Monday, December 25, 2023

Philosophy and/as Politics: In Memory of Toni Negri


Like so many I was saddened to learn of the death of Toni Negri. I never really knew him as a person, only very awkwardly meeting him once, but he was someone who fundamentally shaped and transformed philosophy for me. I wrote my first published paper on Negri, a paper that, as is the case with most seminar papers, was an attempt to make sense of the two books I had read, The Savage Anomaly and Marx Beyond Marx.  That it was published is not the important part, really a product of grad school hubris, the important part was that I am not sure if I would have stayed in grad school had I not written it, or found someone willing to read and discuss it with me, shoutout here to Bill Haver. Negri made it possible for me to conjoin doing philosophy and engaging the world politically, to see these as two sides of the same process, the same practice of philosophy. I should mention that this was before Empire, but just barely. I am not saying that to claim that I was into Negri before he was cool, but just that my first encounter with Negri was in some sense with an outsider. He was rarely talked about in classes, and his books were more associated with the para-academic presses of Autonomedia and Semiotexte than the presses that were translating and publishing the big names of theory, Derrida, Deleuze, Lacan, etc.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Commonalities: on Pascucci's Potentia of Poverty


There are many different answers to the question of what Marx and Spinoza have in common, theories of ideology, materialism, naturalism, and so on, to name a few that have been discussed on this blog. To this list Margherita Pascucci adds that perhaps what Spinoza and Marx have in common is the common itself. This is is claim put forward in Potentia of Poverty: Marx Reads Spinoza (part of the Historical Materialism series, currently it is only out as a hardcover, but it will be out from Haymarket in the Spring). 

Sunday, December 03, 2023

What the Nose Knows: On Chantal Jaquet's Philosophie de L'Odorat


I am a follower of Chantal Jaquet's work. I have read her works on Spinoza with great interest, and have also been a big fan of her work on the concepts of transclass and nonreproduction. I have also read her little book on the body. In short, have read most of what she has written, but I have been very reluctant to pick up her book on smell, Philosophie de L'odorat. I met her once, and we talked about her book, her interest in the arts and aesthetics of smell, and all I could think was that I was glad that she was interested in it, but I could not imagine being interested. I just did not find smell that interesting."You do you," I thought as I listened to her explain Kôdô, the Japanese arts of scents, secretly wishing she was writing another book on Spinoza.