Just came across this course listing of Holland’s and thought I’d share:
CS 8888 Seminar in Critical Theory: Multitude, Anarchism, Occupy
Instructor: Eugene Holland and Brian Rotman
This seminar will explore the intersections and overlap among these three terms, particularly in light of recent theoretical and political developments around the globe.
Although its derivation goes back to Spinoza, the term “multitude” has in recent Franco-Italian political theory distinguished itself from allied terms such as the masses, the people, the crowd, and so forth. Selected readings from and about the work of Paulo Virno, Toni Negri, Deleuze & Guattari, and Hardt & Negri will enable us to take the measure of the term in its current historical context as well as contrast it (briefly) with earlier treatments of “the crowd” by Gustave LeBon and Elias Canetti. The core question will be what are the components—affective, proprioceptive, cognitive, material, and (if any) representational—that make a group of individuals a multitude?
We will focus on the opposition between the multitude and the people; and given that a group of individuals has been at least since Hobbes understood to become a “people” by the existence and actions of a State, we will examine the relations among anarchism, theories of the multitude, and the Occupy movement. David Graeber’s work—his Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, and selections from Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value and/or Revolutions in Reverse, and his important occasional pieces on Occupy—will provide a counterweight to mainstream knowledge and experience of the State as a mode of social organization, but will also be compared with the contemporary egalitarian political program of Jacques Rancière (selections from Dissensus), which represents yet another alternative model of a ‘mass’ of individuals becoming an effective group.
Essays by political theorists Benjamin Arditi and Slavoj Žižek will refocus questions of group-constitution on the Occupy movement itself as an alternative to State organization—but here we will count on the seminar group as a whole to propose and select the best additional perspectives on Occupy to complete the materials for the course.
aka “Nietzsche’s Gingerbread Man in Feudalism”
(reposted for the group from email)
Also, those of us who are to this point morally deficient have discussed righting our wrongs and reading D&G as a side project to catch up, as it were. Anyone is, of course, willing to join. I imagine we will begin in January.
By the way, am I the only one who wants a pair of their glasses?
Maybe I have selective memory, but these are the books I remember us mentioning for what we’d like to read next.
Gibson-Graham: The End of Capitalism (as a segue to their Post-Capitalism?)
Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy or something else? Mark mentioned Beyond Good and Evil and The Genealogy of Morals. I mentioned Birth b/c Walter Kaufmann always insists that Nietzsche should be read in order.
Virno: A Grammar of the Multitude
I know there are more but I’m freezing up…let’s post them and other ideas in the comments.
NB: I’m becoming a proponent of trying to keep some sort of thematic momentum going and think it’s something to consider. For example, this summer when we moved from Agamben’s The Coming Community to Thrift, it felt like a pretty hard break, but then Thrift kept talking about Homo Sacer, and that made me think it would have been the perfect bridge between the two. Of course, I didn’t know Nigel was going to pick up on Agamben either…
With that in mind, I realize my selective memory has picked up on themes that apply to my research, and that I’d rather read “source material” like Nietzsche than other people trying to use it, but I’m also thinking about how we could at least move laterally from Holland. An obvious answer is to take up some of the readings on communism that Mark has suggested in the past. Another answer might be the minor marxism Althusser essay/book Holland mentioned (wink!) or Benjamin’s “On Violence.”
I guess, in the end, I’m becoming more interested in depth: I’m picturing it like we throw Eugene’s book into the middle of the table, stare at it, and decide what we have learned from it, where some of those ideas originated and where he went with them, then we either trace back over some of his steps (like Nietzsche preceding/inspiring D&G) or explore other things he mentioned that pique our collective interests. Anyway, just a few ideas. Let us autogest!
Reading Holland’s section on Mary Parker Follett, Jane Jacobs, and the Internet (as examples of potentially immanent social organization), I was reminded of this NYTimes article from a couple months ago about the website Reddit.
And in case anyone’s interested, I previously posted a response to it here, shot from the hip (as you’ll quickly notice, I’m about as knowledgeable in this topic as I am in capoeira or rosemaling, which is to say, absolutely zero knowledge beyond name recognition).
Not really. Just Latour. My money is on: impish, falsely modest, repetitive, but in the end, despite it all, worth reading. Here is the link. It should work from any UW Library-recognized computer. Let me know if not. I have the PDF.