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Culture

REVIEWS IN CULTURAL THEORY – UPDATE AUGUST 2010

New reviews in Reviews in Cultural Theory are now accessible online at reviewsinculture.com. We’re also seeking reviewers for new and forthcoming books. Please see our list of books for which we’re seeking reviewers below and email us at editors@reviewsinculture.com, if you are interested in contributing a review.

Summer reviews:

Erin Wunker reviews Barbara Godard’s Canadian Literature at the Crossroads of Language and Culture.

Will Straw reviews Davin Heckman’s A Small World: Smart Houses and the Dream of the Perfect Day. 

Evan Mauro reviews Seth Moglen’s Mourning Modernity: Literary Modernism and the Injuries of American Capitalism.

Matthew MacLellan reviews Gerald Raunig’s A Thousand Machines: A Concise Philosophy of the Machine as a Social Movement.

Gerry Canavan reviews Mark Bould and China Miéville’s Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction.

Melissa Aronczyk reviews Guy Julier and Liz Moor’s Design and Creativity: Policy, Management and Practice.

Books for review:

Anderson, Patrick. So Much Wasted: Hunger, Performance, and the Morbidity of Resistance. Duke UP, 2010.

Aronczyk, Melissa, and Devon Powers, eds. Blowing Up the Brand: Critical Perspectives on Promotional Culture. Peter Lang, 2010.

Blanco, Maria del Pilar and Esther Peeren. Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture. Continuum Press, 2010. 

Bowman, Paul, ed. The Rey Chow Reader. Columbia UP, 2010. 

Chatterjee, Partha. Empire and Nation: Selected Essays. Columbia UP, 2010.

Coole, Diana and Samantha Frost, eds. New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics. Duke UP, 2010.

Dabashi, Hamid. Brown Skin, White Masks. Pluto Press, 2010.

The Edu-factory Collective. Toward a Global Autonomous University: Cognitive Labor, The Production of Knowledge, and Exodus from the Education Factory. Autonomedia, 2009.

Foley, Barbara. Wrestling with the Left: The Making of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Duke UP, 2010.

Floyd, Kevin. The Reification of Desire: Toward a Queer Marxism.  University of Minnesota Press, 2009.

Fumagalli, Andrea and Sandro Mezzadra, eds. Crisis in the Global Economy: Financial Markets, Social Struggles, and New Political Scenarios. Semiotext(e), 2010.

Gregg, Melissa and Gregory J. Seigworth, eds.  The Affect Theory Reader. Duke UP, 2010.

Grossberg, Lawrence. Cultural Studies in the Future Tense. Duke UP, 2010.

Hill, Rod and Tony Myatt. The Economics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Microeconomics. Zed, 2010.

Hitchcock, Peter. The Long Space: Transnationalism and Postcolonial Form. Stanford UP, 2010.

Holmes, Brian. Unleashing the Collective Phantoms: Essays in Reverse Imagineering. Pluto Press, 2010.

Johnson-Woods, Toni. Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives. Continuum Press, 2010.

Kim, Jodi. Ends of Empire: Asian American Critique and the Cold War. U of Minnesota Press, 2010.

Kusch, Rodolfo. Indigenous and Popular Thinking in America. Duke UP, 2010.

Lanza, Fabio. Behind the Gate: Inventing Students in Beijing. Columbia UP, 2010.

Latour, Bruno. On the Modern Cult of the Factish Gods.  Duke UP, 2010.

Lepecki, Andre and Jenn Joy, eds. Planes of Composition: Dance, Theory and the Global. U of Chicago P, 2010.

Merrifield, Andy. Magical Marxism: Subversive Politics and the Imagination. Pluto Press, 2010.

Nguyen, Vinh-Kim. The Republic of Therapy: Triage and Sovereignty in West Africa’s Time of AIDS. Duke UP, 2010.

Paik, Peter. From Utopia to Apocalypse: Science Fiction and the Politics of Catastrophe. U of Minnesota P, 2010.

Pasotti, Eleonora. Political Branding in Cities: The Decline of Machine Politics in Bogota, Naples, and Chicago. Cambridge UP, 2010.

Rancière, Jacques, and Steven Corcoran. Chronicles of Consensual Times. Continuum, 2010.

Seth, Vanita. Europe’s Indians: Producing Racial Difference, 1500–1900. Duke UP, 2010.

Sharpe, Christina. Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects. Duke UP, 2010.

Sholette, Gregory. Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture. Pluto Press, 2010.

Toscano, Alberto. Fanaticism: On The Uses of An Idea. Verso, 2010.

Reviews in Cultural Theory

Department of English and Film Studies

3-5 Humanities Centre

University of Alberta

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

T6G 2E5

For more about, and the origins of, Reviews in Cultural Theory see: https://rikowski.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/reviews-in-cultural-theory/

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Fanaticism

ALBERTO TOSCANO ON ‘FANATICISM’ – TALK IN NEW YORK

Alberto Toscano, “Fanaticism: The Uses of an Idea”

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Humanities Initiative at NYU, 20 Cooper Square East, 5th Floor

Details: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/events/2010/9/28/237740/alberto_toscano%2C_%26quot%3Bfanaticism_the_uses_of_an_idea%26quot%3B

 

About this Event:

Alberto Toscano, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths in London, speaks on the concept of fanaticism to coincide with Verso’’s publication of his new book: “Fanaticism: The Uses of an Idea.” Fanaticism is usually seen as a deviant or extreme variant of an already irrational set of religious beliefs. Drawing a straight line from the Peasant Wars to Bolshevism, this view of fanaticism is today invoked by the West in order to demonize and psychologize any non-liberal politics. Alberto Toscano’s compelling counter-history explores the critical role fanaticism played in forming modern politics and the liberal state, and undermines the idea that liberalism and fanaticism are irrevocably opposed.

Book info:

FANATICISM: ON THE USES OF AN IDEA, by Alberto Toscano

Verso Books, distributed by W.W. Norton

Publication Date: May 24, 2010 / Price: $26.95 PB / ISBN: 978-1-84467-424-4  

To buy the book, go to Amazon.com 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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Just Space

SPACES OF ALTERITY

Conference: Call for Papers

Spaces of Alterity: Conceptualising Counter-Hegemonic Sites, Practices and Narratives

University of Nottingham, UK
28th-29th April 2011

Confirmed Plenary Speakers:

China Miéville and Dr. Alberto Toscano

This two day international conference for postgraduate and early career researchers explores interdisciplinary conceptions and representations of radical, counter-hegemonic space.

As concerns grow over such issues as spatial privatisation, commodification and homogenisation, surveillance, extra-legal spaces, social and political ‘non-spaces’, and the loss of common or public spaces, so too a plethora of interventions—across genre and disciplinary boundaries—have been launched in opposition to these trends. Examples are diverse, and can be found, for example, in literary studies of estranging narratives in contemporary fiction; spatial representations in film, TV and new media; the creation of critical spaces of alterity in political activism (such as semi-autonomous zones); psychogeographical spatial strategies, and philosophical and theoretical conceptions of counter-hegemonic space.

We invite proposals for papers of 20 minutes from candidates across the arts and humanities, welcoming individual papers as well as group panels that respond to these and other conceptions of counter-hegemonic “Spaces of Alterity”. Possible research questions include, but are not limited to:

    • What estranging utopian, dystopian, post-apocalyptic and science fiction spaces of alterity are being utilised in contemporary aesthetic and cultural productions, e.g. film, literature, TV, art, computer games?
    • How do these narratives travel across media and what changes occur when they are adapted, reworked and transformed? What research questions are raised by such collaborations, transmissions and intermedial dialogues?
    • How can we approach traditionally-understood print and audio-visual texts in relation to virtual spaces of alterity, such as fan-based communities, social networking sites and other sites developed through user-generated content (UGC)?
    • What are the relationships between textual spaces of alterity and non-textual forums, communities and dialogues?
    • What physical spaces of alterity are being constructed in contemporary urban environments?
    • How are such spaces critical, oppositional or subversive and how do they draw on the contributions of local communities and organisations?
    • How do spaces of alterity which are informed by traditionally-understood “texts” function on the Internet and how can they inform our understanding of filmic, visual and literary textual methodologies and approaches?
    • What forms can counter-hegemonic, avant-garde, or ‘subtractive’ spaces—which can be spatial, but also temporal or conceptual—take?
    • What political, artistic, or scientific practices can such spaces foster? How does distance from institutions help form alternative political, literary and artistic practices?

Abstracts of 250-300 words should be sent by email as a Word attachment to spacesofalterity@gmail.com by Wednesday 3rd November 2010 and should include name, affiliation, e-mail address, title of paper and 4 keywords.

Conference website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cultural-studies/research/conferences.aspx

Speakers:

China Miéville is a distinguished “Weird Fiction” novelist, activist, and lecturer in creative writing at the University of Warwick. His publications include King Rat (1998), Perido Street Station (2000), and Iron Council (2004). In 2010 he won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for an unprecedented second time with his latest novel, The City and the City (2009).

Alberto Toscano is senior lecturer in Philosophy at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has published extensively on social and political subjectivity, biopolitics, and the philosophy of Alain Badiou. His most recent work is Fanaticism (2010, Verso)

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Fanaticism

FANATICISM

On the Uses of an Idea

By ALBERTO TOSCANO

Published 7h June 2010

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EVENTS:

Thursday 3 June, 1pm at the RSA, London: A special introduction to Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea. For more information and book your free place: http://www.thersa.org/events/our-events/fanaticism-on-the-uses-of-an-idea

Friday 2 July, 2-3.30pm at the Marxism 2010 Festival in London, Room 3E at ULU, 2-3.30. For more information and to book:  https://www.marxismfestival.org.uk/2010/bookonline.html

Thursday 8 July, 6.45pm: Launch talk at the ICA. Further details to be announced here: http://www.ica.org.uk/7945/Talks/Talks-listings.html

Monday 11 October, 6.30 -8.00pm at the LSE, Wolfson theatre as part of the Forum for European Philosophy talks. Further details to be announced here:http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/forumForEuropeanPhilosophy/events/Default.htm

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“A tour de force in every sense – Toscano wipes the smug smiles off the self-righteous faces of the New Philosophers.” Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums

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Fanaticism is usually seen as a deviant or extreme variant of an already irrational set of religious beliefs. Drawing a straight line from the Peasant Wars to Bolshevism, this view of fanaticism is today invoked by the West in order to demonize and psychologize any non-liberal politics. Alberto Toscano’s compelling counter-history explores the critical role fanaticism played in forming modern politics and the liberal state, and undermines the idea that liberalism and fanaticism are irrevocably opposed. 

Tracing its development from the traumatic Peasants’ War of early sixteenth-century Germany, to contemporary Islamism, Toscano tears apart the sterile opposition of “reasonableness” and fanaticism. Instead, in a radical new interpretation, he places the fanatic at the very heart of politics, arguing that historical and revolutionary transformations require a new understanding of its role. Showing how fanaticism results from the failure to formulate an adequate emancipatory politics, this illuminating history sheds new light on an idea that continues to dominate debates about faith and secularism.

The ‘fanatic’ is the figure that we are all scared of – whether it’s the Islamic fundamentalist primed for a suicide bombing or the Christian anti-abortionist planning to murder a doctor. The fanatic is a whirl of contradictions: at once cold-blooded and insanely passionate, opportunistic but principled, backward and yet technologically sophisticated, murderous and prepared to risk everything to human rights. He or she is driven by abstract principles, whether religious or secular, that threaten the very basis of a pragmatic liberal democracy. But are these oppositions really the way to understand the conflict between religion and state, terror and democracy?

In this tour de force examination of political and philosophical rhetoric through the ages, Alberto Toscano examines the use of the term ‘fanatic’. Following its use by Martin Luther in the Reformation, the rationalists in the Enlightenment, and liberals in the Cold War and the present day, he finds our understanding of it dictated by the prejudices of the day.

Toscano argues that there is an unsettling intimacy between political behaviour regarded as fanatical, and rational, emancipatory politics: supposedly liberal political projects are also marked by fanaticism. Moreover, while a liberal would claim that passion and abstract principles (such as universal rights) are the jurisdiction of the fanatic and have no place in rational politics, we should seek to reclaim a place for these supposedly negative terms at the heart of contemporary politics. For example, finding that nineteenth century slavers called abolitionists fanatics for their ‘mad’ adherence to the Rights of Man, he asks us to reconsider who we regard as a fanatic.

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ALBERTO TOSCANO is a lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of The Theatre of Production, translator of Alain Badiou’s The Century and Logics of Worlds and co-editor of, among others, Alain Badiou’s Theoretical Writings and Antonio Negri’s Political Descartes. He has published numerous articles on contemporary philosophy, politics and social theory, and is an editor of Historical Materialism.

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ISBN: 978 1 84467 424 4 / $26.95 / £16.99 / CAN$33.50 / 304 pages

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For more information visit: http://www.versobooks.com/books/tuvwxyz/tuv-titles/toscano_alberto_fanaticism.shtml

To buy the book in the UK:

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781844674244/Fanaticism

or

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fanaticism-Uses-Idea-Alberto-Toscano/dp/184467424X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273744261&sr=8-1

To buy the book in the US:

http://www.amazon.com/Fanaticism-Uses-Idea-Alberto-Toscano/dp/184467424X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273744586&sr=1-1

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Visit Verso’s new blog for information on our upcoming events, new reviews and publications and special offers. http://versouk.wordpress.com/

And get updates on Twitter too! http://twitter.com/VersoBooksUK

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