Philosophy

Darkening Blackness: Race, Gender, Class, and Pessimism in 21st-Century Black Thought
Norman Ajari
Polity Press - 24.00€ -

The concept of Afropessimism does not refer to Black people, but rather to the likelihood of white society overcoming its own negrophobia, and to a radical distrust in white narratives of inclusivity. What if the ideas and reforms we regard as progressive were just the new and shiny face of racism? In the time of Black Lives Matter, the unswerving dehumanization and killing of Black people form the bedrock of our civilization. But a vast anti-Black collective feeling also manifests itself as a more insidious shared unconscious, hidden from view by the doctrines we deem as emancipatory. This book challenges the simplistic and pacifying aspects of current African American thought. It puts forward alternatives to intersectionality, poststructuralism, and radical democracy, which are often prioritized in the Black analysis of race, gender, and class.

Accessible, historically informed, and politically alert, this book offers a critical analysis of the groundbreaking theories and strategies that radically reimagine the future of Black lives throughout the world.

Norman Ajari is a lecturer in Francophone Black Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Politically Red
Eduardo Cadava, Sara Nadal-Melsio
The MIT Press - 30.00€ -

How reading and writing are collective acts of political pedagogy, and why the struggle for change must begin at the level of the sentence. 

"Reading is class struggle," writes Bertolt Brecht. Politically Red contextualizes contemporary demands for social and racial justice by exploring the shifting relations between politics and literacy.

Through a series of creative readings of Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Walter Benjamin, W. E. B. Du Bois, Fredric Jameson, and others, it casts light on history as an accumulation of violence and, in doing so, suggests that it can become a crucial resource for confronting the present insurgence of inequality, racism, and fascism. Reading between the lines, as it were, and even behind them, Cadava and Nadal-Melsió engage in an inventive mode of activist writing to argue that reading and writing are never solitary tasks, but always collaborative and collective, and able to revitalize our shared political imagination.

Drawing on what they call a "red common-wealth"—an archive of vast resources for doing political work and, in particular, anti-racist work—they demonstrate that sentences, as dynamic repositories of social relations, are historical and political events.

Let Them Rot
Alenka Zupančič
Divided Publishing - 15.00€ -

What is the relation between family misfortune and desire? Why must we bury the dead? What is to come for those unburied? How to distinguish the endless stream of graphic violence from violence that goes straight to the bone? How does language make up not only the law, but also unwritten laws?

In Let Them Rot Alenka Zupančič takes up the ancient figure of Antigone and finds a blueprint for the politics of desire. Not desire as consumption, enjoying what is offered, but desire’s oblivion to what came before. Such politics says: “No, this world must end and I will be the embodiment of that end.” This is not self-satisfied destruction for destruction’s sake; it is existence with consequences beyond the predictable. Zupančič asks: “Why desire?” And this question of desire, which may be the only question, takes the form of a no that is also an “I".

"Zupančič’s ideas are fresh, as if they hailed from some open air beyond the clutter of current theoretical quarrels. This brilliant account of Sophocles’s Antigone breaks new ground for philosophy, psychoanalysis, and political and feminist theory." — Joan Copjec, Brown University

"Writing my book on Antigone, I thought: “There we go, the subject is closed—let’s go to sleep.” And then along came Zupančič with her take and compelled me to rethink everything I did. In other words—and this is difficult for me to say—she is better than me here." — Slavoj Žižek

Alenka Zupančič is a Slovenian philosopher and social theorist. She is a professor of philosophy and psychoanalysis at the European Graduate School and a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy at the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts. She is the author of many books, including What Is Sex? (MIT Press, 2017), The Odd One In: On Comedy(MIT Press, 2008), and Ethics of the Real: Kant and Lacan (Verso, 2000).

Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene
Anna Tsing, Heather Swanson, Elaine Gan, Nils Bubandt (eds.)
University of Minnesota Press - 28.00€ -  out of stock

As human-induced environmental change threatens multispecies livability, Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet puts forward a bold proposal: entangled histories, situated narratives, and thick descriptions offer urgent “arts of living.” Included are essays by scholars in anthropology, ecology, science studies, art, literature, and bioinformatics who posit critical and creative tools for collaborative survival in a more-than-human Anthropocene. 

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Niels Bohr Professor at Aarhus University in Denmark, where she codirects Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene (AURA).

Heather Swanson is assistant professor of anthropology at Aarhus University.

Elaine Gan is art director of AURA and postdoctoral fellow at Aarhus University.

Nils Bubandt is professor of anthropology at Aarhus University, where he codirects AURA.

Let Them Rot: Antigone's Parallax
Alenka Zupančič
Fordham University Press - 20.00€ -  out of stock

A provocative, highly accessible journey to the heart of Sophocles' Antigone elucidating why it keeps resurfacing as a central text of Western thought and Western culture.

"Zupančič writes with rare lucidity and patience for exposition, helped along by a talent for turning peculiar phrases or seemingly senseless jokes into full-blown insights. Her ideas are fresh, as if they hailed from some open air beyond the clutter of current theoretical quarrels. This brilliant account of Antigone breaks new ground for philosophy, psychoanalysis, and political and feminist theory."—Joan Copjec, Brown University

There is probably no classical text that has inspired more interpretation, critical attention, and creative response than Sophocles' A ntigone. What is it about the figure of Antigone that keeps haunting us? To what kind of always contemporary contradiction does the need, the urge to reread and reimagine Antigone—in all kinds of contexts and languages—correspond?  

The violence in Antigone is the opposite of "graphic" as we have come to know it in movies and in the media; rather, it is sharp and piercing, it goes straight to the bone. It is the violence of language, the violence of principles, the violence of desire, the violence of subjectivity. From this question of violence, the author turns to questions of funerary rites and of the relation of Antigone's singularizing claims to her universal appeal. What, Zupančič asks, does this particular (Oedipal) family's misfortune, of which Antigone chooses to be the guardian, share with the general condition of humanity? This forces us to confront the seemingly self-evident question: "What is incest?"  

Let Them Rot is Alenka Zupančič's absorbing guided tour of the philosophical and psychoanalytic issues arising from the Theban trilogy. Her original and surprising account illuminates the play's ongoing relevance and invites a wide readership to become captivated by its themes.  

Alenka Zupančič is Professor of Philosophy and Psychoanalysis at the European Graduate School and a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy at the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts. Her books include What IS Sex?, The Odd One In: On Comedy, and Ethics of the Real.

The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World
David Abram
Vintage - 18.00€ -  out of stock

Elegant in exposition, vast in implication, this groundbreaking work of ecological philosophy compellingly argues the necessity for restoring humanity's lost connections with the sensuous world. Drawing on disciplines as diverse as phenomenology and sleight-of-hand magic, Abram explains how the processes readers think of as "mental" actually derive from a deeply physical interaction with the rest of nature.

Our Grateful Dead: Stories of Those Left Behind
Vinciane Despret
University of Minnesota Press - 23.00€ -  out of stock

Vinciane Despret’s unique storytelling, woven with ethnography and family history, assembles accounts of those living their daily lives with their dead. She explores how the dead play an active, tangible role through those who are living, who might assume their place in a family or in society; continue their labor or art; or thrive from a shared inheritance or an organ donation. 

Vinciane Despret is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Liège and the Free University of Brussels. The original French edition of Our Grateful Dead ( Au bonheur des morts) won the prestigious Prix des Rencontres Philosophiques de Monaco. Her books include What Would Animals Say If We Asked the Right Questions? and The Dance of the Arabian Babbler: Birth of an Ethological Theory, both from Minnesota.

Stephen Muecke is professor of creative writing at Flinders University, South Australia. His many translations include works by Gilles Deleuze, Roland Barthes, and Luce Irigaray.

Hippias Minor or the Art of Cunning: A New Translation of Plato's Most Controversial Dialogue
Paul Chan (ed.)
Badlands Unlimited - 20.00€ -  out of stock

One of Plato's most controversial dialogues, Hippias Minor details Socrates' claims that there is no difference between a person who tells the truth and one who lies, and that the good man is the one who willingly makes mistakes and does wrong. But what if Socrates wasn't merely championing the act of lying—as the dialogue has been traditionally interpreted—but, rather, advocating the power of the creative act?

In this new translation by Sarah Ruden, Hippias Minor is rendered anew as a provocative dialogue about how art is a form of wrongdoing. The accompanying introduction by artist Paul Chan and essay by classicist Richard Fletcher argue that an understanding of the dialogue makes life more ethical by paradoxically teaching one to be more cunning.

Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic
Henri Bergson
Martino Publishing - 14.00€ -

"Laughter" is a collection of three essays by French philosopher Henri Bergson, first published in 1900. In a short introduction, Bergson announces that he will try to define the comic, but he does not want to give a rigid definition of the word; he wants to deal with the comic as part of human life. His ambition is also to have a better knowledge of society, of the functioning of human imagination and of collective imagination, but also of art and life.

Bergson begins to note three facts on the comic: 1] the comic is strictly a human phenomenon. A landscape cannot be a source of laughter, and when humans make fun of animals, it is often because they recognize some human behavior in them. Man is not only a being that can laugh, but also a being that is a source of laughter. 2] laughter requires an indifference, a detachment from sensibility and emotion: 3] it is more difficult to laugh when one is fully aware of the seriousness of a situation. It is difficult to laugh alone, it is easier to laugh collectively. One who is excluded from a group of people does not laugh with them, there is often a complicity in laughter. Thus the comic is not a mere pleasure of the intellect, it is a human and social activity, it has a social meaning.

2014 Reprint of Original 1912 Edition. Exact facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition Software.

The Telephone Book: Technology, Schizophrenia, Electric Speech
Avital Ronell
University of Nebraska Press - 60.00€ -  out of stock

The telephone marks the place of an absence. Affiliated with discontinuity, alarm, and silence, it raises fundamental questions about the constitution of self and other, the stability of location, systems of transfer, and the destination of speech. Profoundly changing our concept of long-distance, it is constantly transmitting effects of real and evocative power. To the extent that it always relates us to the absent other, the telephone, and the massive switchboard attending it, plugs into a hermeneutics of mourning.

The Telephone Book, itself organized by a "telephonic logic," fields calls from philosophy, history, literature, and psychoanalysis. It installs a switchboard that hooks up diverse types of knowledge while rerouting and jamming the codes of the disciplines in daring ways. Avital Ronell has done nothing less than consider the impact of the telephone on modern thought. Her highly original, multifaceted inquiry into the nature of communication in a technological age will excite everyone who listens in. The book begins by calling close attention to the importance of the telephone in Nazi organization and propaganda, with special regard to the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. In the Third Reich the telephone became a weapon, a means of state surveillance, "an open accomplice to lies." Heidegger, in Being and Time and elsewhere, elaborates on the significance of "the call." In a tour de force response, Ronell mobilizes the history and terminology of the telephone to explicate his difficult philosophy.

Ronell also speaks of the appearance of the telephone in the literary works of Duras, Joyce, Kafka, Rilke, and Strindberg. She examines its role in psychoanalysis—Freud said that the unconscious is structured like a telephone, and Jung and R. D. Laing saw it as a powerful new body part. She traces its historical development from Bell's famous first call: "Watson, come here!" Thomas A. Watson, his assistant, who used to communicate with spirits, was eager to get the telephone to talk, and thus to link technology with phantoms and phantasms. In many ways a meditation on the technologically constituted state, The Telephone Book opens a new field, becoming the first political deconstruction of technology, state terrorism, and schizophrenia. And it offers a fresh reading of the American and European addiction to technology in which the telephone emerges as the crucial figure of this age.

The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study
Stefano Harney & Fred Moten
Minor Composition - 19.50€ -  out of stock

In this series of essays Fred Moten and Stefano Harney draw on the theory and practice of the black radical tradition as it supports, inspires, and extends contemporary social and political thought and aesthetic critique. Today the general wealth of social life finds itself confronted by mutations in the mechanisms of control, from the proliferation of capitalist logistics through governance by credit and management of pedagogy.

Working from and within the social poesis of life in the undercommons Moten and Harney develop and expand an array of concepts: study, debt, surround, planning, and the shipped. On the fugitive path of an historical and global blackness, the essays in this volume unsettle and invite the reader to the self-organised ensembles of social life that are launched every day and every night amid the general antagonism of the undercommons.

Published 2013.

The Way of Love
Luce Irigaray
Continuum - 35.00€ -  out of stock

The Way of Love asks the question: How can we love each other? Here Luce Irigaray, one of the world's foremost philosophers, presents an extraordinary exploration of desire and the human heart. If Western philosophy has claimed to be a love of wisdom, it has forgotten to become a wisdom of love. We still lack words, gestures, ways of doing or thinking to approach one another as humans, to enter into dialogue, to build a world where we can live together.

Luce Irigaray is Director of Research in Philosophy at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris. A doctor of philosophy, Luce Irigaray is also trained in linguistics, philology, psychology and psychoanalysis. Now acknowledged as a key influential thinker of our times, her work focuses on the culture of two subjects, masculine and feminine - particularly through the liberation of a feminine subjectivity - something she explores in a range of literary forms, from the philosophical to the scientific, the political and the poetic.

Published 2004.

I Was More American than the Americans
Sylvère Lotringer, Donatien Grau
Diaphanes - 15.00€ -  out of stock

A personal take on French Theory by one of the people who invented it. 

In the mid-1970s, Sylvère Lotringer created Semiotext(e), a philosophical group that became a magazine and then a publishing house. Since its creation, Semio-text(e) has been a place of stimulating dialogue between artists and philosophers, and for the past fifty years, much of American artistic and intellectual life has depended on it. The model of the journal and the publishing house revolves around the notion of the collective, and Lotringer has rarely shared his personal journey: his existence as a hidden child during World War II; the liberating and then traumatic experience of the collective in the kibbutz; his Parisian activism in the 1960s; his time of wandering, that took him, by way of Istanbul, to the United States; and then, of course, his American years, the way he mingled his nightlife with the formal experimentation he invented with Semiotext(e) and with his classes. Since the early 2010s, Donatien Grau has developed the habit of visiting Lotringer during his trips to Los Angeles; some of their dialogs were published or held in public. This book is an entry into Lotringer's life, his friendships, his choices, and his admiration for some of the leading thinkers of our times. The conversations between Lotringer and Grau show bursts of life, traces of a journey, through texts and existence itself, with an unusual intensity. 

Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things
Jane Bennett
Duke University Press - 25.00€ -  out of stock

In Vibrant Matter the political theorist Jane Bennett, renowned for her work on nature, ethics, and affect, shifts her focus from the human experience of things to things themselves. Bennett argues that political theory needs to do a better job of recognizing the active participation of nonhuman forces in events. Toward that end, she theorizes a “vital materiality” that runs through and across bodies, both human and nonhuman. Bennett explores how political analyses of public events might change were we to acknowledge that agency always emerges as the effect of ad hoc configurations of human and nonhuman forces. She suggests that recognizing that agency is distributed this way, and is not solely the province of humans, might spur the cultivation of a more responsible, ecologically sound politics: a politics less devoted to blaming and condemning individuals than to discerning the web of forces affecting situations and events. 

Bennett examines the political and theoretical implications of vital materialism through extended discussions of commonplace things and physical phenomena including stem cells, fish oils, electricity, metal, and trash. She reflects on the vital power of material formations such as landfills, which generate lively streams of chemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can transform brain chemistry and mood. Along the way, she engages with the concepts and claims of Spinoza, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Darwin, Adorno, and Deleuze, disclosing a long history of thinking about vibrant matter in Western philosophy, including attempts by Kant, Bergson, and the embryologist Hans Driesch to name the “vital force” inherent in material forms. Bennett concludes by sketching the contours of a “green materialist” ecophilosophy.

Absence Where As: Claude Cahun and the Unopened Book
Nathanaël
Nightboat Books - 15.00€ -  out of stock

This book, from inter-genre, bilingual writer Nathanaël, investigates the relationship between image and language through a philosophical and poetic meditation on a self-portrait by Surrealist photographer and writer Claude Cahun.

"In Absence Where As, Nathanael reads the unread book, ‘the book that comes’ to us nevertheless, that haunts and hovers unopened and dreamt, proceeding from the Ecrits of the visionary and revolutionary artist-activist Claude Cahun, to life’s library. Through this constellatory essay in the faults of thought, in reading’s flaw, Nathanael comes to know and know how, creating new epistemological and aesthetic territory in the radiant continuum between lyric and narrative, the text and the dream of text, which is literature itself." - John Keene

Gravity And Grace
Simone Weil
Bison Books - 20.00€ -  out of stock

Simone Weil, the French philosopher, political activist, and religious mystic, was little known when she died young in 1943. Four years later the philosopher-farmer Gustave Thibon compiled La pesanteur et la grbce from the notebooks she left in his keeping.

In 1952 this English translation accelerated the fame and influence of Simone Weil. The striking aphorisms in Gravity and Grace reflect the religious philosophy of Weil's last years. Written at the onset of World War II, when her health was deteriorating and her left-wing social activism was giving way to spiritual introspection, this masterwork makes clear why critics have called Simone Weil "a great soul who might have become a saint" and "the Outsider as saint, in an age of alienation." Introducer Thomas R. Nevin is a professor of classical studies at John Carroll University and the author of Simone Weil: Portrait of a Self-Exiled Jew.

Can the Subaltern Speak?
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza
Afterall Books - 18.00€ -  out of stock

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's landmark essay in decolonial thought is animated for a new generation with art by Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza.

In 1985 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's seminal essay, 'Can the Subaltern Speak' transformed the analysis of colonialism. In a deeply divided world Spivak's text interrogated the historical and ideological factors that, by obstructing the potential for certain subjects to be heard, maintained the degraded status of those subjects on the world's peripheries. The text remains, in the third decade of the twenty-first century, as compelling as ever, and affirms the continuing relevance of Marxism to contemporary decolonial thought.

In this Afterall Two Works edition, the essay is given new life in dialogue with especially commissioned artwork by Ecuadorian artist Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza. Loaiza's preoccupation with questions of visibility and occlusion, the need for and absence of the image, has guide the creation of a mesmerising set of works. These form a visual vocabulary that echoes and refracts Spivak's central terms, bringing new inflections to an enduringly important text.

 

What Is Sex?
Alenka Zupančič
The MIT Press - 22.50€ -  out of stock

Why sexuality is at the point of a "short circuit" between ontology and epistemology.

Consider sublimation, conventionally understood as a substitute satisfaction for missing sexual satisfaction. But what if, as Lacan claims, we can get exactly the same satisfaction that we get from sex from talking (or writing, painting, praying, or other activities)? The point is not to explain the satisfaction from talking by pointing to its sexual origin, but that the satisfaction from talking is itself sexual. The satisfaction from talking contains a key to sexual satisfaction (and not the other way around), even a key to sexuality itself and its inherent contradictions. The Lacanian perspective would make the answer to the simple-seeming question, "What is sex?" rather more complex. In this volume in the Short Circuits series, Alenka Zupančič approaches the question from just this perspective, considering sexuality a properly philosophical problem for psychoanalysis; and by psychoanalysis, she means that of Freud and Lacan, not that of the kind of clinician practitioners called by Lacan "orthopedists of the unconscious."

Zupančič argues that sexuality is at the point of a "short circuit" between ontology and epistemology. Sexuality and knowledge are structured around a fundamental negativity, which unites them at the point of the unconscious. The unconscious (as linked to sexuality) is the concept of an inherent link between being and knowledge in their very negativity.

Humankind: Solidarity with Non-Human People
Timothy Morton
Verso Books - 14.00€ -  out of stock

A radical call for solidarity between humans and non-humans.

What is it that makes humans human? As science and technology challenge the boundaries between life and non-life, between organic and inorganic, this ancient question is more timely than ever. Acclaimed Object-Oriented philosopher Timothy Morton invites us to consider this philosophical issue as eminently political. In our relationship with non-humans, we decided the fate of our humanity.

The Parasite
Michel Serres
University of Minnesota Press - 19.50€ -  out of stock

Influential philosopher Michel Serres’s foundational work uses fable to explore how human relations are identical to that of the parasite to the host body. Among Serres’s arguments is that by being pests, minor groups can become major players in public dialogue, creating diversity and complexity vital to human life and thought.

Order Out of Chaos: Man’s New Dialogue with Nature
Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers
Verso Books - 25.00€ -

A pioneering book that shows how the two great themes of classic science, order and chaos, are being reconciled in a new and unexpected synthesis.

Order Out of Chaos is a sweeping critique of the discordant landscape created by modern scientific knowledge. An exciting and accessible account of the philosophical implications of thermodynamics, it brings contradictory philosophies of time and chance into a novel and ambitious synthesis. Since its first publication in 1978, this book has sparked debate among physicists, philosophers, literary critics and historians.

The Storyteller
Walter Benjamin
Verso Books - 16.00€ -  out of stock

The Storyteller gathers for the first time the fiction of the legendary critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin, best known for his groundbreaking studies of culture and literature, including Illuminations, One-Way Street and The Arcades Project. His stories revel in the erotic tensions of city life, cross the threshold between rational and hallucinatory realms, celebrate the importance of games, and delve into the peculiar relationship between gambling and fortune-telling, and explore the themes that defined Benjamin. The novellas, fables, histories, aphorisms, parables and riddles in this collection are brought to life by the playful imagery of the modernist artist and Bauhaus figure Paul Klee.

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