“The Most important division in today’s left is between those that hold to a folk politics of localism, direct action, and relentless horizontalism, and those that outline what must be called an accelerationist politics at ease with the modernity of abstraction, complexity, globality, and technology.” -Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek
DESCRIPTION: This two part seminar will introduce the concepts of acceleration and accelerationism through the reading of the newly published book #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader (Urbanomic/ Merve Verlag, 2014). The seminar follows the thematic structure of the book, focusing on concepts that anticipate, formulate, and shape the future of left accelerationist thought. It will examine and respond to the core accelerationist arguments and terminology proposed in the Reader which are becoming increasingly influential on political and theoretical debates. For example, the insufficiency of local politics in light of larger global problems; the failures of the Western left, both Marxist and poststructuralist; challenging the onslaught of neoliberalism; the rejection of the total destruction of capitalism; the proposal for salvaging usable parts of the current geopolitical system in our post capitalist future; and, finally, the embrace of science and technology both as practical but also as conceptual tools for restructuring the humanities and cultural studies. The wide historical spectrum through which the volume suggests for Accelerationism allows this two-part seminar to focus on materials from Marx, Veblen, Deleuze, Comte, and Lyotard, to more contemporary sources contemplating capitalism and technology, such as the Cybernetic Cultures Research Unit (CCRU), Nick Land, Ray Brassier and Reza Negarestani. This Fall seminar will also feature conversations with some of the contributors to the volume as well as its skeptics who have partaken in the shaping of the accelerationist discourse.
REQUIREMENTS: The seminar will be composed of four two and a half hour sessions, each of which will be split between an hour and an hour and a half lecture and around an hour of group discussion. Readings will be set for each week, and students will be expected to write 400 words on some aspect of the week’s topic in advance. This will be posted to the google classroom page for everyone to read and comment upon as they wish, providing some preliminary threads for the group discussion. The final assessment will consist of a 2500 word essay on a topic agreed upon with the instructor in advance.
This is the second module of a two-part seminar.