“I’ve always rejected being understood. I prefer to be taken seriously for what I’m not, remaining humanly unknown, with naturalness and all due respect.” — Fernando Pessoa, Book of Disquiet

I first learned about journal clubs (or scholarly reading groups) by reading Sarah J. Coysh, William Denton, and Lisa Sloniowski’s article “Ordering Things.” I have been invited to thesis writing clubs, but never to a journal club, so I was thrilled to have a chance to lead one session with my colleagues at the beginning of this year. For someone who carries article print-outs to most places I go (at…

On Violence: Rupture and Saturation of the Contemporary Experience

“But I have tamed myself,

I have stomped on the throat

of my own song.” — Mayakovsky

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

One day, while working at the service desk of a local public library, a man came up and said something which lent several chuckles after the fact. In all seriousness, he asked me and my colleague, “I hear the internet is all the rage these days, but I am looking for microfilm. Do you have any?”

More than the content, it’s the form of this statement that explains how I often feel in the…

“More life, more everything” — Drake, “Free Smoke”

What does capitalism want? Thinkers like Jason W. Moore have said that it wants to eat the world, locked in a perpetual cycle of accumulation, gathering into itself all that is living: soil, forests, minerals, living beings, energy reserves. When I think about capitalist accumulation, I picture No Face in the dark buffet scene of Spirited Away.

We too get caught in the logic of this cycle every time we talk about “the economy” and “efficiency” as ends in themselves, as if evoking these terms produces self-evident meanings on which we all…

Photo by USGS on Unsplash

What is the use of philosophy today? The only thing more embarrassing than declaring oneself a philosopher these days is perhaps to come out as a poet. Few things are as indulgent and impractical as philosophizing in the ever-productive world of contemporary late capitalism. And anyway, is anyone who theorizes, reflects, and thinks intensely about the world necessarily a philosopher? Is this the job solely of academics? In his book Demarcation and Demystification: Philosophy and Its Limits (2019), J. Moufawad-Paul argues that there is, indeed, a difference between theorists and philosophers. The former are practitioners who employ various methods to…

Photo by Tania Melnyczuk on Unsplash

“as if they were unalive, as

if They were ideas” — e.e.cummings

During a weekly huddle in a small unit in which I worked in my “professional youth”, a colleague who was new to the organization and figuring out the scope of their job said something that I remember regularly. In a sincere yet detached manner, they asked all of us gathered on our rolling chairs in the corner of the corporate tower floor: “What is it that I do here?” And indeed, many of us labouring in libraries, whether public, academic, or special, have undoubtedly had similar moments of…

Lydia Zvyagintseva

Speculative librarianship, labour, power, technology. I am interested in land education.

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