Tuesday 10 September 2013

Call for papers on 'Politics and the Later Latour'

This August sees the publication of the English translation of Bruno Latour’s ‘An Inquiry
into Modes of Existence’ (AIME), marking both a landmark in the long-collaborative AIME
project and a significant development in Latour’s thought. This issue of Global Discourse
will examine the political significance of Latour’s later work, which has seen important
developments that expand and move beyond Actor-Network-Theory. In particular, the issue
will explore Latour’s focus on modes of existence, the call for compositionism and the move
from modernising to ecologising.
More here.

It's interesting that this call for papers seems to reproduce Harman's own chronology of Latour's work that demarcates it into the 'early' ANT era and the 'late' modes era (he uses this demarcation in his Prince of Modes book). This chronology is one of the things that allows Harman to, I think, quite drastically misread Latour and turn his ANT into a general metaphysics.

Latour says that it is the 'modes' that is the metaphysics and that ANT is and always has been just a sociological subcomponent of that (even though this wasn't clear until recently).  Because Harman makes a whole metaphysics out of ANT alone - and because he insists that this is what Latour himself is saying rather than just admitting that it is his own peculiar version of Latour's words - he has to insist that they are different projects entirely and are marked by a definite temporal demarcation.

The translation begins to stand in for the translated!  There is something very Latourian about that, I must admit.