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Welcome to The Identity Paradox: Inside the Racial Pharmakon, a podcast where we discuss the dialectical tensions inherent in the concept of “identity” and how such tensions specifically play out when addressing the pharmakology of race—that is, the poisonous, as well as the medicinal, properties of “race” and “racial identity” as general concepts.

        Carlos Gallego, Professor of English, St. Olaf College

EPISODES

Episode 1

“If You Leave”: Hospicing the House of Modernity, with Dr. Adrienne N. Merritt

Our first, but non-introductory, episode is a conversation with Adrienne Merritt, Visiting Assistant Professor in German at St. Olaf College. Join us as we discuss the ongoing pedagogical experiments found on the website, Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures (GTDF), “an arts/research collective that uses this website as a workspace for collaborations around different kinds of artistic, pedagogical, cartographic, and relational experiments that aim to identify and de-activate colonial habits of being, and to gesture towards the possibility of decolonial futures.” (Recorded on May 14, 2021)

Episode Notes or use the link in the “Menu” options above (I strongly recommend viewing these before or while listening, as this episode refers to visual texts)

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Episode 2, Part 1

Explaining “The Identity Paradox” via Husserl and Adorno, with guest Dr. Rob Kendrick

This is dedicated to a proper introduction via an explanation of the title. Join Dr. Robert Kendrick and myself as we discuss “the identity paradox” as understood in the theories of Edmund Husserl and Theodor W. Adorno. And yes, we do and will continue to tie this into antiracist theory and praxis. (Recorded on June 9, 2021)

Episode Notes or use the link in the “Menu” options above (I strongly recommend viewing these before or while listening)

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Episode 2, Part 2

“Justice is impossible” (RIP Winston/Deona): Derrida, Pharmakon, and Race (w/ Rob Kendrick)

In Part 2 of Episode 2, we discuss the second half of this podcast’s title, “Inside the Racial Pharmakon,” by explaining the term “pharmakon” and it’s history in the world of philosophy. We make connections to some of the main points brought up in Part 1, connecting the tensions that Adorno theorized to some of the ideas we discuss in regard to Jacques Derrida and deconstruction. We conclude by discussing how all these different ideas have influenced contemporary understandings of race and racism, as well as antiracist theory and praxis. (Recorded on June 14, 2021)

Episode Notes or use the link in the “Menu” options above (I strongly recommend viewing these before or while listening).

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Episode 3

No More Deaths, Humanitarian Aid, and the “Crisis” of Saving Lives in the US-Mexico Borderlands (w/ Alizah Simon)

Join us for an excellent and highly informative conversation with Alizah Simon in Episode 3, which focuses on the work of No More Deaths/No Más Muertes in the US-Mexico borderlands. From the geopolitics of immigration policies to the “on the ground” work of offering migrants humanitarian aid in the desert, we discuss the nuances of the so-called “border crisis” and what that alarmist concept actually entails for those living the “crisis.” (Recorded on July 3, 2021)

Episode Notes or use the link in the “Menu” options above (I strongly recommend viewing these before or while listening).

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Episode 4 pt. 1

Ep. 4 Money, Memorials, and Militarized Security in Minneapolis: A Brief Study in Ideology and Ideological/Repressive State Apparatuses (Part 1)

Join us in this two-part episode as we explore Louis Althusser’s famous theory of ideology and it relation to what he calls ideological and repressive state apparatuses. We’ll apply this theory to the criminalization of memorials and the para-militarization happening in Uptown Minneapolis. This first episode provides a general overview of Althusser’s theory, as well as a critical analysis of a children’s book publication starring Chief Arradondo and Mayor “Fry.” We’ll also do an ideological critique of the Blue Lives Matter movement as an identity politics. In essence, we’ll try to demonstrate how this constellation of containment strategies and control measures exists to mitigate the continued discontents centered on the failures of neoliberalism. (Recorded July 28, 2021)

Episode Notes or use the link in the “Menu” options above (I strongly recommend viewing these before or while listening).

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Episode 4, pt. 2

Ep. 4, Pt. 2—Money, Memorials, and Militarized Security in Minneapolis: Policing the Wince Marie Peace Garden (RIP Wince/Deona/Heather)

Join us as we conclude this two-part episode by taking a look at how ideology and state apparatuses are coordinating here in Minneapolis to silence protests against the continued use of lethal force by law enforcement. We will specifically be focusing on the murders of Winston Smith and Deona Marie Erickson as case studies in how ideology and state apparatuses work together to suppress the reality of police violence, facilitating the rise of the private security industry in Uptown Minneapolis and in the U.S. generally. (Recorded August 15, 2021; photo credit @Jimmi_Lotts)

Episode Notes or use the link in the “Menu” options above (I strongly recommend viewing these before or while listening).

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Episode 5, Part 1

White Nationalism and Extremism w/ David Neiwert (Part One)

Join us as we chat with David Neiwert, one of the nation’s leading experts on extremist cultures. Part one of our conversation covers his early career as a journalist reporting on militias and how this evolved into an expertise on extremist cultures. We focus on two of his books, The Eliminationists and Alt-America, in which he argues that the mediatization of extremism has transformed these ideologies into pathological contagions that motivate individuals into psychopathic behaviors. We also begin to discuss his most recent publication, Red Pill, Blue Pill. Tune in to learn more about white nationalism and extremism, our current conspiracist historical moment, and how “transmitters” pose a serious threat to democracies around the globe. (Recorded on October 17, 2021)

Episode Notes or use the link in the “Menu” options above (I strongly recommend viewing these before or while listening).

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Episode 5, Part 2

Conversation with Dave Neiwert, Part 2: Radicalization and Empathy

Join us as we continue our conversation with David Neiwert, one of the nation’s leading experts on extremist cultures. We talk in more depth about his recent publication, Red Pill, Blue Pill, specifically the relationship between conspiracism and authoritarianism, and how our current epistemic crisis poses a threat to democratic governance. Join us if you’re interested in concrete steps that individuals can take to counteract the red-pilling effect, the importance of empathy as an antidote to radicalization, and why killer whales are natural counterparts to humans (and Jedi!).

Episode Notes or use the link in the “Menu” options above (I strongly recommend viewing these before or while listening).

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Episode 6

Laws vs. Justice: The Charlottesville, Arbery, and Rittenhouse Verdicts (w/ Stephen Grigsby)

Join us as we discuss the ramifications–both legal and political–of the three major court cases that came to their conclusion in the past weeks: the Unite the Right civil suit in Charlottesville, the guilty verdicts in the Ahmaud Arbery case, and non-guilty verdicts in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. We converse about the optics surrounding these legal cases and why some of us might question President Biden’s claim that the U.S. legal system is working. (Recorded on November 27, 2021)

Stephen Grigsby graduated from St. Olaf College and received his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. He then went on to serve as Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, NY before relocating to Minnesota. He has been practicing criminal defense law in Minnesota for over 23 years.

Episode Notes or use the link in the “Menu” options above (I strongly recommend viewing these before or while listening).

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Episode 7, pt. 1

Authoritarianism, Identity Politics, and Ambidextrous Fascism, pt. 1: The Nonexistent Left

In this episode we discuss the manner in which authoritarian thinking infiltrates American politics and how this problem has been intensified by what some scholars and activists call the fascist “creep” or “drift”—how fascist ideas and practices infect both sides of the left/right political divide. Part one of this two-part episode is dedicated primarily to examining the reductive politics around the left/right divide, what the absence of a leftist party entails, and how this absence leads to a false equivalency that allows fascism to “creep” or “drift” from right wing extremism into leftist politics. We try to include definitions and illustrations to help elucidate these points, so if some of these ideas are new to you, please join us as this episode might prove beneficial. (Recorded January 25, 2022)

Episode Notes or use the link in the “Menu” options above (I strongly recommend viewing these before or while listening).

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Episode 7, pt. 2

Episode 7, Pt. 2: The Absent Left, the US Duopoly, and Neo-Corporati$m as Fascism

In part 2 of this episode we continue to discuss the manner in which authoritarian thinking infiltrates American politics. We briefly review the horseshoe model to demonstrate the false equivalence between a far-right established politics and a far-left. We then show how an absent leftist politics creates the conditions for neo-fascist ideas and practices to infect both sides of the supposed left/right political divide. Part two is dedicated primarily to examining the political duopoly that defines US politics and how this empowers disaggregated or neo-corporatism, which is what allows for a “fascist creep” along capitalist lines. We conclude by examining some potential ways of combating the intensification of neo-corporatism in the US in light of an absent, authentically leftist politics. We try to include definitions and illustrations to help elucidate these points, so if some of these ideas are new to you, please join us as this episode might prove beneficial. (Recorded on February 21, 2022)

Episode Notes or use the link in the “Menu” options above (I strongly recommend viewing these before or while listening).

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Episode 8

Episode 8: The Need for Black-Leftist Media ft. Nick from Revolutionary Blackout Network

Interested in an “unapologetic  Black, leftist, working-class” perspective on current sociopolitical events? If so, join us as we speak with Nick Cruse, citizen journalist and co-founder of Revolutionary Blackout Network. We discuss a variety of topics, including the importance of independent Black, working-class commentary in an age of corporatized journalism, the leftist failures of electoral politics in the US, the absence of an established leftist perspective in mainstream media, the challenges of social media activism (particularly the “BreadTube” effect), as well as the potential to change the current status quo through ground-up, working class solidarity. (Recorded February 23, 2022)

Episode Notes or use the link in the “Menu” options above (I strongly recommend viewing these before or while listening).

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Episode 9

Episode 9: Why Identity Politics Is Not the Answer to Capitalism

Join us in this latest episode as we discuss why identity politics falls short in addressing the various contradictions that emerge within parliamentary capitalism, a topic that seems timely in light of the various culture wars currently dominating much of the nation’s public discourse. The episode provides a brief overview of the intricate synchronicity that exists between the development of capitalism and the emergence of identity politics as we understand it today. We outline the connections between three major stages: settler-colonialism, imperialism, and neoliberalism. So, if you’re interested in why the commodification of racial identity continues to inhibit the type of revolutionary change promoted by leftist groups during the 1960s, please join us for what will hopefully prove to be an informative episode. (Recorded on April 29, 2022)

 Episode Notes or use the link in the “Menu” options above (I strongly recommend viewing these before or while listening).

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Episode 10

Episode 10: The Geopolitics of the (Un)Welcomed Refugee (w/ Dr. Ibtesam Al Atiyat)

Please join me (Carlos Gallego) and my special guest, Dr. Ibtesam Al Atiyat (Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology), as we discuss how colonial and imperialist legacies influence our understanding of the “welcomed refugee,” as well as what constitutes a geopolitical and/or humanitarian crisis at this moment in history. We also analyze what global emergencies receive mainstream US media coverage and government assistance, and what nations and crises get ignored or censored. So, please join us for a timely discussion concerning displacement, forced migration, and the geopolitics surrounding the welcomed versus unwelcomed refugee/asylum seeker. (Recorded on May 8th, 2022)

Episode Notes or use the link in the “Menu” options above (I strongly recommend viewing these before or while listening).

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Episode 11

Episode 11: From Mutual Aid to Revolutionary Suicide, w/ RBN’s “Unholy Rome”

Please join Professor Carlos Gallego and special guest Rome from Revolutionary Blackout Network (RBN), as we discuss Rome’s “Tour for the Poor” and his efforts to offer mutual aid to people in need across the nation, travelling to different cities to provide anything from food and water to tents and clothing. We also discuss Huey P. Newton’s concept of “revolutionary suicide” and how the concept of “risk” comes into play in such a politics. We conclude by talking about a current mini-series being produced around Rome’s “Tour for the Poor,” as well as his recent efforts to create a working-class political party focused on local and state politics. (Recorded on May 16th, 2022)

Episode Notes or use the link in the “Menu” options above (I strongly recommend viewing these before or while listening).

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