Category Archives: Uncategorized

Freud’s Homology: The Psychic Apparatus and the Organism

I presented this paper at the “New Materialisms and Economies of Excess” conference at Emory last September/October. A link to the PowerPoint that went along with it:


If one were to trace the genealogy of what is being called ‘new materialism,’ one would find, if only in terms of textual reference, figures like Henri Bergson, Alfred North Whitehead, and Gilles Deleuze preeminent – and, as we saw in the first day of presentations, the work of Georges Bataille has come into favor as well; and, later, thinkers such as Manuel DeLanda, Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour, Rosi Braidotti, and Michel Serres would further shape the desire to rethink the relationship between nature and culture, form and matter. My purpose here today involves a relatively modest proposal: that, just as the works of Bataille and, as we saw this morning, Jacques Derrida are being mined for how we might think or, perhaps, rethink materialism and materiality, that we do so similarly with the work of Freud.

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Natural History and the Question of ‘The Organism’ [Presentation]

I presented this paper at the “Abstraction” graduate conference at UC Irvine last March. Here’s a link to the PowerPoint that went along with it:

What I would like to do today is trace a line of thought from the 18th century Natural History of Pierre Maupertuis and the Comte de Buffon on the one hand, and the 19th century Biology of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck on the other; and I do so aware of Foucault’s argument in The Order of Things that such an exercise is a waste of time. His reason is this: for Natural History, ‘Life’ does not yet exist as an analytic, only ‘living beings’ distributed across a non-temporal and homogenous surface orderable according to their identities and differences. At the beginning of the 19th century, with the emergence of Biology, this surface begins to be dissociated and an opposition arises: differences proliferate on the surface while, deeper down, they begin to fade, merge, and mingle in that invisible focal unity called ‘Life’, from which the multiple derives. For Natural History, order is the given and difference is what must be explained; for Biology, difference is the given and order is what must be explained; and between the two is what Foucault describes as ‘an essential rupture’.

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EMC Announces its 2016 Schedule for “Scales of Matter(ing)”

The inter-UC EcoMaterialisms Collective has announced the schedule for its second annual graduate conference “Scales of Matter(ing)” to be held at UC Davis May 13-14, 2016 (see here). From the announcement:

The EMC is pleased to announce the schedule for the second annual EcoMaterialisms graduate conference, “Scales of Matter(ing),” to be held at UC Davis May 13-14, 2016. We have thirty-seven presenters over two days, representing twelve universities, including two international universities, and thirteen disciplinary backgrounds.

Super exciting event, super exciting work. If you’re in the area, try to make it! If you’re in southern California, a pretty sizable contingent of us will be driving up from Irvine. Let me know if you’d like to join the carpool.

EcoMaterialisms Conference CFP

The inter-UC EcoMaterialisms Collective has released the CFP for its 2016 graduate conference “EcoMaterialisms: Scales of Matter(ing)” to be held at UC Davis:

EcoMaterialisms: Scales of Matter(ing)

University of California, Davis

May 13-14, 2016

Keynote: Zakiyyah Iman Jackson (George Mason University, English)

Scales delineate zones, trajectories, bodies, spaces, and intensities. Whether scales are large or small, go up or down, they form territories with fractal properties that disrupt the traditional relations between inside and outside, macro and micro, friend and enemy. Simultaneously incongruent, fragmented, and interrelated, scales complicate questions of legibility, knowledge, and power. Rather than the pre-given contours of matter, scales are constructed and performed by the various actors for whom they matter. Making scales is about creating, inhabiting, and containing worlds, and the ways those worlds build up on one another and in one another – worlds that are situated, vulnerable, experimental, and never innocent.

With this in mind, “EcoMaterialisms: Scales of Matter(ing)” will bring interdisciplinary graduate work to bear on questions of scale in new materialist discourse and practice. As this field attempts to think the relation between matter and meaning, we ask: how are scales structured and negotiated through discursive and material practices? What kinds of scales do these practices produce? What kinds of beings, relations, and affective states do particular forms of scale enable or exclude? What kinds of politics do different forms of scale make possible? Submissions may address the following topics, but are by no means limited to:

  • Histories and theories of the organism, of ecologies, and of cosmologies
  • Racial, sexual, and psychological difference and normative scaling
  • Spatial and temporal scales and the ethics and politics thereof
  • Scales of embodiment: measurement and visibility
  • Rhetorics, practices, and philosophies of science: critical perspectives
  • Scales of sensory perception
  • Phenomenology after ‘the human’
  • Scale and knowledge production
  • Scales of environmental disaster and response
  • Humanist and post-humanist scales
  • Scale: topologies and topographies
  • Ontological scales and ontologies of scale-making

We are accepting abstracts for individual presentations as well as panel proposals for 3-4 presenters. Individual abstracts should be no more than 300 words and include your name and institutional affiliation. Panel proposals should be no more than 750 words and include a description of the panel topic and title as well as the names and institutional affiliations of each participant.

Submit abstracts and proposals to by Friday, January 29th, 2016.