Archive for the ‘Graham Harman’ Category

Graham Harman: Bruno Latour – Reassembling the Political

4 November 2014

Just published: Graham Harman: Bruno Latour – Reassembling the Political (Pluto Press)Bruno Latour: Reassembling the Political

Bruno Latour, the French sociologist, anthropologist and long-established superstar in the social sciences is revisited in this pioneering account of his ever-evolving political philosophy. Breaking from the traditional focus on his metaphysics, most recently seen in Harman’s book Prince of Networks (2009), the author instead begins with the Hobbesian and even Machiavellian underpinnings of Latour’s early period and encountering his shift towards Carl Schmitt and finishing with his final development into the Lippmann / Dewey debate. Harman brings these twists and turns into sharp focus in terms of Latour’s personal political thinking.

Along with Latour’s most important articles on political themes, the book chooses three works as exemplary of the distinct periods in Latour’s thinking: The Pasteurization of France, Politics of Nature, and the recently published An Inquiry Into Modes of Existence, as his conception of politics evolves from a global power struggle between individuals, to the fabrication of fragile parliamentary networks, to just one mode of existence among many others.

Graham Harman is Distinguished University Professor at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. He is the author of numerous books, including Tool-Being: Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Objects (2002) and Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics (2009).

Harman on “Early and Late Latour,” Oregon State, 25-Feb-2014

5 October 2013

Graham Harman: “Early and Late Latour,” Critical Questions Lecture Series, School of Writing, Literature, and Film, Oregon State University, 25th February 2014

The French theorist Bruno Latour continues to expand his already extensive influence in the social sciences, and is slowly emerging as a force to reckon with in philosophy as well. Latour has long been known for his actor-network theory. But beginning in 1987, Latour worked in secret on a parallel philosophical system in which networks are just one among fourteen separate modes of existence. This secret system was recently unveiled in Latour’s new book An Inquiry Into Modes of Existence (Harvard University Press, 2013). This lecture will examine the principal features of Latour’s new system and ask whether Latour’s proclaimed philosophical shift is significant in its own right, and also whether it might have new implications for the various fields that take inspiration from Latour’s work.

Review of the ‘two Princes’

29 September 2013

Nigel Clark’s review of Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics and The Prince and the Wolf: Latour and Harman at the LSE in the August 2013 issue of Contemporary Political Theory [PDF].

Architecture on Harman, Harman on Architecture – The Architecture Exchange, London, May-June, 2013

1 May 2013

From Joseph Bedford and Jessica Reynolds:

The Architecture Exchange, a new platform aimed at fostering serious debate between architecture and newly emerging ideas in other fields, founded by Joseph Bedford (doctoral candidate at Princeton University) and Jessica Reynolds (director at vPPR Architects). The Architecture Exchange will begin as a public lecture-based and on-line institution with the aspiration to become a gallery/event space in London in the future. The format for each series is that a carefully selected group of architectural thinkers are invited to discuss the ideas of a contemporary thinker in relationship to architecture, with a final talk by the thinker him/herself responding to the architectural papers previously presented. These presentations are filmed and uploaded on to the website, and the papers are compiled into a new publication series.

We are excited to announce that the first series focuses on the philosophical work of Graham Harman, the leading figure in the Speculative Realist movement, as we believe that his object-oriented philosophy offers a new and vital framework that might stimulate thought in architectural discourse around the topic of the real and the sensual. Responding to the series’ question,  “Is there an Object-Oriented Architecture?” Graham Harman’s radical reading of Heidegger is discussed in relationship to architecture during three events in May by six eminent architectural thinkers: Peg Rawes (UCL), Patrick Lynch (Lynch Architects), Jonathan Hale (Nottingham University), Adam Sharr (Newcastle University), Lorens Holm (Dundee University), and Peter Carl (London Met). The fourth and final event of the series invites Graham Harman to respond to the speakers, concluding with a round-table debate with all the participants. All talks are free and hosted at the Swedenborg Society (20-21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH) on the dates listed below.

7pm, Wednesday 1 May 2013

Peg Rawes – Nonhuman Architectural Ecologies
Patrick Lynch – The Resistance of Things

7pm, Wednesday 15 May 2013

Jonathan Hale – Coping without noticing?: Buildings as Tool-Beings
Adam Sharr – A House With One Wall

7pm, Wednesday 29 May 2013

Lorens Holm – Architecture and Its Objects
Peter Carl – A Punkt in Spice

5.30pm, Saturday 22 June 2013

Graham Harman – What Objects Mean for Architecture
+ debate with Peg Rawes, Patrick Lynch, Jonathan Hale, Adam Sharr, Lorens Holm and Peter Carl

Venue:
The Swedenborg Society
20-21 Bloomsbury Way
London WC1A 2TH

Free entry
Doors open half an hour before the start time

In Collaboration with the Swedenborg Society

Refreshments available

On Latour and Simondon’s Mode of Existence – fragments of a fictional dialogue yet to come

4 February 2013

On Latour and Simondon’s Mode of Existence – fragments of a fictional dialogue yet to come.

Yuk Hui, intervention given in a Workshop on Latour@ Denkerei, 28 Jan,2013

This intervention from its outset searches a dialogue between Simondon and Latour, a fictional dialogue, that nevertheless exists though it hasn’t happened. It hasn’t happened, or should I say it was once about to happen, when Latour praised Simondon’s Du Mode d’existence des objets techniques, and commented that it is a work that didn’t yet find its successor. But it does exist, this fictional dialogue, or at least we can talk about its mode of existence if you prefer since being fictional is also a mode of existence. We cannot draw a squared circle but we can think of a squared circle, it has meanings, this was an example given by Husserl as a critique of Frege’s logism. The secrete philosopher of Bruno Latour, Étienne Souriau hold a similar idea in his Les différents Modes d’existence. A fictional object or character doesn’t occur in time and space as a physical object, or a historical event, but it does exists in works, in the socio-psychological life and the imagination of their readers and witness. Modes of existence is always plural, it doesn’t follow the rule of contradiction, it is rather key to what Latour calls ontological pluralism.

Object-oriented sociology and the material turn

14 December 2012

Pierides, D. and Woodman, D. (2012). “Object-Oriented Sociology and Organizing in the Face of Emergency: Bruno Latour, Graham Harman and the Material Turn.” The British Journal of Sociology, 63 (4): 662-679. H/t Ecology without Nature.

This paper explores the material turn in sociology and the tools it provides for understanding organizational problems highlighted by the Royal Commission into the 2009 ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires during which 173 people died in the Australian State of Victoria. Often inspired by Bruno Latour’s material-semiotic sociology of associations, organization scholars employing these tools focus on the messy details of organization otherwise overlooked by approaches assuming a macroscopic frame of analysis. In Latour’s approach no object is reducible to something else – such as nature, the social, or atoms – it is instead a stabilized set of relations. A Latourian approach allows us to highlight how the Royal Commission and macroscopic models of organizing do unwitting damage to their objects of inquiry by purifying the ‘natural’ from the ‘social’. Performative elements in their schemas are mistaken for descriptive ones. However, a long standing critique of this approach claims that it becomes its own form of reduction, to nothing but relations. Graham Harman, in his object-oriented philosophy develops this critique by showing that a ‘relationist’ metaphysics cannot properly accommodate the capacity of ‘objects’ to cause or mediate surprises. Through our case of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, we argue that a purely relational model of objects loosens a productive tension between the structural and ephemeral that drives sociological analysis. By drawing on elements of Harman’s ontology of objects we argue that it is necessary for material-semiotic sociology to retain a central place for the emergence of sociological objects.

CfP: Phenomenological Approaches to Media, Technology and Communication

14 November 2012

Conditions of Mediation: Phenomenological Approaches to Media, Technology and Communication

2013 International Communication Association (ICA) Preconference
ICA Theory, Philosophy and Critique Division
17 June 2013, Birkbeck, University of London

Paper proposals are invited from a very wide range of perspectives, including but not limited to media history, media archaeology, audience studies, political theory, metaphysics, software studies, science and technology studies, digital aesthetics, cultural geography and urban studies. Though all proposals should relate in some way to phenomenological thinking, this should be interpreted broadly, ranging from core thinkers such as Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Sartre to those with looser affiliations to phenomenology per se, for example Arendt, Bergson, Bourdieu, Deleuze, Garfinkel, Ingold, Latour, Whitehead and Harman.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

  • Dr David Berry, Swansea University
  • Professor Nick Couldry, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Professor Graham Harman, American University of Cairo
  • Professor Lisa Parks, UC Santa Barbara
  • Professor Paddy Scannell, University of Michigan

Please send an abstract (max 200 words) of your paper to both Scott Rodgers (s.rodgers@bbk.ac.uk) and Tim Markham (t.markham@bbk.ac.uk) by 20 November 2012. Authors will be informed regarding acceptance / rejection for the preconference no later than 20 December 2012.

New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies

20 October 2012

The latest book from OHP’s New Metaphysics series, edited by Graham Harman and Bruno Latour:  “New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies,” by Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin. Open access book available as HTML here, download as PDF here [2.3MB]. Paperback coming soon. Design by Katherine Gillieson. Cover Illustration by Tammy Lu.

This book is the first monograph on the theme of “new materialism,” an emerging trend in 21st century thought that has already left its mark in such fields as philosophy, cultural theory, feminism, science studies, and the arts. The first part of the book contains elaborate interviews with some of the most prominent new materialist scholars of today: Rosi Braidotti, Manuel DeLanda, Karen Barad, and Quentin Meillassoux. The second part situates the new materialist tradition in contemporary thought by singling out its transversal methodology, its position on sexual differing, and by developing the ethical and political consequences of new materialism.

Korean paper on Heidegger-Latour theme

5 October 2012

Lee, June-Seok (2012). “Understanding the Identity of a Disaster through STS.” Korean Association of Science and Technology Studies. 12 (1): 45-78.

한국어 초록

재난이란 무엇인가. 그리고 과학기술학은 이에 대해 무엇을 말해주는가. 재난에 대해서는 여러 정의가 있을 수 있지만, 이 글에서는 주체가 예비한 기술사회시스템 행위자-연결망이 그에 부딪혀 오는 힘과의 겨루기(trial of strength)에서 밀려 와해되는 경우를 상정한다. 이러한 상태는 결절(結節, punctualization)된 행위자-연결망이 해리(解離, depunctualization)되는 과정이며, 존재자의 용재성(用在性, Zuhandenheit, readiness-to-hand)이 뒤로 물러가고 도구의 전재성(前在性, Vorhandenheit, presentness-at-hand)이 현존재 앞에 드러나는 과정이다. 재난을 사례연구로 하여 이 글은 선행연구들이 보지 못했던 라투르 존재론과 하이데거 기술관의 겹침을 살펴볼 것이다. 이러한 과학기술학적 접근은 기술과학과 자연-사회의 아상블라쥬를 해석하는 새로운 이론적 프레임을 우리에게 제공할 수 있을 것이다.

Abstract

What is a disaster? And what can science and technology studies tell us about it? There might be numerous definitions about disaster. In this article, we will posit that disaster is an incident when sociotechnical system actor-network broke down against the other force in their “trial of strength”. This is a process that punctualized actor-network is depunctualized, and a status that readiness-to-hand of Being recedes while presentness-at-hand of tool-being comes forward. Using the concept of disaster as a case study, we will consider how Latourian ontology overlaps with Heideggerian philosophy of technology. This STS approach which hasn’t been previously studied might provide us with new theoretical framework that enables us to construe the assemblage of technoscience and nature-society in the field of PUS or NPSS.

Somewhere in Russia…

14 July 2012

…to be more precise, at the Piotrovsky Bookstore in Perm, books on speculative realism, ANT and the like are part of the effort to restore “book culture to its height during the Soviet times.” Hat tip OOP.