Reading Assignment

Hi everyone!

For Monday, please read the first chapter (“Opening: Take up the Baton”) from Hardt and Negri’s Declaration (available on the Readings page).

This is a text that is attempting to theoretically interpret recent radical movements of the sort Graeber has called for. I like it a lot.

See you Monday,


Reading, summary notes

For Wednesday, read part 3 of “Revolution in Reverse” (“on alienation”).

Also, here are the notes we put on the e-board today (with a little more explanation):

Graeber, part 2:
1. Violence is a form of human interaction that allows for influence on the other without understanding of the other. 

2. Violence is contrasted with “interpretive labor”: the work of trying to put yourself in other peoples shoes. Interpretive labor requires the exercise of the imagination — we have to imagine how things look from another’s perspective.

3. Here are some situations that show the relationship between violence and interpretive labor:

Situation 1: peaceful society (no real threats of violence). Here, people must engage in interpretive labor in order to get one another to do things.

Situation 2: one side has weapons. This gives them the ability to not engage in interpretive labor, and to ignore the perspective of others. They can simply boss them around with threats.

Situation 3: both sides armed. Now a different kind of Interpretive labor is required, that of military strategy — getting inside the mind of your opponent.

Situation 4: one side overwhelmingly armed. Here, there is unlikely to be overt violence, because if those without weapons rose up, they would simply be crushed. But those in power still have no need for interpretive labor — they can boss the others around without understanding their lives. The point, though, is that there is concealed violence in this situation — structural violence (like race, gender, or class oppression).

4. “structural violence” leads to “lopsided structures of imaginative identification.” Those on top can remain oblivious o the experience of those on the bottom; those on bottom spend a lot of time thinking about and even caring about those on top.

5. Structural violence is often codified through bureaucracy – it is made to look like it is simply the rules. But, any attempt to directly challenge those rules will bring, usually, police. From this perspective, police  are the representatives of the structural violence. 


It was great to stroll and chat with everyone on Friday!

For tomorrow, please have read the second section of Graeber’s “Revolution in Reverse”: “Part 2: On violence and imaginative displacement.”

And please have questions about what stands out/confuses you about the text!


Reading, proposal

Hi everyone,

For Friday, please read the first two sections of David Graeber’s “Revolutions in Reverse.” (from the beginning, through the end of “be realistic”). This is on the “readings” page.

Like everything I’ve assigned, this is a difficult read. But I’ve decided that I want to go through it slowly — we’ll take maybe two weeks with it and make sure we understand it. I’ve been feeling like maybe the class is drifting and needs a little more structure. Do you feel that? If you do, please just take a moment to shoot me an email and let me know where you are at. If things are working for you, feel free to let me know that too — but especially if they aren’t.


Study Guide #2 up, reading assignment, spring break reading

First, I’ve put up the second Study Guide on the study guide page. It is due the Monday after break. Each answer should be a couple paragraphs long. Please use quotations from the readings and, you know, really try to make it nice. 

Second, here is a short essay to read for tomorrow. It is very difficult, and I don’t expect you to get it, but skim over it and see what stands out. In particular, try to think about the phrase “man is no longer man enclosed, but man in debt.” I’ll be talking about it tomorrow. Gilles Deleuze, “Post-script on Societies of Control”

Third, over spring break, please read the introduction and the first two chapters of Noam Chomsky’s Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order (pgs.7-62).

Also, Track 1, if we haven’t met a second time about your project, let’s do it soon. Track 2, I’ll try to have your first paper back by tomorrow!


Reading on the Stanford Prison Experiment

Hi everyone. Here is a link to a slideshow about the Stanford Prison Experiment. Please read through it and we’ll discuss it in class tomorrow.

Remember, tomorrow evening is an event in which we will watch a film about the experiment and have a discussion. Please try to attend, if you are available.

The event is in Lawson 201 at 7pm.