The monochrome and the readymade

Jaleh Mansoor, Marshall Plan Modernism: Italian Postwar Abstraction and the Beginnings of Autonomia (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016). 288pp., £80.00 hb., £20.99 pb., 978 0 82236 245 6 hb., 978 0 8223 6260 9 pb. The title of Jaleh Mansoor’s Marshall Plan Modernism provides a number of clues about the author’s methodological ambitions. The juxtaposition […]

Calls, Invitations, Summons

Da’wa, Saba Mahmood tells us, is ‘a Quranic concept associated primarily with God’s call to the prophets and to humanity to believe in the “true religion”, Islam’. It ‘literally means “call, invitation, appeal, or summons”’. 1 Whilst cognisant of the uncompromising specificity of the demand it places on those to whom the call is addressed, […]

Planetary Utopias

This conversation was recorded on Sunday 24 June 2018 as part of the closing plenary of the symposium ‘Planetary Utopias: Hope, Desire and Imaginaries in a Postcolonial World’ (curated by Nikita Dhawan) in the ‘Colonial Repercussions’ event series at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin. It was transcribed by Anna Millan and has been revised for […]

Thinking critically with Saba Mahmood

Saba Mahmood made immensely important contributions to the critical understanding of secular power and its operations, without which the field would be significantly impoverished. Tragically cut short by her untimely death, her scholarship offers especially powerful insights into the critical turn in secularism studies: first and foremost that secularism is a modality of governance involved […]

A clash of spatialisations

Chris Hesketh, Spaces of Capital/Spaces of Resistance: Mexico and the Global Political Economy (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2017), 240pp., £76.95 hb., £23.95 pb., 978 0 82035 174 2 hb., 978 0 82035 284 8 pb.. In Spaces of Capital/Spaces of Resistance, Chris Hesketh provides an overview of the possibilities and challenges for anti-capitalist […]

Spinoza’s law

In the first few pages of chapter 4 of his Theological Political Treatise (1670), Spinoza defines his conception of the law. 1 In fact, he defines the law twice, first in terms of compulsion or necessity and then in terms of use. I would like to investigate here these definitions, in particular the second one, […]