The rationality of life

In ʻWhat is a Nation?ʼ (1882), Ernest Renan provides an exemplary definition of the nation as an organic community: The nation, like an individual, is the culmination of a long past of endeavours, sacrifice, and devotion.… A nation is therefore a large-scale solidarity, constituted by the feeling of the sacrifices that one has made in […]

The exemplary exception

The exemplary exception Philosophical and political decisions in Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer Andrew norris rights. More specifically, the Nazi death camps are not a political aberration, least of all a unique event, but instead the place where politics as the sovereign decision on life most clearly reveals itself: ʻtoday it is not the city but […]

The cyborg mother

The cyborg mother Jaimie Smith-Windsor31 January 2003. The birth of my daughter, Aleah Quinn Smith-Windsor. A few days after Quinn was born this quotation appeared, written beside her incubator: ʻEvery blade of grass has an angel that bends over it and whispers: grow, grow.ʼ It was a near-fatal birth. Quinn was born at 24½ weeksʼ […]

Necro-economics

Louis Althusser began Reading Capital with the statement, ʻWe have all certainly read and are all reading [Marxʼs] Capital.ʼ While Althusser is undoubtedly addressing here his seminar, the focus of which was precisely Marxʼs Capital, the sentence that follows elevates the act of reading this particular text to the status of the universal: the entire […]

Petrified life

In his 1965 lectures on metaphysics, Adorno maintained that ʻthe form in which metaphysics impinges on us urgently todayʼ is ʻthe question whether it is still possible to liveʼ. [1] Such a question is speculative, since the possibility of life is taken to have migrated to the margins of human experience. For Adorno, life in […]

After life

After life De anima and unhuman politics Eugene thacker Since the 1960s, the NASA programme has supported research into the exploration of life on other planets. Currently, their astrobiology programme involves multiple institutions and research programmes, including the NASA Astrobiology Institute. Its mission statement defines astrobiology as ‘the study of the origins, evolution, distribution, and […]