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Last week Arran James proposed a reading group involving people interested in anarchism and speculative theory. I like the idea of asking activists and other politically inclined para-academics to spend some time checking worldviews against recent philosophical thought. We could stage such a reading/study group here at Synthetic_Zero.

The purpose of this study/research group would be to read a bunch of texts as a group and then discuss, discuss, discuss. These projects often require more attention than many of us can give so I propose we do away with the formalities and overarticulations and just dive in and get to the dialogue. For example, chapter summaries could be done by alternating members, but need only be BRIEF and to the point. Discussion and comprehension of insights is the goal.

Is there anyone out there who would be game for such a quick and dirty enterprise?

We propose the following potential reading list in order of expressed interest:

Perhaps it might be more useful/creative to alternative between these theory-laden books and more praxis/tactical oriented works – as a move to promote maximum cross-fertilization and practical grounding? Suggestions of authors we might want to engage are most welcomed – and/or if these titles don’t interest you, or you know of more relevant/interesting texts, please do let us know.

This group would be open to EVERYONE and geared towards reading and dialogue, so the commitment would remain minimal..

Again, let us know.

The following is a conversation between Gaymon Bennett and anthropologist Anthony Stavrianakis about the Challenge of Collaboration. The conversation took place in a noisy kitchen at Berkeley University Campus. Since 2006 Anthony Stavrianakis has been working closely with Paul Rabinow on The STIR project (Socio Technical Integration Research), The Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC), and the bio hackerspace, Biocurius. Bennett and Stavrianakis also go on to discuss the nature of ontology and the application of philosophical concepts to engaged/practical research.

Audio link: Anthony Stavrianakis, about Collaboration

Anthony Stavrianakis is a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. Gaymon Bennett is Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Biological Futures, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle.

Also read Stavrianakis and Bennett’s short statement” On Concept Work