Live Theory – Podcast (2024)

Live Theory – Podcast (1)

South Korea · Ryan Leack & Ellen Wayland-Smith

  • Society & Culture
  • Philosophy

Live Theory: Living Writing & Rhetoric invites scholars in rhetorical theory, composition studies, and beyond to share their expertise with us in the form of a 15 minute talk, followed by a discussion with USC and other university faculty and guests who are able to attend live via Zoom. At Live Theory, we do not bring theory down from the clouds. Rather, theory never belonged, and perhaps never was, in the clouds to begin with. At Live Theory, we live theory, bringing life to writing and rhetoric in our scholarship, institutions, classrooms, daily lives, and beyond.


  • Live Theory – Podcast (3)
    EP 11: USC Writing Program: Chatting about ChatGPT13 Oct 2023· Live Theory

    Our Writing Program colleagues discuss AI, ChatGPT, and emerging Large Language Models, including their potentials and pitfalls for the doing and teaching writing and rhetoric, as well as the relation to writing program administration. This episode, like Episode 8 last year with Jonathan Alexander, is part of the 4th annual “The Big Rhetorical Podcast Carnival,” hosted by Charles Wood. This year’s theme is “AI: Applications and Trajectories.” Here, we hope to illuminate through an extensive discussion the uncertain future in regard to powerful technologies that will likely reshape writing practice for writers, teachers, and students alike.


    Stephanie Bower

    Zen Dochterman

    Nik De Dominic

    Mark Marino

    Tanvi Patel

    Maddox Pennington

    Patti Taylor

    Ryan Leack

    Ellen Wayland-Smith

    Notable Quotes from Our Colleagues

    Nik De Dominic: In the same way that COVID-19 presented all of these challenges to us from an instruction point of view, I think LLMs will do the same. It will be up to faculty to familiarize themselves and create literacy for something that they most likely had no idea was on the landscape a year ago. And we really want to empower instructors to make choices that get their students somewhere.

    Patti Taylor: I think it's really important to have a mix of people who are experimenting and dealing with these issues and trying things, especially here in these early stages so that [instructors] have the ethos to be able to persuade and say, here's what it's doing to our students. Here's what's useful.

    Mark Marino: I think we should not ban [AI/LLMs]. I think we should bring these things in. I think we should build a boat and not a wall to when the flood comes, which is here.

    Stephanie Bower:I think we again want to be looking at these things and all of their complexities, and we don't know what's going to happen, but I think, rather than being pulled over and drawn into it, either with the sense of enthusiasm or doom, I think we also have to recognize that we have agency, too. The future isn't inevitable, and we can create it.

  • Live Theory – Podcast (4)
    EP10: Margherita Long: A Flow Connecting Everything7 May 2023· Live Theory

    Margherita Long, Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of California, Irvine, where she teaches courses on Japanese feminism, the modern novel, war narratives and peace activism, and eco-semiotics, discusses the introduction to her manuscript Care, Kin, Crackup: f*ckushima and the Intrusion of Gaia. In 2018 she won a five-year grant from the Japan Foundation for a faculty line and a series of international symposia on Japanese Environmental Humanities at UCI. Her interest in the ethics of material indebtedness dates from her first book on psychoanalysis and the maternal-feminine in Tanizaki Jun’ichiro, by Stanford University Press, 2009. Here, she discusses the tension between a politics of resistance and a literature of affirmation in the post-f*ckushima work of feminist writer Tsushima Yuko (1947-2016).


    Margherita Long
    Bert Winther-Tamaki
    Jonathan Alexander
    Stephanie Renee Payne
    Yuki Nagamine
    Ryan Leack
    Ellen Wayland-Smith

    Selected References

    Anna Tsing
    Baruch Spinoza
    Donna Haraway
    Donna V. Jones, The Racial Discourses of Life Philosophy (2010)
    Elizabeth Grosz, Chaos, Territory, Art (2008)
    Elizabeth Povinelli, Geontologies (2016)
    Friedrich Nietzsche
    F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense (1969)
    Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, What is Philosophy? (1991)
    Giorgio Agamben
    Henri Bergson
    Isabelle Stengers
    Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter (2010)
    Judith Butler
    Kenzaburo Oe
    Michel Foucault
    Ogata Masato
    Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies (1923)
    Sabu Kohso, Radiation and Revolution (2020)
    Simone Weil
    Slavoj Žižek
    Tanizaki Jun’ichiro
    Tsushima Yuko

    Notable Quotes from Margherita

    “In turn, when we read activist texts as narratives that make themselves responsible to the event of radiation by affirming and channeling rather than resisting and turning back, I think we can say they become ‘literary’ in a distinctly environmental way. That is, they become artful and philosophical—they move us as art and philosophy—in proportion to their ability to think with the material world, to attune themselves to ‘life.’”

    “Kohso sees revolution shifting from something that takes place in defiance of a totalizing capitalism to something that takes place in humble and tentative co-production with the Earth’s ‘omnipresence.’ What does this co-production look like? It’s a compelling question for those of us who teach literature because it connects so clearly to Tsushima’s love of aboriginal Dreamings, and the way they enact a kind of thinking that ‘takes place in the relationship between territory and earth.’”

    “If radiation epitomizes the kind of vastness that deranges our thinking even while it prompts and fuels it, how could some other encounter be more profound? I call these feminist questions because they are tightly bound to questions of care-work vis-à-vis the intensity of the encounter, and the need both to honor this work in the those whose texts we study, and to practice it when we read these texts with our students.”

    “That is, if the merciless temporality that the Aboriginal dream-world had no choice but to traverse is a timeline of invasion by modernity, why do we feel it moving so powerfully also in the opposite direction? After the nuclear explosions, it is the voices of the Aboriginals that arrive in Tsushima’s ears, riding the same connections, the same power lines, the same ‘flow connecting everything’ that she describes as a force of colonial erasure. Could this force be something else in addition? Something useful? Something ‘environmental?’”

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  • Live Theory – Podcast (5)
    EP9: Nathan Stormer: Rhetoric by Accident26 Oct 2022· Live Theory

    Nathan Stormer, a professor of rhetoric in the Communication and Journalism Department at the University of Maine, discusses with us his article “Rhetoric by Accident,” published in Volume 53.4 of the journal Philosophy & Rhetoric. Here, he articulates a view of accidents that shape rhetorical work, but which themselves are not purposive, motive-driven, directed, or ethical. As extra-moral events and material and/or discursive happenings, accidents are indifferent to purpose. Staying with accidents and our material openness and vulnerability to them, Stormer sustains a space in which to think about accidents, and the accidental, apart from their agential and ethical usefulness, thereby disentangling the accidental from core rhetorical formulations that orbit intentionality on the human stage. In doing so, Stormer illuminates the power of accidents beyond our responses to and appropriations of them.


    Nathan Stormer
    Vorris Nunley
    Ryan Leack
    Ellen Wayland-Smith

    Selected References

    Alfred North Whitehead
    Barbara Cassin
    Baruch Spinoza
    Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves (1989)
    Diane Davis, Inessential Solidarity (2010)
    Édouard Glissant
    Emmanuel Levinas
    Eric King Watts, Hearing the Hurt (2012)
    Friedrich Nietzsche
    Gaston Bachelard, Intuition of the Instant (1932)
    Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari
    Hannah Arendt
    Hans Jonas, The Phenomenon of Life: Toward a Philosophical Biology (1966)
    I. A. Richards, The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1936)
    Jordan Peterson
    Kenneth Burke
    Leonard Susskind
    Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (1927)
    Maurice Blanchot, The Writing of the Disaster (1980)
    Niels Bohr, Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge (1932)
    Peter Elbow
    Rainer Maria Rilke, “On the Edge of Night”
    Thomas Rickert, Ambient Rhetoric (2013)
    W. E. B. Du Bois

    Notable Quotes from Nathan

    “You cannot explain how rhetoric is the way it is—even if you understand it as language use among individuals and people, and in social contexts—and at the same time say every experience, every feeling that I have is intended for me and meant for me as an audience. It is not. It cannot be that way. That’s literally impossible as a statement. So, you’re left with this problem that we are in fact influenced by things that were never meant for us, that don’t even know that we exist.”

    “The point is that if you’re going to explain that rhetoric is driven by human interests you’re left with the fact that you can’t explain all the things that shape people through those interests, which means there’s a problem of the accident that goes unexplained. We just don’t have ways of talking about that… If you’re concerned with that issue, I think you confront the fact that there’s a lot things that just happen without any interest in an outcome that shape people.”

    “Part of the issue is that you can’t think about the accident without destroying it as an accident… To recognize the accidental as accidental, you have to just leave it alone… You can’t do a rhetorical criticism of an accident without not really talking about an accident. You’re going to talk about what it did to people, why it mattered to them. Well, now you’re in the purposive again, which is perfectly fine, but, again, conceptually the accident’s still there. The accidental still exists. So, I think we do run into the ethical because that’s what people are concerned with, and rightly so, but conceptually we don’t actually engage the problem of the accidental.”

    “[Accidental rhetoric does not] displace our understanding of rhetoric or what we think of as intentional. It’s to argue that the intentional, and the design, and the directed and the purposive, is always feeding out of accidents. It has to.”

  • Live Theory – Podcast (6)
    EP8: Jonathan Alexander: Writing and Desire24 Aug 2022· Live Theory

    Jonathan Alexander, Chancellor's Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine, director of the Humanities Core Program, and author, co-author, or co-editor of 22 books, discusses his new book, Writing and Desire: Queer Ways of Composing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2023). In this episode we discuss both the introduction to his book and the broader project. As part of the 3rd annual “The Big Rhetorical Podcast Carnival,” this episode speaks to the Carnival theme, “Rhetoric: Places and Spaces In and Beyond the Academy.” Challenging both modes of writing and desire, Alexander conceives of writing itself as desire in the form of an ongoing opening out onto possibilities. In this way, writing, especially as figured in rhetoric and composition pedagogy, transcends narrower argumentative and persuasive modes. Furthermore, desire is not conceived of as a lack to be fulfilled, or as an essentialized need to be unleashed, but rather as a fundamental openness, inclusive of critical reflection that makes different conditions and futures possible. Exploring the histories and modalities of writing and desire, we discuss both as unending processes of thinking and being otherwise in and beyond the classroom.


    Jonathan Alexander
    Ryan Leack

    Selected References

    Audre Lorde
    Andrea Lunsford, Let’s Talk… A Pocket Rhetoric (2020)
    Cheryl Glenn, Unspoken (2004)
    Emmanuel Levinas, Totality and Infinity (1961)
    Félix Guattari
    Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power (1901)
    G. F. W. Hegel
    Gilles Deleuze, “Desire and Pleasure” (1977)
    Glenn and Ratcliffe, Silence and Listening as Rhetorical Arts (2011)
    Gottschalk Druschke and Rivers, “Rhetorical Drift” (2022)
    Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation (1981)
    Jacques Lacan
    James Crosswhite, Deep Rhetoric (2012)
    Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway (2007)
    Krista Ratcliffe, Rhetorical Listening (2005)
    Linda Brodkey
    Marilyn Cooper, The Animal Who Writes (2019)
    Mary Louise Pratt
    Massumi, Parables for the Virtual (2002)
    Miguel Abensour
    Slavoj Žižek, The Year of Dreaming Dangerously (2011)
    Victor Vitanza

    Notable Quotes from Jonathan

    “What if we understand writing as . . . less driven by thesis and more driven by exploration? What if we asked students to think about writing as, well, I’m not starting with something that I’m going to try to convince my readers I know. I’m going to start, like many wonderful writers do, with a question and a recognition of what it is that I don’t know, and then allow the writing to serve as the very modality of thought and of feeling toward insight, toward the generation of knowing.”

    “Maybe part of the political task is not to liberate our particular desires, but instead to understand how they have already been shaped and formed, and ask ourselves the critical questions. Are we okay with that? Is this flow of desire the way that desires within us have been formed and set down in certain pathways? Are we satisfied with that? Is that appropriate? Is it ethically sustainable? Is it ecologically sustainable?”

    “I speak a lot in the first part of the book about connection, about the movement of self toward other, not with an anticipation that that other will fulfill or will provide for a lack, but that that other will excite, will surprise, will perhaps open up vistas, possibilities that had not otherwise been understood, or seen, or felt, or experienced. And it seems to me that that’s really a way to understand what writing is.”

  • Live Theory – Podcast (7)
    EP7: Susan Jarratt: A Discussion On Writing and Editing11 Apr 2022· Live Theory

    Susan Jarratt, Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature at UC Irvine, shares her rich experience as a writer and scholar, and also as an editor of Rhetoric Society Quarterly, the official journal of the "Rhetoric Society of America," which will be of great value to those of us working in rhetoric, composition, and related fields, whether in returning to unfinished projects or in taking up new ones. Here, she discusses several of her major projects, including Rereading the Sophists: Classical Rhetoric Refigured (Southern Illinois University Press, 1991) and Chain of Gold: Greek Rhetoric in the Roman Empire (Southern Illinois University Press, 2019), which inform the experience she imparts to scholars tackling difficult and complex projects that often involve expansive scholarly terrains and traditions. Her practical advice will help writers navigate the limits of time and space, but also some of the psychological struggles, including the urge toward perfectionism, that can have the effect of stopping writing before it begins, or else before it is finished, thereby giving scholars tools to work through the trouble spots of their craft.


    Susan Jarratt
    Ellen Quandahl
    Daniel M. Gross
    Ryan Leack

    Selected Sources Referenced

    Gorgias. Encomium of Helen. c. 400 BCE.
    Gross, Daniel M. Being-Moved: Rhetoric as the Art of Listening, 2020.
    Hume, David. The History of England (6 Volume Set), 1754–61.
    Jarratt, Susan. Rereading the Sophists: Classical Rhetoric Refigured, 1991.
    —. Chain of Gold: Greek Rhetoric in the Roman Empire, 2019.
    Kerferd, G. B. The Sophistic Movement, 1981.
    Lee, Mi-Kyoung. Epistemology After Protagoras: Responses to Relativism in Plato, Aristotle, and Democritus, 2005.
    Oxford Research Encyclopedia for Communication
    Quandahl, Ellen, and Susan Jarratt. “To Recall Him … Will be a Subject of Lamentation”: Anna Comnena as Rhetorical Historiographer,” 2008.
    Taylor, C.C.W. The Atomists: Leucippus and Democritus, 1999.

    Notable Quotes from Susan

    “That’s another thing to maybe think about in academic writing is the urge toward perfectionism—to be able to say the most definitive thing, and say it in the very best way possible, and refute all the critics. And I think it’s good to think that that’s really not possible, and so you do something that is responsible and has been vetted, as I’ve been saying, and makes a contribution but probably leaves some questions open, or has some conclusions that are rather tentative, and waiting for other people to contribute.”

    “Another very conventional but very important spur to the writing process is that there’s a narrative out there that you don’t think works well, and you want to correct it, and that gives you the angle, or a terministic screen.”

    “When you read article after article and you see the same scholarly sources being quoted again and again and you say, okay, I’ve got that one, I’ve got that one. So that’s a sign of getting the research, or the terrain, known.”

  • Live Theory – Podcast (8)
    EP6: Daniel M. Gross: Being-Moved: Rhetoric as the Art of Listening22 Mar 2022· Live Theory

    Daniel M. Gross, Professor of English at UC Irvine, Campus Writing and Communication Coordinator, and Director of the Center for Excellence in Writing and Communication, joins us to discuss his newest book, Being-Moved: Rhetoric as the Art of Listening (University of California Press, 2020). If rhetoric is the art of speaking, who is listening? In Being-Moved, Daniel provides an answer, showing when and where the art of speaking parted ways with the art of listening—and what happens when they intersect once again. Much in the history of rhetoric must be rethought along the way. And much of this rethinking pivots around Martin Heidegger’s early lectures on Aristotle’s Rhetoric where his famous topic, Being, gives way to being-moved. The results, Gross goes on to show, are profound. Listening to the gods, listening to the world around us, and even listening to one another in the classroom—all of these experiences become different when rhetoric is reoriented from the voice to the ear.


    Daniel M. Gross
    Sarah O'Dell
    Steven Mailloux
    Susan Jarratt
    Vorris Nunley
    Meridith Kruse
    Ryan Leack

    Selected Sources Referenced

    Berlant, Lauren. Cruel Optimism, 2011.
    Borsch-Jacobsen, Mikkel. The Emotional Tie: Psychoanalysis, Mimesis, and Affect, 1992.
    Butler, Judith. Excitable Speech, 1997.
    —. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex, 1996.
    Cooper, Brittany. “Black Women’s Eloquent Rage: A Lecture from Brittney Cooper,” 2021.
    Deleuze and Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 1972.
    Fiumara, Gemma C. The Other Side of Language, 1990.
    Freud, Sigmund. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, 1953.
    Gleason, Maud W. Making Men: Sophists and Self-Presentation in Ancient Rome, 1995.
    Gross, Daniel, and Kemmann, Ansgar. Heidegger and Rhetoric, 2006.
    Gunderson, Erik. Declamation, Paternity, and Roman Identity: Authority and the Rhetorical Self, 2003.
    Heidegger, Martin. Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy, 2009.
    Lucian. Rhetorum Praeceptor, c. 160 CE.
    Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, 2011.
    —. Ontopower: War, Powers, and the State of Perception, 2015.
    Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Will to Power, 2017.
    Pirsig, Robert. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, 1974.
    Plutarch. Exercises Suitable for Scholars, c. 110 CE.
    Ratcliffe, Krista. Rhetorical Listening, 2005.
    Weil, Abraham. “Trans*versal Animacies and the Mattering of Black Trans* Political Life,” 2017.

    Notable Quotes from Daniel

    “I started to think increasingly about the ways in which the long traditions of many different sorts focused primarily on the prestige of voice, what it is to embody and identify with the speaking and writing agent, the power of voice, the power even to manipulate, to form other people’s psyches by way of that agency, the activity involved, and at the same time I wondered, okay, with all of this speaking, vocalization, writing, who’s listening?”

    “The irony, of course, is that all of those folks, all of us—speaking, writing, acting—just sort of flip around 180 degrees and we’re on the other side. We are listening, we are reading, we are learning, we are being affected, and the puzzle as a historian of rhetoric and someone also thinking about the classroom is why this disconnect, and it struck me pretty quickly as a kind of psychological puzzle. There seemed to be a profound identity with the agent position, the position of voice, writing, and activity, and a disavowal of the other side.”

  • Live Theory – Podcast (9)
    EP5: Lynne Huffer: Foucault’s Strange Eros and Deleuzian Desire30 Oct 2021· Live Theory

    In this episode Lynne Huffer, Professor of WGSS at Emory University, discusses Foucault’s Strange Eros (2020), the third book in her trilogy on Foucault. Reading Foucault as a Sapphic poet who makes “cuts” in the archive, Huffer argues that in the West “eros is to sexuality as unreason is to madness,” or, in other words, that eros forms an elusive background out of which sciences such as sexology extract objects of sexual knowledge which they can then presume to study. Eros, as that which is “other to the West although also at the origin of the West,” is thus also that which is “strange.”

    Responding to our invitation to consider overlaps and divergences between Foucault’s eros and Deleuzian desire, Huffer considers potential equivalences between these two concepts as well as questions the motivation for equating, and thus eliding, their differences. In this process, she also offers a response to Deleuze’s own articulation of the gap between his concept of desire and Foucault’s notion of pleasure, as he articulated them in his 1977 letter to Foucault titled “Desire and Pleasure.”

    Huffer’s consideration of Deleuzian desire sparks a lively discussion among attendees who then debate a range of topics including reasons for the omission of Deleuze’s non-Freudian conception of the unconscious in American queer theory as well as resonances between Foucaultian eros and Audre Lorde’s illumination of the erotic as a source of power for black lesbian feminists.


    Lynne Huffer
    Abraham Weil
    Mat Fournier
    David Tomkins
    Sinead Chang
    Meridith Kruse
    Ryan Leack

    Selected Sources Referenced

    Deleuze, Gilles. “Desire and Pleasure,” Two Regimes of Madness, 1977.
    Deleuze and Guattari. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 1972.
    Deleuze and Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 1980.
    Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, 1975.
    Foucault, Michel. History of Madness, 1961.
    Foucault, Michel. “Maurice Blanchot: The Thought from Outside,” 1966.
    Huffer, Lynne. Are the Lips a Grave: A Queer Feminist on the Ethics of Sex, 2013.
    Huffer, Lynne. Foucault’s Strange Eros, 2020.
    Huffer, Lynne. Mad for Foucault: Rethinking the Foundations of Queer Theory, 2010.
    Lorde, Audre. “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power,” Sister Outsider, 1985.
    Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual, 2002.
    Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Will to Power, 2017.

    Notable Quotes from Lynne

    “Eros is strange.”
    “Eros is to sexuality as unreason is to madness.”
    “I am reading Foucault as a Sapphic poet.”
    “For Foucault, thinking is an experiment, a practice of transformation, and thinking was something he was able to do with Deleuze.”
    “I wonder about this desire to make eros and desire the same? To find some sort of equivalence between this eros I’m finding in Foucault and desire in Deleuze and Guattari.”

  • Live Theory – Podcast (10)
    EP4: Stuart Murray: In Hearkening the Dead: A Rhetorical Disaffirmation of Biopolitics30 Apr 2021· Live Theory

    Stuart Murray, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Rhetoric and Ethics in the Department of English Language and Literature at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, shares his talk with us, “In Hearkening the Dead: A Rhetorical Disaffirmation of Biopolitics,” which he describes as follows: Foucault defines biopolitics as the differential state power “to make live and let die.” The politics of life is, ironically, a sacrificial economy that produces death as its silent compact, its law. Those we let die rarely figure in our biopolitical “affirmations.” They are tendered as line items and statistics: collateral damages, opportunity costs, daily pandemic death counts. COVID-19 is an object lesson in differential dying, affirmed by the state as much as by the anti-mask and anti-lockdown protestors. How, then, might we on the Left suspend our impulse to criticism—perhaps even despite our own pain, identity, politics—in order to rethink resistance outside of biopolitical logics, and without further implicating ourselves in them or reaffirming them unwittingly? In other words, how might we critically disaffirm biopolitics, disclaim its claim over us, without quite capitulating to and recirculating its tropes?


    Ryan Leack
    Meridith Kruse
    Stuart Murray
    Jan Osborn
    Nick Leppe
    Simon Turner
    Samantha Rippetoe
    Steven Mailloux

    Sources Referenced

    Agamben, Giorgio. hom*o Sacer, 1998.
    Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus, 1987.
    Foucault, Michel. Society Must Be Defended, 2003.
    —. The Courage of the Truth, 2011.
    —. The Government of Self and Others, 2010.
    Gilmore, Ruth. “Race and Globalization.” In Geographies of Global Change, 2002.
    Harney, Stephen Matthias, and Fred Moten. The Undercommons, 2013.
    Hartman, Saidiya. Scenes of Subjection, 2007.
    James, LeBron. “LeBron James Speaks on BLM: ‘When You’re Black, It’s not a Movement; It’s a Lifestyle’,” 2020,
    Lundberg, Christian O. “Letting Rhetoric Be: On Rhetoric and Rhetoricity.” Philosophy & Rhetoric 46, no. 2 (2013): 247–55.
    Massumi, Brian. Ontopower, 2015.
    —. Parables for the Virtual, 2002.
    Sharpe, Christina. In the Wake, 2016.
    Weheliye, Alexander G. Habeas Viscus, 2014.
    Williams, Patricia J. Alchemy of Race and Rights, 1992.
    Žižek, Slavoj. Pandemic 2, 2020.

    Notable Quotes from Stuart

    "Biopolitics kills, albeit indirectly and in the passive voice. It kills in the name of life. And its dead are disavowed as collateral damage, opportunity costs, or negative externalities."
    "Think of the pandemic’s socioeconomic and racializing powers. It’s all business-as-usual, a social compact that everyone more or less already 'knows' in the deniable modalities of an Orwellian doublethink. I maintain that we cannot innocently affirm the political project of making live because this livingness cannot be severed from those we let die in the name of life."
    "In my efforts to theorize and to disaffirm, I ask how we might hearken our biopolitical dead. To hearken is an intransitive verb that does not take a direct object. To hearken I must undertake instead to listen in care of death. Under what conditions might we hearken those dead who summon us, and exhort us, perhaps, to reckon with our unspeakable complicity in their deaths?"
    "In my words’ work, 'I' tentatively reach toward a fragile 'we,' curses notwithstanding. These subjects come undone—first-person, singular, plural—as much as they stubbornly remain—in the long moment of hearkening: and the project becomes one of holding and rendering remains."

  • Live Theory – Podcast (11)
    EP3: Movement, Affect, Sensation: Discussing Brian Massumi’s Experimental Writing25 Apr 2021· Live Theory

    In this episode we discuss Brian Massumi’s “Concrete Is as Concrete Doesn’t,” the introduction to his book Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (2005). Among the (un)timely topics we explore are the nature of embodied movement as it affects and effects our subject positions, and how those positions can seem “gridlocked” when we retroactively pinpoint a “self” at the intersection of race, gender, and class identities. How do we acknowledge the strategic importance of such positions while not being captured by them? How can movement, affect, and sensation bring attention to the body in productive ways? How do we avoid the “cultural freeze-frame” of an identity politics that threatens to solidify certain identity constructions? Furthermore, how might field-friendly concepts from the sciences facilitate a more comprehensive and generative sense of embodied movement vis-à-vis becoming? In that effort, how do we “poach” scientific concepts without reducing them to mere metaphors? Finally, and perhaps most importantly for our podcast, how does Massumi’s experimental writing perform the very trans-disciplinary and radical empiricist philosophy that he encourages, thereby bringing movement, affect, and sensation to the writing process itself?


    Ryan Leack
    Meridith Kruse
    Sam tee*ts

    Sources Referenced

    Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, 1990.
    Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 1972.
    Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, 1975.
    Greg, Melissa, and Gregory Seigworth. The Affect Theory Reader, 2010.
    Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, 2011.
    —. 99 Theses on the Revaluation of Value: A Postcapitalist Manifesto, 2018.
    —. A User’s Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze & Guattari, 1992.
    —. The Power at the End of the Economy, 2014.
    —. Ontopower: War, Powers, and the State of Perception, 2015.
    —. Politics of Affect, 2015.
    —. What Animals Teach Us About Politics, 2014.
    Sedgwick, Eve. Epistemology of the Closet, 1990.
    —. Tendencies, 1993.

    Notable Quotes from Massumi

    “Take joy in your digressions” (Parables for the Virtual 18).
    “You have to let yourself get so caught up in the flow of your writing that it ceases at moments to be recognizable to you as your own. This means you have to be prepared for failure. For with inattention comes risk: of silliness or even outbreaks of stupidity. But perhaps in order to write experimentally, you have to be willing to ‘affirm’ even your own stupidity. Embracing one’s own stupidity is not the prevailing academic posture (at least not in the way I mean it here)" (18).
    “The point, again, is not to make the humanities scientific. The point is to borrow from science in order to make a difference in the humanities. . . . [and to] make them differ from the sciences in ways they are unaccustomed to" (19).
    “The concept will start to deviate under the force. Let it. Then reconnect it to other concepts, drawn from other systems, until a whole new system of connection starts to form. Then, take another example. Follow the new growth. You end up with many buds. Incipient systems. Leave them that way. . . You have left your readers with a very special gift: a headache. By which I mean a problem: what in the world to do with it all. That’s their problem. That’s where experimentation begins" (19).

  • Live Theory – Podcast (12)
    EP2: Vorris Nunley: Incivility, AOC, and the Limits of Persuasion (?)6 Jan 2021· Live Theory

    Vorris Nunley, Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, discusses with USC and UCI faculty a talk entitled “Re-Doing Rhetoric: Incivility, AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) and the Limits of Persuasion (?).” Here, he discusses AOC’s response to Representative Ted Yoho referring to her as a b***h to think with and through trope, incivility, affect, and the neoliberal composition classroom. In conceiving of rhetoric beyond persuasion, he examines the ways in which tropes, in circulating preconsciously in cultures throughout various realms, use us just as much as we use them. In this way, tropes are not simple figures or metaphors individual rhetors deploy toward specific persuasive ends. Rather, that tropes permeate social fabrics as potentialities in the domains of (non)discursive rhetoric means that we “choose” tropes for a particular reason only insofar as they have already affected, shaped, and influenced us in definite ways. Vorris closes on the uses of his work in the multimodal composition classroom and on what he terms a “pedagogy of discomfort,” one which unsettles students in the pursuit of transformative education.


    Ryan Leack
    Meridith Kruse
    Vorris Nunley
    Jan Osborn
    Liz Blomstedt
    Maureen Fitzsimmons
    Shenishe Kelly
    Steven Mailloux
    Susan Jarratt

    Sources Referenced

    Alexander, Jarratt, Welch. Unruly Rhetorics, 2018.
    Angelou, Maya. Phenomenal Woman, 1995.
    Beard, Mary. Women & Power, 2017.
    Berg, Ulla D. and Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas. Racializing Affect, 2015.
    Burke, Kenneth. “Terministic Screens," 1966.
    Davis, Diane. Inessential Solidarity, 2010.
    DeGruy, Joy. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, 2005.
    Erlmann, Veit. Reason and Resonance, 2010.
    Halberstam, Jack. Wild Things, 2020.
    Hartman, Saidiya. Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, 2020.
    Horton, Randall. Cultural Memory and the Black Radical Tradition, 2011.
    Jung, C.G. Red Book, 2009.
    Kakutani, Michiko. The Death of Truth, 2018.
    Murray, Joddy. Non-Discursive Rhetoric, 2009.
    Plato. Republic, 375 BC.
    Rea, Joshua M. The Fiery Furnaces of Hell, 2020.
    Sharpe, Christina. In the Wake, 2016.
    Solnit, Rebecca. Men Explain Things to Me, 2014.
    —. Recollections of My Non-Existence, 2020.
    Tatum, Alfred W. Reading for Their Life, 2009.
    Walker, Alice. “Everyday Use," 1973.

    Notable Quotes from Vorris

    “I’m interested in what tropes do . . . . When the congressman saw AOC, he didn’t see her, he saw a trope, and he responded to a trope because tropes like that, they erase, they deprivilege the personal.”
    “And for me it’s not the notion that there’s a rhetorical being. What I would argue is that being is indeed rhetorical.”
    “I’m calling it a pedagogy of discomfort. If you go all the way back to Plato in the allegory of the cave, he makes it very clear that folks learn when they get shocked. It is not comfortable. Pedagogy works as a discomfort, or as Paulo Freire says, and as Ice Cube says, it’s about unlearning. So I think multimodal composition allows me to address issues of neoliberal affect, and at the same time have them think about their writing as thinking and not just writing as conveying information.”
    “All of these expectations about what writing is about and what should occur in a writing class is exactly what gets in the way of writing.”

  • Live Theory – Podcast (13)
    EP1: Abraham Weil: The Mattering of Black Trans* Political Life5 Jan 2021· Live Theory

    Abraham Weil, Assistant Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at California State University, Long Beach, discusses with USC faculty his article "Trans*versal Animacies and the Mattering of Black Trans* Political Life," published in Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities (Volume 22, 2017), and its applications for the teaching of writing and rhetoric. Here he explores trans*versal connections between transness, blackness, and the animal through Félix Guattari's notion of "transversal" in connection with #blacklivesmatter and #blacktranslivematter movements that draw on critical animal studies to reveal ways that species hierarchies are always present in processes of racialization that allow some lives to matter more, or less, than others. How can such realizations become the work of specific approaches to writing and writing assignments? Join us for this exploration and more.


    Ryan Leack
    Meridith Kruse
    Abe Weil
    Chris Belcher
    Jessi Johnson
    Scott Smith

    Sources Referenced

    Crenshaw, Kimberly. “Mapping the Margins,” 1991.
    Deleuze and Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus, 1980.
    Deleuze and Guattari. Anti-Oedipus, 1972.
    Foucault, Michel. History of Madness, 2006.
    —. Madness and Civilization, 1961.
    Hartman, Saidiya. Scenes of Subjection, 1997.
    Jung, C.G. Red Book, 2009.
    Snorton, C. Riley. Black on Both Sides, 2020.
    Pulp, Andrew. Dark Deleuze, 2016.
    Stryker, Susan. The Transgender Studies Reader, 2006.

    Notable Quotes from Abe

    “Education is so vital, and thinking is so vital, and theory is so vital, and it’s lifesaving stuff, but how do you meet the world through that theory, how do you live that theory when these institutions are organized in the way that they are? It might be through some of those collective smaller things that we could do, assignments that we could do . . . . How can you rethink writing through an embodied act in the world? That’s a really complicated thing to be able to give to somebody.”
    “Some attempts are trying to be made to move past these ideas of molar identity politics. So I don’t want to dispense with the idea of intersectional analysis at all, but I do want to question what skills and dimensions that we can think through intersectionality beyond those sort of identities as stagnant or multiplying.”
    “What always excited me about student writing is when they take a risk that pays off. Not all risks pays off. . . . But if we don’t pressure ourselves to experiment, we often solidify or codify one ‘right’ way of doing something.”
    “I think part of what I think is happening, and the move toward embodied thought, is an acknowledgment that our lives have capacities and that we don’t need to necessarily author our own stories in order to use frameworks to produce knowledge. That it doesn’t have to be like, let me tell you this sad story about myself, but it has to be about the framework being genuine to the molecular experience of the subject.”

Live Theory – Podcast (2024)
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