Summer: Castoriadis, Simondon, Stiegler, Hegel
A week and a half till grades go in, woohoo!
And it’s times like these when I start thinking about things to read and write this summer.
Writing goals are pretty simple. I’ve promised the folks at Zer0 the manuscript for vol 1. of Networkologies by Sept 1, and I see no reason why that’s unrealistic. Barring an unforeseen expansion (ie: editing a section requires it to split into more parts, etc.), I intentionally left more time than I thought was needed there.
I’m also hoping to get a bunch of my blog-articles fixed up to send out to journals for publication. Then I’ve gotta dive into a small stack of cognitive science books that have come out since The Networked Mind manuscript was finished, just to make sure I haven’t lagged behind, and start proofreading this where I left off when I stopped last to work on the Zero manuscript.
But summer reading! The fun stuff. I think the big plan is diving back into Simondon. I want to finish his big master-work, psychique et collective, but reading in French does take longer, but it’s a nice, big goal.
And Stiegler, lot’s of Stiegler! I recently finished his New Critique, what a bombshell of a book. And I was recently contacted by the translator, Daniel Ross, who picked up on my review of the book on Amazon, and he had lots of guidance and commentary on where to go next. So I’ve ordered quite a few of the recently translated books, looking forward to a lot more where that came from.
Right now I’m wading through Cornelius Castoriadis’ Imaginary Institute of Society, one of those books I’ve put off reading for wayyyyy too long. And I’ve gotta say, kinda wordy, but very smart. A bit talky, very dialectical, and a bit too precise and slow at making its points. Not a book for the impatient! But it’s very smart, very careful, and while there’s perhaps nothing ground-breakingly new so far, its the emphases that are excellent. The social imaginary is his real strong-point, and he addresses it with a care that only someone cross-trained in decades worth of Marxist organizing and writing who then became a Lacanian analyst could really pull off.
In many ways, he hits me as similar to Henri Lefebvre. Reading Lefebvre one is always struck by his talky, all-over-the-place smarts, yet it’s also hard to pin down precisely what his ‘thing’ is. What are his main concepts? Does he have a system? Or a consistent method? Ultimately both of them are anti-systematizers, dialecticians. There’s a real similarity between Castoriadis and Jameson, from what I can tell at least so far. Granted, the most technical parts of the book are yet to come, I’m about halfway through. With any luck I’ll have this book finished before summer ‘officially’ starts.
I’m also psyched to prepare for my fall class ‘Contemporary Experimental Narrative Cinema’. Which means the whole month of august I’ll be watching as many of the trippiest new films I can lay my hands on!
I’d also like to return to final half of the Phenomenology of Spirit and really give it the time it deserves.
So: Castoriadis, Simondon, Stiegler, Hegel.
I also picked up a new copy of Being and Time, it’s really been years since I’ve looked at that book, and I wanna spend some time with it again and see if I’ve missed something, because I’ve never been that into Heidegger, and I’ve really spent more time with the later stuff, I want to really see if I can re-remember what the fuss is all about.
Lots of other plans for the summer as well, like starting work on a film, more to come on that . . .