Process and Affect: Theory and Praxis

On May 7-8, 2011 the Department of Biological Flow hosted their third annual Toronto spring workshop. The invited speakers were Steven Shaviro (Saturday sessions + evening lecture) and Susan Ruddick (Sunday sessions). The workshop theme was “Process and Affect: Theory and Praxis.”

Steven Shaviro

Steven Shaviro is the DeRoy Professor of English at Wayne State University. He is the author of numerous texts, including most recently “Post-Cinematic Affect,” “Without Criteria: Kant, Whitehead, Deleuze and Aesthetics,” “Connected, Or What It Means To Live in the Network Society,” and “The Cinematic Body.” Most of his current writing is open access at his weblog “The Pinocchio Theory,” which engages process philosophy, current debates in speculative realism, cinema, and a host of other topics weaving in and out of theory and culture.

The Saturday seminars revolved around Shaviro’s current work with the process philosophy of A.N. Whitehead, with tangents reaching to speculative realism and new materialism. Politically, it also engaged alternatives to the neodarwinist mainstream in evolutionary theory as perhaps understood by process philosophy.

His evening lecture, “Consequences of Panpsychism”, considered Whitehead’s notion of “societies,” panpsychism, and the process/object problem.

Susan Ruddick

Susan Ruddick is an Associate Professor in the Geography and Planning Department at the University of Toronto. With degrees in architecture, geography and urban planning, her recent explorations of space and power have turned to early Enlightenment and contemporary French continental philosophy to explore implications for geographic thought. She has worked professionally in urban and community planning and is currently writing about space, power and the subject of politics; inter-subjectivity and dividuation; and the neo/liberal project(s).

The Sunday seminars focused on Ruddick’s recent work concerning affective politics. Exploring the influences of Spinoza in the work of Negri and Deleuze, we extended our analyses into broader questions of space, power, the subject and the city — with an eye toward contemporary examples and practices.