An Autodidact's Guide to Accelerationism
Given the perpetual confusion (and the deliberate esotericism) around ‘Accelerationism’, its theoreticians, and its political ‘goals’, I have prepared this syllabus as a kind of (auto)didactic reading guide for the would-be Accelerationist and others curious about wading through this rich yet disconnected area of ongoing research.
With a recognition that “Accelerationism” has come to stand in as a post hoc signifier for a variety of discontinuous theoretical threads, I have attempted to provide an exhaustive—yet not too exhaustive—overview of the concept (if it is a unitary one), its major theoretical lineages, as well as its discontents. As such, this guide does not have any particular theoretical or political bent—it is neither r/acc nor l/acc nor g/acc nor u/acc—and thus the readings may be contradictory or unclear, but more often than not they have been paired together precisely on account of their dissonance!
It is my hope that this guide may—eventually—help dispel some of the ongoing myths about Accelerationism that permeate academia, the blogosphere, Twitter, and (increasingly) the edges of mainstream political discourse. Best of luck!
In the interest of keeping this list as short as can be, I have cut some material (e.g. Marx, Deleuze-Guattari, among others) that may be of interest in wading through this list. No doubt a knowledge of Marx in particular will prove invaluable in evaluating the following readings.
Also—I would love to turn this into a lecture series eventually, but I’m not sure if/when that would happen or how (I’m very busy). It’d be really cool to hear if people wanted that—or perhaps even text-based lectures/summaries of each unit.
Rise of the Machines
- READ: Mary Daly, ch. 1 in Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism (1978).
- READ: Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto” (1985).
- READ: Sadie Plant, “The Future Looms: Weaving Women and Cybernetics” (1995).
- READ: Sadie Plant, “cyborg manifestos” in Zeros and Ones (1997).
The Matrix, Simulation, and the Womb
- READ: Luce Irigaray, “This Sex Which is Not One” in This Sex Which is Not One (1985).
- READ: Sadie Plant, “On the Matrix: Cyberfeminist Simulations” (1996).
- READ: Sadie Plant, “runaway” in Zeros and Ones (1997).
- WATCH: The Wachowskis, “The Matrix” (1999).
- WATCH: Alex Garland, “Devs” (2020).
- RECOMMENDED: Laboria Cuboniks, “Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation”.
Capital’s Black Circuit
- READ: Luce Irigaray, “Women on the Market” in This Sex Which is Not One (1985).
- READ: Luce Irigaray, “Commodities Among Themselves” in This Sex Which is Not One (1985).
- READ: Sadie Plant, “learning curves” in Zeros and Ones (1997).
- READ: Sadie Plant, “speed queens” in Zeros and Ones (1997).
- READ: Amy Ireland, “Black Circuit: Code for the Numbers to Come”.
- WATCH: Alex Garland, “Ex Machina” (2014).
- RECOMMENDED: Suzanne Livingstone, Luciana Parisi, Anna Greenspan, “Amphibious Maidens” (http://www.ccru.net/swarm3/3_amph.htm).
- RECOMMENDED: Luciana Parisi, “Microfeminine Warfare” in Abstract Sex (2004).
The End of Man
- READ: Allucquere Roseanne Stone, "Will the Real Body Please Stand Up? Boundary Stories and Virtual Cultures" (1994).
- READ: Susan Stryker, “My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix” (1994).
- READ: Sadie Plant, “disorders” from Zeros and Ones (1997).
- READ: Nyx Land, “Gender Acceleration: A Blackpaper” (https://vastabrupt.com/2018/10/31/gender-acceleration/).
- WATCH: Sadie Plant, The Feminine Cyberspace (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doL9mRMEUGw).
- WATCH: Ridley Scott, “Blade Runner” (1982).
- READ: Sadie Plant, “cybernetics” from Zeroes and Ones (1997).
- READ: Sadie Plant, “Cyberpositive” (http://www.sterneck.net/cyber/plant-land-cyber/).
- READ: Anna Greenspan and Suzanne Livingston, “Future Mutation: Technology, Shanzai and the Evolution of Species” (2015).
(Dis)enlightenment and Pessimistic Subject(ivitie)s
- READ: Luce Irigaray, “Any Theory of the Subject” in Speculum: Of the Other Woman (1985).
- READ: Kodwo Eshun, “Further Considerations on Afrofuturism” (2003).
- READ: Saidiya Hartman, “Scenes of Subjection” (1997).
- READ: Anne Anlin Cheng, “Ornamentalism” (2019).
- WATCH: Rupert Sanders, “Ghost in the Shell” (2017).
- RECOMMENDED: Stephen Best, “The Fugitive’s Properties” (2004).
Inhumanities and the Anthropocene
- READ: Kathryn Yusoff, “A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None” (2018).
- READ: Reza Negarestani, “Labour of the Inhuman, Part 1” (https://www.e-flux.com/journal/52/59920/the-labor-of-the-inhuman-part-i-human/).
- READ: Reza Negarestani, “Labour of the Inhuman, Part 2” (https://www.e-flux.com/journal/53/59893/the-labor-of-the-inhuman-part-ii-the-inhuman/).
- RECOMMENDED: David Scott, “The Re-Enchantment of Humanism: An Interview with Sylvia Wynter” ( https://serendipstudio.org/oneworld/system/files/WynterInterview.pdf ).
- READ: Ian Baucom, “Spectres of the Atlantic” (2005).
- READ: Aria Dean, “Notes on Blacceleration” (https://www.e-flux.com/journal/87/169402/notes-on-blacceleration/).
- LISTEN: Kode9 & The Spaceape, “Memories of the Future” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm2hxOQeFTY&list=PLAYZ1kwgzN9hYoGxjLYRm5Yrkf6C6LZJ-)
- RECOMMENDED: Kara Keeling, “Queer Times, Black Futures” (2019).
- RECOMMENDED: Kodwo Eshun, “More Brilliant than the Sun” (1998).
Politics, Time, and the Outside
- READ: Sadie Plant, “Zeros and Ones” (1997).
- READ: Anna Greenspan, “Capital’s Transcendental Time Machine” (2000).
- READ: Amy Ireland, “Scrap Metal and Fabric: Weaving as Temporal Technology” (https://zinzrinz.blogspot.com/2018/09/scrap-metal-and-fabric.html).
- RECOMMENDED: Ccru, “Lemurian Time War” (http://www.ccru.net/archive/burroughs.htm).