“I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.”
This event addresses a fundamental problem for contemporary theory: How can we think the darkness? On one side of this darkness is a regression and slippage back to gothic-romanticism, a state of mind, and thinking that FWJ Schelling alluded to when he said that: “History as a whole is a progressive, gradually self-disclosing revelation of the Absolute”. On the other side, is the scientific-realist perception of and about the darkness, as it overwhelms us, and encourages immersion in absolute [nothingness-strangeness-the alien]: i.e. it performs as the nature of the universe.
We begin from a consolidated position of darkness: >No hope, no future, no humanity, no way out, no limitations to thinking the darkness …
From this start-point spring 3 perspectives:
Dark Anthropocene = geology folding back into a singularity <
Afropessimism = contemporary methodology for destroying the world <
Non-standard animism = a politics of indivisible extra-terran non/humanity <
The three perspectives are material experiments in working with and in the darkness. The stakes of these experiments are multiple — they constitute finding something when one is blind. The risks are high, the rewards potentially immense. This is not theory by any other name than an encounter on a dark horizon …
Excited to announce that I will be the keynote speaker at Western University’s annual grad conference on “Toxic/Cities,” held March 2-4, presented by the Graduate Programs in Comparative Literature, Hispanic Studies, and Theory & Criticism.
Consider submitting! CFP below.
19th Annual Graduate Student Conference
March 2-4, 2017
Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
Deadline for submission of abstracts: December 2, 2017
Presented by the Graduate Programs in Comparative Literature, Hispanic Studies, and Theory & Criticism
Western University invites you to take up the topic: Toxic/cities
at the 19th Annual Graduate Student Conference, to be held from March 2-4, 2017 in London, Ontario, Canada.
Historically, the city has been considered a place of civilization, modernity, and opportunity; yet, for many the city is also a site of exploitation, excretion, and contamination. Millions of immigrants flocked to Ellis Island with the hopes of finding a better life in New York City; however, for many, the American Dream was shattered by the reality that the city can be monstrous and barbaric. Spanish author García Lorca wrote in his poem “The Dawn”: “The light is buried under chains and noises / in impudent challenge of rootless science. / Through the suburbs sleepless people stagger, / as though just delivered from a shipwreck of blood.” While some successfully navigate this darkness, many people encounter a place full of toxins and decay. A city that is both living and dead.
As Italo Calvino puts it in the last part of Invisible Cities, “The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.” The city, like an organism, is permeable and vulnerable to the very toxins it produces. People inhabiting toxic spaces can revel in this darkness or try to resist it. Decay itself can be revitalizing or lethal; dead communities can come alive. Conversely, the liveliest of communities can succumb to toxins and die.
This conference seeks to examine literary, historical, and theoretical investigations of toxicity in spaces, including but not limited to cities, suburbs, countrysides, or imaginary spaces. Topics for discussion include notions of abjection in literature and theory, contamination of language and degradation through translation, garbage art, indigenous eco-visions, rabid consumerism, scientific fallout, and disposable cultures. We encourage submissions from across these disciplines: literary, critical and cultural theory, cultural studies, philosophy, digital humanities, linguistics, film studies, visual arts, history, anthropology, and sociology. We invite submissions on:
- Authors, languages, theories, cultures, texts, films, and artworks that depict contamination or decay.
- Decay in communication caused by literary, linguistic and cultural barriers, silence, censorship, semantic ambiguity, practices and cultures of ineffective language acquisition.
- Toxic consequences of:
- language evolution and variation, dialect contact, language attrition.
- birth of monstrosity, mutation, madness, mad science.
- the pharmakon, dark vitalism/ecology, immunitary logics
- Recovery from periods of decline and decay (coming out of toxic environments).
- (Toxic) City
- Studies of spaces including but not limited to urban, suburban, rural, or imaginary spaces from a variety of approaches such as ecocriticism, sustainability, digital humanities, the Anthropocene, dystopian theory, etc.)
- The collapse or metamorphosis of religious institutions, political systems, social values, or economic policies that are in decay.
- Resistance to decay, ways of expressing resistance, autopoeisis as counter-discourse, immunization / inoculation, coping mechanisms, resolutions to toxic issues, positive visions of social cohesion.
- Decay as productive of underground networks of communication and speculative theory.
Related fields and topics may include:
|Queer studies||The post-human|
|Ethnic studies||Experimental arts|
|Indigenous studies||The DarkWeb|
|Creative Writing / Expressions|
We are asking those interested in delivering 15 to 20-minute presentations to submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 2, 2016. Please include your name, paper keywords, institutional affiliation, technical requirements, and a 50-word bio in your email. Abstracts and presentations in English, Spanish and French are welcome, and selected papers will be published in The Scattered Pelican, a peer-reviewed journal run by students of the comparative literature program, after the conference. *We are also accepting original artwork in the form of video, photography, visual arts, sound art and poetry. For more information, including submission guidelines for artworks, please visit www.uwotoxicityconference.wordpress.com
The Police = The Enemy
We are persuaded by the Situationist belief that all good critiques can be boiled down to a slogan. Those for our issue? “All Cops Are Bastards.” “Fuck The Police.” “Off the Pigs.” “Fire to the Prisons.” The job of the police is to put everything and everyone in its proper place. On its face, such a description sounds rather clinical, reminiscent of the boring work of an accountant preparing tax filings. But is this not how policing describes itself? Judges, lawmakers, and good citizens say it the same way – good policing happens with a smiling face, whistling a tune, and chatting with neighborhood kids. Like a game of cops and robbers, they attribute any resulting violence to ‘the bad guys.’ Always childishly pointing their fingers at someone else, as if to tattle on ‘the ones who started it.’ If slogans like ‘ACAB’ or ‘FTP’ belong to a larger political horizon, it is one that has also been articulated in slogan form: une autre fin du monde est possible [Another End of the World is Possible]. The aim is to usher in an end to this world other than the looming catastrophe of capital by reiterating that the police act as the guarantors of a perpetual present. It is within this context that this issue of Hostis seeks to embolden slogans that single out the police as a true enemy. If the police are an enemy, then it is because enemies are not to be fought simply through negation but to be abolished completely. The lesson we draw from this: the enemy is the one whose existence must be abolished without qualification.
But where did it all start? Slavery. Food riots. Urban revolt. The police have always been civil society’s response to the existence of what we today call masses, publics, or even the most sacred of democratic ideas: the People. That is to say, the police have always been conjured to control masses and crowds whereas the old canard of criminality materializes only after the police have been summoned. Despite this already being old wisdom, it bears repeating: the police do not carry peace as an olive branch to seal a cessation of hostilities. Rather, the peace offered by the police are the terms of a surrender through which they legalize their dominion over us. Their peace institutionalizes a racial order, sanctions the proper means of economic exploitation, and criminalizes anyone who fights back.
In the face of this all, we are continuously confronted with a well rehearsed justification for the necessity of the police that repeats the sick notion that it takes violence to deal with the most dangerous elements of society. As the argument goes, police officers put themselves in ‘harm’s way,’ and since the police are the only thing standing between unfettered chaos on the one hand, they exist as a necessary evil for the upholding of civil society. This old story of police work being dangerous, however, is only half correct. It is true that police arrive on the scene like the grim reaper, stinking of death. Yet cops rarely encounter danger. In the US in 2016, it is more dangerous for police to enter their cars than to put on their badges, according to a recent FBI report that noted auto fatalities as the leading cause of police on-the-job death. Statistics point to truckers, garbage collectors, taxi drivers, and landscapers having more hazardous jobs than a pig on patrol. Moreover, our task is not to provide the tools, manpower, and legitimacy to make their job easier. On the contrary, we wish to make policing so impossible that it stops making any sense at all.
We would like many of our friends to reconsider how they oppose the police. Social anarchists do not wish to abolish policing, just certain types of police. In fact, they seem most worried about restoring the foundational political legitimacy laid bare by police violence. This is why social anarchists talk about empty concepts like democracy, the people, or other ‘legitimate authorities.’ “Strong communities don’t need police,” they say, followed up by an assortment of police reforms or alternatives: community review boards, citizen policing, restorative justice. Self-policing then appears as the alternative to state policing. We think it absurd to imagine any of those social forms as even possible in our age of fragmentation, that is, except for those erected to protect a privileged few. And who would want to live in a ‘strong community,’ anyway? We are even more frightened by the violence done by neighbors who police each other than a stranger with a badge and a gun.
This issue of Hostis is interested in contributions that elaborate on our critiques-slogans, “All Cops Are Bastards,” “Fuck The Police,” “Off the Pigs,” and “Fire to the Prisons.” We look forward to submissions on:
- Anti-Cop Cultural Production (Slogans, Poems, Art)
- The History of the Police (Racial History, Food Riots, The Carceral State)
- The Impossibility of Police Reform (Civilian Review Boards, Body Cameras, Demilitarization)
- Critiques of Alternative Policing (Community Policing, Restorative Justice, Anti-Violence Programs)
- Comparative, historical, materialist, and/or structural analyses of how policing is carried out in the US and abroad, and its implications for ongoing anti-police struggles worldwide (e.g. Police killings in the U.S. and the Philippines)
- Strategies for Confronting the Police (Riots, Rebellion, Anti-Social Acts)
Hostis is looking for submissions from those who are tired of compromising themselves, who are repulsed by the police, who want to fight the cops, and who are working to abolish the police. In addition to scholarly essays, we are looking for any original work suited to the printed page: ‘rap sheets’ of police officers, police departments and/or precincts, strategic diagrams, logistical maps, printed code, how-to instructions, photo-essays, illustrations, or mixed-media art. To remain consistent with the journal’s point of view, we seek material whose tone is abrasive, mood is cataclysmic, style is gritty, and voice is impersonal.
Submissions will be selected by an editorial collective. Contributors should expect to receive critical feedback in the first stage of review requesting revisions to improve their submission and make it consistent with the other contributions selected for inclusion. While we are not soliciting proposals, we are happy to comment on possible submissions before official review. The deadline for submission is January 15, 2017. All submissions should be sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org (PGP encrypted message accepted) as MS Word, rtf, pdf, jpg, or png files. Include a title, author name, content, and any formatting requests. Expect to complete requested revisions between March-April 2017.
New Interregnum now available. A major highlight is Susan Stryker’s trans- history in the US.
These two weeks of podcasts finished the trans-disciplinarily conference and continued with talks by prominent transgender thinkers.
Simon Morgan Wortham’s response to Cunningham is brief, but once again a careful consideration of Derrida. Moreover, I like how Wortham reiterates a previous comment that “a responder is one who responds by taking responsibility for the paper.”
The trans-disciplinary and anti-humanism talks continue with a second session on gender. There are two incredibly standout talks from Tuija Pulkkinen…
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Interregnum Week 3 now available. Subscribe to Interregnum at http://feeds.feedburner.com/AnarchistWithoutContent or on Apple iTunes at https://itun.es/us/axlweb.c.
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Interregnum Week 2 now available. Subscribe to Interregnum at http://feeds.feedburner.com/AnarchistWithoutContent or on Apple iTunes at https://itun.es/us/axlweb.c.
Interregnum, Week 2
I began the week by finishing the “Media After Kittler” conference, with three incredible talks and a discussion.
The first talk was by Samuel Weber, a huge name in philosophy and friend of Kittler. His talk, titled “The Calculable and the Incalculable: Hölderlin after Kittler,” was a masterful demonstration of how Kittler’s materialism contaminates idealism.
The second talk was Matthew Fuller’s “The Forbidden Pleasures of Media Determinism.” Fuller’s strong philosophical acumen is on display as he digs into important areas of media theory, such as a consideration of “social form determinism.”
The third talk is by Mai Wegener, titled “The Humming of Machines. To the End of History and Back.” While many mentioned history in their Kittler talks, Wegener performs the most rigorous and systematic use of Kittler’s non-anthropocentric media philosophy to push concepts of history to their limit.
I continued the week with…
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