Since I arrived here I’ve been doing quite a lot of reading, as I am at that interesting stage of a new project where you have a few ideas and begin following promising leads. Some of them, of course, turn out to be deadends.
One that has so far been a little frustrating was an attempt to revisit some work on geophilosophy – going back to Deleuze & Guattari’s What is Philosophy? and the Bonta & Protevi collection Deleuze and Geophilosophy for a start. I own both, but they are currently out of the library here, so although I’ve recalled them that didn’t quite work. I took a look at Massimo Cacciari’s chapter on ‘The Geophilosophy of Europe’ in his The Unpolitical but it didn’t help. I followed up what looked like a promising Nietzsche and geophilosophy lead only to find it was a somewhat oblique reference to something I’d written myself. There was a collection of essays on geophilosophy in Collapse a couple of issues ago which I also have in England, but the library here doesn’t seem to have. (This D&G link was one of the reasons I went back to the Theweleit book I mentioned yesterday.)
I did have better luck with some less obvious pieces that I’ve been meaning to read for a while – some of the chapters in David Campbell & Morton Schoolman (ed.) The New Pluralism: William Connolly and the Contemporary Global Condition (especially the pieces by Wendy Brown, Michael Shapiro, and David Campbell, plus the interview with Connolly); and Kathleen Stewart’s Ordinary Affects. The latter is a book I think it is unlikely I will ever use, but it’s a compelling read and she has a sense of style that puts many novelists to shame, let alone academics. I also followed up a few stray Sloterdijk references too – a piece by Sjoerd van Tuinen in The Catastrophic Imperative and an old one by Sloterdijk himself in a 1991 collection entitled Art and Philosophy (Parma: Novastampa, 1991). And I looked at the translation of Foucault’s piece on the ‘Utopian Body’ in Caroline A. Jones (ed.), Sensorium. This is a piece that appears in the French collection on heterotopias I discussed a few weeks back.
The plan is now to start looking at some work on human origins (i.e. David N. Livingstone’s Adam’s Ancestors), and then start investigating palaeontology for the first half of the ‘fossils’ paper. This will link up to the little reading I did on Leibniz and fossils last year. I read Livingstone’s earlier Darwin’s Forgotten Defenders, which was helpful in reinforcing my vague sense that Darwin was far too late for the issue I’m interested in, and I have Adam’s Ancestors out, along with Jean Dulumeau’s History of Paradise which has a chapter on ‘the Questions Raised by Fossils’. But the reading list with library shelfmarks is growing already, and it looks like it might take me back as far as Aristotle…