Ariella Aïsha Azoulay: Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism (2019)

22 November 2019, dusan

“A passionately urgent call for all of us to unlearn imperialism and repair the violent world we share

In this theoretical tour-de-force, renowned scholar Ariella Aïsha Azoulay calls on us to recognize the imperial foundations of knowledge and to refuse its strictures and its many violences.

Azoulay argues that the institutions that make our world, from archives and museums to ideas of sovereignty and human rights to history itself, are all dependent on imperial modes of thinking. Imperialism has segmented populations into differentially governed groups, continually emphasized the possibility of progress while it tries to destroy what came before, and voraciously seeks out the new by sealing the past away in dusty archival boxes and the glass vitrines of museums.

By practicing what she calls potential history, Azoulay argues that we can still refuse the original imperial violence that shattered communities, lives, and worlds, from native peoples in the Americas at the moment of conquest to the Congo ruled by Belgium’s brutal King Léopold II, from dispossessed Palestinians in 1948 to displaced refugees in our own day. In Potential History, Azoulay travels alongside historical companions—an old Palestinian man who refused to leave his village in 1948, an anonymous woman in war-ravaged Berlin, looted objects and documents torn from their worlds and now housed in archives and museums—to chart the ways imperialism has sought to order time, space, and politics.

Rather than looking for a new future, Azoulay calls upon us to rewind history and unlearn our imperial rights, to continue to refuse imperial violence by making present what was invented as ‘past’ and making the repair of torn worlds the substance of politics.”

Publisher Verso Books, London, 2019
ISBN 9781788735711, 1788735714
656 pages

Review: Lunettes Rouges (Le Monde blog, 2020, FR, part 2).
Roundtable: Gil Hochberg, Zoé Samudzi, Joshua Simon, Robert Yerachmiel Sniderman (Protocols, 2020).

Publisher
WorldCat

HTML (added on 2020-2-2)
EPUB (15 MB)

Really Useful Knowledge (2014)

19 November 2019, dusan

“This catalogue investigates the notion of “really useful knowledge” and its origins. In the 1820s and 1830s, working class organisations in the UK introduced this phrase to describe a body of knowledge that encompassed various “unpractical” disciplines such as politics, economics and philosophy, as opposed to the “useful knowledge” proclaimed by business owners who had previously begun to invest more heavily in their companies’ progress through financing workers’ education in “applicable” disciplines like engineering, physics, chemistry and mathematics. The publication presents texts and conversations that analyse these themes, including philosophy, art, politics and technology.”

With contributions by What, How and for Whom/WHW, Marina Garcés, Raqs Media Collective, Luis Camnitzer, Trevor Paglen and Jacob Appelbaum, Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, and Gáspár M. Tamás.

Curated by What, How and for Whom/WHW
Publisher Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MACBA), Barcelona, 2014
ISBN 9788480264990, 8480264993
285+[10] pages

Discussion: Charles Esche, Manuel Borja-Villel (L’Internationale, 2015).

Exhibition
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (14 MB)

Achille Mbembe: Necropolitics (2016–) [ES, IT, EN]

14 November 2019, dusan

“In Necropolitics Achille Mbembe, a leader in the new wave of francophone critical theory, theorizes the genealogy of the contemporary world, a world plagued by ever-increasing inequality, militarization, enmity, and terror as well as by a resurgence of racist, fascist, and nationalist forces determined to exclude and kill. He outlines how democracy has begun to embrace its dark side—what he calls its “nocturnal body”—which is based on the desires, fears, affects, relations, and violence that drove colonialism. This shift has hollowed out democracy, thereby eroding the very values, rights, and freedoms liberal democracy routinely celebrates. As a result, war has become the sacrament of our times in a conception of sovereignty that operates by annihilating all those considered enemies of the state. Despite his dire diagnosis, Mbembe draws on post-Foucauldian debates on biopolitics, war, and race as well as Fanon’s notion of care as a shared vulnerability to explore how new conceptions of the human that transcend humanism might come to pass. These new conceptions would allow us to encounter the Other not as a thing to exclude but as a person with whom to build a more just world.”

First published as Politiques de l’inimitié, La Découverte, Paris, 2016.

English edition
Translated by Steven Corcoran
Publisher Duke University Press, 2019
Theory in Forms series
ISBN 9781478005858, 1478005858
viii+213 pages

Reviews: Laurent Husson (Érudit, 2017, FR), Magali Bessone (L’Homme, 2016, FR), Guillaume G. Poirier (Ithaque, 2017, FR), Alexis Pierçon-Gnezda (Les Inrocks, 2016, FR), Jean Vettraino (Revue Projet, 2016, FR), Akono François-Xavier (Philosophie-politique, 2016, FR), Klaus Nüchtern (Zeit, DE, 2017), Jos Schnurer (socialnet.de, 2017, DE), Filippo La Porta (Laterza, 2019, IT), Tancredi Re (Economia Italiana, 2019, IT).

Publisher (EN)
WorldCat (EN)

Políticas de la enemistad (Spanish, trans. Victor Goldstein, 2018, via)
Nanorazzismo: il corpo notturno della democrazia (Italian, trans. Guido Lagomarsino, 2019)
Necropolitics (English, trans. Steven Corcoran, 2019)