The revival of Hegelian Marxism

When a notable philosopher, having established a reputation for rigorous argumentation and scholarship, directs a major new book toward a popular audience, a certain skepticism may be forgiven among those familiar with the earlier work. However welcome an accessible style may be, popular address too often gives way to the popularisation of philosophical concepts and […]

Symbols and spirits

Erich Hörl, Sacred Channels: The Archaic Illusion of Communication, trans. Nils F. Schott (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018). 344pp., € 52,95 pb., 978 90 8964 770 2 Originally published in German in 2004, Sacred Channels: The Archaic Illusion of Communication, Erich Hörl’s unorthodox genealogy of thinking about thinking, is now available to readers in English. […]

Reformist radicalism

Chantal Mouffe, For a Left Populism (London: Verso, 2018). 112pp., £10.99 hb., £9.99 pb., 978 1 78663 755 0 hb., 978 1 78663 756 7 pb. Despite its present ubiquity, the term ‘populism’ remains ambiguous. Does populism describe a set of radically democratic demands, or the appeal to an exclusive society predicated on sameness? Can […]

Decolonisation and deconstruction

Abdelkebir Khatibi, Plural Maghreb: Writings on Postcolonialism, trans. P. Burcu Yalim (London: Bloomsbury, 2019). 197pp., £24.29 pb. 978 1 35005 395 3 Abdelkebir Khatibi’s collection of essays was first published in French in 1983 as Maghreb Pluriel. It comprises six essays originally published between (roughly) 1970 and 1982 in various venues. The first three essays […]

Fully automated luxury barbarism

Aaron Bastani, Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto (London: Verso, 2019). 288pp., £16.99 hb., 978 1 78663 262 3 ‘This is not a book about the future but about a present that goes unacknowledged’, Aaron Bastani writes in Fully Automated Luxury Communism. Bastani does not set out to describe what an ideal communist society would […]

Critical universalism

Franziska Dubgen and Stefan Skupien, Paulin Hountondji: African Philosophy as Critical Universalism (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). 192pp., €67,62 hb., 978 3 03001 994 5 During the extraordinarily intense debates on the future trajectory of modern African philosophy at the dawn of African independence, Paulin J. Hountondji, along with the likes of Kwasi Wiredu in […]

Border crossings

Brigitta Kuster, Grenze filmen. Eine kulturwissenschaftliche Analyse audiovisueller Produktionen an der Grenze Europas (Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2018). 344pp., € 29,99, 978 3 83763 981 0 ‘We did not cross the border, the border crossed us’. So say the migrant activists at the Mexican-US-American border. The categorisation of migration and the individual migrant does not exist […]

The presence of the past

Chris Moffat, India’s Revolutionary Inheritance: Politics and the Promise of Bhagat Singh (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019). 238pp., £75.00 hb., 978 1 10849 690 2 The twin defeats marked by the disappearance of the dreams of the late 1960s and the demise of the Soviet Union unanchored the Left from much of the certainty that […]

Liquidated subjects

Alexi Kukuljevic, Liquidation World: On the Art of Living Absently (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2017). 152pp., £11.99 pb., 978 0 26253 419 2 When Gilles Deleuze described his work on the history of philosophy as an act of buggery, and showed how Kant and his likenesses could be made the fathers of monsters each […]

The inorganic body in the early Marx

The effort to revive and recover critical theory and its intellectual precedents has become more difficult at a time in which ‘critique’ is regularly denounced as negative, skeptical and anthropocentric. Bruno Latour, for instance, imagines that when we speak about what is ‘critical’, we have in mind a fully negative project, a practice of debunking […]

Critical theory and lived experience

Detlev Claussen (b. 1948) is Professor Emeritus of Social Theory, Culture and Sociology at Leibniz Universität Hannover. In the mid-sixties he moved to Frankfurt to study with Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, where he was actively involved in the protest movements associated with the political upheavals of 1968. In the seventies, Claussen worked as […]

The racial regime of aesthetics

One of the persistent difficulties of attending to race in the history of philosophy is the equivocal nature of this object. Long ignored by philosophers, ‘race’ has no clear status or obvious place in the history of philosophy, cutting across different areas of philosophical inquiry. Although in recent years historians of philosophy have been increasingly […]

Securitati perpetuae

If we knocked on the graves and asked the dead whether they would like to rise again, they would shake their heads. … With true instinct the ancients put on their tombstones: Securitati perpetuae. Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, Vol. II (1859). It’s not clear whether in making this statement Schopenhauer had […]

Normalcy

So, how do you find Kashmir? When confronted with that question – as one often is when visiting this beautiful place – I could only reply, I don’t know. A third person commented That is the only honest answer to the question. Who knows and No one knows have been waging silent war against each […]