I’ll be giving a couple of presentations at the upcoming conference, Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization, which is taking place early June in Claremont, California. It’s a massive assemblage of a few different conferences: the 10th International Whitehead Conference, the 9th International Forum on Ecological Civilization, the Inaugural Pando Populus Conference, the Pilgrim Place Centennial Celebration, and the Process & Faith Summer Institute.
I’m on a panel with some of my closest coconspirators discussing cosmopolitics and the Journey of the Universe project. I’ll have more to say about that later. I’m also happy to be part of a track focusing on Alfred North Whitehead’s contributions to the philosophy of religion. Here’s the abstract for the paper I’ll deliver for that track: Continue reading
An increasing number of new books are engaging speculative realism and object-oriented ontology in terms of their implications for theology and philosophy of religion. A good anthology of approaches is The Future of Continental Philosophy of Religion, edited by Clayton Crockett, B. Keith Putt, and Jeffrey W. Robbins. One of the chapters in that book (“The Persistence of the Trace,” by Steven Shakespeare) cites a short piece I wrote in March 2011, “Theological Implications of Object-Oriented Philosophy: Factishes, Imperatives, and Cthulhu.” It was originally posted on the esteemed blog, Knowledge Ecology.
It was a guest post, and it’s expiration date has passed, so it’s not up anymore. I’m posting it here. [NB: this was only an abstract. For a more thorough account of theological (and ecological) implications of object-oriented ontology in relationship to process, poststructuralist, and ecofeminist theologies, read On the Verge of a Planetary Civilization]. Continue reading
It’s been about four months since I’ve posted anything here, mostly because of a demanding writing and teaching schedule interspersed with a couple of conferences and a move to a new apartment. In that time, I finished writing Whole Earth Thinking and Planetary Coexistence: Ecological Wisdom at the Intersection of Religion, Ecology, and Philosophy.
A hardback will come out this summer, and a paperback will follow in 2016. The book focuses on two areas of the environmental humanities: poststructuralist philosophy (via Deleuze and Guattari) and the field of religion and ecology (via Thomas Berry, Gary Snyder, et al.). It provides an accessible introduction to those areas of environmental humanities (for undergrads, generally interested readers, etc.), and it also indicates some strategies for synthesizing the complex chaosmos of Deleuze and Guattari with the religious cosmologies of people like Berry and Snyder. I consider how such a synthesis coordinates possibilities for ecological wisdom, which is an engaged wisdom oriented toward postsecular ecological democracy.
By “ecological wisdom,” I am referring to practices for multicultural and cross-disciplinary ways of knowing. Such practices can draw from many sources. I consider sources in feminist epistemology, traditional ecological knowledge, environmental sciences, classical religious traditions, and the geophilosophy/ecosophy of Deleuze/Guattari. Practices of ecological wisdom energize human capacities for thinking through the challenges facing planetary modes of coexistence during an epoch marked by the inextricable intertwining of humans with planetary systems.
If “whole Earth thinking” sounds somewhat countercultural, you might be thinking of Stewart Brand and the Whole Earth Catalog. My work is in tension and alliance with the countercultural context of the Whole Earth Catalog. There was too much triumphalism and too many hasty dismissals of classical traditions in much of that countercultural milieu. Furthermore, Earth in that context was often seen as a material or biophysical ground for humans, whereas whole Earth thinking orients itself toward the mutual grounding/grounded/ungrounding relationships between humans and Earth, relationships that cannot be avoided in any struggle to coexist in the Anthropocene.
This book is the first in a series of works in which I explore the dynamics of planetary coexistence. You can get it from from the publisher (Rowman & Littlefield International) HERE.
Below you’ll find the summary and a few blurbs: Continue reading
I attended the recent conference of the International Big History Association. The association is oriented toward researching and teaching “Big History,” which aims (as their website says) to “understand the integrated history of the Cosmos, Earth, Life, and Humanity,” specifically by means of “the best available empirical evidence and scholarly methods.” That opens up the field of history into a comprehensive and cross-disciplinary account of the entire 13.8 billion year history of our universe.
Big History is far from alone in its aim to articulate an integrated and evolutionary vision of matter, life, and humanity. Multiple scholarly fields and schools of thought share the integrative aims of Big History (e.g., the universe story, the field of religion and ecology, integral theory, ecofeminism, complexity theory, posthumanities, process philosophy). Big historians still have much to learn from those and other integrative and transdisciplinary sources of evolutionary knowledge. Continue reading
My latest piece for my column at Nomos Journal is up. It’s an analysis of the Afro-Atlantic legacy of contemporary popular music, specifically in light of two interrelated aspects of Afro-Atlantic music: rhythm and trance. The use of polyrhythmic beats in the spirit possession rituals of Afro-Atlantic traditions parallels the structure of the trance experiences that those beats occasion. The beats mix two-pulse and three-pulse beats and the experiences likewise manifest liminal mixtures of humans (possessed) and deities (possessors), as well as mixtures between conscious and amnesiac states, between performer and audience members, between ritual and art, between humans and animals (e.g., the horses we become when we are possessed/mounted by gods)….
I’m always bothered by the inadequacy of the terminology of music theory. Polyrhythm is a better term than syncopation, a striking-together wherein one beat is considered regular or normal, against which the irregular “off”-beat strikes. Such a hierarchy is missing in Afro-Atlantic music; neither duple meter nor triple meter is heard as primary or regular. In fact, there is no abstract meter at all, only the play of multiple meters. Along those lines, polyrhythm seems like a much better term, since it does not assimilate the plurality of rhythms into a hierarchy of regular/irregular beats. However, as Mikel Dufrenne points out in The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience, polyrhythm is still an inadequate concept for describing the phenomenon itself. It presupposes a mono-/poly- distinction that is not present in the actual performance or experience of the music.
I’m reminded that there is a magic formula that many of us are still searching for, a formula that would equate the singular and the plural, mono- and poly-, the one and the many, monism and pluralism. My commitment to pop analysis follows along those lines, listening for the truth of to hen in the music of hoi polloi.