Hi all,

I just (finally) joined this list and am jumping into the middle of a 
conversation I haven't fully read. So bear with me, and forgive me if I'm 
covering ground that has been done already.

Judith Halberstam wrote:

> The theories that count and that get counted in OOO and SR tend to be 
> masculinist most of the time and tend to cluster around enlightenment and 
> post-structuralist theory or a particular, continental stripe: Hegel, 
> Heidegger, Derrida, Zizek, Lacan, with a Butler or Braidotti thrown in for 
> good measure but nary a mention of race, class or postcolonial thinking.

I'm not sure what you mean by "masculinist most of the time" and would invite 
you to clarify such a characterization in the interest of more productive 
discussion.

As for  "nary a mention of race, class or postcolonial thinking," one of the 
interesting puzzles in the formula "SR/OOO are a kind of continental 
philosophy" is the fact that continental philosophy has such a strong 
association with matters of human identity, and SR/OOO/etc. are interested in 
various non- or extra-human matters, and are therefore moving in slightly 
different directions than continental philosophy has done in recent decades. 
The assumption—which seems to be prevalent—that this means "abandoning" 
questions of human identity is an interesting one. 

It reminds me a bit of the criticism Nick Montfort and I still get when we 
suggest that it's worthwhile to investigate the material construction of 
hardware and software platforms as a part of the study of computational media. 
Reactions tend toward accusations of determinism. But, the truth is, the 
microprocessors and integrated circuits are as extant as the social factors 
that drive their design. I've written about this conundrum a bit, both in 
relation to computation and, in my latest book, in relation to philosophy.


Michael O'Rourke wrote:

> Both Zizek and Badiou anticipated Galloway’s recent invective against the 
> apoliticality of Object Oriented philosophy and Speculative Realism (see the 
> interviews in The Speculative Turn) but I’m not so sure they are right.  To 
> take just a few examples: How could Tim Morton’s work on ecology be 
> considered apolitical? Or Levi Bryant’s democratization of objects? It is 
> even harder to argue that Jane Bennett’s writing on vibrant materiality which 
> emerges directly out of political theory fails to advance an ethics or a 
> politics.  The challenge as Jeffrey Jerome Cohen has been telling us is to 
> extend the notion of the biopolitical in our work. What, Jeffrey would ask, 
> would a more generously envisioned zoepolitics (or zoeethics or zoeontology) 
> look like? And why would or wouldn’t we desire it?


In this respect, it seems that there's been an assumption about what "being 
political" means, i.e. a particular flavor or so-called radical leftism, which 
is not so much about its beliefs or premises as it is about a particular 
modality of activity, a particular community of practice, a particular kind and 
rhetoric of work, and so forth. The comments in answer to Levi Bryant's recent 
question "Ethics and Politics, What are You Asking" are interesting in this 
regard: 
http://larvalsubjects.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/ethics-and-politics-what-are-you-asking/

In any event, I think this whole set of questions about politics and ontology 
has to be seen as something more along the lines of a (potential) shift in the 
attention of philosophy and theory. And that's probably why it's so charged a 
topic.

Ian

Ian Bogost, Ph.D.
Professor
Director, Graduate Program in Digital Media

Georgia Institute of Technology
Digital Media/TSRB 320B
85 Fifth Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30308-1030

ibog...@gatech.edu
+1 (404) 894-1160 (tel)
+1 (404) 894-2833 (fax)

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