Steven Shaviro

Steven Shaviro is DeRoy Professor of English at Wayne State University Department of English. He has published eleven previous books, including Without Criteria: Kant, Whitehead, Deleuze, and Aesthetics (MIT Press), and numerous stories and articles. He was awarded the Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies Book Award in 2017 for his book Discognition.

  • Extreme Fabulations

    Extreme Fabulations

    Science Fictions of Life

    Steven Shaviro

    An examination of science fiction narratives and the light they shed on human life, the unknowable future, and the vagaries of unforeseeable change.

    With this book, Steven Shaviro offers a thought experiment. He discusses a number of science fiction narratives: three novels, one novella, three short stories, and one musical concept album—analyzing these works in detail but also using them in order to ask questions about human, and more generally, biological life: about its stubborn insistence and yet fragility; about the possibilities and perils of seeking to control it; about the aesthetic and social dimensions of human existence, in relation to the nonhuman; and about the ethical value of human life under conditions of extreme oppression and devastation.

    Shaviro pursues these questions through the medium of science fiction because this form of storytelling offers us a unique way of grappling with issues that deeply and unavoidably concern us but that are intractable to rational argumentation or to empirical verification. The future is unavoidably vague and multifarious; it stubbornly resists our efforts to know it in advance, let alone to guide it or circumscribe it. But science fiction takes up this very vagueness and indeterminacy, by rendering it into the form of a self-consciously fictional narrative. It gives us characters who experience, and respond to, the vagaries of unforeseeable change.

    • Hardcover $24.95
  • Without Criteria

    Without Criteria

    Kant, Whitehead, Deleuze, and Aesthetics

    Steven Shaviro

    A Deleuzian reading of Whitehead and a Whiteheadian reading of Deleuze open the possibility of a critical aesthetics of contemporary culture.

    In Without Criteria, Steven Shaviro proposes and explores a philosophical fantasy: imagine a world in which Alfred North Whitehead takes the place of Martin Heidegger. What if Whitehead, instead of Heidegger, had set the agenda for postmodern thought? Heidegger asks, “Why is there something, rather than nothing?” Whitehead asks, “How is it that there is always something new?” In a world where everything from popular music to DNA is being sampled and recombined, argues Shaviro, Whitehead's question is the truly urgent one. Without Criteria is Shaviro's experiment in rethinking postmodern theory, especially the theory of aesthetics, from a point of view that hearkens back to Whitehead rather than Heidegger. In working through the ideas of Whitehead and Deleuze, Shaviro also appeals to Kant, arguing that certain aspects of Kant's thought pave the way for the philosophical “constructivism” embraced by both Whitehead and Deleuze.

    Kant, Whitehead, and Deleuze are not commonly grouped together, but the juxtaposition of them in Without Criteria helps to shed light on a variety of issues that are of concern to contemporary art and media practices.

    • Hardcover $6.75
    • Paperback $25.00

Contributor

  • Boogie Down Predictions

    Boogie Down Predictions

    Hip-Hop, Time, and Afrofuturism

    Roy Christopher

    Essays that explore the connections between time, representation, and identity within hip-hop culture.

    “This book, edited by Roy Christopher, is a moment. It is the deconstructed sample, the researched lyrical metaphors, the aha moment on the way to hip-hop enlightenment. Hip-hop permeates our world, and yet it is continually misunderstood. Hip-hop's intersections with Afrofuturism and science fiction provide fascinating touchpoints that enable us to see our todays and tomorrows. This book can be, for the curious, a window into a hip-hop-infused Alter Destiny—a journey whose spaceship you embarked on some time ago. Are you engaging this work from the gaze of the future? Are you the data thief sailing into the past to U-turn to the now? Or are you the unborn child prepping to build the next universe? No, you're the superhero. Enjoy the journey.” —from the introduction by Ytasha L. Womack

    Through essays by some of hip-hop's most interesting thinkers, theorists, journalists, writers, emcees, and DJs, Boogie Down Predictions embarks on a quest to understand the connections between time, representation, and identity within hip-hop culture and what that means for the culture at large. Introduced by Ytasha L. Womack, author of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture, this book explores these temporalities, possible pasts, and further futures from a diverse, multilayered, interdisciplinary perspective.

    • Paperback $21.95
  • AUDINT—Unsound:Undead

    AUDINT—Unsound:Undead

    Steve Goodman, Toby Heys, and Eleni Ikoniadou

    Tracing the the potential of sound, infrasound, and ultrasound to access anomalous zones of transmission between the realms of the living and the dead.

    For as long as recording and communications technologies have existed, operators have evoked the potential of sound, infrasound, and ultrasound to access anomalous zones of transmission between the realms of the living and the dead. In Unsound:Undead, contributors from a variety of disciplines chart these undead zones, mapping out a nonlinear timeline populated by sonic events stretching from the 8th century BC (the song of the Sirens), to 2013 (acoustic levitation), with a speculative extension into 2057 (the emergence of holographic and holosonic phenomena).

    For the past seven years the AUDINT group has been researching peripheral sonic perception (unsound) and the ways in which frequencies are utilized to modulate our understanding of presence/non-presence, entertainment/torture, and ultimately life/death. Concurrently, themes of hauntology have inflected the musical zeitgeist, resonating with the notion of a general cultural malaise and a reinvestment in traces of lost futures inhabiting the present.

    This undead culture has already spawned a Lazarus economy in which Tupac, ODB, and Eazy-E are digitally revivified as laser-lit holograms. The obscure otherworldly dimensions of sound have also been explored in the sonic fictions produced by the likes of Drexciya, Sun Ra, and Underground Resistance, where hauntology is virtually extended: the future appears in the cracks of the present.

    The contributions to this volume reveal how the sonic nurtures new dimensions in which the real and the imagined (fictional, hyperstitional, speculative) bleed into one another, where actual sonic events collide with spatiotemporal anomalies and time-travelling entities, and where the unsound serves to summon the undead.

    Contributors Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Lendl Barcelos, Charlie Blake, Lisa Blanning, Brooker Buckingham, Al Cameron, Erik Davis, Kodwo Eshun, Matthew Fuller, Kristen Gallerneaux, Lee Gamble, Agnès Gayraud, Steve Goodman, Anna Greenspan, Olga Gurionova, S. Ayesha Hameed, Tim Hecker, Julian Henriques, Toby Heys, Eleni Ikoniadou, Amy Ireland, Nicola Masciandaro, Ramona Naddaff, Anthony Nine, The Occulture, Luciana Parisi, Alina Popa, Paul Purgas, Georgina Rochefort, Steven Shaviro, Jonathan Sterne, Jenna Sutela, Eugene Thacker, Dave Tompkins, Shelley Trower, and Souzana Zamfe.

    • Paperback $24.95