Collapse & Reconfiguration I & II:
Introduction to Alt-Woke Praxis

Instructor: Alexandra Hedako Mason
Program: Social & Political Thought
Credit(s): 2
Date: Saturdays, September 30 – Nov 18, 2017
Time: 11am EST

Alexandra Hedako Mason: Collapse & Reconfiguration I & II: Introduction to Alt-Woke Praxis

Social relations are determined by economic forces. Agrarian surplus sustained nation states, necessitated labor, and bore the development of innovative tools, which contributed to migration and collective learning across the planetary social sphere. Acceleration describes economic forces as a levelling process and this process as the primary driver for dynamic social transformation. Acceleration emphasizes the role that capitalism plays as a revolutionary-historical force, intensifies this process, and forces it to transcend the threshold of its monopolist barriers, to fulfill its imperative:the crisis of its self-destructive enclosure. As articulated most explicitly in Marx’s Capital Vol. III, acceleration is the process itself: capitalism- creates the conditions necessary for its collapse.

Acceleration-ism is a theoretical orientation, a political epistemology, and a post-vitalist topography of this unbound process of accelerated, self-destructive capital that flows through the nodes of economics, technology, culture/society, and politics in intersecting and intensifying feedback; the fractal-complex of these correlational and codependent domains propels history toward novel, alien plateaus: futurity. The fundamental tenet of accelerationism, the article of faith which underpins the discourse, is an understanding of history in which productive relations determine social and political relations.

Futurism is a misnomer as it implies an anticipation of futurity, when in reality the “future” has already arrived. Etymologists disagree over the exact origins of the polygenetic word “hip” within AAVE lexicon. Most chart its origins to the Wolof word “xipi”, which means: “to have your eyes open, to be aware.”

Cybernetics derives from the Greek κυβερνητική (kybernetikos) — meaning “good at navigating” or “good at steering.” “Hip,” “hep,” and “woke” speak to a tendency to navigate the contours of this process through the lens of Blackness out of necessity — to be aware so that one can survive. “Stay woke” implied that this tendency was an implicit, intuitive mode of existing.

“Woke” – a term we’ve always hated and have come to hate even more – represents an epistemology limited in scope as it only processes a time-space where there are no true futurities, due to the ways a capital-driven economy operates and all notions of a future are compressed into the present. “Woke” informs a reactivity and a nomadic entity connected to this modern mode of reactionary politics.

Within this seminar, we plan on exploring the concept of what it means to be “altwoke,” through a series of readings and guest lecturers. Each invited speaker will help advance the coordinates that works together to construct a larger framework.

The first module will describe the nature of Collapse, the event horizon of this process, its origins, how we facilitate it further, and why anyone would advocate “accelerating the process” at all. Here we dispel the notion that the process is entirely blind as it can’t really function without the actors in its network who determine the interrelational causes which determine its direction over time. Instead our focus is more about aiding abetting the process via specific agents.

The second module will center around Reconstruction after the debris settles. Swapping out old frameworks for new ones, these are some potential new ways of thinking and being that we propose.

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