Category: GeoPhilosophy

Visiting UC Davis

I’ll be participating in the Mellon-sponsored Environments and Societies Colloquium Series next Wednesday, April 30, at the University of California Davis.

My colloquium paper, entitled “On Matters of Concern: Ecology, Ontological Politics, and the Anthropo(s)cene,” is available for reading on the E & S website. (It’s a variation of a chapter for a book on “integral ecologies” which is currently in the peer-review stage.)

The following day I’ll be giving a talk at the same university. Below are the details.


“From the Age of the World Motion Picture to the Archive, the Cloud, and the Commons”

May 1, 2014 3:00-4:30 pm, Olson 53A

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Kant’s quaking subject


Emil plunges us further into the inhuman nature of tsunamis, earthquakes, ethics, and modern subjectivity, over at A(S)CENE.



My upcoming talk at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs comes from the East European strand of my research.

The talk will be called “Becoming Tuteishyi: Peregrinations in the Zona of Ukraine, with Walter, Gloria, Andrei, Bruno, and Other Explorers.”

The description reads as follows:

Drawing on the author’s research and travels, this talk will consider Ukraine’s ambiguous positioning within global cultural discourse by recourse to theories of borderlands (via Walter Mignolo and Gloria Anzaldua), hybridity and amodernity (via Bruno Latour and Donna Haraway), postcommunism and postcolonialism, and to images of anomalous zones and errant wanderings, with particular attention to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker.

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Here’s one of the participants at the AAA’s ontology panel, McGill anthropologist Eduardo Kohn, applying ontological speculation — including Peirce and biosemiotics — to animals and forests:

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Lava lampy Whitehead?

While I find much to admire in Tim Morton’s writings (and in him personally, as I’ve recently related), I’m sure he knows that his writing on what he calls “lava lampy materialism” leaves me unconvinced. (I’ve discussed that topic here, here, and elsewhere.)

I haven’t read his Realist Magic yet, so I can’t comment on the book’s arguments as a whole. But I’ve read some sections of it, including those which reiterate Morton’s critique of Whitehead’s “lava lampy” process philosophy. And, as before, I have trouble following these arguments. I would have eventually articulated a response to them, but Nathan Brown has spared me that trouble with his review (pdf warning) of Realist Magic in the latest Parrhesia.

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The following are my notes from “Querying Natural Religion: Immanence, Gaia, and the Parliament of Lively Things.” (Live-blogging did not work, as we didn’t have a live internet connection.) These notes are followed by a brief set of post-event summary comments.

The setting: an airplane hangar of a hall in the Baltimore Convention Center. This made the audience of some 120 seem like a puny one.

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Imminently in Baltimore

Get ready for the lively parliament of immanent Gaianly agents…

Querying Natural Religion: Immanence, Gaia, and the Parliament of Lively Things” will take place this Saturday afternoon in the Baltimore Convention Center (right after Karen Armstrong’s plenary in the same room, on “The Science of Compassion”).

The revised speaker line-up is below. Unfortunately, Jane Bennett will not be able to present. And Bruno Latour cannot make it as respondent, but we hope to get a response from him in the special issue of the JSRNC (and/or book) that will be developed from the talks.

I plan to live-blog the proceedings as best as I can.

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Reading AIME

I’m just managing to keep up with the Latour/AIME reading groups (both the one on my campus and the online one organized by Adam Robbert et al.), but not so much with the commentaries. Here’s my first brief reflection on the book…

1. You know that a scholar has made it to the top of the French academic heap when he can publish a 500-page book that lacks a single bibliographic reference.

2. That said, the references are evident for longtime readers of Latour, as the book is a culmination of View full article »

What’s real

Conversation overheard between an ambitious grad student and a simpleminded process-relational philosopher . . .


      Jake Wanano-Everton:   Sir, where do you draw the line between what’s real and what’s not real?

      Prof. Noah Fewthings:   The only things that are real are the moments of experienced reality — drops of experience, let’s call them — pulsing through the vector stream of the universe right now. There are lots and lots of them, too many to count: what you and I are experiencing right now are only two, or more accurately some, of billions and billions unfolding at this moment. And this one. And this one. They are all that’s real; and they are irreducibly real.

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Realism & Peirce


Levi is out swinging (in the most entertaining way possible; I love it when he gets on a roll, and I do agree with him on much of it).

Of course, there’s not much new in what he says (that hasn’t been said by Left-realists for the last few decades, and by Latour more recently). But of course it still needs to be said (in some circles, like to Left anti-realists) and it’s better said by constructivist realists (like Bryant, Latour, et al.) than by anti-constructivists (on the Right or Left). Constructivist realism — a realism that avows the constructedness (enactedness, emergentness, historicity) of everything, from quarks to civilizations to universes — is where things are at. (Which is why I appreciate Levi’s philosophizing so much.)

The comments that follow his post include some rejoinders from Peircians (like Mark Crosby and Matt Segall), who don’t like Bryant’s seeming characterization of Charles Sanders Peirce as an anti- or non-realist. In response, Levi writes that “we never really see Pierce employed outside the humanities.” Here he needs to be corrected.

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