TagWest Africa

Affect and Artificial Intelligence and The Fetish Revisited

Elizabeth A Wilson’s Affect and Artificial Intelligence traces the history and development of the field of artificial intelligence (AI) in the West, from the 1950’s to the 1990’s and early 2000’s to argue that the key thing missing from all attempts to develop machine minds is a recognition of the role that affect plays in social and individual development. She directly engages many of the creators of the field of AI within their own lived historical context and uses Bruno Latour, Freudian Psychoanalysis, Alan Turning’s AI and computational theory, gender studies,cybernetics, Silvan Tomkins’ affect theory, and tools from STS to make her point. Using historical examples of embodied robots and programs, as well as some key instances in which social interactions caused rifts in the field,Wilson argues that crucial among all missing affects is shame, which functions from the social to the individual, and vice versa.

[Cover to Elizabeth A Wilson’s Affect and Artificial Intelligence]

J.Lorand Matory’s The Fetish Revisited looks at a particular section of the history of European-Atlantic and Afro-Atlantic conceptual engagement, namely the place where Afro-Atlantic religious and spiritual practices were taken up and repackaged by white German men. Matory demonstrates that Marx and Freud took the notion of the Fetish and repurposed its meaning and intent, further arguing that this is a product of the both of the positionality of both of these men in their historical and social contexts. Both Marx and Freud, Matory says, Jewish men of potentially-indeterminate ethnicity who could have been read as “mulatto,” and whose work was designed to place them in the good graces of the white supremacist, or at least dominantly hierarchical power structure in which they lived.

Matory combines historiography,anthropology, ethnography, oral history, critical engagement Marxist and Freudian theory and, religious studies, and personal memoir to show that the Fetish is mutually a constituting category, one rendered out of the intersection of individuals, groups, places, needs, and objects. Further, he argues, by trying to use the fetish to mark out a category of “primitive savagery,” both Freud and Marx actually succeeded in making fetishes of their own theoretical frameworks, both in the original sense, and their own pejorative senses.
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Selfhood, Coloniality, African-Atlantic Religion, and Interrelational Cutlure

In Ras Michael Brown’s African-Atlantic Cultures and the South Carolina Lowcountry Brown wants to talk about the history of the cultural and spiritual practices of African descendants in the American south. To do this, he traces discusses the transport of central, western, and west-central African captives to South Carolina in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,finally, lightly touching on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Brown explores how these African peoples brought, maintained, and transmitted their understandings of spiritual relationships between the physical land of the living and the spiritual land of the dead, and from there how the notions of the African simbi spirits translated through a particular region of South Carolina.

In Kelly Oliver’s The Colonization of Psychic Space­, she constructs and argues for a new theory of subjectivity and individuation—one predicated on a radical forgiveness born of interrelationality and reconciliation between self and culture. Oliver argues that we have neglected to fully explore exactly how sublimation functions in the creation of the self,saying that oppression leads to a unique form of alienation which never fully allows the oppressed to learn to sublimate—to translate their bodily impulses into articulated modes of communication—and so they cannot become a full individual, only ever struggling against their place in society, never fully reconciling with it.

These works are very different, so obviously, to achieve their goals, Brown and Oliver lean on distinct tools,methodologies, and sources. Brown focuses on the techniques of religious studies as he examines a religious history: historiography, anthropology, sociology, and linguistic and narrative analysis. He explores the written records and first person accounts of enslaved peoples and their captors, as well as the contextualizing historical documents of Black liberation theorists who were contemporary to the time frame he discusses. Oliver’s project is one of social psychology, and she explores it through the lenses of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis,social construction theory, Hegelian dialectic, and the works of Franz Fanon. She is looking to build psycho-social analysis that takes both the social and the individual into account, fundamentally asking the question “How do we belong to the social as singular?”
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Interview with Credo Mutwa

Credo Mutwa: Can your newspaper kindly send somebody to Africa in the near future?

Martin: We are financially not able to do that at this time, but that may change in the future.

Credo Mutwa: Because there are some things that I would, please, like your newspaper to check-out, independent of me. You have heard of the country called Rwanda, in Central Africa?

Martin: Yes.

Credo Mutwa: The people of Rwanda, the Hutu people, as well as the Watusi people, state, and they are not the only people in Africa who state this, that their very oldest ancestors were a race of beings whom they called the Imanujela, which means ‘the Lords who have come’. And some tribes in West Africa, such as a Bambara people, also say the same thing. They say that they came from the sky, many, many generations ago, a race of highly advanced and fearsome creatures which looked like men, and they call them Zishwezi. The word Zishwezi means the dival or the glidal-creatures that can glide down from the sky or glide through water.

Everybody, sir, has heard about the Dogon people in Western Africa who all say that they were given culture by the normal beings, but they are not-the Dogon people are but ONE of many, many peoples in Africa who claim that their tribe or their king were first founded by the supernatural race of creatures that came from the sky.

Are you still with me, sir?

Martin: Oh yes, very much so. Please continue.

Credo Mutwa: Sir, I can go on and on, but let me bring you to my people, the Zulu people of South Africa.

Martin: Please.

Credo Mutwa: The Zulu people, who are famous as a warrior people, the people to whom King Shaka Zulu, of the last century, belonged. When you ask a South African White anthropologist what the name of Zulu means, he will say it means ‘the sky’ (laughter), and therefore the Zulu call themselves ‘people of the sky’. That, sir, is non-sense. In the Zulu language, our name for the sky, the blue sky, is sibakabaka. Our name for inter-planetary space, however, is izulu and the weduzulu, which means ‘inter-planetary space, the dark sky that you see with stars in it every night’, also has to do with traveling, sir. The Zulu word for traveling at random, like a nomad or a gypsy, is izula.

Now, you can see that the Zulu people in South Africa were aware of the fact that you can travel through space-not through the sky like a bird-but you can travel through space, and the Zulus claim that many, many thousands of years ago there arrived, out of the skies, a race of people who were like lizards, people who could change shape at will.

Full Story: Metatech.

See also: Did Clinton shapeshift on TV?

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