Posts Tagged “kritik”

They Aren’t Impossible… Promise – Het Desai

by admin.

High school K affs suck. Despite the call for ‘argument innovation’ and years of ‘third and fourth level testing’ the most read 1NC against a planless aff is without question Framework and the coveted Cap K. Is it lazy? Probably. Does it often work? Yes. Here are a couple of thoughts…

1. Presumption wins debates.

Most affs in this category don’t do a thing, yet by the 2AR they solve drone strikes, global poverty, racism, and the war on terror. The solution? Presumption. A clear guideline to evaluate the internal link of an aff to solve literally anything but a polysyllabic word. Any kritik of presumption without a substantive answer should be one in the win column for you. PLEASE just have a defense of why doing something is good…please. If you ever feel that a team is getting away with saying nonsense to justify not solving or more nonsense this should be your first stop.

2. The TRUTH

The title says it all. The Cap K is arguably the right 2NR against 95% of these affs. Jk not arguably…it just is! 1AR coverage is always terrible, the defense of the perm is sketchy at best, and unique offense is rare. And let’s be clear the aff is never always already the perm. Never. An extinction impact always outweighs an aff that again does nothing so what do we have left? Indicts against marxism? “Violence in the Party” DA? Form not content applies here too :) A flexible 2NR that has judge instruction, impact calculus, case defense (hey maybe presumption too) and ensures the left doesn’t cede our world to facism but instead transforms into the communist dream will do wonders.

3. Fairness? Who is she?

Too often, 2NRs on T assert that fairness is an intrinsic impact, the aff destroys it, and points to instances of fairness the aff has used to answer the impact turns. This will get you nowhere. Literally point 0 because the terminal impact to fairness is preserving the status quo model of debate and literally every K aff (at least the good ones) is already designed to impact that model. Something along the lines of…

Games produces bad things…blah blah blah…but hey we can change it…blah…vote aff…whats fairness again?

Instead you have to defend that form of the game before you can win your fairness impact! Its a must. An impact centered around the benefits of clash with a stasis point grounded in the resolution and discussing the benefits of that model will almost ALWAYS be far more effective.

Rant #1

Why do 2Ns forget what offense is? A 20 second impact explanation followed by 4:40 of defense will NOT win you debates and will be embarrassing when the 2AR gets up and goes for solely their impact turns. Yes most aff impact turns are incoherent and yes they can easily be made offense for you but you have to invest the time. Think of the following at a minimum “does the aff’s counter-interpretation solve this impact turn?”, “is the impact turn unique to topical debate?”, “is there a way your interp can solve the impact turn through debates over a predictable stasis point?”.

Rant #2 SSD > TVA. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong… The TVA will always be a fundamentally defensive argument, while SSD can be spun as an offensive argument (self-reflexivity, becoming better prepared to defend your own argument).

A debater who makes these rants a coherent 2NR will not be baffled by a 2A who claims you have missed the central question(oops).


by admin.

In Das Kapital, Marx advances another criterion to distinguish between non-human animals and human animals. He advances the criteria of “imagination,” or the ability to foresee the production of something not yet produced (DK, 344). For Marx, non-human animals are seamlessly attached to the products of their labor as a function of their immediate needs. What he means by this is that non-human animals follow specific desires that immediately fulfill roles in survival such as hunger and fear etc. This rhetoric is fairly consistent even as far back as the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Marx states: “It is true that the animal, too, produces. It builds itself a nest, a dwelling, like the bee… But it only produces what it needs immediately for itself or its offspring; it produces one-sidedly…” (76). Humans on the other hand are able to engage in detached relations with our objects of production. This is the starting point for having relations. In order to have relations between something we have to first see it as external to ourselves. Relaying this relationship requires further the establishment of language to convey an experience. Thus, Marx also views language as a human attribute. Marx makes explicit references in the German Ideology to language and its concurrent development with consciousness. This concurrence explains further the foundational dichotomy in Marx between, human animals, who possess a consciousness of language and affect, and non-human animals, who do not possess these relations of language and affect. It is useful to quote Marx at length on this point:

            “…we find that man [sic] also possesses “consciousness”; but, even so, not inherent, not “pure” consciousness. From the start the “spirit” is afflicted with the curse of being “burdened” with matter, which here makes its appearance in the form of agitated layers of air, sounds, in short of languageLanguage is as old as consciousness, language is practical consciousness, as it exists for other men, and for that reason is really beginning to exist for me personally as well; for language, like consciousness, only arises from the need, the necessity, of an intercourse with other men. Where there exists a relationship, it exists for me: the animal has no “relations” with anything, cannot have any. For the animal, its relation to others does not exist as a relation. Consciousness is therefore from the very beginning as social product, and remains so as long as men exist at all.” – The German Ideology, Part 1. (158).

            This quote corresponds with the sentiment in Das Kapital, where Marx outlines a similar criterion for language. He says that language is a production; it involves the arrangement of relations and the relations of arrangement.  Marx’s hierarchy between the species has been heavily debated and can be particularly hard to respond to because of its intuitive appeal to distinctions such as beauty, utility, alienation, and language. Ironically, Marx’s (much needed) criticisms of reductionism in scholarship only focused on the exterior of the subject. Although, Marx was able to spot the reductionist assumption of an isolated ego in literature and science, he was unable to remove the reductionism surrounding his investigation with the interior workings of the subject. In all of the attributes that Marx advances for the species distinction, he performs a reductionist maneuver of first defining the existence of that particular category in humanist terms before the production of that category is justified. With this in mind the following analysis is an investigation of this threshold. Even a seemingly smooth threshold or rigid line becomes jagged, fragmented, porous, on closer inspection. If we zoom in close enough, what seemed to be a boundary, a distinction, a limitation dissolves.

The honeybee provides a distinct test case for an experiment within Marx’s writing.  Even as far back as the Philosophic and Economic Manuscripts of 1844, Marx uses the example of the bee to convey his distinction. Today, scientists possess more knowledge concerning honeybee behavior. In the 1980’s many experiments uncovered their ability for communication and memory.  Honeybees can learn patterns and remember images to navigate a landscape. When an individual bee locates an area for nutrients, then it remembers the location and communicates the message to other bees in the colony. This language capacity can take place through many mediums as well including through visual dancing, the production of pheromones, and the presentation of food. Marx would have been unaware of the advanced intelligence of honeybees; he especially could not have foreseen the advanced fields in engineering based on honeybees including ‘hive memory’ and ‘swarm theory.’ Inside a bee hive is a thriving economy of bees interacting with their environment and themselves. The air around the hive is circulating with chemical messages.  These messages allow for communication to occur through an intricate pheromone transmission system.

I wish to explore the threshold between the human/animal barrier in Marx by investigating the honeybee’s capacity for language and memory. Is it possible that Marx is using the wrong units for analysis? How do we know that a single bee compared to a single human is adequate? Why not an entire hive versus a single neuron?  The first comparison would clearly favor the human specimen, while the second comparison would favor the bee. Surely, Marx believes that the human cannot be reduced to a single neuron. This warrants that the human consciousness must in some sense emerge from some organization between the neurons within our brain. The billions of neurons each contribute to a process of self-organization. As the network of neurons receives more input they react and respond. Complexity theory refers to the spontaneous adaptation of a system as ‘learning.’  What we call the imagination or memory is simply an archive of associations in history.  These memories are held together on a common substrate which we typically reference as our subject(ivity). The attributes and behaviors of our subjecthood are stored in a large library of imprints and arrangements. This is no library of books, better rather a library of neurons and chemical messages. 

Similarly in honeybees, if we remove our anthropocentric and reductionist urge to compare one human versus one bee, then our units of analysis become the hive with its swarm of honeybees versus the brain and its swarm of neurons. Because Marx portrays language as an activity concurrent with consciousness, irreparable tension is injected into his depiction of the human animal and non-human animal dichotomy. If language and consciousness are “not inherent” but rather arise out of a “burden with matter,” then on what grounds can we confine consciousness and relations to the realm of the human animal (GI, 158)?  I believe complexity theory provides a solution to this problem. Complexity theory provides an explanation for how something can arise spontaneously. This style of explanation would escape the need for some essentialist or rule-based foundation (like Marx).

Complexity-theory scholarship offers much to Marxism, but specific to this investigation is the nature of conscious and what makes up memory. In complexity theory a complex process can accumulate imprints or reactions to information through encounter. My brain currently is encountering music, concepts, and anxieties. Each of these elements work in an ensemble to cover, uncover, and recover past information that is embedded in the network of neurons. There is no perfectly defined cause and effect in this network, which makes it problematic to utilize a reductionist analysis to account for human essence. This is not to say that there are no organized relations in the mind, but rather to say that even the seemingly organized and confined structures of thought are saturated with a compact, dense form of excess. The mind is truly buzzing with activity like a hive full of dancing bees. Where neurons interact by firing chemical messages, bees interact by sending chemical pheromones and by engaging in sophisticated dance language. The hive is a structure brimming with the language of chemical dance.  It is ironic to find Marx’s beginning for human value and human consciousness in language, which is in my analysis equally a nexus from which to end the privileged category of the human. I see Marx ascribing to the curriculum of Nietzsche’s “devil,” the spirit of gravity; this is a devil where “through him all things fall.” Only the honeybee’s dance ruptures the belief in the spirit of gravity and propels one forward to find another belief altogether. We should heed Nietzsche’s caution to “believe only in a god who could dance.”  A god, who rules over a place, where “every day I count wasted in which there has been no dancing.”  In the beehive there is no day counted as true waste, because in the beehive no day is without the language of dancing.

Friedrich Nietzsche. Zarathustra, “On Reading and Writing.”

Conversations with Afropessimism* – Kevin Clarke

by admin.

(Provisionally Titled*; Original Title Withheld*) 


By Kevin Clarke 


Scholars and academics in sociology and the humanities have for years wrestled with the question of whether black agency is nothing more than an oxymoron. Recently a new approach in black philosophy has taken up this question only to provide an unflinchingly pessimistic answer in response. The approach which goes by the moniker of ‘afropessimism’ refers to a group of structural theorists who adopt a paradigmatic analysis that theorizes the Black positionality as always already conditioned by ‘social death.’ Their analysis thus concludes that dispossession cannot always be theorized as an experiential concern but rather must be theorized as a condition of black existence. The provocative conclusions of afropessimism have ensnared and anchored the theoretical imaginary of today’s scholarship on blackness. This paper will scrutinize the validity of the afropessimist conclusion that anti-blackness ontologically anchors civil society. Primarily, afropessimism will be criticized for its adoption of an underlying latent Hegelianism that not only misappropriates the role of ontology in relation to politics, but that also ignores post-humanist formulations of politics. After outlining the implications of this problem, this paper will briefly present an alternative trajectory to re-calibrate black politics while heeding the cautions, frustrations, and brilliance of afropessimism. I must be clear; the aim of this critique is not to entirely dispense with the conceptual frameworks or vocabularies of afro-pessimism altogether, as this would ignore a myriad of relevant lessons, important upper limitations, and exigent correctives for any rigorous conversation on race or blackness.


In the context of antiracism, we can locate a distinct shift across disciplines in the last few decades away from the previous understanding of race as being biologically determined toward a conception that figures race as a function of social interpretations. Unfortunately, despite this departure from biological determinism and the important conceptual developments in sociology, theorists have simply arrived back into a framework of analysis that mystifies rather than clarifies the nature of racial dispossession in North America (possibly even globally). At issue here is the way in which sociology theorizes with a set of hidden, multicultural precepts concerning the question of agency. Their work takes for granted the answer to the question: what constitutes human agency? Instead, their intellectual labor begins with the precept that all subjects exist in the first instance as fully capable and coherent agents. This assumption that all humans possess a fullness or a coherency of capacity can be referred to as a subject’s corporeal capacity. As a corrective to this agent-centric approach, theorists within the humanities in the last decade have demanded a theorization that instead adopts a structural reading of political events. Rather than argue that racial violence and anti-black dispossession are functions of specific agents that can be isolated as causes, a structural analysis locates the cause at the level of the system or the matrix of power itself. For black structural theorists (examples include: black Marxism, black anarchism, afropessimism, feminist race theory, afra-realism, etc), the entire matrix of the political economy must be systemically implicated as a dimension of racial violence alongside the agents embedded in that system.

Simply adopting a structural reading of suffering does not keep one safe from being implicated in the perpetuation of dispossession. Although a system-wide consciousness is important to understanding the racialization of bodies and subjects in general, according to the afro-pessimist critique, the narrative that becomes legitimized is still nonetheless foundational to the performative violence that is continually enacted on the paradigms of Redness and Blackness in North America. This type of criticism extends beyond the structural analysis of the political economy by interrogating the libidinal economy that undergirds it. The phrase ‘libidinal economy’ for afro-pessimists refers to “the economy, or distribution and arrangement, of desire and identification (their condensation and displacement), and the complex relationship between sexuality and the unconscious” (7). Under paradigmatic analysis, the libidinal economy is regarded as just “as ‘objective’ as political economy” (7). This condition of objectivity allows theorists to rigorously interrogate the assumptive logics and paradigms that underlie political capacity and political desire altogether. The meta-logics that pervade civil society are thus analyzed as a set of semiotic investments.

At the forefront of this scholarship is the cultural critic Frank Wilderson. His writing has attained wide-scale notoriety for its demand for an ‘unflinching paradigmatic analysis’ of the libidinal economy. Under Wilderson’s framework there is a permanent and unfixable gap between Blackness and Whiteness. His version of afropessimism argues that any Humanist framework is grossly inadequate and parasitic on Blackness at the level of the libidinal economy. In operational terms, the promise of racial progress is nothing more than a passionate dream operating as a parasitic nightmare. Specifically, the problem lies in the underlying logic of humanism which relies on an “implicit rhetorical consensus” that all subject-positions possess the same capacity for subjecthood as an essential condition of their being (54). Today’s socio-political imaginary is oversaturated by this exact Humanist consensus because of its collective reliance on: either, a schema of the worker, demanding labor equality and the democratization of the means of production, or, a schema of the egoic subject, grasping or wielding corporeal capacity to fend off physical and material suffering.

Even the latest installment of multi-cultural, humanist discourse mystifies rather than clarifies the suffering and violence that accumulates specifically to Blackness and Redness. Despite the burning passion and hysteric intentions of civil society’s dream to one day redeem Whiteness from slavery and/or compensate natives for the obliteration afforded to them by colonial genocide, the United States as an ethical formation will never succeed in the task to, as Wilderson so simply puts it, to “Give Turtle Island back to the ‘Savage.’ [and/or] Give life itself back to the Slave” (2). In other words, despite all civil society’s attention to solidarity, collaboration, and unity, the contemporary narrative adopts a grammar of suffering that is not only speechless to express the truth of anti-black dispossession and terror, but is also parasitic on that very arrangement. By ‘grammar of suffering,’ Wilderson references the field of semiotics and linguistics. Grammar in these disciplines refers to the codes and protocols that enable and/or limit the expression of meaning; they are the unspoken rules that govern how and if one can convey meaning. Likewise, Wilderson is interrogating the unspoken rules that restrict one’s ability to convey the meaning of suffering and dispossession within the libidinal, and by extension political, economies. The grammar of these domains can be objectively interrogated to disclose their underlying premises in regards to suffering.

Under the Afropessimist framework, the condition of anti-black dispossession can only be understood through the lens of political ontology by what Wilderson calls an ‘unflinching paradigmatic analysis.’ Paradigm is conceptually equivalent to the sociology term subject-position or positionality. It’s a reference to the generic characteristics or, vague categories of power, that sentience can occupy. Ontology refers to the study of being and to the study of what essentially is a thing’s nature. Put more simply, it asks: what constitutes a thing of which without it, the thing could no longer be said to be that identical thing?; What is a thing’s essence? Furthermore, the framework’s emphasis on political ontology refers to a type of analysis that purely provides an assessment using the essentials of a political paradigm. For example, a paradigmatic analysis of political ontology would ask the question of constituents: what constitutes a particular paradigm? What makes that paradigm that paradigm? In the context of the positionality of the Black, the constitutive question would ask: What makes Black, Black? Or, it’s ontological equivalent: What makes White, White? The capitalization of Slave is used to designate position or paradigm under the lens of political ontology. In this case, it is synonymous with the essence of Slaveness, which is furthermore indistinguishable from the political essence of Blackness.

For Wilderson, the constitutive question when applied to the structural positionalities of North America provides him with the conclusion that the structure of U.S. antagonisms can be triangulated between the positions of Red, White, and Black. In other words, the constitutive question reveals the existence of an irreconcilable and structural gap: the antagonism between the position of the Slave (Blackness, Anti-Human), the Savage (Redness, Half-Human), and the Master (Whiteness, Human). The word antagonism refers to an irreconcilable difference between positions that cannot be resolved through any series of events. In a short article criticizing Antonio Gramsci, Wilderson elaborates this as an analysis that “dismisses any kind of dialectical optimism for a future synthesis” (2002, pg.3). Following Frantz Fanon, this politics is a war of positions that can only entail the obliteration of one of the warring entities; there’s no possibility for (re)conciliatory unity. The concept of antagonism or antagonistic identity formation should be contrasted with the “rubric of conflict” (55). For example, the relation between the hegemonic and the subaltern (political subject of counter-hegemony) can be classified as a conflictual relationship because, it’s predicated on the conflict of a subject subverting, transgressing, or violating the hegemony of law. In other words, we can make sense of this situation according to particular rules of civil society; it’s a relationality of contingency with respect to how one suffers.

In assembling these concepts together, Wilderson distills the entire set of hegemonic conflicts down to the structural positionality of White. He argues that the position of White in the United States encompasses the whole range of intra-human conflicts and even intra-settler conflicts. For him, the White positionality is synonymous with the essence of civil society and with the essence of what it means to be Human simultaneously. Humanism is ultimately able to house a number of conflicts within itself –within its terrain, or matrix.  Civil society secures this ‘material base’ or ‘social fabric’ off of which all other conflicts between Human contemporaries can then take place upon. These conflictual relations are ‘contingent situations’ or ‘events of contingency.’ The concept of contingency can be traced to that of Gramsci, who theorized that society struggled according to the play between hegemonic and counter-hegemonic forces. The hegemonic force is able to make and officiate specific rules governing a given society. When a subject breaches or violates the hegemony of law, then that subject can be sanctioned for violence; or, put simply, the encounter relies on exchanging the choice of transgression for the expectation of suffering. Thus, a conflictual rubric contains an adequate grammar of suffering to explain any type of violence that is contingent on one’s transgression.

The ontological fight over what criteria are acceptable for one to be recognized and integrated into civil society as fully human, has a historical legacy that for some subject-positions directly mirrors how and when they were structurally dispossessed. For Wilderson a subject-position that is antagonistically dispossessed can only be explained by the analytic of gratuitous violence. This suturing of history to political ontology for Blackness is not a similarity of correlation, but rather one and the same product of Whiteness. Rather than simply denoting a similarity between two seemingly distinct domains of history and ontology, the Afro-pessimists argue that we are speaking of identical entities shaped out of absolute causation, raw condition, or timeless facticity. To explain this as a set of isolated causes would be inadequate, because when the cause and the effect are the same, the meaning of causality loses its explanatory power or analytical value. They are the same in the sense that, to quote Wilderson, re-quoting Frantz Fanon, the “cause is the consequence; you are rich because you are white, you are white because you are rich” (78). To identify this entity as a systemic force, dimension, or plane of violence that endlessly positions Black sentience, these theorists use the figuration of a ‘matrix’ to explain this dispossession. In other words, being violently dispossessed operates as an initial constituent of their being even prior to any subjective experience that fills-in the raw, epidermal rebar. The condition of being ‘fatally alive’ or ‘natally alienated’ regardless of experiential makeup marks the condition of social death. Gratuitous violence refers to this senseless terror suffered by a positionality consigned to social death. Unlike the Human subject’s commonsense or contingent grammar of suffering, the analytic of gratuitous violence abandons altogether the possibility of achieving narrative cohesion; it does not adopt a conclusion with any explanatory power or corporeal capacity to make sense of antagonistic dispossession. Under afropessimism, the dispossession and horror of anti-blackness can only be senseless when evaluated according to civil society’s official narrative.

The analytic of gratuitous violence fully eclipses the structural circumstances of the Black, while only half-positioning the subject of Redness. Due to the unique style of dispossession enacted and ongoing on native and indigenous peoples, the Savage positionality is regarded as half-positioned by gratuitous violence and half-positioned by contingent violence. Their access to the gratuitous violence analytic stems from the previous and ongoing genocide on Native-Americans that produces irreconcilable destruction of which there can never be repair, and never be redemption. Alternatively, the other half of the Savage position can be explained by a framework of contingency because the Natives still possess ties to land, kinship, and sovereignty from which they can generate enough rhetorical and material currency to be recognized as half-human, subaltern subjects via empathic identification.

Instead of possessing the “cartographic and temporal capacities” of the subaltern’s customs, traditions, and land, the Slave positionality is marked by absolute dereliction and utter emptiness (54-55). For Wilderson, determining an ontological essence for the Slave is an impossibility, because ontological analysis assumes that the corporeal, or subjective, capacity for social life and social activity exist in the first place. Put simply, Slaveness was essentially relegated to function not as a subject, but rather as a sentient, propertied object. As a species of property, the essence of the Slave can accumulate an indeterminate number of purposes depending on the whims of the Master. For this reason, Afropessimism defines the technologies of slavery, not as essentially exploitation, drudgery, or contingent violence, but rather as ‘accumulation and fungibility.’ By this they mean that the essence of the Slave constantly accumulates meaning from the Master, while the word ‘fungibility’ makes reference to how the Slave’s value can be easily and limitlessly commodified alongside other goods as an exchangeable piece of property or money. The non-ontological status of Slaveness/Blackness can be further articulated (or more properly ‘inarticulated,’ given the absence of articulation in the Gramscian sense) as the condition of complete, social death. Ultimately, the gap between Master and Slave is permanent and unbridgeable.

When scaled up to the level of society, the antagonistic gap provides the basis for the parasitic arrangement that gives birth to subjecthood. The incommensurate and anti-human status of the encounter with the Black object provides the backdrop from which White sociality registers itself as socially alive in the first place. The Black structurally becomes positioned as the anti-human threat from which the rest of Humanity (civil society) purchases coherency and, re-solidifies membership to the club. Humanity (social life itself) thereby understands itself as clearly and distinctly real by first demarcating what the reality of humanness is not. In this Hegelian sense, the interplay between ontological forces (being, social life, subject, freedom) and non-ontological forces (non-being, social death, sentient object, enslaved) takes place along the same antagonistic fault lines that triangulate the war between Red Savage, White Master, and Black Slave. This triangulation occurs between the two mutually exclusive zones of social life and social death.

One might notice the peculiarity of choosing the word triangulation to describe a coordination between two concepts. As a metaphor Wilderson adopts the figuration of a balance-scale that can freely measure corporeal capacity between two subjects but only with the Black sentient object as the fulcrum of that measurement. This is because Slaveness is a positionalitiy or subject-position that lacks the subjective capacity altogether. The encounter with the incoherency of the Black sentient object is the reflective surface on and by which all other permutations of humanism purchase their coherency. Instead, only White (including subaltern) and Red positionalities have the capacity to be in the world: Whiteness as permanently the apex of the life-world itself and Redness as perpetually oscillating between being in the world or, just being of the world. When this encounter is scaled-up to the level of civil society it becomes the anti-black fabric that makes it possible for civil society to formulate, strengthen, and even dialectically contest itself. This dialectical narrative, which is essential to the worker and egoic subject, is always in diametrical opposition to the site of absolute dereliction that is the positionality of Blackness (Fanon). An unflinching paradigmatic analysis reveals that the Black is never in the world, but rather, always-already a product of the world as an object freely (or gratuitously) accumulating the danger and social costs of what it takes to simply have a blackened epidermal rebar.


The totalizing theorization of Blackness as ‘embodied incapacity’ and as an anti-human foil out of which civil society grounds itself, is a hypothesis based on a conflation of the word ‘political’ and the word ‘politics.’ Followers of Wilderson mis-use the category of political ontology when their paradigmatic analyses………… 

Badiou, Alain. Deleuze: the Clamour of Being University of Minnesota Press, 2000.

Gramsci, Antonio. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. New York: International Publishers, 1971. Ed. Hoare, Quentin & Smith, Geoffrey Nowell.

Gordon, Lewis. Bad Faith and Antiblack Racism. Atlanta Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1995.

James, Joy. 2013. “Afra-Realism and the Black Matrix: Maroon Philosophy at Democracy’s Border” The Black Scholar, Volume 43, Number 4.

James, Joy. 2013. “ “Concerning Violence”: Frantz Fanon’s Rebel Intellectual in Search of a Black Cyborg” The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume, 112, No 1. Winter. Duke Univ Press.

  James, Joy. 2012. “Joy James: Refusing Blackness as Victimization: Trayvon Martin & the Black Cyborgs” Lecture by Joy James on September 19, 2012 at Univ of Wisconsin-Madison. Organized by the A.E. Havens Center. Online.  

Wilderson, Frank III. 2010. – Red, White, and Black: Cinema and the Structure of U.S. Antagonisms

Wilderson, Frank B III. 2010. Speaking on a Panel on Literary Activism at the National Black Writers Conference. March 26, 2010. “Panel on Literary Activism” Transcribed from Online Source., begins at roughly 49:10 

Wilderson, Frank III. 2011. “The Vengeance of Vertigo” InTensions Journal, Fall/Winter. 2011

How We’ll Teach the Kritik – Nico Juarez

by admin.

Most people understand the kritik to be made of three elementary parts: A link, an impact, and an alternative. However, beyond this, there often isn’t a lot of explanation about how the K functions besides as an indictment of some assumptions made on the part of the affirmative. In the 2 weeks session, we’ll go a lot deeper into the theory of what a kritik is and how it needs to be run. 

In the case of the different parts of a criticism, we’ll look at what links mean about the affirmative and how different kinds of kritik links mean different things. We’ll not only explain the various kinds of kritik links, but how those links change the nature of the kritik. In this way, we’ll come to understand kritik links as changing how even the same sort of kritik can be run in very different ways. In terms of the impacts, we’ll be looking at various different ways to do impact calculus and how kritik impacts can compete with the affirmative at different scales—either on the same level of the plan or advocacy or beyond it. Finally, we’ll go in depth about what alternatives are. What, for example, makes the kritik any different from a critical counterplan? Parsing out the distinctions between a counterplan advocacy and an alternative will allow students not only to explore various different types of alternatives, but explore how kritiks are not just counter-advocacies, but different ideas about the purpose and method of debate as well as different theories of change. Exploring these parts in depth will allow students to not only master the kritiks they are familiar with, but explore and develop critical literature in order to construct their own kritiks and deploy the same literature base in a variety of different ways.

Beyond this, we’ll be taking a student-centered learning approach to different kritiks. Some students will want to learn the capitalism kritik and others will want to hear about Afropessimism and settler colonial theory while others will want to learn the intricate philosophy of Gilles Deleuze or Jean Baudrillard. Whether your interests are Nietzsche or queer theory, we’ll allow students to decide what kritiks they’re interested in so that they get the most out of their work, ensuring that everything they learn is translatable to the upcoming debate year. 

Finally, for those less interested in the kritik, we’ll learn how to answer kritiks not only be exploring common answers to kritiks, but by examining how to answer the kritik on its own terms. In this way, we hope to reveal the kritik/policy divide to be largely artificially created and make sure that no matter your preferred debating style that you can deploy the tricks of kritiks to beat your opponents. 

We can’t wait to see you this summer!