Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Thursday, February 2, 2012

And for My Next Trick

Spring quarter, coming up:

Speculative Realism and Object-Oriented Ontology

Philosophy has undergone a radical change. Reality is back on the table, in a different, strange and sometimes threatening (to humans) way. This change comes after two hundred years of consensus, a consensus that philosopher Quentin Meillassoux calls “correlationism”: the supposition that humans can only think reality as it is correlated to them. This thought has affected everything, from Kant through deconstruction.

In this class we shall survey the bracing new thought that goes under the name speculative realism, and in particular, its feisty subset, object-oriented ontology. This new thinking now affects areas as diverse as ecology, dance, sculpture, computer games, architecture, art criticism, media theory, design and geography. It will soon be making a strong impact in literary studies with a special issue of New Literary History devoted to object-oriented ontology (OOO). OOO's architect is Graham Harman. It has already had a big impact in medieval literary studies, with scholars such as Eileen Joy and Jeffrey Cohen spearheading the way.

This new philosophy movement is intertwined with new media. The journal Speculations is one of a number of free online publications in speculative realism. Many texts and talks are available as blog posts and in other online media.

Speculative realism is powerfully congruent with the emerging ecological crisis, since it tries to think reality outside the human–world correlate.

Tim Morton is one of the four core exponents of the subset known as OOO.

Ian Bogost, Alien Phenomenology (U of Minnesota Press, 2012)
Levi Bryant, Graham Harman and Nick Srnicek, eds., The Speculative Turn (2011; available as a free pdf download from
Levi Bryant, The Democracy of Objects (Open Humanities Press, 2011; free download).
Graham Harman, Towards Speculative Realism (Zero Books, 2011).
Graham Harman, The Quadruple Object (Zero Books, 2011).
Tim Morton, Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (Open Humanities Press, forthcoming; final draft available on request).
Tim Morton, “Sublime Objects.” (Free for download at Speculations.)
Tim Morton, “Here Comes Everything.” (Available on request.)
Tim Morton, “Objects as Temporary Autonomous Zones,” Continent. (Free download at the journal's website.)

Requirements: one presentation, three short papers (2000 words each), topics to be decided between teacher and student. They could be modular (work towards two or three conference papers or single essay), or not.


Eileen Joy said...

This looks really good; I taught a similar course last year, in which you figured prominently, and you might find the syllabus plus working bibliography helpful:

treena taniesha said...

I am so-o taking this course. Is there any preparatory reading you'd recommend before we attack the list? E.g. I read After Finitude for a class, but not sure I understood it fully.