Wednesday, September 26, 2007

U of MN strike update

I have disappointing news to share, courtesy of Gil Rodman's Revolution on a Stick. Gil writes: "Less pretty--and something closer to a total loss (at least to this point)--is the AFSCME strike at the U, which officially ended last Friday...but only because the striking workers couldn’t afford to stay away from steady (if still inadequate) paychecks as long as the administration could afford to hold out. There’s much more to say here, but I’m still feeling far too angry about it all to get it down cleanly."

Sigh. You can read Gil's full post here, as well as his follow-up. The AFSCME strike website has even more detailed information about the strike and the reasons why the U of MN clerical, technical, and health care workers decided they couldn't hold out any longer.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Collapse on Deleuze

A message just came my way via email announcing the latest issue of the journal, Collapse. The previous issue had a more-than-vaguely Deleuzian bent, and this one promises even more. In fact, it contains work by Gilles Deleuze previous unpublished in the English language. The piece I'm especially intrigued by is the one Deleuze penned when he was just beginning his philosophical career at the age of 21.

Anyway, I thought D&R readers might be interested in what the good folks at Collapse have been up to. They seem to be doing something quite engaging indeed, so please pass the word on to others who might be interested.

We are delighted to announce that COLLAPSE Volume III will be published in mid-October and is now available for advance purchase online at

Collapse Volume III: 'Unknown Deleuze' contains explorations of the work of Gilles Deleuze by pioneering thinkers in the fields of philosophy, aesthetics, music and architecture. In addition, we publish in this volume two previously untranslated texts by Deleuze himself, along with a fascinating piece of vintage science fiction from one of his more obscure influences. Finally, as an annex to Collapse Volume II, we also include a full transcription of the conference on 'Speculative Realism' held in London earlier this year.

Whilst books continue to appear at an alarming rate which claim to put Deleuze's thought 'to work' in diverse areas outside of philosophy, we submit, in this volume, that his philosophical thought itself still remains enigmatic, both in its detail and in its major themes. The contributors to this volume aim to clarify, from a variety of perspectives, Deleuze's contribution to philosophy: in what does his philosophical originality lie; what does he appropriate from other philosophers and how does he transform it? And how can the apparently disparate threads of his work to be 'integrated' – what is the precise nature of the constellation of the aesthetic, the conceptual and the political proposed by Gilles Deleuze, and what are the overarching problems in which the numerous philosophical concepts 'signed Deleuze' converge?

The volume includes two newly-translated articles by Gilles Deleuze along with contributions from Arnaud Villani, Thomas Duzer, Quentin Meillassoux, John Sellars, Éric Alliez & Jean-Claude Bonne, Haswell & Hecker, Robin Mackay, Mehrdad Iravanian, J.-H. Rosny the Elder, Graham Harman, Iain Hamilton Grant and Ray Brassier.

For anyone wanting to go right to the core of Deleuzian philosophy and to experience the challenge of Deleuze's thought, the articles collected in Collapse III will provide a virtually inexhaustible treasury of insights. As the featured authors shed light on this challenge from different points of view, they produce unexpected points of convergence, providing important resources for a more complete conceptual 'portrait' of Deleuze, and suggesting further lines of thought to be investigated. For anyone looking for an alternative to the emerging orthodoxy seemingly bent on broadcasting an 'image of Deleuzian thought', Collapse III provides a wide-ranging but uniformly rigorous and innovative survey of Gilles Deleuze's thought, and an illustration of the fact that, even if it is already fashionable to evoke a 'post-Deleuzian' era, we have not yet begun to draw the properly philosophical consequences of this thought.

– Mathesis, Science and Philosophy, written by a 21-year-old Gilles Deleuze, has never before appeared in print in English and is published in Collapse in a new translation. Written as an introduction to a 1946 republication of a 19th-century esoteric philosophical work by Dr Johann Malfatti de Montereggio, this text offers a fascinating glimpse, set in an unexpected context, into the themes of Deleuze's early work, as they emerge, in an already characteristically-dazzling style. Meanwhile, in the brief but illuminating 1981 interview with Arnaud Villani, Answers to a Series of Questions (also appearing here for the first time in English), Deleuze provides some tantalising intimations regarding the enduring concerns of his work over the years.

– In his own contribution to the volume, philosopher-poet Arnaud Villani (whose 1999 The Wasp and the Orchid was one of the first books to be published in France treating Deleuze's work as a whole) reflects on Deleuze's affirmation that he considered himself a 'pure metaphysician': what, precisely, does metaphysics mean for Deleuze? Through a sophisticated reading utilising the resources of aesthetics, poetics and philosophy, Villani not only defines the object of this metaphysics, but also shows clearly why it cannot be severed from its links with these other realms of thought, or from the question of the political or moral 'decision'.

– This allusion reminds us that an examination of Deleuze today would be unthinkable without reference to Alain Badiou's provocative Deleuze: The Clamor of Being, and in his article In Memoriam of Deleuze, Thomas Duzer undertakes, through a survey of the major axes of Deleuze's philosophy, to locate the precise nature of their now famous 'nonrelationship'; his defence emphasises that the positive features of Deleuze's thought cannot be reduced either to a 'phenomenology' or to Badiou's polemical opposite.

– In an exclusive translated extract from their new book Matisse-Thought: Portrait of the Artist as Hyperfauve, philosopher Éric Alliez (former student of Deleuze's and author of The Signature of the World) and art-historian Jean-Claude Bonne analyse the revolution inaugurated in painting by Matisse during his ‘Fauvist’ period of 1905-6, discovering that the rigorous 'quantitative' conception of the intensive which Matisse proposes allows not only a new understanding of the significance of Fauvism for his later work, but also clarifies and reaffirms the philosophical pertinence of a Nietzschean-Deleuzian thinking of intensity and extensity, the qualitative and the quantitative.

– On the basis of an examination of a 'fragment' from Deleuze and Guattari's What is Philosophy?, Quentin Meillassoux, in a philosophical tour de force, meticulously reconstructs the nature and the measure of Deleuzian 'immanence', proposing finally a 'subtractive' reading drawing on Bergson's Matter and Memory, allowing us to understand, step-by-step 'from the inside' the construction of that singular network of concepts found in Deleuze's work.

– Sound artists Russell Haswell and Florian Hecker contribute some strange and beautiful images taken from the electronic 'score' of their new sound work Blackest Ever Black, an 'introduction to synaesthesia' created using composer Iannis Xenakis's computerised UPIC system to transform contemporary images into sound. An accompanying text by Robin Mackay analyses the affinities between Xenakis's conception of a musical 'polyagogy' and Deleuze's 'transcendental empiricism'.

– Examining Deleuze's famous use of the supposedly Stoic theory of Chronos and Aîon in Logic of Sense, John Sellars (author of The Stoics and The Art of Living) examines just how much it owes to actual stoic theories of time, thus providing both a case-study in the Deleuzian 'ventriloquism' in the history of philosophy and an informative example of the 'stratigraphic' time in which, according to Deleuze, philosophy takes place.

– Iranian architect Mehrdad Iravanian constructs a 'graphitext' which, taking as its starting point a page from Deleuze's The Fold, undertakes a non-interpretative 'ex-pli-cation' of its content. Employing a hybrid methodology at once literal, textual and architectural, he brings to light structures secreted within the folds of the text itself.

– One of the many obscure 'personae' in the background of Deleuze's Difference and Repetition, the mysterious figure J.-H. Rosny the Elder not only supplied that work's repeated formula for the nature of intensity-as-difference, but, as both philosopher and pioneering science fiction author, was also a living embodiment of the notion that 'philosophy is a kind of science-fiction': in his astonishing 1895 tale Another World, appearing here in English for the very first time, Rosny evokes an alien world of abstract lifeforms intersecting with our own, and examines with philosophical acuity the process of bringing such unknown beings within the purview of scientific knowledge.

– As if all this were not enough ... Following the 'dossier' on Speculative Realism in the previous volume of Collapse, Volume III also includes a full transcription of the colloquium of the same name held at Goldsmith's University of London in April 2007 featuring presentations by Ray Brassier, Iain Hamilton Grant, Graham Harman and Quentin Meillassoux on the problems, and the promise, of this renewal of speculative philosophical thought. Running to well over 100 pages, this is an important and exciting document of contemporary philosophy in the making, proposing new conceptual approaches, exploring the borders between science and philosophy, and mining the history of thought for fresh insights into Nature, objectivity, and the legacy of 'correlationism'.

Advance online orders for Volume III are priced (including postage) £10 (UK) / £13 (Europe) / £16 (Elsewhere).

(Unfortunately a vastly increased page count, together with regular unpredictable postal rate rises, have necessitated an increase in price for this volume.)

***4-Volume subscriptions are also available online at a reduced price.***

Readers will shortly be able to download a preview of the introduction to Volume III from the website, where introductions to Vols I and II are already available.

Help us: if you are able to post a notice in your place of work or study, please download and print the flyer for Collapse Volume III from We would also welcome and reciprocate all links into the Urbanomic website from blogs, etc. Finally, please forward this bulletin on to anyone you know who is not on our mailing list but who may be interested.


October 2007.
Paperback 115x175mm 515pp (TBC)
Limited Edition of 1000 numbered copies.
ISBN 0-9553087-2-0

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Kembrew's latest hits

Kembrew McLeod, my sometimes-partner in crime, is a busy person--so busy, in fact, that he's got several new productions I thought D&R readers might be interested in hearing about. The first is his newly-renovated Freedom of Expression® website, which contains information about his book and soon-to-be-released documentary, both of the same name. Also new to the site is an excellent interview with writer and intellectual property activist, Jonathan Lethem. Kembrew promises more updates soon, including Jon Langford's (of Mekons fame) cover of "This Land Is Your Land," which he recorded for the credits to the Freedom of Expression® documentary.

As it happens, Kembrew also published a great op-ed piece in today's LA Times called, "Uri Geller's YouTube Takedown." As with all of Kembrew's work, it's at once insightful and painfully funny. The piece looks at how Uri Geller, everyone's favorite spoon-bending TV psychic from the 1970s, has been been using threats of copyright infringement to censor video that discredits his act. Definitely check it out--though Uri Geller fans, beware: you might want to keep a tissue or two handy to dab the tears.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Big (Warner) brother is watching...

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times via Sivacracy, to which I can only feebly respond, "yikes!"
The all-you-can-eat packages of voice, video and Internet services offered by phone and cable companies may be convenient, but they represent a potentially significant threat to people's privacy.

Take, for example, Time Warner Cable, which has about 2 million customers in Southern California. The company offers a voice-video-Net package called "All the Best" for $89.85 for the first 12 months.

But for anyone who has the wherewithal to read Time Warner's 3,000-word California privacy policy, you discover that not only does the company have the ability to know what you watch on TV and whom you call, but also that it can track your online activities, including sites you visit and stuff you buy....

You can read more here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Open access update

A couple of weeks ago I posted a piece called "The Publishing Industry Strikes Back," in which I advocated for more open-access publishing in the humanities. There I also talked about a PR front called Prism, whose goal is to undermine open-access journal publishing in medicine and the sciences. Well, as it turns out, this week's Chronicle of Higher Education included a couple of really interesting reports, both from the front-lines of open-access journal publishing. I figured D&R readers might appreciate an update.

The first of these stories spotlights James D. Jordan, President and Director of Columbia University Press. Last month, he courageously resigned from the Executive Council of the Association of American Publisher's Professional and Scholarly Publishing division. He did so, notably, because he opposed Prism and its efforts to restrict open-access to publicly funded scientific and medical research. If you're a Chronicle subscriber (unfortunately, the publication's not open-access), you can read the whole story here.

The second story ups the ante even more. Other university press officials and the Association for Research Libraries are speaking out publicly about how Prism misrepresents its constituency and makes erroneous claims about the nature of open-access journals. The story also recounts how some open-access supporters are beginning to resign from the editorial boards of journals whose publishers support Prism. Here's an excerpt:
Reactions to Prism have been widespread and vigorous, with some commentators calling for a boycott of the association. The news provoked one university-press director, Mike Rossner of Rockefeller University Press, to make a public request that a disclaimer be placed on the Prism Web site "indicating that the views presented on the site do not necessarily represent those of all members of the AAP." Mr. Rossner continued, "We at the Rockefeller University Press strongly disagree with the spin that has been placed on the issue of open access by Prism."

The Association of Research Libraries sent its members a talking-points memo, dated September 4, that deals with some of the arguments made on the Prism site. The librarians' group wrote that Prism "repeatedly conflates policies regarding access to federally funded research with hypothesized dire consequences ultimately resulting in the loss of any effective system of scholarly publishing. Many commentators agree that inaccuracies abound in the initiative's rhetoric."

One of those commentators, Tom Wilson, took his own advice that "academics should resign from editorial boards of journals published by the supporters of Prism": He posted an open letter on the Information Research Weblog announcing his resignation from the editorial board of the International Journal of Information Management. Mr. Wilson, a professor emeritus of information technology at the University of Sheffield, in England, was founding editor of that journal. He is also publisher and editor in chief of Information Research, an online, open-access scholarly journal.

There's much more to the story, of course. In any case, I hope you can see just how much momentum the effort to resist Prism seems to be gaining. What's especially encouraging, as I think I mentioned last time, is the fact that individuals and groups from across a whole range of fields and professions are joining together to support the cause.

The decisive battle has yet to be won on Capitol Hill, of course, and so the fight's long from over. But it's precisely this mobilization of pointed counter-arguments, coupled with a refusal to support publishers who actively oppose open-access, that must persist in the short term.

P.S. I have to give a shout-out once again to my friend Julie Bobay, the Director for Scholarly Communication Initiatives at the IU Libraries, for passing links to these stories on to me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Strike at U of Minnesota

My good friend Ron Greene, who teaches at the University of Minnesota, left this comment yesterday on my previous post. It links to a blog he and others at Minnesota have set up to talk about how the media are--or are not--covering the AFSCME strike there, which involves Health Care, Technical, and Clerical Workers. Strikes don't deserve to be buried in comments, as far as I'm concerned, so here's what Ron had to say:
Well, on your second anniversary, in an effort to help the AFSCME strike here at the U of Minnesota, me and some folks from the people's confernece set up a website of daily media analysis: check us out:

For more about the strike, you can check out this post from Gil Rodman's Revolution on a Stick and the ongoing commentary over at Socialism for Gunslingers, a blog authored by a great group of graduate students at the University of Minnesota.

And please...offer whatever support you can for the strike. The AFSCME is asking mainly for a cost of living adjustment commensurate with the cost of living. Sounds reasonable enough to me.

** An update from Ron who writes: "a key support website for the AFSCME Strike at the University of Minnesota is"

Monday, September 10, 2007

Second birthday, and some changes

I'm not sure whether to call these things birthdays or anniversaries, but in any case, D&R is celebrating one on Friday, September 14th. With more than 100 posts and a host of lively comments from all of you, I'm pleased to report things are still going strong after two years.

To celebrate the big event, I've made some changes here at D&R. They're mostly cosmetic, though some are designed to make the site more participatory and interactive for all you readers. The changes were facilitated by my switching over at long last to the new Blogger template system, which I should have done a year ago. (I was frightened off by the prospect of losing all of my existing template modifications.) The switch allowed me to introduce a more user-friendly archiving system, display an index of tags for simpler cross-referencing, and update my site syndication link to one that's more encompassing. On the downside, the formatting on some of my older posts has been rendered somewhat haphazardly, though everything, thankfully, is still entirely readable.

The biggest change, though, are the "DIGG IT" tags you'll see next to each of my posts. (And I owe a shout-out here to Lawrence Lessig, on whose blog I first discovered how cool it is to digg.) If you like what I've written, feel free not only to comment, but also to "DIGG IT." Clicking the tag will redirect you to This in turn will give you an opportunity to share my post with the larger, Digg community, allow the good folks there to vote on its worth, and potentially introduce a broader readership to something you found on D&R. And don't worry--it may sound complicated, but it's all really simple.

Thanks, everyone, for celebrating two years of my musings and for contributing your thoughts and perspectives to D&R. Here's to you!

Friday, September 07, 2007

New issue of Culture Machine

Here's a blurb about the latest issue of the online journal Culture Machine, sent to me by my friend Gary Hall (who also co-edits the journal). Apropos of my previous post, Culture Machine is an important, and rather unique, open-access publishing initiative in the field of cultural studies. Please support not only the journal, but also CSeARCH, its open-access archive. More details about both follow below.

Edited by Paul Hegarty and Gary Genosko

The latest issue of Culture Machine asks: What is the current state of aural art media in ‘an era of digital reproduction’?

Contributors to ‘Recordings’ consider the residues of technologies, the anachronisms, the failures, the less-than-excellent, the dated, the outmoded, and even the yet-to-work. Taking into account the material (or dematerialised) art object, they also ask about collecting cultures, recycling, destroyed and broken media (the TV thrown from the window… ), new broadcast media, turntablism, noise, radio and its avatars, podcasting, any casting, the range of material ‘supports’ (vinyl, the 8 track, betamax, different audio files).

Has the digital and informational swamped the world in a mass encoded simulation? What and where are the resistances? Are they within or outside of the digital? In the junk heap of analogue machines? In Ebay dreams? What are the material forms/formats that offer critical models, avant-gardism, metacommentary and so on? What is the status of the art commodity, non-commodity or hypercommodity?

The ‘Recordings’ issue features:

  • Eugene Thacker, ‘Pulse Demons’

  • Greg Hainge, ‘Vinyl is Dead, Long Live Vinyl: The Work of Recording and Mourning in the Age of Digital Reproduction’

  • Paul Hegarty, ‘The Hallucinatory Life of Tape’

  • Jerome Hansen, ‘Mapping the Studio (Fat Chance Matmos): Sonic Culture, Visual Arts and the Mediations of the Artist’s Workplace’

  • Gary Genosko, ‘8 Track Rhapsody’

  • Ross Harley and Andrew Murphie, ‘Rhythms and Refrains: A Brief History of Australian Electronica’

  • Dan Hays, Painting in the Light of Digital Reproduction’

  • Adam Bryx, review of Charles R. Acland (ed.) (2007) Residual Media. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press (available separately in the Culture Machine Reviews section)

  • Plus, new in Culture Machine's InterZone:

  • Christian Kerslake, ‘The Somnabulist and the Hermaphrodite: Deleuze and Johann Malfatti de Montereggio and Occultism’

  • -------------------------

    Culture Machine publishes new work from both established figures and up-and-coming writers. It is fully refereed, and has an International Advisory Board which includes Geoffrey Bennington, Robert Bernasconi, Sue Golding, Lawrence Grossberg, Peggy Kamuf, Alphonso Lingis, Meaghan Morris, Paul Patton, Mark Poster, Avital Ronell Nicholas Royle, Tadeusz Slawek and Kenneth Surin.

    Culture Machine welcomes original, unpublished submissions on any aspect of culture and theory. All contributions to Culture Machine are refereed anonymously. Anyone with material they wish to submit for publication is invited to contact:

    Culture Machine c/o Dave Boothroyd and Gary Hall
    e-mail: and

    All contributions will be peer-reviewed; all correspondence will be responded to.


    Culture Machine is an umbrella term for a series of experiments in culture and theory.

    The Culture Machine journal: ttp://

    Culture Machine Reviews:

    Culture Machine InterZone:

    The Culture Machine book series, published by Berg, and including:

  • Paul Virilio, City of Panic (2005)

  • Charlie Gere, Art, Time & Technology (2006)

  • Clare Birchall, Knowledge Goes Pop: From Conspiracy Theory to Gossip (2006)

  • Jeremy Gilbert, Anti-Capitalism and Culture: Radical Theory and the Global Justice Movement (forthcoming)

  • The Culture Machine open access archive, CSeARCH:

    For more information, visit the Culture Machine site at:

    Dr Gary Hall
    Co-editor of Culture Machine
    Director of the Cultural Studies Open Access Archive,
    My website

    Sunday, September 02, 2007

    The publishing industry strikes back

    I mentioned briefly in a post last month that I've been working on a piece on cultural studies and the politics of academic journal publishing. It's evolving, and I have other projects in line ahead of it, so I haven't yet had time to give it the polish it deserves.

    In the interregnum, I've been doing my best to stay on top of trends in this no-longer-so-small corner of the academic publishing universe. (It's a multi-billion dollar industry, in case you didn't know.) And I've been fortunate in this regard that Julie Bobay, a colleague of mine at IU and Director for Scholarly Communication Initiatives, has put me on her mailing list. A week or so ago she sent me a copy of this Washington Post article, which reports on an organization called Prism. Its job? To fight open-access journal publishing, beginning in medicine and the sciences.

    For those who don't know, open access refers to a range of publishing initiatives, all of which are designed to make knowledge cheaper and more readily available to researchers and the public at large. In some cases publications may be made freely available on a website; in others, they may be placed into sophisticated digital repositories, where they're not only made accessible, but they're also massively cross-referenced with other published research. In most cases, open access tends to respect authors' and users' rights better than the scholarly publishing industry. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    The case for open access is especially--though by no means uniquely--acute where the research in question has been funded by public money. Consider this: a state university (for example) may subsidize a given professor's research. She or he is then expected to sign away key rights (e.g., copyright, translations rights, electronic publishing rights, terms of access, etc.) to whatever press has agreed to publish journal articles related to this work. The university then will essentially have to buy back that research, typically in the form of a high-priced journal subscription. Now, this isn't to suggest that traditional academic journal publishers don't add significant value to the work they produce. They do. But it is an odd situation, don't you think, when universities and other institutions are expected to pay for their employees' research on both the front and the back ends?

    Prism apparently is a none-too-thinly-veiled public relations front for the Association of American Publishers (AAP), whose aim is to convince scholars, administrators, and especially government officials that cheap and accessible knowledge is a very bad thing. You'll see from Prism's website (if you care to go there) that it's "on message" and fairly, if predictably, astute from a rhetorical perspective. I say "predictably," because one of its main tropes against open access is the tired old saw, "big government." One of the organization's main aims is to convince you, or whoever cares to listen, that open access portends government control, and worse yet censorship, of published research; it also claims that the established publishing industry, and only the established publishing industry, can safeguard the rigorous peer review standards that help give published research its legitimacy.

    I won't refute Prism's arguments here. That work is already well underway elsewhere. For now, I merely want to point out one significant danger that Prism poses: it has the ear of the US government. The AAP is headed by Pat Schroeder, a former US Congresswoman, who no doubt was hired because of her contacts in Washington. The Prism website also has lots of nifty wizards that make it easy for you, dear reader, to generate emails and letters to send to your Congressional representatives, proclaiming the evils of open access publishing.

    I take comfort in the fact that librarians, scientists, doctors, mathematicians, and others outside of the humanities are rather well-organized in opposing Prism and what the organization stands for. It's my sincere hope that more scholars in the humanities will become aware of the issues, realize they affect us as well, and sign on to this important cause.