Homo desiderans

Miguel de Beistegui, The Government of Desire: A Genealogy of the Liberal Subject (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 2018). ix+295pp., £34.00 hb., 978 0 22654 737 4 Miguel de Beistegui’s new book is one of the most important contributions to the study of desire since the publication of René Girard’s Things Hidden Since […]

The sociality of theory

Fadi A. Bardawil, Revolution and Disenchantment: Arab Marxism and the Binds of Emancipation (Durham: Duke University Press, 2020). 280pp., £83.00 hb., £21.99 pb., 978 1 47800 616 9 hb., 978 1 47800 675 6 pb. A Flood in Baʿath Country, the 2003 documentary by Syrian filmmaker Omar Amiralay, opens with a stark confession on the […]

Normativity at the edge of reason

Cecile Malaspina, An Epistemology of Noise (London: Bloomsbury, 2018). 256pp., £90.00 hb., £28.99 pb., , In recent years noise seems to have become an interdisciplinary concept par excellence, apt to capture important dynamics at work whether in technological, scientific, social or aesthetic domains. But when economists, biologists, psychologists, and musicians speak of noise, are they […]

Ghosts in fishnets

Elizabeth Otto, Haunted Bauhaus: Occult Spirituality, Gender Fluidity, Queer Identities, and Radical Politics (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2019). 282pp., £28.00 hb., 978 0 26204 329 8 I once heard the artist David Shrigley remark that the reason he became an artist was due to an adolescent fascination with art students, particularly those at the […]

Discriminatory data

Ruha Benjamin, Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2019). 172pp., £60.00 hb., £14.99 pb., 978 1 50952 639 0 hb., 978 1 50952 640 4 pb. If you’ve ever listened to Pod Save America, the voice of centrist Democratic politics presented by a crew of former Obama staff, […]

Cleaning artefacts

Dan Kidner and Alex Sainsbury, eds., Nightcleaners and ’36 to ’77 (London: Raven Row, LUX and Koenig Books, 2018). Box-set containing two books (214pp.) and two DVDs/Blu-Rays. £24.00, 978 3 96098 381 1 From campaign film to experiment in documentary representation, and from exemplary instance of anti-realist and self-reflexive ‘Brechtian’ counter cinema (according to some […]

Human rights in a wrong world

Ratna Kapur, Gender, Alterity and Human Rights: Freedom in a Fishbowl (Cheltenham and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018). 307pp., £90.00 hb., £19.95 pb., 978 1 78811 252 9 hb., 978 1 83910 447 3 pb. Over the past few decades, various critical scholars have emphasised the limitations of human rights. Such scholars have, for […]