General Notes

0. Introduction

  • OOF: “OOF originated as a feminist intervention into philosophical discourses— like speculative realism, particularly its subset OOO, and new materialism— that take objects, things, stuff, and matter as primary. It seeks to capitalize perhaps somewhat parasitically on the contributions of that thought while twisting it toward more agential, political, embodied terrain. Object-oriented feminism turns the position of philosophy inside out to study objects while being an object oneself. Such self-implication allows OOF to develop three important aspects of feminist thinking in the philosophy of things: politics, in which OOF engages with histories of treating certain humans (women, people of color, and the poor) as objects; erotics, in which OOF employs humor to foment unseemly entanglements between things; and ethics, in which OOF refuses to make grand philosophical truth claims, instead staking a modest ethical position that arrives at being ‘in the right’ even if it means being ‘wrong’” (3).
  • Pairs Anthropocene and digital theory together on the axis of exploitation: “Studies of the Anthropocene, exposing the ecological fallout of utilitarian objectiñcation of the planet, or studies in digital labor, examining the productivist networking of human and nonhuman data objects, likewise align with OOF’s object- oriented analysis of exploitation (and are discussed in the section on objects and objections and the section on politics, respectively) (4).
  • Speculative realism can return feminism to a nonanthropocentric perspective that “provides a welcome respite from theories of subjecthood” and “a positive return to the ‘real world’” after a generational focus on language (5); however, OOF reminds us that for many categories of “the human,” the experience of self-as-object is long-standing, common, and rarely liberatory.
  • On OOO’s tendentious relationship with programmability: “Despite OOO’s disavowal of ‘object-oriented programming,’ it can be no coincidence that object- oriented thinking is emerging at a historical juncture characterized by networks, or the capacity for ordering through code. Programmability is paramount. It remains to be seen whether this may prepare objects for a feminist conception of networks such as Donna Haraway’s ‘integrated circuit,’ or whether ‘withdrawal’ makes objects more or less susceptible to regimes of control. Steven Shaviro and others favor versions of speculative realism that privilege Whiteheadian relation over Harman’s isolated objects, and in this respect would appear compatible with Haraway’s notion of a connectivity that reflects and resists the ubiquity of code toward feminist ends. As Haraway explains, ‘“Networking” is both a feminist practice and a multinational corporate strategy—weaving is for oppositional cyborgs’” (5–6).
  • Experimental methods: “This broad and nonhierarchical experimentalist disposition is shared by object-oriented feminism and echoes over the wide range of objects engaged in the different chapters of this volume. In any milieu, experimentation is always participatory, always both observational and interventionist. This allows for tinkering with received truths, priming us for alliances with hacked realities, investigative arrangements in living, and radical aesthetic practices in art” (14).

1. “A Feminist Object,” Aristarkhova

2. “All Objects are Deviant,” Morton

  • “weird essentialism”:

3. “Allure and Abjection,” Lunning

4. “The World is Flat,” Povinelli

  • Povinelli argues that Harmanian withdrawal solves correlationism “via aesthetic rather than ethical or logical means”; this is the work of “allure” (108).
  • Harman’s three strands that Povinelli critiques: “In other words, although we can not know objects and thus reality, and trying to know them reproduces the correlational fallacy, we can know that they are objects because, and this is the second strand, we can encounter the truth of the theory through an aesthetic experience. The third strand is in a reciprocal relation to this second” (109).
  • Re: Meillassoux: “Ancestral statements could certainly also include all statements indicating an existence long after human beings vanish, such as the future archaeologies imagined by Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures, in which the artist created a visual archive of contemporary human life for a satellite that will remain within the Earth’s orbit long after humans are gone, or Katherine Behar’s E-Waste, discussed in Irina Aristarkhova’s chapter, “A Feminist Object,” in the present volume” (117). Note how digital technologies pop up throughout OOO discourse w/o being sufficiently theorized as to their relation.

5. “Facing Necrophilia,” Behar

6. “Object-Oriented Psychopathia Sexualis,” Zaretsky

7. “Queering Endocrine Disruption,” Pollock

8. “Political Feminist Positioning,” Gržinić

9. “In the Cards,” Gregory

10. “Both a Cyborg and a Goddess,” Scannell

  • This is probably the most relevant essay in the collection for my purposes.
  • “The becoming-intersectional assemblage of the cyborg goddess not only already exists but is in fact an organizing principle of an emerging logic of algorithmic governmentality. Contemporary forms of data-driven governance conjure an improbable intermingling of historically constructed social arrangements (the intersectional) and nonhuman analysis and prediction that, I argue, construct possible future populations in time scales that are not accessible to human cognition (the cyborg)” (248).
  • “I argue that the capacity to process data streams on the scale and with the speed that the NYPD’s system facilitates forces a shift in the target and rationale of governance away from the production and modulation of statistical populations in the biopolitical, humancentric sense of the term (what I call deep managerial time). Instead, big data drives governance toward the maintenance of the efficiency of algorithmic processing as an end in itself. In conjuring this shift, the sociotechnical commitments of governance inaugurate a new object as the target of modulating power—the hybridized mathematical bundlings of material existence. This object is neither an aftereffect of human movement through datafied terrains nor a precursor modulation of security possibilities but an emergent ontological plateau that operates within, through, and on the social via human-indifferent metric technologies” (248).
  • “The fact of the matter is that opening up the black box does not explain social ontologies; it reasserts the supremacy of human ingenuity and capacity (one is tempted to say ‘mastery’) as the only reasonable mode of explaining the social. I would argue that, rather than ‘always historicize,’ the call might be to ‘always mystify’ in order to see where these unclear or occluded social relations draw novel spaces or understanding an increasingly mystifying sociality” (253).