amor mundi

Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Monday, January 31, 2022


 Read and sign the petition:

It’s An Eyesore, It’s Ugly and Filled with Garbage,

The Fencing is Dilapidated and Broken, Sidewalks are Unsafe

Since Phase I of Shops at the Ridge was completed, the developer has completely neglected the remaining parcel, leaving residents of Rockridge and shoppers with this eyesore. Let's spark action to fix this!

We all take care of our homes and sidewalks per City requirements. Why shouldn’t the developer be required to do the same? Tell the City what you think by signing the petition!

   We the undersigned request that the City of Oakland require the owners and developers of the property to improve the property while development decisions are being made, such that it no longer violates City Codes regarding Blighted Property: The permanent use of construction fencing is a violation of City of Oakland Building Codes; The southern perimeter sidewalk is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act; The telecom equipment on the Broadway side is in violation of City Codes; Replace the non-compliant signage on the western edge of the property. 

Tell the City that the community will no longer accept the current conditions of the lot and to immediately work with the developers to bring it into compliance. Sign the petition today!

Thank you!

Monday, August 30, 2021

Syllabus for My Fall 2021 Course At SFAI

Critical Theory A: The Point Is To Change It

Fall, 2021, San Francisco Art Institute

Instructor: Dale Carrico,;

Course Blog:
Fridays, 1-3.45pm, MCR, 8/30/21--12/6/19

Rough Basis for Grade: Att/Part, 20%, Reading Notebook, 20%; Midterm Precis/Toulmin Schema, 20%; Final Paper, 5-6pp., 40%

                Course Description:

"The philosophers hitherto have only interpreted the world, but the point is to change it." -- Karl Marx

"Feminists are no more aware of different things than other people; they are aware of the same things differently. Feminist consciousness, it might be ventured, turns a 'fact' into a 'contradiction.'" -- Sandra Lee Bartky

"Artists inhabit the magical universe." -- William Burroughs

This course is a chronological and thematic survey of key texts in critical and cultural theory. A skirmish in the long rivalry of philosophy and rhetoric yielded a turn in Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud into the post-philosophical discourse of critical theory. In the aftermath of world war, critical theory took a biopolitical turn in Arendt, Fanon, and Foucault -- a turn still reverberating in work on socially legible bodies by writers like Haraway, Lorde, Butler, and Stone. And with the rise of the global precariat and climate catastrophe, critical theory is now turning again in STS (science and technology studies) and EJC (environmental justice critique) to articulate the problems and promises of an emerging planetarity. Theories of the fetish define the turn of the three threshold figures of critical theory -- Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud (commodity, sexuality, and ressentimentality) -- and fetishisms ramify thereafter in critical accounts from Benjamin (aura), Adorno (culture industry), Barthes (myth), Debord (spectacle), Klein (logo), and Harvey ("tech") to Mulvey and Mercer (the sexed and raced gaze). We think of facts as found not made, but facts are made to be found and, once found, made to be foundational. Let us pursue the propositions that fetishes are figures we take to yield false facts, while facts are figures we have fetishized to yield paradoxical truths.

                Provisional Schedule of Meetings

                Week One | September 3 | Intro(se)ductions
Maps, Stories, Warnings by Way of Introduction


                Week Two | September 10 | Ancients and Moderns, Fontenelle and Wilde

Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, Digression on the Ancients and the Moderns -- Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism               

                Week Three | September 17 | Nietzsche and ressentiment as Fetish

Nietzsche, On Truth and the Lie in an Extramoral Sense -- Nietzsche, Ecce Homo: Preface -- Why I Am So Wise -- Why I Am So Clever -- Why I Am a Destiny

--supplemental Selections from The Gay Science 

                Week Four | September 24 | Marx and the Fetishism of Commodities
Marx on The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret Thereof from Capital

-- supplemental Marx and Engels, Theses on Feuerbach and Marx on Idealism and Materialism

                Week Five | October 1 | Freud and Sexual Fetishism
Sigmund Freud, Fetishism -- from Freud's Study of Schreber: 1, Psychoanalysis and Scientificity 2,  Storytelling  3, Psychoanalysis and Patriarchy (Homosociality and Homosexuality) 4. Psychoanalysis Brought to Crisis.

                Week Six | October 8 | Aura and the Culture Industry

Walter Benjamin, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproducibility -- Adorno and Horkheimer, The Culture Industry 

--supplemental Benjamin, A Short History of Photography and Adorno, The Culture Industry Reconsidered

                Week Seven | October 15 | Nature As Fetish; Or, Ideology Is Structured Like A Language

Roland Barthes, Mythologies ; Toulmin Schema Workshop.


                Week Eight | October 22 | From Being to Having, Having to Appearing, Appearing to Branding

 Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle -- Naomi Klein, Taking On the Brand Bullies from No Logo 

-- supplemental Naomi Klein, Patriarchy Gets Funky

                Week Nine | October 29 | Out With The Old, In With The New

William Burroughs, Immortality -- supplemental Burroughs, On Coincidence

John Carpenter, dir. They Live.


                Week Ten | November 5 | The Eye of Power: Fanon, Mulvey, and Mercer 

Frantz Fanon, Selections from Black Skin, White Masks -- Laura Mulvey, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema -- Kobena Mercer On Mapplethorpe 
                Week Eleven | November 12 | The Carceral Archipelago and Abolition Democracy

Michel Foucault, from Discipline and Punish (this is a .pdf of the entire book from which you should read from the excerpts as far as you like) from "The Body of the Condemned" (pp. 3-31), "Docile Bodies" (pg. 135 +), and "Panoptism" (pg. 195 +) -- Angela Davis, selections from Are Prisons Obsolete? (Chapters 1, 2, 6)  

-- supplemental Michel Foucault, from History of Sexuality: We Other Victorians, Right of Death and Power Over Life

                Week Twelve | November 19 | Intersectional Feminism
Audre Lorde, Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference  -- The Combahee River Collective Statement -- Donna Haraway, A Manifesto for Cyborgs 


                Week Thirteen | November 19 | Thanksgiving Holiday, Workshopping the Final Paper at Home


                Week Fourteen | Queer Theories

Judith Butler, Intro. and Ch. One from Undoing Gender -- Sandy Stone, The Empire Strikes Back – Sara Ahmed, A Killjoy Manifesto (handout)

                Week Fifteen | November 3 | Environmental Justice

John Bellamy Foster, The Four Laws of Ecology and the Four Anti-Ecological Laws of Capitalism -- Aldo Leopold Thinking Like A Mountain (handout) -- Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor – Robert Bullard, Confronting Environmental Racism in the United States$file/bullard.pdf -- Hazel Johnson, A Personal Story


                Course Objectives:


I. Contextualizing Contemporary Critical Theory: The inaugural Platonic repudiation of rhetoric and poetry, Vita Activa/Vita Contemplativa, Marx's last Thesis on Feuerbach, Kantian Critique, the Frankfurt School, Exegetical and Hermeneutic Traditions, Literary and Cultural Theory from the Restoration period through New Criticism, from Philosophy to Post-Philosophy: Marx, Nietzsche, Freud; the postwar biopolitical turn in Arendt, Fanon, and Foucault; and the emerging post-colonial, post-international, post-global planetarity of theory in an epoch of digital networked media formations, anthropogenic climate catastrophe, and polycultural assemblies.

II. Survey of Key Themes in Critical Theory: Abolition Democracy, Agency, Alienation, Assembly, Aura, Capitalism, Cisheteronormativity, Critique, Culture Industry, Discourse, Ecology, Equity-in-Diversity, Facticity, Fetish, Figurality, Humanism/Post-Humanism, Ideology, Intersectionality, Judgment, Normativity, Patriarchy, Performance, Planetarity, Post-Colonialism, Precarity, Queerness, Race, Recognition, Resistance, Scientificity, Sociality, Spectacle, Textuality, Violence, White Supremacy.

III. Survey of Key Critical Methodologies: Critique of Ideology, Marxism/Post-Marxism, Psychoanalysis, Foucauldian Discourse Analysis, Critical Race Theory, Gender Theory, Science and Technology Studies, Environmental Justice.

IV. Connecting theoria and poiesis: thinking and acting, theory and practice, creative expressivity as aesthetic judgment and critical theory as poetic refiguration, etc.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Syllabus for My Berkeley Summer Intensive This Year, Intro to Critique


RHETORIC 116, Introduction to Critique and Critical Theory

Summer, 2021, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Rhetoric

Instructor: Dale Carrico,; 

Course Blog:

1-3.45 pm, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, July 6 through August 13, in Session D (Remote Instruction)

Rough Basis for Grade: Attendance/Participation, 20%; Reading Responses, 15%; Co-Facilitation/In-Class Presentation, 15%; Final Paper/Project, 5-6pp., 50%.


Course Catalog Description

Analysis of rhetorical practice in the context of social and cultural change with particular reference to the historical transition from pre-industrial to industrial society in the west.


Class Description

What does it mean to think critically and why is this valuable? It is commonplace to equate “being critical” of an argument, a form, or a person with being dismissive of them. But what if being critical is a way of engaging with ideas and understanding people more deeply, more responsibly, or more creatively? What is the purpose of critique and do critics have a crucial function in a society or a crisis? What is the formal discipline of "Critical Theory" and why is so much scholarly work shaped by its preoccupations and terms? In this course we will explore histories and practices of critique and criticism. We will draw from the tradition of rhetoric to elaborate and to workshop practical skills in logical argument, textual interpretation, conflict resolution, and public debate. We will consider the ways critique has operated across the humanities and social sciences historically, as well as the ways critique continues to be mobilized in politics, art making, social resistance, personal and public life.



Week One, Declarations

Tuesday, July 6           Introduction to Course Themes and Personal Introductions.

SKILL SET: Key Definitions 

[1] Rhetoric is the facilitation of efficacious discourse as well as an ongoing inquiry into the terms on the basis of which discourse comes to seem efficacious or not. Rhetoric is concerned with the occasional, interested, and figurative dimensions of discourse.

[2] A text is an event experienced as arising from intention, offered up to the hearing of an audience, and obligating a responsiveness equal to it.

[3] An argument is a claim supported by reasons and/or evidence. 

[4] Critique is the systematic examination, elaboration, and evaluation of discourse.

Wednesday, July 11 U.S.Declaration of Independence ; Declaration of Rights and Sentiments of the Seneca Falls Convention                      

SKILL SET: Textual Materiality, Performativity, Citationality

Thursday, July 12, Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience; John Perry Barlow, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

SKILL SET: Audiences (Sympathetic, Unsympathetic, Apathetic) and Intentions (Interrogation, Conviction, Persuasion, Reconciliation)


Week Two, Nietzsche: Ancients and Moderns

Tuesday, July 13 Bernard de Bovier de Fontenelle, Digression on the Ancients and the Moderns (handout); Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism       

SKILL SET: Ancients and Moderns, Aristotelian Rhetoric: Forensic, Legislative, Epideictic

Wednesday, July 14    W.E.B. DuBois, Of Our Spiritual Strivings; Immanuel Kant, Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View                         

SKILL SET: Aristotelian rhetoric: Ethos, Pathos, Logos

Thursday, July 15 Frederich Nietzsche, On Truth and Lies in an Extra-Moral Sense

SKILL SET: The literal as conventional, the figurative as deviant; Figures, Tropes, Schemes; Four Master Tropes 


Week Three: Fetishisms: Marx and Freud

Tuesday, July 20 Karl Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (selections)

SKILL SET: Four Habits of Argumentative Writing: 1. Formulate a Strong Thesis, 2. Define Your Terms, 3, Substantiate/Contextualize, 4, Anticipate Objections

Wednesday, July 21 Roland Barthes, Mythologies (selections); Naomi Klein, No Logo (selection)     

Thursday, July 22 Sigmund Freud, Fetishism

SKILL SET: The Toulmin Schema


Week Four, Intersectional Feminism

Tuesday, July 27 William Burroughs, Immortality; Valerie Solanas, The SCUM Manifesto         

SKILL SET: Logoi Dissoi

Wednesday, July 28 The Combahee River Collective Statement; Audre Lorde, Age,Rage, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference   

SKILL SET: Rogerian Rhetoric

Thursday, July 29 Sandy Stone, The Empire Strikes Back; Alison Kafer, “Imagined Futures” from Feminist Queer Crip


Week Five, Environmental Justice

Tuesday, August 3 Aldo Leopold, Thinking Like A Mountain ; John Bellamy Foster, The Four Laws of Ecology and the Four Anti-Ecological Laws of Capitalism ; Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Introduction)             

Wednesday, August 4 Hazel Johnson, A Personal Story; Robert Bullard, Environment and Morality: Confronting Environmental Racism

SKILL SET: Keywords/Alternate Final Project

Thursday, August 5 Workshopping Final Projects


Week Six, Abolition Democracy

Tuesday, August 10 Angela Y. Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? (selections)              

Wednesday, August 11 Mariame Kaba, Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police; Josie Duffy Rice, Mariame Kaba, Reina Sultan, “What Does Accountability Look Like Without Punishment? ; Judith Butler, “The Force of Nonviolence,” Gifford Lecture (video)

Thursday, August 12  Conclusions, Submission of Final Work, Bacchanal

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily