Laura Shackelford, "The Resistance of Counter-Networks in Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of
This essay calls into question the opposition between
global capitalist economic, cultural, and social networks and
modernity's industrial capitalist social spaces, an opposition between
the "space of flows" and the "space of places," as it is developed in
Manuel Castells'sthoroughgoing analysis of the information economy.
Putting Castells's insights to cross-purposes, the essay foregrounds
troubling continuities and collaboration between these divergent social
spaces. The essay reads Leslie Marmon Silko's novel Almanac of the Dead for
its critical reflection on global capitalist networks and examines its spatio-temporal mapping of the Americas, which implicates
these purportedly novel, deterritorialized spatial networks in a five hundred year system of colonial and imperial
expansion. The novel's spatio-temporal mapping of the Americas rethinks the socio-spatial
logics informing global capitalist networks in light of these
continuities, identifying a resistant potential within them. Its
counternetworks take advantage of global capitalism's dismantling of
the three worlds system, developing a transnational, subaltern model of
resistance that refuses both a nationalist, essentialist conception of
identity grounded in place and a liberal multicultural identity
politics encouraged by global capitalism's "space of flows." --ls
"Queer Optimism" argues that queer theory's attachment to a vocabulary of melancholy, self-shattering, shame, and the death drive
precludes a potentially more rigorous and generative understanding of queery theory and of optimism. Through critiques of Butler,
Bersani, Sedgwick and Edelman, "Queer Optimism" notes exemplary moments of "queer pessimism," and insists upon a non-Leibnizian
optimistic field temporally located beyond the futural, and solicitous of (rather than allergic to) meticulous, vigorous
"A Critique of Neo-Left Ontology"
This essay investigates why "ontology" has become an increasingly important topic for a number of contemporary
political philosophers. It is divided into two parts, the first of which contrasts what it calls "neo-left" thinkers
with more traditionally minded Marxists (such as Theodor Adorno and Fredric Jameson), focusing in particular on their
different understanding of the meaning of "ontology." The second part provides a comparative commentary on Ernesto
Laclau, Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou, Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, as well on Giorgio Agamben, in order to analyze
their use of and reference to "ontology" as a crucial concept for much leftist political discourse today. Here the focus
lies on three interrelated categories: "space," "political acts," and "subject(ivity)."
The ontological neo-left faces two basic options: either to adopt a discursive ontology structured
the void (Derrida, Laclau, Mouffe, Badiou, Zizek) or a biopolitical ontology that embraces the productivity of life (Foucault,
Deleuze, Agamben, Hardt and Negri).
"Lose the Building: Systems Theory, Architecture, and Diller+Scofidio's Blur"
In October of 2002, the Blur building of the architectural team
Diller+Scofidio opened in Switzerland to nearly universal acclaim. The
"building"--a cloud manufactured by a nozzle-laced tensegrity structure
hovering over Lake Neuchatel--audaciously rethinks architecture as "the
making of nothing" (to use the architects' words). This dematerialization of
the architectural medium raises all sorts of interesting questions about the
concept and function of form in architecture (and in art more
generally)--questions that Diller+Scofidio mobilize in relation to the
dynamics of spectacle in mass media society. This essay uses the work of
systems theorist Niklas Luhmann to understand the central paradox of the
Blur project: that the "weakness" of its formal intervention as an object
is precisely its strength when form is understood in more abstract terms.
This relentless but necessary abstraction of the concept of form in art
helps us gain some distance on the more or less conventionally "romantic" associations that the project invites--associations that
Diller+Scofidio rightly insist have no place in understanding the project's conceptual
underpinnings. And it also helps us grasp how the project deploys and
redirects certain modes of visuality that are taken for granted by mass
media society and its apotheosis in the society of spectacle--modes that the
project itself "blurs," and not without ethical and political
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