love u but im tired"

truest drunk texts
@2 weeks ago with 9 notes

hiiii i’ve been gone for a while. did I miss any good gossip? i’ve been busy grading and teaching and reading and drinking outside in the 80 degree weather.

I’m trying to write a lecture on Irigaray for this week cause the prof is gonna be out of town and I’m gonna take his place. Kinda scary. Also I wouldn’t consider myself super comfortable with her/psychoanalysis so I’m kind of struggling. Any suggestions/thoughts? I’m thinking of beginning the lecture with examples of phallocentrism in popular culture, to engage the students a bit. Ideas? 

@1 month ago with 10 notes


@1 month ago with 5 notes

"You know when you have to bring your partner to a party and you’re kind of embarrassed, and wonder, ‘Why am I embarrassed? Oh, it’s because everyone’s going to see the shape of my desire.’ So in the examples that you choose, you’re saying something about the things that have interested you. But they’re not universal things. So there’s a politics of exemplarity that’s very important in feminist and queer work by saying that the example is always the problem of love, both in writing and in life."

Lauren Berlant, interview with The Critical Lede on her book Desire/Love (via queernotions)

perhaps not embarrassed, but certainly very revealed. this is the shape of my desire.

(via deleuzeyoulose)

Feeling this as I get ready to spend the weekend at my college reunion with my partner and to reveal how the shape of my desire has changed pretty drastically. I think showing how desire is this radically unstable thing makes people pretty uncomfortable

(via fulvia-bambula)

@2 months ago with 64 notes