Thursday, 29 April 2010

My Letter to Middlesex

Dear Professor Driscoll, Professor Ahmad, Professor House, and Professor Esche,

I am writing to protest at the decision to close the philosophy department at Middlesex University and to urge you to urgently reconsider. My reason for writing is my dismay at the threat to such a valuable and internationally recognised philosophy department, and to those who teach, research, and learn in the department. Working myself in the field of Continental philosophy I have regularly attended events organised by your philosophy department, I use and engage with work published by the staff, and have personally been in dialogue with Professor Peter Hallward. I also regularly read and cite material published by the journal Radical Philosophy, which is edited from Middlesex, and I know as friends and colleagues many who have attended and graduated from the philosophy programme at Middlesex. I can personally and professionally attest to the centrality and importance of the philosophy department at Middlesex to the field, and to Britain's cultural engagement with philosophy.

The philosophy department has made a sustained, innovative, and profound impact on the field, making Middlesex known as a university that encourages and develops teaching and research that has shaped contemporary culture. Middlesex is abandoning this reputation by closing the philosophy department and, once again, I would urge you to reconsider your decision.

Yours sincerely,
Dr Benjamin Noys
Reader in English, The University of Chichester

Sunday, 25 April 2010


01.05.10 > 16.05.10
PREVIEW: FRIDAY 30.04.10 6PM - 9PM
Be the revolution of you
- Nike Ad
The individual, in truth, is nothing ... the nothing that must be dissolved into a we-subject
- Alain Badiou

Metallurgy of the Subject is an attempt to present philosophical re-conceptions of community and communism allegorically as an alchemical process of sacrificial transmutation.

Animation. Accompanied by:
Kinetic rubber sculptures jerk and flap about. Spastic decor. A chorus of idiots.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Maussian-Messianic Salvage Punk

In lieu of what I had planned to do, which was actually post on Peter Worsley's The Trumpet Shall Sound (a reference gleaned from Alberto's book, and well worth tracking down, especially the 1970 Paladin edition with psychedelic cover I found in Hay-on-Wye), here is just a great quote and some scattered remarks:

For a long time, the Europeans were not regarded as all-powerful, but as rather pathetic, ignorant people who could be easily cheated or stolen from. Their ignorance of sorcery was lamentable. ‘These are not men, they are merely gods’ said the natives, judging the Whites to be beings whose lives were inferior to those of living men. Again, they spoke the indigenous tongues very badly; why should one bother trying to make out their uncouth speech? And if one did associate with them, was it not likely to provoke the wrath of the ancestral spirits? Surely the country of the White man must be a very bad place, or why would they leave it? Or were these, perhaps, refugees who had fled their country to escape some punishment? (218)

Worsley's book is concerned with cargo cults, and more particularly with seeing this messianic movements as actually pretty rational responses to the irrationality of capital, especially in colonial 'contact zones'. After all, if you work more and earn less, or if the colonialists seem to do no work and live pretty well, why not engage in some Maussian-messianic salvage punk by destroying all your goods and waiting for deliverance by the ships or planes of the whites? Kill all your pigs, the primary source of wealth in New Guinea, and await the great Pig. Worsley's point that 'rationality' in anthropology and sociology is often judged from the 'rationality' of the market is particularly astute, as are the colonised's remarks about how useless whites are because they keep having to send broken down vehicles back to the ancestors for repair. More disturbing, although perhaps accessible via Fanon, are the claims of the colonised to be the real ancestors, and really white. A great scene as well when one potential rebel leader is sent on a 'orientation'/ training course and finds out that the whites don't really believe in their God but instead claim descent from apes - well, as he notes, that was always our theory...
In fact bearing in mind the inexplicability of the financial crisis and its effects of 'creative destruction' / non-reproduction Worsley's book starts to look like a guide for strategy for the colonised of capitalism. Why not liquidate your property and await your rescue package? (Probably better to try this if you run a bank...)

The Politics of Postanarchism

Sure to provoke more debate on the surprisingly vituperative anarchist academics discussion list, Saul Newman's new work.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Apocalypse Choice

Your choice is either some unspecified polar ice-cap meltdown:

Or line drawn nuclear mushroom cloud (so 1980s...):

After having suffered the misery of 2012 on DVD; the world has to be 'cleansed' of over 5 billion people so some miserable hack pretentious writer who sold less than 500 copies of his palpably awful book can get back with his wife and family, after neatly dispatching the rather kind and useful stepfather (but he was a plastic surgeon...), I could do without any more apocalypse for a while. Perhaps though, after Alberto's suggestion, we should have a panel on apocalypse delayed at HM this year.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Review Copies

This is indeed by itself a sufficient reason for writing a book ; but add to this what has many a time wrung books from modest authors, the impetuous appeals from known and unknown friends. Moreover, he had bought a big work, and, what is worse, had read it, and this labour was not to be thrown away. Thence originated the present treatise, which, we flatter ourselves, will fully satisfy the reader ; for the main part he will not understand, another part he will not believe, and the rest he will laugh at.
Kant, Dreams of a Spirit-Seer (download here)

"So soon as Swedenborg's Arcana Coelestia was printed, for whose publication he had been eagerly waiting, he bought the volumes at seven pounds sterling, and this at a time when Kant, the privat-docent, was anything but well off, and when that amount of money meant more than it does now."
Robert Hoar

Thanks to Alberto for noting Kant's recognition of the need for a review copy...