Political emancipation and representation – Interview with Alain Badiou

In light of the 2020 uprisings sparked by the murder of George Floyd taking place across America, I want to share an excerpt of a longer interview on riots and protests I conducted with the philosopher Alain Badiou in 2013. This excerpt concerns Badiou's definition of what a militant subject is today, that is, how …

Whither the critique of political economy in post-Marxism?

In my dissertation, I made an argument that the decisionism of Badiou, Zizek, Laclau and other so-called 'post-Marxist' theorists is derived from an intra-theoretical debate amongst left-Heideggerians, specifically against the pervasive authenticity politics and existentialist politics of the time. I argue that Lacan's 'ontology of lack' was the alternative formula that enabled these thinkers to …

Obscure Subjects: Myth and Metapolitics on the alt-Right

I have a new blog/essay up at the Critical Theory Research Network called "Obscure Subjects: Myth and Metapolitics on the alt-Right." Here is an overview: In this piece, I consider the syndicalist intellectual Georges Sorel and his influence on early 20th century fascism in France and Italy prior to the rise of the Nazis in …

Jameson on Badiou: Ships Passing in the Night

The American Marxist literary theorist Fredric Jameson's latest article in the New Left Review, "Badiou and the French Tradition" (full PDF here) ends by noting the most important omissions Badiou makes throughout his oeuvre. I find Jameson's reading of Badiou highly contradictory and sloppy at times. Jameson gives us a reading of Badiou that takes …

Philosophy in Saturated Times

Frank Ruda's For Badiou: Idealism Without Idealism probes the question that has driven a number of interventions into Badiou's thought: what is the role of philosophy in non-evental or saturated times? Saturation is a state of atonality, a state in which the exception is not made actual. Saturation implies the end of a process or procedure of …

Badiou’s Revision of Sartre’s Fused Group

In his late Marxist work, Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre was pessimistic about revolutionary politics. He theorized the subject of history in the figure of the group in revolt, what he termed the 'fused group'. The fused group, through their acts of negation (revolt), develop a new interior, untranscedable position. In a Lacanian sense, Sartre's fused group is …

Time and Voluntarism in Badiou and Lazarus

How do we locate voluntarism in the political thought of Sylvain Lazarus and Alain Badiou? First, what do I mean by voluntarism. Two things mainly: voluntarism posits that consciousness declares antagonism, not that antagonism declares consciousness. Voluntarism posits that the possibility of political decisions and acts occurs from within the sphere of consciousness subtracted from capitalist time. It …

Elements of Islamophobia: The State, Class and Capital

I have a new essay up at Heathwood Press as part of their special series on Crisis Capitalism and Creeping Fascism – Bigotry, Racism, and the Rise of the Right in the Age of Neoliberal Barbarism. Please support Heathwood Press, an important new publisher working to revive the project of critical theory for today. Here …

Why Do the Masses Posses Reason?

The figure of the masses in protest takes on a near mystical and highly rational logic in post-Leninist thought during the twentieth century. For example, one of the things that Althusser abandoned in his theory of overdetermination was that the general contradiction between forces of production and relations of production--embodied in the antagonistic relation between the two …

Announcing New Badiou and Philosophy Seminars

I'm teaching three seminars on the work of Alain Badiou and philosophy for the Global Center for Advanced Studies (GCAS). The seminars will open with a consideration of Badiou's relation to politics and psychoanalysis, a part of Badiou's work I am the most drawn to, and which I have spent the most time studying. Then in …

Community and Subjectivity in Contemporary Theory: Dissertation Abstract

Since I have been away from writing essays and blogs for some time, it might be of interest to readers that I share the abstract of my dissertation that I have been working on, and have just finished. This is my penultimate draft and I plan to defend it this August. Overall, I feel good …

Some Brief Reflections on Badiou and Emancipatory Politics

I recently wrote an essay that seeks to convey some of the key ideas of Badiou as it pertains to the recent insurrections across the world. You can read the piece, "Badiou's Affirmation: Emancipatory Politics Today" which was written for the magazine Brev Spread. My focus is on how Badiou reformulates negation and its relation …

Mapping Badiou’s Influence on Tiqqun

"There are not yet events in the philosophical sense of the word, but it is at least the constitution of zones of precariousness, of partial movement which one can interpret as announcing that something will happen." -- Alain Badiou, Handbook of Inaesthetics "The enemy of Empire is the event that might disturb its norms and …

Badiou and Žižek: Radical Act vs. Evental Enthusiasm

One of the real benefits of an open access classroom at the European Graduate School is that all of the lectures are recorded and archived for online consumption. We do very little virtual work and have no virtual seminars, which I have personally participated in before via the Lutecium a non-school of Lacanian/Freudian Psychoanalysis and …

Antiphilosophy and the Knot of Transference

In philosophy, we wind up in a camp of thinkers whom we share some affinity with. When you're in your twenties you have the freedom to decide where to start. Then you reach your thirties and all those long hours in the library reading only what moves you are a thing of the past. At …

Review: Badiou’s “Deleuze: The Clamor of Being”

Badiou's book on Deleuze, Deleuze: The Clamor of Being presents Deleuze as an aristocratic philosopher of the One, a Nietzschean vitalist who isn't too far removed from Plato's Parmenidies in continually affirming that there is only One path to being. Badiou's text has generated many important controversies and bones of contention. Zizek's work on Deleuze, …