by J J Cohen
Readers of ITM who also enjoy the philosophical ruminations of Gilles Deleuze will want to watch this video, kindly sent my way by Mike Smith as a way of thinking about objectal agency in Gil Harris's Untimely Matter. I've been a fan of De Landa since I taught his A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History in a graduate seminar on "Hybridity and Complex Systems" in 2002. I've recently returned to his work as a way of thinking about Mandeville as well: more on that later in the summer. Warning: watching this video will make you desire to grow a pony tail.
Speaking of returns, reading Michel Serres and Gil Harris recently have brought me back to a fellow traveler of De Landa's, Bruno Latour. He and I go way back to 1999 (warning: following this link will remind you of how garish web pages were a decade ago; wear sunglasses before clicking) when I taught my first serious course on temporality. I know We Have Never Been Modern is the text most frequently cited by us medievalists, but let me put in a plug here for the amazing second half of The Pasteurization of France as well as the experimental, over the top, odd and wonderful Aramis, or the Love of Technology. These latter two books showed me that scholarship should be practiced not only as a rigorous discipline but also as a form of art. Aramis especially is a book I find myself returning to frequently.