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Reading Group

Wednesday, October 23, 6:00pm!

Please join us for a reading group on the very short essay "Politics Sourrounded," pgs. 17-20 in Fred Moten and Stefano Harney's The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study (Minor Compositions, 2013). at Counterpath (7935 East 14th Ave.). The PDF of the whole book is linked here.

The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study
Stefano Harney and Fred Moten
Introduction by Jack Halberstam

In this series of essays Fred Moten and Stefano Harney draw on the theory and practice of the black radical tradition as it supports, inspires, and extends contemporary social and political thought and aesthetic critique. Today the general wealth of social life finds itself confronted by mutations in the mechanisms of control: the proliferation of capitalist logistics, governance by credit, and the management of pedagogy. Working from and within the social poesis of life in the undercommons Moten and Harney develop and expand an array of concepts: study, debt, surround, planning, and the shipped. On the fugitive path of an historical and global blackness, the essays in this volume unsettle and invite the reader to the self-organised ensembles of social life that are launched every day and every night amid the general antagonism of the undercommons.

“This is a powerful book, made of words and sounds, crisscrossed by subversion and love, written and studied ‘with and for,’ as Stefano Harney and Fred Moten put it. The roar of the battle is never distant while reading The Undercommons. The London riots and occupy, practices of refusal, marronage and flight, slave revolts and anti-colonial uprisings frame a challenging rethinking of concepts such as policy and planning, debt and credit, governance and logistics. The Undercommons is a homage to the black radical tradition, to its generative and constituent power before the task of imagining ‘dispossessed feelings in common’ as the basis of a renewed communism.” – Sandro Mezzadra

“What kind of intervention can cut through neoliberal configuration of today’s university, which betrays its own liberal commitment to bring about emancipation? The Undercommons is a powerful and necessary intervention that invites us to imagine and realise social life otherwise. In this intimate and intense example of affected writing – writing which is always already other, with an other – Harney and Moten dare us to fall. Following, feeling, an other possible manner living together, or as one may say with Glissant – to be ‘born into the world,’ which is the fate and gift of blackness. Otherwise living, as in the quilombos created by Brazilian slaves, is the promise that is escape!” – Denise Ferreira da Silva

Bio: Stefano Harney is Professor of Strategic Management Education at Singapore Management University. He is the author of State Work: Public Administration and Mass Intellectuality (2002) and The Ends of Management (forthcoming). Fred Moten is Professor at New York University and the author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (2003) and B Jenkins (2010).

Wednesday, July 24, 2019, 6:30pm, at Counterpath









Please join us for a Counterpath and East Colfax Neighborhood Association reading group on Marc Crépon's Murderous Consent: On the Accommodation of Violent Death (Fordham University Press, 2019), on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, 6:30pm, at Counterpath (7935 East 14th Ave.). We'll read just the Introduction, on pages 1-15, and please write to or here for a copy.

Murderous Consent details our implication in violence we do not directly inflict but in which we are structurally complicit: famines, civil wars, political repression in far-away places, and war, as it’s classically understood. Marc Crépon insists on a bond between ethics and politics and attributes violence to our treatment of the two as separate spheres. We repeatedly resist the call to responsibility, as expressed by the appeal—by peoples across the world—for the care and attention that their vulnerability enjoins.

But Crépon argues that this resistance is not ineluctable, and the book searches for ways that enable us to mitigate it, through rebellion, kindness, irony, critique, and shame. In the process, he engages with a range of writers, from Camus, Sartre, and Freud, to Stefan Zweig and Karl Kraus, to Kenzaburo Oe, Emmanuel Levinas and Judith Butler. The resulting exchange between philosophy and literature enables Crépon to delineate the contours of a possible/impossible ethicosmopolitics—an ethicosmopolitics to come.

Pushing against the limits of liberal rationalism, Crépon calls for a more radical understanding of interpersonal responsibility. Not just a work of philosophy but an engagement with life as it’s lived, Murderous Consent works to redefine our global obligations, articulating anew what humanitarianism demands and what an ethically grounded political resistance might mean.

Marc Crépon is Chair of Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure, Paris, and Research Director of the Husserl Archives. He is one of France’s leading voices in contemporary political and moral philosophy and is the author of The Thought of Death and the Memory of War (Minnesota) and The Vocation of Writing: Literature and Philosophy in the Test of Violence (SUNY).

Sunday, April 14, 2019, 4pm, at Counterpath











Jackie Wang, author of Carceral Capitalism, visited East Colfax Sunday, April 28, with preceding reading group Sunday, April 14.

From the web page for Carceral Capitalsim:
In this collection of essays in Semiotext(e)'s Intervention series, Jackie Wang examines the contemporary incarceration techniques that have emerged since the 1990s. The essays illustrate various aspects of the carceral continuum, including the biopolitics of juvenile delinquency, predatory policing, the political economy of fees and fines, cybernetic governance, and algorithmic policing. Included in this volume is Wang's influential critique of liberal anti-racist politics, “Against Innocence,” as well as essays on RoboCop, techno-policing, and the aesthetic problem of making invisible forms of power legible.

Wang shows that the new racial capitalism begins with parasitic governance and predatory lending that extends credit only to dispossess later. Predatory lending has a decidedly spatial character and exists in many forms, including subprime mortgage loans, student loans for sham for-profit colleges, car loans, rent-to-own scams, payday loans, and bail bond loans. Parasitic governance, Wang argues, operates through five primary techniques: financial states of exception, automation, extraction and looting, confinement, and gratuitous violence. While these techniques of governance often involve physical confinement and the state-sanctioned execution of black Americans, new carceral modes have blurred the distinction between the inside and outside of prison. As technologies of control are perfected, carcerality tends to bleed into society.

Jackie Wang is a student of the dream state, black studies scholar, prison abolitionist, poet, performer, library rat, trauma monster and PhD student at Harvard University. She is the author of a number of punk zines including On Being Hard Femme, as well as a collection of dream poems titled Tiny Spelunker of the Oneiro-Womb.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019, 6:30pm, at Counterpath





“Blight” is defined as a plant disease, or a thing that spoils or damages. It is also used in an urban renewal context to refer to land or properties that should be renovated or cleared. But how do we identify this kind of blight, and how does it affect our ideas of the urban environment?
This reading group looks at current conditions in the East Colfax neighborhood through the lens of the 1960s clearing of a “blighted” neighborhood for construction of the University of Colorado, Denver, Auraria campus. We’ll read the article linked here, “Legacies of a Contested Campus: Urban Renewal, Community Resistance, and the Origins of Gentrification in Denver,” by Brian Page and Eric Ross.
The group is free and open to all, and you don’t need to read the whole article, or any of it, to attend, listen, make comments, ask questions, or otherwise participate. We’ll have light refreshments.

Brian Page, who will be joining us, is an associate professor in the department of geography and environmental sciences at the University of Colorado, Denver. Read his full bio here.

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