November 11, 2009
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I’ve just listened to Caroline Williams’s wonderful, clear essay on the powers of Subject-less conception to be found within Spinoza’s ontology and his politics, “Reconfiguring Body and Mind: Thinking Beyond the Subject with/through Spinoza” (linked below). Drawing primarily on Althusser, but of course Gatens and Lloyd (a favorite), Balibar, Deleuze and Foucault, professor Williams presents a pristine cartography of longitudes and latitudes on which to trace our future maps. This what I like best about Spinoza, the powerful grammar which he provides by which we are able to say so many things he may have yet fully conceived, but which, nonetheless remain Spinozist. For those who are unfamiliar with this branch of Spinoza studies, in particular Althusser and Balibar’s materialism, this paper makes an excellent introduction and examination.
I found a great number of co-incidences with her paper on complex affectation and conatus bodies and my own thoughts (those on Conjoined Semiosis, Exowelten, Chaoplexic formulation, my recent study of the structure of the Prophetic Imagination as in the Balling Letter, and even the forthcoming thoughts on Absolute Zero and Cold). It is bracing to hear an articulate and condensed groundwork of a territory you yourself have been exploring perhaps more speculatively. For those that wish to know what I am going on about at times, listen to this paper reading.
I’ve asked for a copy of the paper so that I might study its points in more depth. If I receive it I hope to post on it more substantively, there is too much to really speak of here. For those object-oriented ones out there, I cannot help but think that Caroline Williams’s paper would be of some interest as she shows just how rich Spinoza’s subjectless subjectivity defies the said human realm.
The audio is found here, at the record of the “Spinoza and Bodies” conference. Also recommended Daniel Selcer (Duquesne), “Singular Things and Spanish Poets: Spinoza on Corporeal Individuation”.