Preciado’s “Dysphoria Mundi” Reading Group
Feminist Media Studio CJ Building, Room 2.130 Concordia University 7141 Sherbrooke W Montreal (Qc)
As part of one of the FMS’ new research axes, Un-disciplined: trans*/queer theory and anti-disciplinarity, we are organizing a reading group around Paul B. Preciado’s latest book, Dysphoria Mundi (Grasset, 2022). We hope to foster a space to collectively conceptualize, develop, and employ the tools of anti-disciplinarity through collective reflection, within the context of what Preciado describes as a moment of ‘historical epistemological transition’.
Preciado presents at once a philosophical treaty, a personal narrative and an analytical tool to examine this shift—a moment of transition marked by fractures, crises, and metamorphosis. This shift entails the decline of “patriarchal, sexual, and racial legitimacies” or “petro-sexo-racial regime” within capitalism and the emergence of political contestation movements that unites. His book offers a critical tool for reflecting on what he perceives as a moment of epistemological change. Dysphoria Mundi introduces new approaches to the application of indiscipline, recognizing the significance of “critical acts and political disobedience.” It emphasizes the need to break away from the capitalist, patriarchal, and colonial lineage through practices of inadequacy, dissent, and disidentification.
The book has not been translated to English yet, so we are proposing to read it in French and to come up with a collective (and partial) translation process so that folks who do not read French fluently are able to participate as well. We are imagining, tentatively, rotating responsibilities of translation and summarizing which would allow for collective engagement with the text. In an effort to read across languages, we are hoping that the back-and-forth movements of translation between French and English will help to mobilize Preciado’s ideas in generative and creative ways.
As a way to inaugurate the activities of the reading group, we are inviting you to a first meeting in early October where, before starting to read, we will collectively come up with a clearer methodology for our group. If you want to join, please come to the meeting, since the way we will function depends on the linguistic proficiencies and needs of those interested. We have also started to work on some partial translation of sections, so we will be able to share some of that work with you then, in order to introduce the book with a bit more depth.
Please let us know if you have any other questions. We will reach out with a schedule suggestion after the FMS Open House.
Lau Lefebvre, Nik Forrest and Alexis Poirier-Saumure
ABOUT THE AXIS
Un-disciplined: trans*/queer theory and anti-disciplinarity
The notion of un-disciplined, or of anti-disciplinarity, takes up the question and the critique of disciplinarity with trans*, queer, feminist, anti-racist and decolonial theories. Within this research axis, we hope to explore and foster knowledge practices that work across cuts, boundaries, barriers, and binaries, but we also want to actively resist the relentless disciplinary forces which unavoidably come to shape the knowledge and communities that we create in and through academia. In this regard, we are especially interested in asking questions that help to poke and probe at the reification and the becoming-disciplined of knowledge formations which initially came to us with the opposite political intent. How, for example, is queer theory producing a disciplined version of anti-normativity, a disciplined version of subversion and subversiveness? What are the aspects of trans* theory that bring productive challenges to queer theory’s disciplined versions? How can anti-disciplinarity help embrace messiness, both in queer and trans* studies?
Our commitment to being un-disciplined or anti-disciplinary doesn’t necessarily come with an ethos of “being against”. We also hope to explore anti-disciplinary energies and literacies which stem from desire and ‘being with’, because we remain wary of the neoliberal university’s tendency to erect boundaries between academic disciplines in order to proceed with the bureaucratic management of knowledge maintenance. In and against such formations, undercommons can be forged which are able to wield both the against and the with: perhaps that is how we can hope to practice the un-disciplined.