David Graeber, David Wengrow: The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity (2021)

3 December 2021, dusan

“For generations, our remote ancestors have been cast as primitive and childlike–either free and equal innocents, or thuggish and warlike. Civilization, we are told, could be achieved only by sacrificing those original freedoms or, alternatively, by taming our baser instincts. David Graeber and David Wengrow show how such theories first emerged in the eighteenth century as a conservative reaction to powerful critiques of European society posed by Indigenous observers and intellectuals. Revisiting this encounter has startling implications for how we make sense of human history today, including the origins of farming, property, cities, democracy, slavery, and civilization itself.

Drawing on research in archaeology and anthropology, the authors show how history becomes a far more interesting place once we learn to throw off our conceptual shackles and perceive what’s really there. If humans did not spend 95 percent of their evolutionary past in tiny bands of hunter-gatherers, what were they doing all that time? If agriculture, and cities, did not mean a plunge into hierarchy and domination, then what kinds of social and economic organization did they lead to? The answers are often unexpected, and suggest that the course of human history may be less set in stone, and more full of playful, hopeful possibilities, than we tend to assume.”

Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux, November 2021
ISBN 9780374157357, 0374157359
xii+692 pages

Reviews: William Deresiewicz (The Atlantic, 2021), Giulio Ongaro (Jacobin/Tribune, 2021), Jennifer Schuessler (The New York Times, 2021), Kwame Anthony Appiah (The New York Review, 2021), David Priestland (The Guardian, 2021), Emily Kern (Boston Review, 2021), Steve Rushton (Bella Caledonia, 2021), George Scialabba (New Republic, 2021), Chris Knight, Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale (Monthly Review, 2021), Tunku Varadarajan (Wall Street Journal, 2021), Erle C. Ellis (Science, 2021), Peter Isackson (Fair Observer, 2021), Noah Berlatsky (NBC News, 2021), Annalee Newitz (Washington Post, 2021), Matthew Porges (LA Review of Books, 2022), Richard Handler (TLS, 2022), Milena Bartlová (A2larm, 2022, CZ), more.

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Martin Hägglund: This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom (2019)

29 October 2020, dusan

This Life offers a profoundly inspiring basis for transforming our lives, demonstrating that our commitment to freedom and democracy should lead us beyond both religion and capitalism. Philosopher Martin Hägglund argues that we need to cultivate not a religious faith in eternity but a secular faith devoted to our finite life together. He shows that all spiritual questions of freedom are inseparable from economic and material conditions: what matters is how we treat one another in this life and what we do with our time.

Engaging with great philosophers from Aristotle to Hegel and Marx, literary writers from Dante to Proust and Knausgaard, political economists from Mill to Keynes and Hayek, and religious thinkers from Augustine to Kierkegaard and Martin Luther King, Jr., Hägglund points the way to an emancipated life.”

Publisher Pantheon Books, New York, 2019
ISBN 9781101870402, 1101870400
450 pages

Interviews with author: Meagan Day (Jacobin, 2019), Adam Kelly (University of York, 2019, video).

Debates: Brandon M. Terry, Walter Benn Michaels, Benjamin Kunkel, Michael W. Clune, Jodi Dean, William Clare Roberts (Los Angeles Review of Books, 2020, with Hägglund’s response), Frederick Neuhouser, Lea Ypi, Jensen Suther (The Philosopher, 2020, with Hägglund’s introductory essay), Robert Pippin (The Point, 2019, Hägglund’s response).

Reviews: Samuel Moyn (Jacobin, 2019), Michael A. McCarthy (Jacobin, 2019), Nathan Brown (Radical Philosophy, 2019), Tyler M. Williams (Critical Inquiry, 2020), Jedediah Britton-Purdy (The New Republic, 2019), Mathew Abbott (Marx & Philosophy, 2020), Martin Rayburn (Parrhesia, 2020), Conall Cash (boundary2, 2019), Oliver Burkeman (The Guardian, 2019), James Wood (New Yorker, 2019), Adam Kirsch (Wall Street Journal, 2019), Matt McManus (Areo, 2020), Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins and Daniel Zamora (Dissent, 2019), William Egginton (Believer, 2020), Anton Jansson (Ord & Bild, 2020, SW), Matthew Engelke (Public Books, 2019), Kevin Schilbrack (Sophia, 2020), Knox Peden (Sydney Review of Books, 2020), Johan Andreas Trovik (Vinduet, 2022, NO).

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Boris Arvatov: Art and Production (1926–) [Russian, English]

23 July 2020, dusan

Boris Arvatov‘s Art and Production is a classic of the early Soviet avant-garde. Now nearing a century since its first publication, it is a crucial intervention for those seeking to understand the social dynamic of art and revolution during the period.

Derived from the internal struggles of Soviet Constructivism, as it confronted the massive problems of cultural transformation after ‘War Communism’, Arvatov’s writing is a major force in the split that occurred in the revolutionary horizons of Constructivism in the early 1920s. Critical of early Constructivism’s social-aesthetic process of art’s transformation of daily life – epitomised in studio-based painting, photography and object making – Arvatov polemicises for the devolution of artistic skills directly into the relations of production and the factory.

Whilst acknowledging the problems of a pure factory-based Productivism, Arvatov remains overwhelmingly committed to a new role and function for art outside the conventional studio and traditional gallery. Addressing issues such as artistic labour and productive labour, the artist as technician, art and multidisciplinarity and a life for art beyond ‘art’ – finding new relevance amidst the extensive social turn of contemporary participatory art – Art and Production offers a timely and compelling manifesto.”

Publisher Proletkult, Moscow, 1926
132 pages

English edition
Edited by John Roberts and Alexei Penzin
Introduction by John Roberts
Afterword by Alexei Penzin
Translated by Shushan Avagyan
Publisher Pluto Press, London, 2017
ISBN 9780745337364, 0745337368
160 pages

Reviews: Celluloid Liberation Front (Brooklyn Rail, 2017), Noel Halifax (Socialist Review, 2018).

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Iskusstvo i proizvodstvo (Russian, 1926, 45 MB)
Art and Production (English, 2017, EPUB; PDF, added 2020-8-6)