Counter-violence, a ‘Hegelian’ myth

Beyond a doubt Hegel knew about real slaves and their revolutionary struggles. In perhaps the most political expression of his career, he used the sensational events of Haiti as the linchpin in his argument in The Phenomenology of Spirit. The actual and successful revolution of Caribbean slaves against their masters is the moment when the […]

The social life of black things

I want to identify not with creaturely life but with the stolen life of imagining things. Fred Moten, ‘There is no Racism Intended’ Fred Moten’s three-volume collection of essays, consent not to be a single being, draws together some fifteen years of his consistently inventive but widely dispersed work in Black Studies, thus allowing his […]

The becoming-black of the world?

Blackness and race have played multiple roles in the imaginaries of European societies … the two have always occupied a central place – simultaneously, or at least in parallel – within modern knowledge and discourse about man (and therefore about humanism and humanity). … Blackness and race, the one and the other, represent twin figures […]

Europe’s ‘Hungarian solution’

COMMENTARY europe’s ‘hungarian solution’ prem kumar rajaram In a speech at a European Union heads-of-state summit on migration in February 2016, Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister, declared that the ‘Hungarian solution’ to the migration ‘crisis’ facing Europe had now become ‘common sense’, adopted by other European countries after a summer in which Hungary’s ‘illiberal’ treatment […]

Figures of interpellation in Althusser and Fanon

Figures of interpellation in Althusser and Fanon Pierre macherey The text that Althusser published in 1970 under the title ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses’, where he puts forward the thesis of the individual’s interpellation as subject, is no doubt one of his most innovative, but it is also particularly disconcerting: its exposition, in exploiting a […]

David Macey, 1949-2011

Obituary Biographer of the French intellectual Left David Macey, 1949–2011 David Macey died from complications of lung cancer on 7 October. He embodied the paradox of being a fine public intellectual while remaining an intensely private person. He was one of the best intellectual historians of his generation and added appreciably to scholarly knowledge, yet […]

Colonizing citizenship

Commentary Colonizing citizenship Françoise vergès ʻWe are not the victims but the children of a crime against humanity.ʼ [1] Commemorations are important events in France. If, on the one hand, they offer the government the opportunity to reinforce a ʻcertain idea of Franceʼ, on the other hand they give historians, researchers and activists the possibility […]

Fanon, phenomenology, race

Fanon, phenomenology, race David macey ʻThe black man is not. Nor the white.ʼ [1] Thus Fanon in the concluding section of Peau noire, masques blancs (1952), in my translation. It is quite impossible to work with the existing versions, the most obvious index of that impossibility being the unfortunate decision to translate the title of […]

Enigma variation

In The Racial Contract, Charles Mills argues that contemporary structures of white domination in the West operate by means of an epistemology of ignorance for white people. [1] White people suffer from cognitive dysfunctions such that they cannot understand the racially (and racistly) structured world in which they live and, indeed, helped create. For Mills, […]