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Ch 4. Agential Realism:How Material-Discursive Practices Mat

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Diana Alvarez

on 13 April 2016

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Transcript of Ch 4. Agential Realism:How Material-Discursive Practices Mat

Ch 4. Agential Realism:How Material-Discursive Practices Matter

Diana Álvarez
Dr. Adetty Pèrez de Miles
Feminist Art, Teaching, and Research (Spring 2016)
April 13, 2016

The unmerited power of language
Barad believes that language has been granted too much power (132).
How did language come to be more trustworthy than matter?
Representationalism and its mediating function between knower and known (133).
Performativity as a contestation to the power granted to language.
Barad's posthumanism
"Refusing the anthropocentrisms fo humanism and antihumanism,posthumanism marks the practice of accounting for the boundary-making practices by which the "human" and its others are differentially delineated and defined" (136).
Posthumanism does not attribute the source of all change to culture, denying nature any sense of agency or historicity.
An Agential Realist Ontology

For Barad this relational ontology is the basis for her posthumanist performative account of material bodies (both human and nonhuman).
The causal relationship between the apparatuses of bodily production and the phenomena produced is on of agential intra-action.
Amber's QRCE: Leaving Room
for Error
The Nature of an Apparatus
Apparatuses are not passive observing instruments; on the contrary, they are productive of (and part of) phenomena (142).

Are humans part of the apparatus?
Barad problematizes Bohr's limitations
of the apparatus.
Material-Discursvie Practices
Discursive practices produce, rather than merely describe, the subjects and objects of knowledge practices.
Gloria's QRCE: Humans/Nonhumans
and the discussion of language and discourse.

Knowing is not about seeing from above or outside or even seeing from a prosthetically enhanced human body. Knowing is a matter of intra-acting (149).
Knowing is not bounded or closed practice but an ongoing performance of the world.
Noura's QRCE: I know nothing about Modern Arab/Middle Eastern Art
Beyond Butler
Butler's theory ultimately reinscribes matter as a passive product of discursive practices rather than as an active agent participating in the very process of materialization.
Agential realism provides an understanding of materialization that goes beyond the anthropocentric limitations of Butler's theory. Significantly, it recognizes matter's dynamism.
Bodily Boundaries

Barad reviews the multitude of challenges to the individualistic conception of bodies and the presumed givenness of bodily boundaries.
Alyssa's QRCE: Lady Problems: Menstrual Cups and Bodily Boundaries

The intra-action with the stick (154-155)
Toy activity, Or the intra-connection with the apparatus
"Clearly,* we do not see merely with out eyes. Interacting with (or rather, intra-acting 'with' and as part of) the world is part and parcel of seeing. Objects are not already there; they emerge through specific practices" (157).
Anna's QRCE: There are Other Ways to See
Sam's QRCE: Sighted Arrogance
Ceci N'est Pas Une Cigar
The success of this seminal experiment in physics required not only the tenacity and skills of the scientists, but it also depended on the convergence of other factors: a warm bed, a bad cigar, a timely postcard, a railroad strike, and an uncanny conspiracy of Nature.
Matter's Dynamism
"Matter's dynamism is generative not merely in the sense of bringing new things into the world but in the sense of bringing forth new worlds, of engaging in an ongoing reconfiguring
the world" (170).
Humans do not merely assemble different apparatuses for satisfying particular knowledge projects; they themselves are part of the ongoing reconfiguring of the world.
El Mundo
by: German Álvarez
On Ethics...
Ethics cannot be about responding to the other as if the other is the radical outside of the self. Ethics is not a geometrical calculation; "others" are never very far from "us"'; "they" and "we" are co-constituted and entangled through the very cuts "we" help to enact. Intra-actions cut "things" together and apart.
Kevin's QRCE: Will the real man's period please stand up?
Re(con)figuring Space, Time, and Matter
Matter is the sedimenting historiality of practices/agencies
an agentive force in the world's differential becoming.
As the rings of trees mark the sedimented history of their intra-actions within and as part of the world, so mat carries within itself the sedimented historialities of the practices through which it is produced as part of its ongoing becoming--it is ingrained and enriched in its becoming.
Let's break (paint) bread
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