Archive for April, 2014

Expulsions: Complexity and Brutality, Saskia Sassen

30 April 2014


Alva Noë: See Me if You Can! Art & the Limits of Neuroscience

29 April 2014

The Open Mind: Cold War Politics & the Sciences of Human Nature

27 April 2014

The Open Mind: Cold War Politics & the Sciences of Human Nature

Jamie Cohen-Cole’s new book explores the emergence of a discourse of creativity, interdisciplinarity, and the “open mind” in the context of Cold War American politics, education, and society. The Open Mind: Cold War Politics and the Sciences of Human Nature (University of Chicago Press, 2014) considers how open-mindedness took on a political role (as a model of citizenship contrasted with that of totalitarian states), an academic role (as a model of a scientist or thinker), and a broader role as a model of human nature in the mid-late twentieth century. Cohen-Cole’s book not only offers a fascinating glimpse into the development of mid-century psychology and cognitive science, but also shows the deep connections among what was happening in what might otherwise be considered separate social and political spaces that include laboratories, classrooms, cocktail parties, conferences, academic departments, and various physical and textual loci of political and social engagement. via

Robots & New Media, Hubert Dreyfus

26 April 2014

The Four Figures of the Anthropocene, Elizabeth Povinelli

25 April 2014

As is known, although his histories of sexuality would consume much of his final life, Michel Foucault was not interested in sexuality in and of itself but only in relation to how it entangled itself in modern forms of power—what he called the “technology of life.” Ditto with the four figures and strategies of sexuality: the hysterical woman (a hysterization of women’s bodies); the masturbating child (a pedagogization of children’s sex); the perverse adult (a psychiatrization of perverse pleasure); and the Malthusian couple (a socialization of procreative behavior). The reason Foucault cared about sexuality and its dominant discursive figurations and strategies, was because he cared about the formations of modern power within which he lived. This talk asks, what would the figures of power be if Foucault were writing today in the shadow of climate change, the emergence of the security state, and the shaking of neoliberalism.

We Have Always Been Post-Anthropocene, Claire Colebrook

24 April 2014

The proposed conception of the Anthropocene epoch marks is radical a shift in species awareness as Darwinian evolution was for the nineteenth-century. If the notion of the human species’ emergence in time requires new forms of narrative, imaginative and ethical articulation, then the intensifying sense of the species’ end makes a similar claim for rethinking ‘our’ processes of self-presentation and self-preservation.
One of the dominant motifs of the anthropocene is climate change, which (as Bruno Latour has argued) closes down the modern conception of the infinite universe, drawing us back once again to the parochial, limited and exhausted earth. It might be worth redefining all those hyper-modern proclamations of a post-human and post-racial future as hypo-modern, as refusals of the species’ bounded temporality. Nowhere is this more evident than in the seemingly modern fascination with sexual difference. It is the possibility of transcending sexual difference — of arriving at indifference — that has always been harbored as the human species’ end.

Political & Philosophical Reading of the Systems of Objects

24 April 2014

Political & Philosophical Reading of the Systems of Objects

via  This podcast is the first one to have two guests, Miami-based artists, writers and editors Gean Moreno and Ernesto Oroza, for an account of their collaborative work manifested in several texts and exhibitions. This conversation focuses on their analysis of “Generic Objects” that allows the optimal function of globalized capitalism (containers, cranes, ships, highways, palettes, buckets, etc.) through a universal metric system, as well as a more local tinkering of these objects in Miami’s Little Haiti for a more local economic form.                                                                                 

CfP: IJANTTI special issue on 3D Printing, Space Entrepreneurship and Advanced Battery Technology as Challenges to ANT

23 April 2014

Calls for Papers (special): International Journal of Actor-Network Theory and Technological Innovation (IJANTTI)

Special Issue On: The Breakthroughs in Additive manufacturing (3D Printing), Space Entrepreneurship and Advanced Battery Technology as Challenges to Actor-Network Theory

Submission Due Date

Guest Editors
Ivan Tchalakov, University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Recommended Topics
Topics to be discussed in this special issue include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • ANT (and related approaches) based case studies of additive (3D) manufacturing: key innovations and their actor-networks – the complex web between 3D computer aided design (3D scanning), 3D printing equipment and production of appropriate material to be used by the equipment; of emerging consumer oriented business models; 3D printing and biotechnologies – new perspectives in implant and replacement organs manufacturing and related legal, ethical, psychological and other issues.
  • ANT (and related approaches) based case studies of space entrepreneurs, their companies and technologies they developed, and the emerging new ‘actor-world’ (space tourism, asteroid mining, colonization of Mars, Moon, and asteroids);
  • ANT (and related approaches) based case studies on electric vehicles, advanced battery technology, smart energy storage and related issues;
  • ANT-based methodology for responsible innovation: emerging technologies, divergent developmental paths, and possible socio-technical scenarios
  • Elaboration and refinement of ANT key notions (heterogeneous community, sociotechnical network, script, flux, translation, intermediary and mediator, etc.) To better understand:
    • Transition from large scale corporate-based innovation to smaller scale entrepreneurial-based innovation and related technological change (as exemplified by the case with space industry
    • Transition from subtractive (cutting and drilling) to additive (3D) manufacturing and reconfiguration of related techno-economic networks, including the changes in underlying notions of ‘design’, of ‘materiality’ and ‘object’, etc.
    • The possible disruptive changes in century old patterns of automotive industry and electric power
  • Philosophical and methodological critique of ANT inspired by or relevant to the new developments in additive manufacturing, space industry, green energy production and use, etc. Essays examining the potential of some resent trends in philosophy are highly appreciated (such as Speculative Realism movement and especially G. Harman object-oriented ontology, Karen Barad’s agential realism, Isabelle Stengers’ Cosmopolitics, non-orthodox reading of Aristotelian Metaphysics of Bradshaw, Beere and some others, philosophy of Alain Badiou, etc).

Methods, Practice and Agency of Things

22 April 2014

Prasad Boradkar, Associate Professor, Herberger Institute School of Art and Design
Configuring Things: In the city of Pune in western India, there is a valley called tambat ali (copper valley) where copper craftsmen and their families have been making water containers, vessels for food, religious artifacts, and other decorative items with hand-beaten copper for over 400 years. People and things together possess agency, and they act in conjunction with each other in shaping our world. If design and manufacturing can be described as activities in which people configure things, things themselves play a role, in turn, in configuring human societies. There exists a complex engagement between people and things, and the effect they have on each other. Using these copper artifacts as a case study can offer an explanation of how the meanings of things are configured (or designed) in complex, dynamic networks by a large number of agents.

Kostalena Michelaki and Richard Toon, Associate Professor and Associate Research Professor, School of Human Evolution & Social Change
“Until they grow legs and start running around…” Exploring resistance to material agency in archaeology and museum studies: Humans spend most of their time observing, touching, smelling, drawing, breaking, even tasting things, yet most of their talking and teaching focuses on what things symbolize, what they stand for; not what they are, what they do, or what they make us do. On that same note, museum studies, while emphasizing objects in collections and their meanings to us, continues to treat them as inert, behind glass vitrines or in storage. A small number of archaeologists have questioned the primacy of human agency, asserting and re-evaluating both what qualifies as ‘a thing’ and, thus, the goal of the entire discipline. Resistance to the possibility of material agency, however, remains strong in archeology and museum studies is virtually silent on the issue, still dominated by the textual turn. The resistance against challenging human primacy can be unfolded by tracing the concept of ‘agency’ in the theory and practice of archaeology, museum studies and in the training of students in these disciplines. What do we stand to lose, if we embrace the new ontology of things and what do we stand to gain? What will we have to give-up to open our epistemological horizons and transform our practice?

On Matters of Concern: Ontological Politics, Ecology, and the Anthropo(s)cene (pdf)

22 April 2014

On Matters of Concern: Ontological Politics, Ecology, and the Anthropo(s)cene (pdf)

for more of  Adrian Ivakhiv’s ideas see

Ontology has become an issue (again) among philosophers, anthropologists, sociologists, geographers,science and technology scholars, and others, in a way that it has not been for perhaps a century.This paper arises from an entanglement of conversations in ecologically informed philosophy. Most specifically, it emerged from debates within the movement of “speculative realism” around the subspecies of that genre known as Object-Oriented Ontology(“OOO”) and its defense of an ontology of objects rather than processes.

More broadly, the paper attends to conversations in the “ontopolitical” milieu of contemporary social, cultural, and environmental theory, a milieu in which posthumanism, critical animal studies,actor-network theory,assemblage theory,critical realism,agential realism,nonrepresentational theory,enactive and embodied cognitivism, post-phenomenology,multispecies ethnography,integral ecology,and various forms of “new materialism,” “geophilosophy” and “cosmopolitics” fashion themselves as intellectual responses to the predicament indicated by such terms as the ecocrisis, the climate crisis,and the Anthropocene.