The force of things -- The agency of assemblages -- Edible matter -- A life of metal -- Neither vitalism nor mechanism -- Stem cells and the culture of life -- Political ecologies -- Vitality and self-interest.
The context for these interviews was a seminar [Peter Gratton] conducted on speculative realism in the Spring 2010. There has been great interest in speculative realism and one reason Gratton surmise[s] is not just the arguments offered, though [Gratton doesn't] want to take away from them; each of these scholars are vivid writers and great pedagogues, many of whom are in constant contact with their readers via their weblogs. Thus these interviews provided an opportunity to forward student questions about their (...) respective works. Though each were conducted on different occasions, the interviews stand as a collected work, tying together the most classical questions about “realism” to ancillary movements about the non-human in politics, ecology, aesthetics, and video gaming—all to point to future movements in this philosophical area. (shrink)
This essay seeks to give philosophical expression to the vitality, willfullness, and recalcitrance possessed by nonhuman entities and forces. It also considers the ethico-political import of an enhanced awareness of "thing-power." Drawing from Lucretius, Spinoza, Gilles Deleuze, Bruno Latour, and others, it describes a materialism of lively matter, to be placed in conversation with the historical materialism of Marx and the body materialism of feminist and cultural studies. Thing-power materialism is a speculative onto-story, an admittedly presumptuous attempt to depict the (...) nonhumanity that flows around and through humans. The essay concludes with a preliminary discussion of the ecological implications of thing-power. (shrink)
Through postcolonial studies, indigenous perspectives are finally being heard, challenging various Western views of the world. However, these challenges are often made in the same moralizing voice as the original conlonizations were justified. In keeping with the moralizing-resistant perspectives of Foucault, Benjamin and Derrida The Politics of Moralizing issues a warning about the risks of speaking, writing and thinking in a manner too confident about you own judgments. Can a clear line be drawn between dogmatism and simple certainty and indignation? (...) This collection starts by questioning what has become a popular, even pervasive, cultural narrative told by both the left and the right-the story of the West's moral decline, degeneration or confusion. Beyond declaiming the perils of this approach, each essay goes on to experiment with strategies for warding off moralistic tendencies and effects within our own texts and actions. Contributors even explore the dynamics and dilemmas of moralizing by advocates of liberal causes, including patriotism, environmental protection and women's rights. The Politics of Moralizing argues that taking the so-called moral high ground gives free license to self-aggrandizement, cruelty, vengeance and punitiveness and a generalized resistance to or abjection of diversity. (shrink)
The wholesale aestheticization of society had found its grotesque apotheosis for a brief moment in fascism, with its panoply of myths, symbols, and orgiastic spectacles.... But in the post-war years a different form of aestheticization was also to saturate the entire culture of late capitalism, with its fetishism of style and surface, its culture of hedonism and technique, its reifying of the signifier and displacement of discursive meaning with random intensities. Terry Eagleton, The Ideology of the Aesthetic.