Rosi Braidotti, “Posthuman Knowledge”

Rosi Braidotti, “Posthuman Knowledge”

OK, I think we’ll get started. My name is John May. I’m the Director of
the MDes program here but also the Area Head of
the History and Philosophy of Design and Media Group, which
we are co-hosting this event with, GSD Women and Design. And I want to thank Women
Design for co-hosting Rosi and for hosting her for
the event this morning. I’m honored to welcome
Rosi Braidotti to the GSD. It’s no exaggeration
to describe Rosi as one of the most important
living philosophers and a central international
figure in feminist and posthumanist thought. Her intellectual project
sits at the convergence of some of the most difficult
conditions of our time, asking questions that cut
across all of lived life– questions of gender
and sexuality; of technology and materiality;
of politics, power, and marginalization;
and, increasingly, of ethics and the earth. The past year has
been an emotional one in the design fields,
perhaps nowhere more so than at the GSD. And as we reckon with
a troubling history of institutionalized
gender discrimination and frequent
misogyny, we are also dealing with an equally
troubling persistence of those realities
in the present. When this reckoning
began, I felt it could be meaningful to place
these issues in a broader, intellectual framework, to
ask of their relationship to the history of
Western humanism, and to enlightenment
liberalism more generally, these long unfolding cultural
projects that have produced both good and evil in our time. Rosi’s was the
first name that came to mind when I tried to imagine
who was best able to help us in this project. At a moment when our political
culture is completely defined by deepening
anti-intellectualism, it seems important now to
reaffirm the basic principle that complex social
realities require an intellectual
engagement commensurate with those complexities. That engagement takes
hard work, and patience, and commitment, and energy. These are qualities that
have defined Rosi’s life. Rosi Braidotti is distinguished
university professor at Utrecht University,
founding director of the Center for Humanities at Utrecht;
she was the founding professor of the Women’s Studies Program
at Utrecht, established the first official PhD program
in Women’s and Gender Studies, and for 17 years, directed
the Utrecht Women’s Studies Center– a center whose enrolled
student cohort now numbers in the hundreds. She helped establish
and later directed, for 10 years, the
Athena Network– an extensive community of
European scholars and activists committed to women’s studies– that included, at its height,
over 130 member institutions all over the EU. And in 2010, Athena was
awarded with the Erasmus Prize for its outstanding
contributions to fostering social
inclusion through education. Rosi was born in
Italy and grew up in Australia, where she
received first class honors degree from the Australian
National University in Canberra in 1977, and was awarded the
university medal in Philosophy. She then moved on to do her
doctoral work at the Sorbonne, where she received her
degree in Philosophy in 1981. Her publications
have consistently been placed in
continental philosophy at the intersection with
social and political theory, cultural politics,
gender feminist theory, and ethnicity studies. Throughout her work, she
asserts and demonstrates the importance of combining
theoretical concerns with a serious commitment
to producing socially and politically
relevant scholarship that contributes to making
a difference in the world. So please join me in
welcoming Rosi Braidotti. [APPLAUSE] Thank you so much,
dear John, for that exhausting introduction. Very lovely. Great pleasure, great
honor to be here. And enormous pleasure to see
some of my old friends, some of the oldest friends I have. Alice [? Shadeen ?] and
I were at graduate school together in the days when
everybody was in Paris. And lovely to see
Verena [? Conley, ?] one of the pioneers
of [INAUDIBLE] studies in the days when people
didn’t know anything about Neomaterialism. Well, I only have
50 minutes to solve the problems of the
posthuman condition, so I’ll try to use the
slides to my best advantage. There are many issues of
method and meta methodology that are left totally unexplored
and as to why I do philosophy as cartographies. So I just want to
annotate that and say, I’m not going to say
anything about it, but I’m very happy to return to
that as the opening question, if you wish. What I would like to
do is simultaneously evoke a number of
critical conditions around the state of what
counts as the human, and how that
affects the practice or the academic humanities,
and then immediately be very affirmative
and very optimistic about the future of
the field, insofar as the critical posthumanities
are up and running. Really, new fields of knowledge
productions that should make us dream and hope for the future. But let’s start with a
couple of critical remarks– thinking about the human and
what counts as the human is not something that humanists do. Humanists talk about
the humans as polities, as cultural entities, as
political organizations, and we are very, very happy
to actually leave the detailed discussions as to what defines
the human to anthropologists, biologists, and
all of those people that are the
specialists of life– a paradox built into
humanities, and who prefer to take the
human for granted and define it by what it is not. And so the human is man,
and man is not woman, is not animal, is not nature. It is not, and it is
definition by negation begs the question of what
actually is our consensus, and about being
human, and what counts as the point of reference–
the basic unit by which we would define the human. Amuse yourselves to go and have
a look at how many festivals of the human and festivals
of the humanities are taking place. You’re the designers
and the architects in the cities of the world,
from Dubai, Melbourne, London, and being human. An entire city is
going out of their way to try and to festivalize
an idea that we actually have no conceptual rigor
about, being human. Now, a situation that I call
the posthuman convergence, which I’m going to
go and try to define for you in the next slide,
forces us to actually confront the aporrheas and the
little forms of avoidance that we have developed,
as humanists, around the notion of the human. Of course, if you come from
the radical epistemologies– my political families, feminism,
and anti-racism, anti fascism– you would have an open
quarrel with the human. And I will return to that in
the course of the talk as well. And if you come from
the critical traditions, then you will know that
the human is anything but a neutral term, and
that man is defined as much by what he includes in his
definition of his humanity as by what he excludes. And that not only
is it not universal, it is highly
culture-specific, and it is a term, really, the human,
that indexes access to power. To be human enough,
or not human enough, is an indexation of power
and anything but neutral. The condition that I define
as the posthuman condition brings all of this to the fore. I was told that I could just
buzz this, and it will happen. Here it is. I describe the predicament that
we’re in as that convergence. So if you Google posthuman or
do a serious library search on the posthuman, you
will find everything and the opposite of everything. So let’s proceed in
order and describe it as a convergence phenomenon
between critiques of the humanistic tradition and
critiques of anthropocentrism. Now, depending which
theoretical, political, ethical tradition you are
emerging from, you may think that one follows
necessarily from the others. And [? Derrida ?] argues that,
if you critique humanism, necessarily anthropocentrism
would have to come to the fore. And if you look at the empirical
reality of the scholarship, that does not bear
to the evidence. A very strong tradition
of critiques of humanism that really begins
with the 18th century. We had a Universal
Declaration of Human Rights with the French
Revolution, 1792. Almost immediately, a woman by
the name of Olympe de Gouges Notices that the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights only applies to
free men and writes the alternative, a Universal
Declaration of Women’s Rights. Does anybody know what
happens to Olympe de Gouges? Anybody knows that heroine? Her grave is up on the
[INAUDIBLE] of Paris. She was sent to the
guillotine immediately, because life is short, and
we’ve got a revolution to run. Thank you, brothers. 1792, Toussaint
Louverture in the middle of the French Revolution,
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He says, well, does this
apply to the slaves? Aren’t they humans, too? Sojourney Truth will
have the same speech in the 19th century, but in
1794, Toussaint Louverture triggers the Haitian Revolution,
liberates all the slaves, establishes a free
democratic republic on the basis of the principles
of the French Revolution. What happens to
Toussaint Louverture? The French Imperial Army goes
in, squashes the whole thing, and he dies in captivity. Thank you, brothers. The critique of humanism is
actually simultaneous with, and absolutely co-extensive
with, humanism itself. A point that Edward
Said was to make, later in the second half
of the 20th century, as one of the reasons for the great
longevity of humanism– that it produces its
own modes of critique. So you don’t have to wait for
this crazy French postmodernist to come in with critiques
of the universe. It’s always already been there. And it is, I repeat,
the strength as well as the weakness of humanism. So you can do all of
that, and at no point interrogate what
post-anthropocentrism puts on the agenda, that is
to say, species supremacy. The idea of a species anthropos
that has granted themselves the right to access every body,
every organism, that lives. Regardless of all other
sociological variables– class, ethnicity, race,
religion, or the mantra of the variables–
anthropocentrism. The two things have run
parallel but do not necessarily intertwine, until we get to
the convergence that we are in. And that convergence
is a set of crossover. It’s a set of inter-relations. It’s not a linear phenomenon. It’s a very [? rizomic, ?] 1,000
plateaus, nomadic phenomena. It’s zig-zagging patterns of
resonating causes and issues carried by the two fundamental
events that structure historicity– the fourth industrial
revolution, the knowledge economy, also known as
cognitive capitalism– Harvard– and on the other
hand, the sixth extinction and the dying of the species,
the dying of this planet. These two events are
happening simultaneously. It’s not as if we have climate
change on Monday and AI and synthetic
biology on Tuesday. It’s happening at the same time. How to think the simultaneity
of boom and bust on this scale, on this scale, multi-scale
or multi-dimensional is the post-human challenge. You can say maybe this
has happened before. I do not know. It certainly is causing a great
deal of panic on the one hand, as we will see in a minute,
and incredible excitement on the other. These are really the best of
times and the worst of times. But how to think such
dissonance, such incredibly opposite almost events,
demands skills of endurance, of imagination, and of
transversal connectivity. Transversality is really
the key term here. You need to draw a
line across events that are not at all
similar or parallel even. Trans, the future is
in the transversality of almost everything. So the argument I
want to make, we now need to look at
these two phenomena, look at the chain of
theoretical, social, and political effects
that they are causing, and sort of try to
steer a course that would allow us to
actually have something productive, affirmative,
propositional to offer. But in saying we, will be
honoring my French teachers. And I’m a proper French
person from the Sorbonne. So don’t accuse me of being
an American French theorist. I’m a European. We, the category we, like all
categories, is not unitary. And we is not one. We needs to be put carefully
in inverted commas, grounded according to the
politics of imminence, which my great teacher and
favorite philosopher, Gilles Deleuze, taught
us very carefully. Ground it in feminism,
politics of location. Speak from somewhere,
anti-racism, anti-fascism. Be grounded. Be accountable for
a specific location, indigenous epistemology,
perspectives. All of these are
the ways in which you can ground your
statements, which allow us to do a
critique of universalism without falling into relativism. The opposite of universalism
is not relativism. The opposite of universalism
is perspectivism, multiple grounded perspectives. And so we is not
one and the same. But we are in the post-human
convergence together. And it is a hell of
a headache because we need to be able to think this. The coming of a lovely robots– I love the kids. Aren’t they fantastic? Look at them– cute. And that will do
amazing work for us will take a great deal of work
away and the drudgery of it. They will look as clean,
as caring as possible. But we also have to think this. And I refer to the
work of Jennifer Gabrys on digital garbage. And you will even have
trouble finding images of digital garbage on
the net because Apple and the other giant make sure
that the only images of rubbish you see is organic rubbish. And electronic, a particularly
branded one, a dirty old Apple Computer being dismembered by
the same people that made them cheaply in some faraway
land with the lithium batteries exposed, with all
their toxic elements pouring out, you’re not going
to find many of those. So Jennifer Gabrys,
Goldsmiths, on digital garbage. We need to think– I think I can go back, right? Amazing when machines work. This and this and this. And while we reach out for the
first gin and tonic of the day, keep thinking, how am I going
to make sense of all of this? I will have a lot
of these pauses because it’s a bit tiring. So another quick run. Then you reach out
for the gin and tonic. And you have your
meditative pause. [LAUGHTER] So crucial thing
then, perspectivism. To enter this
convergence, you need to do your own cartography,
your own analysis of your point of entry. People are working in design,
I mean, it’s almost ideal. You’ve got the Earth. You’ve got the structures. You’ve got the three colleges
that Felix Guattari spoke so eloquently about,
the environmental, the social, the psychic. You have a market to deal with. You have all of this. So your point of entry, at
least at the level of discourse, is pretty much framed
and ready to go. How one enters it ethically,
effectively, epistemically, is quite another matter. People can go into
total euphoria about the great perspective of
this, particularly the Silicon Valley type of people. And others sink into profound,
post-human melancholia, thinking that the sky is
falling, that it is all over. And if you look again
at the scholarship, learning to die in
the Anthropocene is the light motif. There is a great
deal of scholarship of the lament circulating
about the sky falling and the proximity of something
that looks like extinction. So let’s get rid immediately
of this Anthropocene, shall we? First of all, for your
applications, don’t use it. It has no scientific value. It has been discarded. So you use climate
change science. That’s what gets you the grants. Anthropocene went
back and forth, but basically The Geological
Society has not been convinced. We don’t have enough traces in
the structure of our planet, of our Earth, the different
strata of planetary rocks. There’s not enough
human presence to justify the change of our
geological era to Anthropocene. And besides, the Anthropocene
has become an “Anthropo-meme.” It has gone berserk. And I’ll let you read
it because it’s clear. The totality of my
presentation, look at the dates. Look how recent all
of this stuff is. It has entered a spin. And entering a spin is a form
of epistemic accelerationism that I analyze with the
philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari in terms
of territorializations and deterritorializations. You take an idea, really
good idea, a minute later, it goes wild. Capitalocene– And this is a very partial list. People keep sending me new ones. So please, if you
find more, send them. I collect them. Because I’m very interested in
the speed by which these spins take over. So for me, the
Anthropocene is very vital. Because if you can have this
amount of epistemological energy, you’re on to
something good, but also, [? too ?] [? fluid. ?]
And in many respects, it misses the crucial point
of the convergence effect, that we really need to be
looking at something that is not only an ending, not just
an extinction, but also, of course, an incredible
period of growth and an amazing scientific revolution–
let’s face it– with all of the consequences
that it entails. Swinging moods is
definitely an element of the anthropocenic landscape. And the imaginary disaster that
the Hollywood machine pumps out there is really
money in extinction. There’s money in catastrophes. You know that. And it’s always the same story,
white man, dog, rifle, pickup truck. And then the planet is dead. And it’s always about a man
with a dog and a pickup truck looking for the
one remaining girl. Think of the second Blade
Runner, what a tragedy. But it’s something
like a format. It’s a template. And that really codes the
social imagining of disaster. And it prevents us
to look further, to look at all
the other elements of a complex,
affective landscape. I prefer being a scholar
to draw your attention to the serious
scholarship of anxiety. Quite a bit of that. And if you know some
of my previous work on the posthuman, the
Posthuman Glossary, you will know I’ve
commented on this. Fukuyama, Our Posthuman
Future– isn’t it funny, the guy who didn’t want
to regulate anything, now he wants to regulate
human nature, a bit late, but extraordinary. Habermas, after he
converted to Catholicism, The Future of Human
Nature, his conversation with Cardinal Ratzinger. Oh my god, what is
happening to human nature? Extraordinary. Peter Sloterdijk, rewriting
Heidegger’s Letter on Humanism, this thing of the human zoo. And His Holiness, Pope Francis,
I find very sympatique. Wonderful, encyclical letter
on caring for our common home. Watch out for Francis for
as long as we have him. I don’t know how
long he’ll last. But he is very much a
climate change person. Actually, he’s a
capitalocene person, blaming capitalism for it. When he ran his seminar
at Castel Gandolfo on the Anthropocene, he chose
his own keynote speaker. And of course, all the cardinals
had their classical people. And you may know who Pope
Francis invited to the Vatican to brief him on
the climate change. Of course, he
invited Naomi Klein. Who else would Pope
Francis invite? It is worth looking at the
faces of the cardinals. You can take a couple of pages
of that encyclical letter. I do that as a
teaching exercise, take off the name of the author. And then I project them. And I ask my students,
who has written this? And every year almost
2/3 of the class says Felix Guattari because
it’s very, very close. It is continental naturalism. But of course, in the
case of Pope Francis, we have the whole sort of fabric
there of natural philosophy. In the case of Guattari,
we have Spinoza’s vitalism, two very different things. OK, so we can’t do much
with the Anthropocene, but we take note of the
moods, the anxiety, the fear, the melancholia– let’s
face it– depression. And if it is true that we have
12 years to irreversibility of climate change,
well, what’s the point? You may remember
the early 1970s when it was still possible to mention
Woody Allen as a famous film, where he shows a
little kid saying, if the universe is expanding,
why do I have to study? Now if the end is
coming, why bother? The why bother part, I
think, is very much part. And it hangs over the
future of the millennials like a particularly heavy
generational question mark. So to lift the spirits a bit and
make things thinkable instead of making them so intrinsically
opaque and oppressive, I would like to propose
that we enter the discussion through a critique of
the necropolitical, [? cheerful ?] character
of cognitive capitalism. Let me just give you the image. The consumption of commodities
and the sellability of everything– this
is the Vitruvian. I don’t have to tell design
and architecture people what the Vitruvian image is. Completely commodified into a
system where actually planned obsolescence and
design that kills time is part of what we do,
part of the game, capitalizing at top speed on all that lives
and codes, algorithmic codes, biogenetic codes, codes that
are quantified, capitalized, farmed for every
bit of information that they can give us, and data
mining as the true capital. I don’t want to
talk about Piketty and the great, great
concentration of wealth or the great tech firms
that run our universe. But you do know that we are
in a period of capitalism where the
concentration of wealth is higher than it was
when Charles Dickens first denounced the first capitalism. We have a
concentration of wealth that is just abhorrent and
with the 12 richest, whatever, people on Earth
owning as much as half of the rest of the population. And this concentration of
wealth at a time like this, with the great disparities,
creates enormous problems. But let’s not be simplistically
Marxist-Leninists. That is an ideology of
the previous century that didn’t produce great results. And let’s take stock
of the contradictions of the fourth
industrial revolution and the sixth extinction. Let’s try to be– what’s the term–
unsentimental and a little bit lucid about it. And partly because
as people of science, as scholars,
particularly you people who are in the best
university in the world, we really owe it
to our intelligence to also rejoice in
what we have produced as a most extraordinary,
scientific, technological apparatus. That’s extraordinary. And that’s where the
next gin and tonic comes. Synthetic meat. I don’t know how
many vegans we have. Of course, there’s always
a little bit of stem cells, even in synthetic meat. But the first synthetic
hamburger made in the Netherlands– yay, yay– in 2013, the first
one cost $325,000. Few years later, the
prices dropped to 11 bucks per synthetic hamburger. We should be dancing with joy. If we can make synthetic
meat, think of what this could do in terms of
completely reorganizing the cattle industry,
the whole what we used to call agriculture. What it would do to the
planet would be enormous. And it’s sort of becoming
vegan of the planet. And yet, every time
I show these images, there is a slight
sense of discomfort. And I can’t see your
faces, but very often I get this utterly disgusted face. [INAUDIBLE], ew. Like, ew, like, ew. They look normal,
but they are not. So can you hold the
frame there for a minute? What do you miss when meat
becomes dematerialized and when we are
extracting the meat– or it could be the tomato– from its organic roots? This is called eco-nostalgia. And I do think it’s a far more
widespread sentiment than we have had the opportunity
to look upon. And it’s one that
we should definitely hold on to because it
shows to what an extent anthropocentrism and our own
belonging to a species, how deeply it goes, while
it remains actually unthought critically,
sitting in our system. Oh, yes, actually,
yeah, synthetic meat. Yuck. And you may not
even particularly like meat yourself. OK, cognitive capitalism, read
with Deleuze and Guattari. They are the people to read. A Thousand Plateaus,
Capitalism and Schizophrenia, on a system that absolutely
capitalizes on all that lives, that has no teleological system. To cut a long story
short, why am I quoting Deleuze and Guattari? Because they are
bringing a Spinozist ontology to bear on our
understanding of capitalism in contrast to the dominant
Marxist-Leninist reading of advanced capitalism. It’s really Spinoza
versus Hegel, in a famous book summarized by
Pierre Macherey, a book that was written in 1979 and was
translated into English in 2011 back to back with the Deleuze,
the explosion of interest in Deleuze. If people had read Pierre
Macherey between Hegel and Spinoza in the mid of the
great Derridian deconstructive wave, we would have
saved ourselves a lot of trouble because
we would have understood that the turn was from
a dialectical system of opposition to an actually
monistic system of variations within a common matter. Cognitive capitalism
is something that capitalizes on living
system, natural, cultural, making money out of everything
without any possible way of containing it. The bio-piracy remark of
Vandana Shiva, very important. If we are all part of a
system that capitalizes on all that lives, we– remember, position differently,
different perspectives– need to work from within
to make differences that actually matter. And among the necropolitical
aspects of a system that profits from life, the war
machinery as a private industry without humans in
sight, and the fleet of drones that China and the
United States are building, the most extraordinary,
advanced systems, hardly any human in sight. I have an alliance
in the Netherlands with a military academy. I work with them. And they are very, very worried
about drones for two reasons. They are suppressing
the jobs of soldiers, of more job suppressions,
because of automation. And secondly,
soldiers are humans and have a code of
conduct for how to kill. And there is no sense, a
clear sense, of what exactly is the code of conduct
of drone firing. So look at the war machinery. The necropolitical governance
is something that really belongs to the conversation about life. To say capitalism is a system
that commodifies and profits from life includes death,
includes the necropolitical, includes various sectors of
the population that are simply infrahuman, non-human,
and that we label refugees because we need to deprive
them of the last vestiges of their humanness. So the necropolitical is
very much part of this. This is a lecture on its
own, so I need to move on. So I’ve got you
totally depressed. I’m really happy because
now I’ve got you. In the middle of all of this,
wonderful things are happening. And the posthuman
convergence is a way of framing this oscillating yes,
but elements, which could also be described as where critical
thinking is going in an era where theory is completely
out of the picture and the STEMs and
life sciences are so central to the
wealth and the power and the influence of our
countries, of our culture, and people would say
of our civilization. So the posthuman is an
indicator of our historicity. And it is also a
navigational tool. Deleuze would say a
conceptual persona that helps us illuminate
what’s happening to us. Where are we at? And this is how I fell
upon it when I started reading it 10 years ago. I thought, let me see
Foucault’s question. What kind of subjects
are we becoming? What is happening to us? I do this as excursions
into the scholarship. What are the discourses
that are ongoing about our common humanity? And I started coming
across not just one, but multiple forms of
posthumanism, like multiples. And I’ll let you read this. I will give you in a minute
the slide of the Posthuman Glossary. Last year, I put out a Posthuman
Glossary for Bloomsbury. You will find all of this
defined in great detail. If you look at “The Posthuman
Manifesto,” it’s 2003 already. So it’s been going
on for quite a while. And the differences
between them, which I’ll try to illuminate
in a slide later on, are less relevant, really,
than the commonalities. These are all
discourses that come out from faculties that still call
themselves the humanities. They come out of
complete, massively, of what used to be cultural
studies, media studies. And please notice the
studies because I’m going to come back to them. They come back. They emerge from areas
that call themselves studies to a very large extent. I have to mention my
own political family out of loyalty. I would say feminist
theory, feminism, together with
Afrofuturism, together with forms of anti-racism
are the theories that pioneer a sense of
exiting from the human. And what has the human
ever done for me? And why should I be loyal
to a category that has only ever discriminated against me? If you look at Octavia
Butler as an example, but any elements of
politicized science fiction, you’ll get this, I think,
hilarious alliance. Tim Morton would call it weird. I think it is a perfectly
reasonable alliance of all the marginals, the
excluded, and the downtrodden, the disqualified, and women,
LGBTs, trans, migrants, the animals, the machines,
all united against the empire of white men. That takes care of almost the
totality of science fiction in the ’50s and ’60s. And very strong enough for a
future to get me out of here. Why would I be loyal
to this category? And I think it would be
very interesting to see how this mode of weirdness
evolves and changes. In the Anthropocene moment,
we’re actually out of what? Out of what could we
possibly go as the planet dies under our very eyes? How the past
anthropocentric twist really changes the dates, the
frame of that conversation. Here it is, wonderful. I can’t say much about it. It was two years of work
and worth every minute. And a very useful 102 different
entries, giving you a sense. Why am I saying all of this? To give you an idea of the scale
and the quantity of the work being done in the
posthuman convergence. To call it a crisis
doesn’t even approximate the quantity and quality
of the work being done. This is no crisis. This is a completely new start. This is a change of paradigm. I know you don’t believe me, so
let’s go to the institutions. Let’s start from not
just any university. It’s up there with you
people, Oxford transhumanists and Nick Bostrom that I
showed you in the other slide. And Oxford transhumanism–
this is Oxford, so we don’t have time to waste. The institute is called the
Institute for the Future of Humanity, nothing less than. Incredibly interesting. Google it. Go and have a look at it,
a full posthumanist trend. And yes, it is the
Silicon Valley ideology of transhumanism. But this is Oxford’s. We’ve got big brains here. Very cleverly
reformatted in a language that gives you what
I think is the axiom of cognitive capitalism. So when you do
your applications, you do what the
Oxford center does. And the axiom is as follows. Analytically, you
are posthumanist. You do know, I mean,
you do know that we have a fourth
industrial revolution and a sixth extinction. We have AI. And we have a problem
with climate change. We have synthetic biology. And we have drought
and bushfires. So analytically,
you’re a posthumanist. Normatively, you’re
a neohumanist. And you better make
that very clear. And that’s exactly [? where ?]
[? Bostrom, ?] where he gets all the money. In other words, he presents
the posthuman evolution as the accomplishment
of the Enlightenment. Enlightenment, after all,
was a rationalist project of the perfect
ability of humanity through science and
society and technology. And so now we have
a humanity that is failing under the
weight of the incredibly intelligent computational
systems that we have created. Our brain is much slower
than the computational system we have created. Mark Hansen is at it. A lot of the people on
media studies are on to it. So what are we going to do? We are going to enhance the
human and accelerate our brain. Human enhancement, that
is the core of the Oxford transhumanists. The project is called
[? Superintelligence. ?] And it is extremely well funded. And you would do well to go
and spend some time there. Cambridge is trying to
[? remedy ?] [? it. ?] Aren’t they cute? They always do this. They always do this. Cambridge has a Center for the
Study of Existential Risk, run by another genius,
Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, extraordinary guy. And they assess the risks of
this, which are not nothing, considering that we are talking
about human enhancement. And as an [? all ?]
feminist and anti-racist, I would like to know who gets
chosen for the enhancement and who actually doesn’t even
qualify for the selection, but OK. In Europe, a little
bit more diversified. Sweden has been up there. The Posthumanities Hub has
been running for over 10 years. Go and have a look at
it, very well funded. And there, they do bring in
both the critique of humanism and the critique of
anthropocentrism. They do the race. They do the feminism. They do the migration. They do all the variables,
as well as looking seriously at the environment. God bless the social
democrats of the north. The Germans, millions,
over 50 million euros for the Anthropocene program
that the Deutsches Museum, [INAUDIBLE],, Rachel Carson
Institute in Munich, and followed by the Technosphere
project, which is still ongoing now,
design, media trying to come to terms with
the big convergence. Very interesting here,
the role of design, media, museums,
non-academic institutions. You will find this a feature
of posthuman scholarship, the big impact of non-academic
venues for knowledge production. But that is one of the features
of cognitive capitalism, that knowledge is no longer
the monopoly or the prerogative of institutions like
the university, which for centuries have been
the producers of knowledge. Knowledge is now coextensive
with the social field as a whole. And there’s so much
knowledge being produced outside the
academic institutions. And with the
posthuman condition, it becomes almost
painful, I would say. The good side of
it is that we need the creators, the designers,
the artists, the engineers of the imagination. We need all of those
people to help us. But the question of what
the university itself can do and how the academic disciplines
will interact with this is, as my rector says,
a very good question. Look at Canada, Brock
just outside Toronto, a whole posthumanist research
network, very well funded by the federal research council. And the people of Aarhus
in Denmark with Anna Tsing is a permanent visitor. Again, Danish research
council, money. Journals, up and running. Unstoppable, aren’t they? And all the roads
seem to lead to Korea. But the editorial boards are,
of course, international. So we have a very well
established emergent field, emergent, but actually
institutionalizing very fast. And notice the capital coming
in, the money going in, the grants. It’s not outside the flow
of capital, far from it. OK, academic response. And probably I’m going
to run out of money. How is the posthuman
convergence registered within the academic
world with the explosion of fields that are the
critical posthumanities? They call themselves ecological,
environmental, and [INAUDIBLE],, et cetera, et cetera. But this is just the
first taste of it. And I’ll come back to them
in more detail in a moment. What is crucial about
this field is that they call themselves the humanities. And I’ll give you an example of
how else this could have gone. If you look at how generations
of critical studies since the ’70s addressed
similar questions– you can look at what I call the
first generation of critical studies, gender, feminist,
queer, race, postcolonial, subaltern, cultural, film
and television– actually, I remember theater studies– television and media,
and performance studies. I think what we have
here is this mushrooming, infrastructural
effect, which was the evolution of the
studies discourses that really promoted
interdisciplinarity, connection to the real world,
radical thinking, theory, and for decades. And some of it are still there,
not all, but some of them are still there. I see the first generation
of critical studies as basically taking on humanism,
taking on the limitations of a certain idea of men. And what most of them do,
particularly the race, postcolonial, the
feminist, is they expose the compatibility of
rationality and violence, reason and exclusion. And they do so in
a manner that makes the voices of the excluded
not only audible, hearable, visible, but it makes them
productive of knowledge. It’s a way of showing
the knowledge that is being produced at what
we used to call the margin. A second generation of
studies emerges more recently, the ’90s, where we have
non-human [? objectal ?] studies. Animal studies and
eco-criticism would be most emblematic of this. But within media theory, that
I will give you a special slide of– because media is, again,
the indicator of this– the shift from critiques
of representation to code, to
analyzing code, those shifts where representational
issues are left behind. And you’re looking at
the material structure of the discourses. This is also known as
neomaterialism or a turn to a more object-oriented
way of looking at the [? objectal ?]
studies, which is very, very recent in relation
to the more critical tradition. Here, it’s man and his others. Here, it’s non-humans
coming in very big time. My favorite for the moment
is critical plant studies, but that is also
going to evolve. So if you find anything
else, please tell me. Notice how critical comes up. My favorite is critical
management studies. I would love to know what
is critical about that one. But you get more
object-oriented way of giving an object of inquiry. New media– remember
when we had new media? My favorite at the moment
is post-Snowden studies, but it’s also evolving. And what used to
be necropolitical is now breaking down to
a number of other areas where the inhumane aspects
of the present conditions are on focus. Death studies, enormous because
of the appalling statistics of sort of youthful suicide
and general burnout. Look at University of
Bristol and Bath in the UK. Death study is a growing area. There’ll be jobs there. [? Martin, ?] I don’t
mean this cynically, very interesting forms
of transdisciplinarity. So all of this, we
have always had. But the critical posthumanity
is a qualitative leap. It’s a different ballgame. And it’s a very recent one. I’m repeating the first slide
that you’ve already seen. I’m adding another one,
medical humanities. I remember the days when the
medical humanities basically did death studies. It was about accompanying
people in a therapeutic manner through the ending
of their diseases. Now it’s a whole
lot of things and neural evolutionary humanities,
[INAUDIBLE],, civic humanities. And you will not be
surprised to know that the metadiscourses are
also following, that there are multiple discourses–
the metapatterning is already happening. And I wish I had written the
one about nomadic humanities, but it didn’t even occur to me. And it’s Kate Stimpson that
did it, but all of these are very recent publications. I think Kate Hayles with
the digital humanities has to be given her dues here. So the question here
is, what is happening to posthuman
knowledge production, to go from this reliance
on critical discourses, discourses that are
critical of humanism or critical of anthropocentrism,
to a different ballgame, which is actually coming up
with these new humanities of which every major
university is richly endowed. I think the center for
environmental humanities, environmental history at Harvard
is one of the pioneers of this, and digital humanities
at Duke, pioneers. But by now, every
research university has its environmental
humanities, digital humanities–
it’s like the new mantra. So what is involved in this? And this is the subject of a
new book, Posthuman Knowledge, coming out. Great. Order it. Terrific. But I will give you the
quick version of this. Critical posthumanities
no longer assume that the
subject of knowledge is homo universalis
or anthropos. They’re assuming a transversal
knowledge production entity. Transversality, a more
complex, embodied, embedded, non-unitary, relational,
and affective transversal– my Nomadic Subjects is
an example of these, but people are doing
complex assemblages with all kinds of
other philosophers. You will find a
lot of Whitehead. You will find a lot
of Wittgenstein. You will find a massive return
of the American pragmatists. A very complex process
ontology is coming in to give us a transversal
subject position, but that transversality being
able to sustain the effort to think the
posthuman convergence. And I think in terms
of the work ethics, linked to a
collaborative morality. And a collaborative
morality is the ethics that we get from Spinoza
and contemporary reading of Spinoza. And I was interviewed by
one of your people on the– I think it’s on the
website of your school. So if you want to know more
about the affirmative part of the story, please
look at that text because I can’t go
into it right now. So neither universal
nor anthropocentric, a collective assemblage. I think you will find
the term “assemblage” in a lot of the
matter discourse, certainly in Katherine Hayles,
in DeLanda, in my work, as a way of positing a
trans-type of subject that can hold in there, in a
process of metastability, in order to cope
with the challenges and try to make sense of what is
happening to us, of what can we make of this particular
political economy of knowledge production. In terms of
attempting a critique, one thing is obvious and clear,
that the missing people are missing and that the usual
suspects are not actually being capitalized. They’re not being
territorialized to the same extent. I haven’t seen non-nationally
indexed humanities in the literature. Feminist/queer
humanities, I haven’t seen any
institutionalization of that. Black humanities,
migrant/diasporic humanities. Poor/trailer park humanities,
I owe this to Richard Rorty, in his 1998
masterpiece, I think, Accomplishing Our Country,
in that incredible analysis of where America is going. And he’s talking about poor
trailer park humanities. Nobody is looking at the poor. Decolonial humanities,
haven’t seen. The child’s humanities,
otherwise-abled or disabled humanities, you will find
the scholarship, but not the institutional reality. So do we have a
situation here where the people that have been the
usual suspects of exclusions and marginalization are
once again being left out of the picture? Or are there signs
that actually there is a convergence there
between the socially excluded and the new discourses
of the humanities? Pathological
optimist that I am, I couldn’t leave you, of course,
with something negative. So yes, there are
strong evidence now of planetary differential
posthumanities, as I call them. Indigenous environmental
and digital humanities, quite a movement led by graduate
students, budding and emerging, but very strong online– websites, networks where the
indigenous perspective, land rights perspective
meet the Anthropocene, meet the legal issues, meet
the representational issues, meet the cognitive issues,
producing a different way of doing the posthumanities. Postcolonial green, pretty
established and complete. Transnational environmental
literary studies. Queer neohumanisms
in a variety of ways, but very much at the center
of the discussion because of their perspectivist approach. Indigenous knowledge
and cosmologies. We just put out an
edited collection called Posthuman
Ecologies, where the issues of land rights,
indigenous philosophies, and posthuman
thought is debated, a fraught area, not at all
a harmonious synthesis, an area of contestation,
but incredibly alive. Let us not forget that for so
many populations under the sun, populations that have been
depleted by colonial violence, extinction is a sad
reality and that they are the engineers of survival,
as well as the oldest shepherds of the Earth. So the whole discussion of what
used to be postcolonial theory, being reshaped in a
very material manner through the encounter with
indigenous epistemologies. But for me then, the
issue more than ever is how can we, as people
who are committed to think our way through this posthuman
convergence, how can we, who are in this together,
but are not one and the same, develop a set of values, of
attributes, of terminologies whereby we can think
differentiality, but together about the challenges,
the contradictions, the exhilaration,
and the exhaustion of the fourth
industrial revolution and the sixth
extinction together in a materially-embedded way,
becoming in and with the world? Because guys, we only
have one of those. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] So we have some
time for questions. I’m going to start with one. And then we can– there’s some
microphones we can pass around. Rosi, I’m just curious,
one of the issues, I think, that has
arisen at the GSD and I’m sure in many
other institutions is what to do with the canon. I mean, that’s not really a
new question in a lot of ways. But I wonder if you could just
give a few of your thoughts because you’re quite open in
your own work about the debt that your work pays to
philosophical traditions that, in certain ways, may
have been exclusionary or carry many of the
exclusional aspects that you’ve described tonight. And so I guess, how do you
take on this double-edged sword of the canon in
your own teaching? And we’re dealing with
it here at the GSD, not only in terms of the
textual canon, but also the architectural canon and
how we might restructure certain kinds of courses, to
simultaneously open those up, but at the same time
retain what was good and what can be retained of
the tradition of humanism. [? You’re ?] one of the
easy questions, aren’t you? Thank you very much. So I have, of course, like
many people of my generation, a double sort of
disciplinary origin and very much part of the
continental philosophical tradition, and very much
part of radical feminism, radical anti-fascism,
radical anti-racism, so multiple genealogies. And I would say that is true
of most critical thinkers and that, of course,
you rely on a canon. And you grew up in a canon. You indulge in a
canon, but you are fed by multiple other sources. And I think that’s crucial
because I would not want any disciplinary purity. In a sense, I don’t
even believe that there is such a thing as
a canon, but there are disciplinary
ecologies of belonging. And I notice– I’m warning if anybody
is in philosophy out there, that as
one grows older, your original
discipline B comes back. And texts that you used to
read at 20 haunt you back. [INAUDIBLE],, I can’t believe
I’m rereading this one again. So a discipline is an
incredible passion. And philosophy is a
hell of a discipline, but so are the
radical epistemologies that led to the
critical work on this. So how I do this is, again,
by complexifying the issues. Deleuze is a neo-Spinozist
because he brings in a continuum, nature-culture. And we are all part
of the same matter. There is one nature,
and we are part of it. We are variation
within the same matter. Now if you are in neurosciences
and think of Damasio or if you are in
genetics, to say we’re all part of the
same matter is a banality. If you say that
in the humanities, particularly with the history
of vital materialism being complicitous with fascism
and with colonialism, if [INAUDIBLE] within
the humanities, we say, we are in a continuum
with nature, people get really stroppy. And you’ll get yourself in
a real difficult situation. So in relation to this
particular problem, which methodologically
translates into the fact that our dominant, hegemonic
methodology is social constructivism– one is
not born, one becomes– if that is still the early 20th
century method, then indeed we can’t think a
nature-culture continuum. In relation to that then,
I do a Deleuze in the sense that I say, you know what? Within our own tradition,
within our canon, we have texts that
allow us to think this. Spinoza allows us to think
a nature-culture continuum. That’s what he does. And that’s why Hegel was
so irritated with him. And that’s why the
Marxists, Badiou, Zizek, are so irritated
with neo-Spinozists, of which Deleuze is the most
eminent, but of course Negri, of course Balibar, [INAUDIBLE]. It’s a long list. In fact, what people know
as postmodernism was simply post-Marxism. It was the switch to Spinoza. And that’s what went on there. But Deleuze is at
the core of this and didn’t quite get
translated as quickly. And his impact on the
Anglo-American world was not as large as
Derrida and the more linguistic-oriented
philosophers. So this fundamental point
somewhat was delayed. But we do have this
in our tradition. I think it’s safer also
for younger researchers to go back to the past and
say, we have the Stoics. Stoicism is learning to die. Marcus Aurelius and
Montaigne, Seneca, these are incredible thinkers
who prepare us to die. So don’t get into a fit
of Anthropocene anxiety. Read some Seneca. Do some stoicism. And then maybe we can
have this conversation without completely falling
out of the discussion. Last point, all of
this plays in relation to the spatial archive
of the discipline, but Deleuze is also
helpful in another level. It’s about the
temporality of this. The Bergsonian turn that Deleuze
activates in his thinking allows us to– and I’ve
written about this. I did it in the Tanners at Yale. And also, it’s very strong in
the next book, the present. The present is not one
block of either anxiety or of excitement. It’s not one thing. It’s 1,000 plateaus of
temporal complexities. In fact, the
formula that I offer is the present is both the
record of what we are seizing to be and the seed of what we
are in the process of becoming, simultaneously, the
actual and the virtual. So you can do the
present like the record of what we are seizing to be. And we are seizing to be men. [? See if ?] [? I ?] [? care. ?]
We are seizing to be anthropos, but we are in the process of
becoming 1,000 other things. And some of them worry
me sort of a little bit. If we are looking at this
list of what is missing and what is being proposed,
[INAUDIBLE] happening here, some of them think, hm. But we are in the process
of becoming something else. So it’s the simultaneity
of temporality that is also important. The crucial thing is to get
activated to think through and not cave in thinking,
this is the unthinkable. And why would a convergence,
however multiscalar and complex, be unthinkable? And what is the
regime of thinkability that we are applying to
the analysis of this work? And part of my
contribution is to try to make this very thinkable,
in chunks that are possibly [INAUDIBLE]. I’m also very
cautious in relation to the starting researchers. Don’t fall out of the canon. We want you to go
on, get your PhD, become professors around
the world, run Harvard. So don’t drop out. Drop in. Do the work and revive
within the tradition other sources, in a dialogue
with multiple other sources that come from other cultures
and other traditions. Hard work, but
hey, we can do it. I’m not sharing,
so I don’t know. Hello. Thank you, professor,
for the excellent speech. [? Yannis ?] from East Asian
studies and civilizations. So as an area studies
scholar, my question is, if posthumanism can
truly offer a point of entry for scholars like ours
who are in area studies– all the studies
that you present is that area studies is missing. So where do I engage
with the posthuman era? Thank you. Fantastic, yes. I’m so glad because
this allows me to make my methodological point. One thing about
cartographies like this– you’re the designers
and architects. This is a way of
surveying the field. It comes from my perspective,
so it is limited. And it is very partial. That partiality does
not make it invalid. It makes it objective within
very limited parameters. There’s a whole
discussion about this in feminist epistemology,
the work of Sandra Harding, on the privilege of
partial perspectives. I couldn’t possibly
be all comprehensive. I couldn’t, and I
wouldn’t want to. And I think the idea of
cartographic renderings of a field of research
is very important because then the
dialogue would consist in comparing cartographies. And I think that’s how
Foucault actually was thinking. And then he dies too young. And I think that a cartographic
method is a way of daring to take on the present. And I always take on
the present as more what we’re in the
process of becoming than what we’re ceasing to be. But many of my colleagues
are focusing more on what we’re ceasing to be. If you look at
biopolitical scholarship, it’s all about death
and destruction, and what we’re ceasing to be. Extremely valid,
extremely important. And the biopolitics and
biopower is very, very alive, but it’s not what I do. I thought in terms
of what we should do with East Asian
studies, you’ve just given yourself a task. But what I do know is that
the Asian region as a whole, as married into transhumanism
massively, really, Korea– I mean, the two journals that
I showed you come out of Seoul. And they’re both the
transhumanism and the posthuman studies journals,
and up and running. Did you want me to show
you the slides again? Korea is producing some of
the most cutting edge work on this, Singapore as
well, but very much within the Silicon
Valley ideology, not– this is just a short
term for the transhuman, that we simply download
whatever, our conscious into the computer. That’s sort of summarizing
a much more complex story. And there’s much less
critical posthumanism. There’s a lot of
interest, particularly emerging from Buddhist
circles or critical Buddhism, reaching into Spinozism. Spinoza and Taoism work
really well together. A lot of work in
pockets in China, but I think you have to go to
Korea, bits of Japan, Singapore to see this happening. I think the other place
where this is playing is, of course, in the East
Asian empires and notably the Chinese empire
in Africa, where the Chinese are building
universities at a speed that is breathtaking. And they’ve simply phased
out the humanities. It’s all STEM and engineering. And the humanities
is not something– although the People’s
Republic of China has built humanities in
China, with this talk of 2,000 new humanities faculties. But in the new empire that is
Africa, this is not happening. So you have already a model
that has phased out humanities. So I think it’s a fully,
absolutely lively area. I see East Asia as an imperial
power, colonial power, as well as local, and
with vast repercussions. If I could– my work is
translated in Korean, in Chinese, in all
those languages. And people say, yes, we
need the critical humanism. Bring in the bodies, the
perspectives, and not just the algorithms. So I’m very hopeful, but I
am a pathological optimist. Thank you for your
presentations. It’s very engaging. My question is, in the context
of cognitive capitalism, as you said, institutions
are [? very advanced ?] to rethink those, you
would say, insufficiencies of the previous
humanities are the ones that needs to get fund. In other words, they are where
the capital and the academia converges. So how do you think
of this paradox? It’s precisely who
is at the height of this hierarchy of
capitalism or of inequality that’s rethinking about it. And would you that would produce
some sort of impartiality? Or would you think that would
be an acceptable phenomenon? To the second half
of your question, but the role of the universities
in this is capital, literally. It’s central. And the university is us. And I happen to be
profoundly in love with the university
as an institution. And I’m not saying that to be
slimy because this is Harvard. I would say it in any
other university on Earth. Universities are
centuries years old. Bologna, the oldest we have
in Europe, is 900 years old. And Coimbra is 700 years old. My little Utrecht
is 365 years old. We’ve been there
for a long time. And we’ve been training
partially with difficulties, with exclusion, but we’ve
been training young people through massive crises. We survived the introduction
of the printed press. We survived the
emancipation of women. We survived decolonization. We almost survived internet. It’s a brilliant institution. [LAUGHTER] It’s a brilliant institution. Why should an institution
with such pedigree, with such energy, with
such nobility in the heart take as its model
the corporation, a fraudulent, bankrupt,
dishonest, very recent institutional
structure that actually hasn’t gotten one
thing right, certainly not since 2008? Why should that be
the model and not us? We’ve been training decent,
discerning, creative, critical citizens for centuries. Now give us a break. We are the model. We need to remain the
model for a 21st century democracy of
cognitive, critical, capitalizing citizens who
can make a difference. That’s our job. And if you look at the charter
of the great university, Edinburgh, but Harvard
also, essentially we are charities with big
endowments on the stock exchange. But we’re a public good. We are here to do things
for the love of the world. That has to stay our
central function. And I think that’s why the
critical thinking can’t just be negative and scoring
points, and spreading nihilism, cynicism, and depression. Gin and tonic is good, but
let’s not go overboard. We need to energize. We need to give people
a sense of the possible. We need to put the active
back into activism. Thinking is really about
dreaming possible scenarios. And only the
university can do that. You guys, your intelligence– I don’t even want to know the
scale of your intelligence. You can go through Harvard
with a [INAUDIBLE],, playing ping pong
with the other hand and not even notice
that this is happening. We are underemploying
your resources massively, not because we don’t
know how to do it, but just because the
means of cognitive access at your disposal are enormous. And imagine that we actually
activated everything that you’re capable
of doing and thinking. Imagine being
[? Spinozized, ?] being potentiated to the nth power of
what you’re capable of doing. Just imagine– not in
the Silicon Valley, merging with the machine,
going singular, and running the globe, but in the sense of
opening up to the possibilities that the world is giving you. Spinoza’s definition
of the ethical life is the opening up,
taking in the world, taking it on, taking
this convergence, shaping it in the
direction of generosity, solidarity, fun,
as well as profit. And how about saying capitalism
is a really bad interpretation of the market economy? There are different
forms of market economy that we could do, commons
oriented and more shareable. And that’s really in the
hearts of the millennials. Everything you stand
for is sharing and not leaving anybody– but different
forms of the market economy. Why couldn’t we use
a university not just to apply the banality of
what already is the case and is already ceasing
to be, but also the university as
dreaming up what we’re in the process of becoming? We’ve done it so
well in the past, now more than ever, I think. So universities. [APPLAUSE] Let’s end on that. I just also want to
announce for anyone who’s interested in
continuing the conversation, we have a session with Rosi
tomorrow from 3:00 to 5:00 PM here in Gund Hall in
the Stubbins Room. If you can’t find it,
ask a tired architect who’s walking
around the building because I don’t know the number. It’s called the Stubbins Room. It’s adjacent to the cafe. From 3:00 to 5:00 PM tomorrow,
and that’s just an open forum to continue this conversation. Thanks very much to Rosi. [APPLAUSE]

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Nice Video! You and your videos encouraged me to create a channel, do what I love, and help people save their best gift, THEIR TIME. Thank you!

  2. She totally dodged the last question — or really didn't understand it (asker's english was not amazing) — but I do think pointing out how capitalists are funding this posthuman trend is an important insight, esp. in light of her using investment figures to substantiate its prevalence. If this trend is truly subversive and a threat to hegemony, why would people who essentially run that hegemony feel comfortable funding it? Given her non-answer, a fanatic speel about the historic beneficence of universities, I don't think she views the university as an essential means for the continuation of social stratification, and I'm not sure that perspective is accurate to how knowledge and its producers have actually functioned historically. We can write subversive theory 8 days a week, talk about the multimodal and ecological configuration of collectivities all we want, but the only people our knowledge production has historically benefited — by "our", I mean institutional knowledge producers— has been those who already have power, who fund our research, and who attend our universities, and have the capital (social or otherwise) to gain admittance. Opening up the Cannon is necessary in that — if we don't — marginalized positions will create their own cannon, one which may very well completely reject our traditions and take political and material action based on that rejection. Capital funds these posthumanities, these "subversive" theories, in order to institutionalize them in parcel with the main power structures, cutting off their ability to operate autonomously. If one considers the Deleuzian concept of a "war machine" — something I read in Tiqqun the other day — a collectivity with the capacity for autonomous, militant action to back and perpetuate its particular form of subjectivity, or its form-of-life, this trend of institutional assimilation of even anti-hegemonic thought, establishes a de facto complicity between hegemony, which runs and owns institutions like Harvard, and those who speak against it (contra hegemony, not harvard). That things like queer/black/[whatever] theory haven't been institutionalized, at least not totally, is the only way they retain the megerst amount of subversive potential for rupture with old structures, the only way they retain the potentiality to create radically different spaces outside of complicity with and adherence to the old structures of knowledge, subjectivization, and social organizing.

    Good talk overall, but definitely blinded by an academic, universalist bais — if only in the latent content of her positions. That every subversive discourse should be institutionalized, that institutionalization is the right of every mode of discourse, that we must form a harmonious totality, even if we add the condition of a infinitely differentiating totality with positional disjunctions, is still universalist as such. She writes in her article, "De-Oedipalizing the Animal Other": "What is positive about positive passion is not a feel-good sentimentality but rather a rigorous composition of forces and relations that converge on the enhancement of one's conatus or potentia. Freedom is expressed as the ability to sustain connections to others, as the expansion, acceleration, or intensification of interrelation. What is negative about negative passions is a decrease, a dimming or slowing down, a dampening of intensity, which reduces the capacity for relations with others.."(𝘗𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘔𝘰𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘯 𝘓𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘶𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘈𝘴𝘴𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘈𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘢 (𝘗𝘔𝘓𝘈) vol. 124, no. 2, pg. 530) Here we have the simplistic formula — however complexly stated— of relation = good; disconnection = bad.

    I'm disappointed with the use of Deleuze and Guattari's work — both of who supported actual radical, non-institutional political movements, FHAR for ex. — to support such a simplistic interpretation. Perhaps she clarifies in her more in depth scholarship, which I do plan to read, but as of the moment, I am much less than thrilled with her representation of these issues — the same politics given a rendering in the clunky, Deleuzian language that, though I love it well, can be used to obscure one's material and value complicities.

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