17 July 2011

Recorded Lecture: William E. Connolly, "Two Images of Becoming: Whitehead, Nietzsche, and Cosmopolitics"

At the end of May of this year, the University of London and the University of Exeter hosted the conference event Time, Politics and Becoming devoted to William E. Connolly's text A World of Becoming, published by Duke University Press last year. Connolly's closing address and the ensuing discussion are now available for both streaming and download on the Backdoor Broadcasting Company website.

Connolly's lecture launches with a consideration of the speculative theophilosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, inflected by a comparative analysis with Friedrich Nietzsche's philology. Outlining Whitehead's exploration of the potential for creative change within entities through pluripotential entanglements and interinvolvement with other entities, Connolly advocates our own social, biological and, indeed, existential capacities to "extend our sensitivities" (and, in particular, to problematise the fragility of late capitalism and received experiences of time) which might result as a response to these human and non-human creative processes of change.
"In a fragile world of multiple attractions and repulsions that exceed our everyday practices of action-oriented perception (the Bergsonian distinction), we need to work upon ourselves to become more responsive: to the artistry of whales who compose music as they travel, to the complexity of bird powers of sonar navigation and migration .. to yeast as the vibrations it emits express unconscious feelings of pain when alcohol is poured on it."
Listen to the questions after the talk (the second file within the archive) for further extrapolation on the relationship between Whitehead and Deleuze, and a longer discusssion of Connolly's concept of late capitalism and its ensconced fragility.

The three panel talks from the conference - divided into the themes "Agency and Master", "The Ethical Sensibility of William E. Connolly" and "Immanence, Transcendence, Becoming" - are also available for online streaming and download.

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