Week THREE – Against Family Values

May 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

In our previous session, we discussed Leacock’s meticulous interrogation into Sociology and Anthropology.

We discussed Marxism — the problem some academics have in describing their practice: “Marxism” in this realm is a “boys club” to which one needs an alternative.

We found Federici’s text to be somewhat dated. And although I had expected more discussion around it due to its polemic nature and its length (most of us finished reading it), we tended to agree that, even though her “we” didn’t describe the experiences we have, there was still a bit of truth to the affective tone of the sexual lives of the working-class.

Next time, we discuss babies:

Hortense Spillers – Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book
Lee Edleman – “The Future is Kids Stuff” from No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive

Week TWO – The Couple-form: Origin of the Family Unit and Sexuality as Work

May 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

Thank you all for attending last week’s session where we read two articles from the feminist materialist journal LIES, C.E.’s “Undoing Sex: Against Sexual Optimism” and Clémence X. Clementine’s “Against the Couple-form.”

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While the articles presented strong positions against the couple-form and sexual optimism, both gave only minor heads up to racialized and class violence, choosing to stick to gender and sexuality as objects of critique. It was important for us to note the writing strategies taken up by both sets of writers: from incorporating italicized, painfully personal notes amidst “critique” to a manifesto-like list of tactics. We noticed that “forming a reading group” was amongst the list and while it sat confidently with some it also seemed to produce more shrugs (“so whats?”) than revolutionary affirmations.

Lauren Berlant’s notion of the impasse was also on the table. We discussed how the impasse is a shapeless and durational (“stuck” in the present or a spreading of the present) affective site. There were questions concerning other sites the impasse may touch upon, like privilege and apathy. Mainly we were concerned with the possibility of the impasse obscuring direct positions and actions.

One last comment: We’re onto you Associates From the Infinite Venom Girl Gang! Yes, “the logic of the couple mediates a woman’s relationship to herself and her relationships to other women” (48), but we refuse to be interpolated any longer by the entitled intimations of Tiqqun’s “Young Girl.” Thank you very much.

Now we depart from a list of demands, moving towards historical and labour perspectives. Join us. Feel free to share other material that reflect the selected articles.

Week Two: Friday, May 22nd
Eleanor Leacock – “INTRODUCTION to Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State by Frederick Engels”
Silvia Federici – On Sexuality as Work

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