TRUE HUMANISM?: Civilisationism, Securitocracy and Racial Resignation
The fundamental challenge of our time,
asserts Paul Gilroy, is to imagine an
ethical and just world that truly fulfils the
promise of humanism and enacts the idea
of universal human rights. This cannot be
achieved through comfortable liberalism.
It requires direct confrontation with both
the discomforting realities of the dark
shadow of colonialism and its ongoing
legacy, and the continuing damaging
naturalisation of racialised thinking.
Peter Geschiere is concerned that the
concept of ‘the postcolonial’ is too allembracing
to be analytically useful. How
could so many variants of colonialism
produce one postcolonial condition? And
how long does the postcolonial really last?
In many places being in or post something
else (like the cold war or neoliberalism) is
arguably more defining.
Recuperating the Postcolonial: Dispatches from the US Classroom
Of course there is no ‘one’ postcolonial
condition, responds Kerry Bystrom. But
in literary studies at least, that’s not
primarily what matters. The salience of a
term like postcolonial resides in its ability
to destabilise normative understandings
and received perceptions, to ask questions
and open up debate.
Postcolonial Who? Postcolonial What? Some Thoughts on the Subjects of the Postcolonial
For Yara El-Ghadban the postcolonial still
usefully describes much of contemporary
life, even if used in different ways.
Anyway, obsessing over the definition of
terms risks diverting analytical energy
away from more important concerns.
Talking to French magazine Esprit
in December 2006, Achille Mbembe
suggests that postcolonial thought
looks original because it developed in a
transnational, eclectic vein from the very
start. This enabled it to combine the antiimperialist
tradition with a specific take
on worldliness and a poetics of human
mutuality. The interview was conducted
by Olivier Mongin, Nathalie Lempereur
and Jean-Louis Schlegel.
International capital immune from most
corporates that continue
to take profit without shouldering loss;
governments that are business: If the Left
thinks neoliberalism is dead, it’s time for a
radical process of thought-decolonisation.
That Melancholic Object of Desire: Work and Official Discourse Before and After Polokwane
Where is the dignity in what work?
Franco Barchiesi examines the impossible
disconnect between official discourses
valorizing work as the precondition for
social inclusion and citizenship, and the
frail, exploitative, precarious reality of
The Future(s) of (Colonial) Nostalgia or Ruminations on Ruins
Why is there a global boom in colonial
nostalgia? And what, exactly, is it
about colonialism that we are nostalgic
for? Pamila Gupta ruminates on the
possibilities nostalgia might offer for
a future-oriented politics, utopian or
Things Fall Apart after 50 Years: Tragedy and Existentialism in African Writing
Could the condition of social alienation experienced throughout Africa (usually attributed to transitions from the colonial to the post-colonial, and from the rural to the urban) be understood as constituting a widespread existential crisis? Ato Quayson explores Chinua Achebe’s novels for historical ambiguity, contemporary ambivalence, the impossibility of authentic action, and transitive measures.
A cover of “Things Fall Apart”, Ballantine Books, 1984. Photo: Flickr/lungstruck
Acts of State : A Photographic History of the Israeli Occupation
Politics and photography – does it work?
If so, why and how? Israeli philosopher
and visual theorist Ariella Azoulay
curated a photographic exhibition on
the occupation of Palestine Israel in a
notorious apartheid prison, now the
grounds of South Africa’s Constitutional
Court. Juan Orrantia and Ravinder Kaur
The Paul Smith Shop, Joburg. Culture of Display, Culture of Concealment
Fear and Clothing in Johannesburg:
Sarah Calburn takes on the city’s
addiction to the dislocated dream world of
ultra capitalism, the mall, and prescribes
an exclusive, excluding, floating, opaque
pink glass box.
Paul Smith Boutique, Parkhurst.
Photo: Adriaan Louw
After photographing the everyday in the aftermath of terror in Colombia for over a year, I found myself in southern Africa. I heard stories of war and recovery in places that my own history made similar yet so different. This led me to Mozambique where I wanted to document the similarities and differences of resilience and imagination in the wake of violence. I went to places where events of terror had taken place. I followed the emptiness of landscapes filled with history and its material remains. I entered buildings where the different trajectories of wars have come together in its multiple reoccupations and imaginations.
And so, as the work unfolds, I often wonder about the residues that fill our everyday landscapes, of the feelings they produce as they stroke our skin, as silent inhabitants of our dreams and nightmares.
Ivor Chipkin on Nationalism, Democracy and the Identity of 'the People' in South Africa
South Africa is peopled by subjects not fully democratic citizens, argues Ivor Chipkin. For the latter occurs only when fraternity, equality and liberty are exercised with ethical responsibility, in line with the principles universal human rights, and this has not been achieved in theory or practice.
South Africans are Proud, Conservative and Unequal
South Africans identify by race, language
group and nation, and are fundamentally
conservative and traditional. At least
that’s what public opinion showed six
years ago. What might a more recent
Obituary Carol A. Breckenridge September 6, 1942 - October 4, 2009
The historian and cultural critic Carol Breckenridge
(b.1942) passed away on the morning of the 4th of
October, 2009 in New York. She and her husband, Arjun Appadurai, founded the field-defining academic journal Public Culture in 1988.