Umbr(a) was one of the most important US theory journals of the 1990s and early 2000s, publishing work by some of the greatest philosophers, psychoanalysts and theorists of our era. In every regard, it was ahead of the curve – in content, design, and style – often introducing thinkers who have subsequently become globally influential. This anthology presents a selection of the very best of Umbr(a), including contributions from Joan Copjec, Sam Gillespie, Juliet Flower MacCannell, Charles Shepherdson, Russell Grigg, Alenka Zupancic, Slavoj Žižek,Mladen Dolar, Catherine Malabou, Tim Dean, Steven Miller, Dominiek Hoens, Petar Ramadanovic, Sigi Jöttkandt, Colette Soler, Jelica Sumic and A. Kiarina Kordela.
This book foregrounds the centrality of political conflicts in the radical philosophy of Alain Badiou. It is divided into two halves. The first undertakes a reading of Badiou’s wider oeuvre (beyond Being and Event) and demonstrates that his political theory derives from analyses of key revolutionary sequences such as the Paris Commune, October ‘17, May ‘68 and the Chinese Cultural Revolution. In the second half, the book applies this schema to a concrete ‘situation’: colonial and post-colonial Jamaica.
This book develops a toolkit for acute reading of our modern pace, not through withdrawal but rather through active engagement with a broad range of disciplines. The main characters in this drama comprise a cast of master readers: Hannah Arendt, Jean Starobinski, Harold Bloom, Angus Fletcher, Hans Blumenberg and John Ashbery, with secondary figures drawn from the readers and critics whom this central group suggests. We must develop a vocabulary of pacing, reflecting our modern distance from classical sources and the concomitant acceleration of the modern condition.
What will happen to the tradition formerly known as continental philosophy? This exciting new anthology sketches an answer by bringing together the most prominent established and emerging authors in the field, all of them taking a more speculative turn than was found in the textually oriented continental philosophies of the past. The diverse positions outlined in this book include such old and new approaches as transcendental materialism, speculative realism, actor-network theory, object-oriented philosophy, non-philosophy, cosmopolitics, eliminative materialism, and even new-wave deconstruction. The book also has a highly international flavour, with its 19 authors hailing from 12 different countries on 5 continents.
Walter Benjamin is universally recognized as one of the key thinkers of modernity: his writings on politics, language, literature, media, theology and law have had an incalculable influence on contemporary thought. Yet the problem of architecture in and for Benjamin’s work remains relatively underexamined. Engaged, interdisciplinary, bristling with insights, the essays in this collection will constitute an indispensable supplement to the work of Walter Benjamin, as well as providing a guide to some of the obscurities of our own present.
This book is the first treatment of Bruno Latour specifically as a philosopher. Part One covers four key works in Latour’s career in metaphysics: Irreductions, Science in Action, We Have Never Been Modern, and Pandora’s Hope. In Part Two, the author identifies Latour’s key contributions to ontology, while criticizing his focus on the relational character of actors at the expense of their autonomous reality.
Set against the collapse of social theory into a theory of ideological discourse, Geoff Boucher sets to work a rigorous mapping of the contemporary field, targeting the relativist implications of this new form of philosophical idealism. Offering a detailed and immanent critique Boucher concentrates his critical attention on the ‘postmarxism’ of Laclau and Mouffe, Butler and Žižek. Combining close reading and careful exposition with polemical intent, Boucher links the relativism exemplified in these contemporary theoretical trends to unresolved philosophical problems of modernity. In conclusion Boucher points to ‘intersubjectivity’ as an exit from postmarxist theory’s charmed circle of ideology.
Despite political theorists’ repeated attempts to demonstrate their incoherence liberal values appear to have withstood the test of time. Indeed, engagement with them has become the meeting point of the different political philosophical traditions. But should radical critique justifiably become a thing of the past? Should political philosophy now be conducted in the light of the triumph of liberalism? These are the wider questions that the book takes up in an attempt to demonstrate the intellectual power of systemic critique in the tradition of Hegel. The author argues that the most ambitious of the communitarian critiques of liberal thought failed due to a fundamental weakness of their philosophical methodology. Moreover, the re-workings of these critiques by feminists, discourse ethicists, postmodern and postcolonial theorists have been equally unsuccessful because they have not traced the individualist commitment of liberal theory back to its source in liberal inquiring practices. Working through the theories of prominent liberal theorists, including John Rawls, Jeremy Waldron, Charles Larmore and Will Kymlicka, the book demonstrates that an adequate appreciation of the deep structural flaws of liberal theory presupposes the application of a critical philosophical methodology that has the power to reveal the systemic interconnections within and between the varieties of liberal inquiring practices.
In this characteristically incisive analysis, Sam Gillespie maintains that, whereas novelty in Deleuze is ultimately located in a Leibnizian affirmation of the world, for Badiou, the new, which is the coming-to-be of a truth, must be located at the ‘void’ of any situation. Following a lucid presentation of the central concepts of Badiou’s philosophy as they relate to the problem of novelty (mathematics as ontology, truth, the subject and the event), Gillespie identifies a significant problem in Badiou’s conception of the subject which he suggests can be answered by way of a supplementary framework derived from Lacan’s concept of anxiety.
Is it becoming more obvious today that the thinkers of the post-Hegelian era were/are not “able to bear the greatness, the immensity of the claims made by the human spirit”? Is our era the era of the “faint-hearted” philosophy? Celebrating 200 years since the publication of The Phenomenology of Spirit this volume addresses these questions through a renewed encounter with Hegel’s thought.
The Praxis of Alain Badiou takes up the challenge of explicating, extending and, in many places, criticising Badiou’s stunningly original theses. Above all, the essays collected here put Badiou’s concepts to the test in a confrontation with the four great headings that he himself has identified as essential to our humanity: science, love, art and politics. Many of the contributors have already been recognised as outstanding translators of and commentators on Badiou’s work; they appear here with fresh voices also destined to make a mark.