I found and have been following fellow Faculty of Environmental Studies grad Adrian J. Ivakhiv’s blog immanence since early this year. Lots of smart stuff being discussed there, especially the conversations surrounding nature, relational objects and the possibility of enacting different ways of knowing the world. From there, I discovered other engaging conversations and people thinking through some of the same things that I outlined above, including perspectives I had yet to come across (and I’m still figuring out). Rich all ’round.
Ivakhiv announced a few weeks ago that a loose configuration were going to come together in a virtual reading group to read Vibrant Matter. I knew nothing of the book by Jane Bennett but popped over to amazon and was intrigued. Earlier today, one of those people I discovered posted on his blog that he was going to participate. So I decided what the hell, why not get the book and join in the fun.
With that in mind, I’ll post a copy of Ivakhiv’s original call here, just in case anyone in the ether want to join in too:
The previously announced ‘Vibrant Matter’ reading group will take place across five blogs over five weeks, beginning May 23 and ending June 26. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things is the latest book by Johns Hopkins University political theorist Jane Bennett. Philosophy in a Time of Error has posted a very useful overview of the book, along with an interview with its author. Anyone interested in participating is invited to read these, and to order your copy of the book in time for the first session. (I’ve asked Duke University Press about a possible discount for participants, but not heard back from them. Here in the States, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Overstock.com offer the best deals at the moment.)
The reading schedule will be as follows:
Host blog: Philosophy in a Time of Error (Peter Gratton)
Under discussion: Preface & Chapter 1, “The Force of Things” (and overview/interview).
May 30-June 5
Host blog: Critical Animal (James Stanescu)
Under discussion: Chapters 2 and 3, “The Agency of Assemblages” and “Edible Matter.”
Host blog: Naught Thought (Ben Woodard)
Under discussion: Chapters 4 and 5, “A Life of Matter” and “Neither Vitalism nor Mechanism.”
Host blog: An und für sich (Anthony Paul Smith)
Under discussion: Chapters 6 and 7, “Stem Cells and the Culture of Life” and “Political Ecologies”
Host blog: Immanence (Adrian Ivakhiv)
Under discussion: Chapter 8, “Vitality and Self-interest,” and the book as a whole (final overview).