Year in Preview

My first book came out in September 2014, and my seventh book was released last week. Seven books in a little less than three and a half years. I wrote three and edited four. That’s one—or more like seven—of the reasons that I haven’t posted much to this blog in the last few years. With these books behind me, I’m starting to focus more on smaller pieces.

My next book will be a booklet on theology and new materialism. I have a few book chapters that I’m finishing this year, on 1) the epoché in the phenomenology of religion, 2) Stoicism in Sloterdijk’s postsecular theory of practice, and 3) climate ethics and the notion of attunement (Stimmung) in phenomenology and object-oriented ontology.

I finished a few book reviews recently as well, which should all be out later this year. The books were all a pleasure to read and review: Heather Eaton and Lauren Michelle Levesque (eds.), Advancing Nonviolence and Social Transformation: New Perspectives on Nonviolent Theories (Equinox Publishing, 2016); Gerard Kuperus, Ecopolitical Homelessness: Defining Place in an Unsettled World (Routledge, 2016); and Jason M. Wirth, Mountains, Rivers, and the Great Earth: Reading Gary Snyder and Dōgen in an Age of Ecological Crisis (SUNY Press, 2017).

With this proliferation of small writings in booklet, chapter, and review form, maybe I’ll also blog more, like now, for instance. I’ll also be working on small pieces for conferences. I’m only doing a couple of events this year outside of the San Francisco area, and neither is very far. (I try not to travel much.) One event is the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Denver, where I’ll be presenting in a seminar on new materialism, religion, and planetary thinking. I’m presenting theoretical and practical principles of object-oriented ontology, 1) contrasting OOO with new materialisms and process-relational philosophies, 2) specifying practical implications for an ethics of aesthetic attunement (“ecognosis”) and a politics of eco-communist solidarity, and 3) outlining the place of religion therein, specifically in light of the dynamics of Axial Age religions, which are repeated in the spirituality of Romanticism and consumerism.

The other event is in Yosemite  National Park, with the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition, where I’ll be presenting on the reception and transformation of continental thought in California, particularly in light of Foucault and Deleuze, each of whom visited California in the 1970s (and early 1980s for Foucault). They were not travelling together or to the same destinations, and Foucault travelled their much more frequently and shared much more openly about his experience than Deleuze. Those differences notwithstanding, there is a profound resonance between the ways that each of these French philosophers understands the dynamics of thinking in California, which can be described in terms of thinking in an “altered state,” reflecting two meanings of that phrase. First, as the state where the West came around to the edge of the East, such that “the earth came full circle” (Deleuze/Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus), California is the place where the world became irrevocably altered, marking the end of the frontier and the redistribution of eco-social relations along East-West lines as well as North-South and local-global lines. Second, in California, the altered eco-social boundaries of the West are accompanied by altered states of consciousness. As Erik Davis puts it in his account of “California’s spiritual landscape,” California is “the visionary state,” uniquely characterized by experimental attitudes toward different practices for disorienting and reorienting thought. In sum, I propose cheekily that, marking a philosophical event of continental drift, continental philosophy is grounded not in Western Europe but in the unruly ecosocial and intellectual landscapes of California.

2 thoughts on “Year in Preview

  1. Hey, Sam! Awesome progress! And thanks for your post! Miss you, man. Do you have any video/audio recordings of lectures. I’d love to listen to your thought. Currently, I have much more space to listen than read, though I do look forward to a time when that shifts.

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