[-empyre-] Meillassoux / Harman

Timothy Morton timothymorton303 at gmail.com
Sun Jun 17 08:29:34 EST 2012


Hi All,

If this already went in, sorry. Ignore. I'm pasting a post I wrote here,
because Jack Halberstam kindly suggested I do.

Just to introduce myself, I'm Tim Morton of Rice University and I'm an
OOO-er.

Yours, Tim

OOO, Gender, Sexuality
 I can't sleep. I was up grading so by rights I should be knackered. But
I've also been up having the best conversation ever, with the best ever,
and elements of it are beeping away in my head.

So I double checked my Internet and noticed Judith Halberstam, Ian Bogost,
Michael O'Rourke, Rob Jackson and others were having a detailed discussion
on empyre.

Now I don't belong to it and I'm too busy to get with it right now--also
these thoughts are fizzing in me.

So I hope some kind person(s) will paste this or the link to the discussion
list?

Okay. I've written essays on queer theory and ecology and on OOO and
feminism (that last one is forthcoming). I am and have been considered a
deconstructor, and my most recent talk (soon essay) was on OOO and race.

Of the 6 Ph.D. students of mine explicitly doing OOO (out of about 15),
three are women, one of whom is working on gender and sexuality. Two are
men, both gay, working on performativity.

If you think about it, OOO provides a very beautiful way to think gender
and sexuality issues at the ontological level--Levi Bryant has done some of
the heavy lifting there, as well as Michael O'Rourke.

Withdrawal--no object is subsumed by its use-by any (other) entity--surely
accounts for gender switching, non-genital sexuality, BDSM and queerness
(for want of a better word) at a deep level.

Now my next remarks are addressed to those scholars who like Judith
Halberstam (did I meet you when I was at USC last year?) are concerned
about OOO.

I use y'all, for some weird reason. I'm actually English but was recently
kidnapped by Rice!

Y'all are a bit scared of "ontology" because it was the province of the
metaphysics of presence and all that it entails. Correct.

But OOO is explicitly designed to account for a reality without this
presence, yet without evaporating everything into (anthropocentric) powder.

Although I did just write on Karen Barad, etc etc., we look like we are
sidestepping some recent theory because we believe that it contains some
weird code that goes all the way back to Heidegger, weird unnecessary code
that affected Lacan, and through him Barthes, Derrida and Foucault--and on
up to now.

The bug is why Derrida was so leery of ontology as such, for instance.

That's why Harman went back to Heidegger. He dismantles the code from that
point. That's why he's so important.

This is a big deal. We are not ignoring you. We are going back to the
Heidegger U-Boat and debugging it from the inside. Y'all are floating
around above a gigantic coral reef of beautiful things we call "objects,"
including you (look it's you down there!).

But you can't see it cos this Heidegger bug has got your windshield all
fogged up.

In no way does OOO try to yank you back up to the surface of prepackaged
ideologemes of race, class and gender. We are simply asking you to look
down.

I should have more conversations like that.

-- 

Ecology without Nature <http://ecologywithoutnature.blogspot.com/>
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