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Posts tagged ‘Walter Benjamin’

Generative grafting

Reproductive technology and the dilemmas of surrogacy
by / RP 183 (Jan/Feb 2014) / Commentary

In 2013, at the advanced age of 101, Howard W. Jones, a medical pioneer in reproductive technology, published Personhood Revisited: Reproductive Technology, Bioethics, Religion and the Law. Looking back at the development of what came to be called the ARTs (assisted reproductive technologies), Jones chronicles the initial controversies surrounding their emergence and his own participation as a medical professional in the newly formed bioethical committees and agendas that sought to […]


Extra, extra, read all about it!

Contemporary art is postconceptual art
by / RP 183 (Jan/Feb 2014) / Article

Peter Osborne, Anywhere or Not At All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art, Verso, London and New York, 2013. vi + 282 pp., £60.00 hb., £19.95 pb., 978 1 78168 113 8 hb., 978 1 78168 094 0 pb. Numbers in parentheses in the main text refer to page numbers of this book. ‘The coming together of different times that constitute the contemporary, and the relations between the social spaces in which […]


Defiance or emancipation?

by / RP 183 (Jan/Feb 2014) / Article

On Howard Caygill, On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance, Bloomsbury, London, 2013. 264 pp., £20.00 hb., 978 1 472522 58 0. Numbers in parentheses in the main text refer to pages of this book. What is resistance? Rather than offering a conceptual definition, Howard Caygill’s new book approaches resistance as a problematic and elusive practice that calls for reflective judgement in the Kantian sense. His point of departure is the […]


Benjamin’s International Reception

18–20 September 2013, Berlin
by / RP 182 (Nov/Dec 2013) / Conference Report

Gudrun Schwarz, the main organizer of the recent symposium of the Walter Benjamin Archive in the Akademie der Künste, has been thinking about it – she says – for eight years, talking about it for six, and savouring its practical organization for the last four. Cai-Yong Wang from Fudan University, Shangai, opened by giving a summary of Benjamin’s reception in China. The first translation (his own, of the Artwork essay) […]


Socialism and the sea

Allan Sekula, 1951–2013
by / RP 182 (Nov/Dec 2013) / Obituary

Photographer, film-maker, cultural theorist and political activist, Allan Sekula was one of the outstanding Marxist intellectuals of his generation. The author of pioneering histories of photography, he produced genre-shifting exhibitions, books and videos. Almost at the end of his life, he co-directed an award-winning documentary film, and was renowned for the sheer range of his interests, his critical intelligence and enduring political commitment. Equally at home with film, literature and […]


Total social crisis and the return of fascism

Dossier: The Greek Symptom: Debt, Crisis and the Crisis of the Left
by / RP 181 (Sept/Oct 2013) / Article

In memory of Sahtzat Loukman, 27 years old, murdered on 17 January 2013 in Athens, and Clement Meric, 18 years old, murdered on 5 June 2013 in Paris. This contribution seeks to mobilize certain concepts in order to symbolize what, in part, always resists symbolization. What is at issue is the return of fascism in Greece, the fact that the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn (GD) party have held seats in parliament […]


Politics in a Tragic Key

by / RP 180 (July/Aug 2013) / Article

In memory of Joel Olson (1967-2012) In the quarter-century or so since the obscure disaster of the Soviet bloc’s collapse, two words have been pinned to that of ‘communism’ with liberal abandon: ‘tragedy’ and ‘transition’. Tragedy, to signify the magnitude of suffering, but not the greatness of the enterprise; the depth of the fall, but not the rationality of the ambition. Transition, to capitalism, shadowed by the enumeration of crimes, […]


Look at his marvellous hands!

by / 2013 / Web Content

Yvonne Sherratt, Hitler’s Philosophers, Yale University Press, New Haven CT and London, 2013. 336 pp., £25.00 hb., 978 0 30015 193 0. Yvonne Sherratt’s book on the response of philosophers to the Third Reich is written in the style of a docudrama. There are colourful descriptions of foliage in Heidegger’s Todtnauberg and peasants in ‘folksy knickerbockers’. Attention is drawn to the scent of fresh roasted coffee and sweet pastries, as […]


On theoretical foundations: Theses on Brecht

With an Introduction by Andrew McGettigan
by and / RP 179 (May/Jun 2013) / Extras

Introduction to Walter Benjamin’s ‘Theses on Brecht’ Andrew McGettigan These four short paragraphs, translated here into English for the first time, were sketched out in Walter Benjamin’s hand on a sheet filed alongside a transcript for his radio talk ‘Bert Brecht’, broadcast on Frankfurter Rundfunk in June 1930.1 In content, they resemble ideas developed in other texts from this period – ‘Destructive Character’, ‘Karl Kraus’ (both 1931) and ‘Experience and Poverty’ […]


Voyage au bout de l’ennui

by / 2013 / Web Content

After History: Alexandre Kojève as a Photographer, BAK, Utrecht, 20 May–15 July 2012; OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, 21 September–16 November 2012; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 17 October 2012–7 January 2013. In a darkened room stand seven podiums, like black treadmills at a standstill. Each faces a digitized photo­graph projected onto a bare wall. The humming projectors are interrupted every thirty seconds as new images replace old ones. Nearly 400 […]


174 Reviews

Books Reviewed:Walter Benjamin, Early Writings, 1910–1917Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Towards a New ManifestoBernard Stiegler, The Decadence of Industrial DemocraciesMiguel Abensour, Democracy against the State: Marx and the Machiavellian MomentErika Cudworth and Stephen Hobden, Posthuman International Relations: Complexity, Ecologism and Global PoliticsAlison Stone, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and Maternal SubjectivityCatherine Malabou, Changing Difference: The Feminine and the Question of PhilosophyNadir Lahiji, ed., The Political Unconscious of Architecture: Re-opening Jameson’s NarrativeGillian Howie, Between Feminism and Materialism: A Question of MethodMartin Woessner, Heidegger in AmericaChris Danta, Literature Suspends Death: Sacrifice and Storytelling in Kierkegaard, Kafka and Blanchot
by , , , , , , , , , and / RP 174 (Jul/Aug 2012) / Reviews


Elementary

by / 2012 / Web Content

Ben Watson, Adorno for Revolutionaries, Unkant, London, 2011. 217 pp., £10.99 pb., 978 0 95681 760 0. David Cunningham In a much-cited March 1936 letter to Walter Benjamin, Adorno famously remarks of the separation between autonomous art and mass culture that, while both ‘bear the stigmata of capitalism’, and ‘both contain elements of change’, they are nevertheless only ever the ‘torn halves of an integral freedom, to which however they […]


Faust on film

Walter Benjamin and the cinematic ontology of Goethe’s Faust 2
by / RP 172 (Mar/Apr 2012) / Article

Isn’t it an affront to Goethe to make a film of Faust, and isn’t there a world of difference between the poem Faust and the film Faust? Yes, certainly. But, again, isn’t there a whole world of difference between a bad film of Faust and a good one? (Walter Benjamin, Arcades Project, N1a, 4) Whilst the importance of Goethe’s thought in the early work of Walter Benjamin has been acknowledged, less […]


Occupy Time

by / RP 171 (Jan/Feb 2012) / Commentary

Until recently a casual observer might have thoght that Occupy had developed a time-management problem: it was increasingly managed by movement a static, essentially timeless image of space. While Occupy Wall Street initially began with the declaration that 17 September would be the starting date and that it would continue for an unspecified period, the focus soon shifted to a general strategy of occupying public space. While this produced many […]


Philosophy for children

by / RP 170 (Nov/Dec 2011) / Article

A well-orchestrated public relations campaign led primarily by educational charity The Philosophy Shop has helped raise the profile of the philosophy for children movement in the UK significantly over the last few years. Whilst The Philosophy Shop has been promoting its ‘Four Rs’ campaign to make ‘Reasoning’ a central feature of the National Curriculum since 2009, the publication of founder Peter Worley’s teaching guide The If Machine this March and […]


Robinson in Ruins

New materialism and the archaeological imagination
by / RP 169 (Sep/Oct 2011) / Article

Robinson in Ruins (2010) is the third of Patrick Keiller’s fictionalized documentaries featuring the investigations and struggles of his character, the ‘wandering, cracked scholar’ and political visionary, Robinson.1 The first in the trilogy, London, was released in 1994, and the second, Robinson in Space, in 1997. Together they represent, aesthetically and politically, some of the most enlivening work produced in contemporary British cinema, with comparisons being made to Chris Marker and Danièle […]


History (Problem with)

From structure to rhizome: transdisciplinarity in French thought (2)
by / RP 167 (May/Jun 2011) / Article

If the philosopher’s role is to forge concepts, the historian’s function is to provide proof of their pertinence. However, this presupposes that the historian uses the concept correctly, taking into consideration the conditions that formed it. A truly transdisciplinary approach makes this possible, thanks to its rigorous method, whereas an interdisciplinary approach is merely a juxtaposition of approaches drawn from various disciplines. In his inaugural lecture at the Collège de France […]


It was better not to know

Chess News
by / RP 163 (Sep/Oct 2010) / Extras

What have we learnt from Andrew McGettigan’s reconstruction (in RP 161) of the photographedSvendborg chess match? In a nutshell, that Brecht played bad moves and Benjaminfailed to take advantage. For those of us who have long cherished the idea of these two playingmatches of the highest standard to match their contributions outside the chess board, the twelvemoves shown to us in Radical Philosophy are a great disappointment. McGettigan looks on […]


Benjamin and Brecht

Attrition in friendship
by / RP 161 (May/Jun 2010) / Extras

Andrew McGettigen on Benjamin and Brecht’s games of chess.


A sudden topicality

Marx, Nietzsche and the politics of crisis
by / RP 160 (Mar/Apr 2010) / Article

Marx, Nietzsche and the politics of crisis