Berfrois

The Bear Within

The Bear Within

I try not to weigh in on ephemeral online outrages, but there's one thing I just can't resist the urge to bring up in connection with the recent flare of fascination with Rachel Dolezal's inner life and its outer expression.

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Debt and Morality

Debt and Morality

Our current system of credit-based capitalism entails not only the material, but the social, moral, and affective estrangement of its subjects. Is there a way out?

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Foucault’s Politics of Truth by Stuart Elden

Foucault’s Politics of Truth by Stuart Elden

by Stuart Elden Théories et institutions pénales: Cours au Collège de France 1971-1972, by Michel Foucault, edited by Bernard E. Harcourt, Paris: EHESS/Gallimard/Seuil, 2015. Foucault remains full of surprises. This course, Théories et institutions pénales (“Penal Theories and Institutions”), was the second he delivered as Professor of the History of...

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Oscar Wilde’s Wisdom

Oscar Wilde’s Wisdom

The old believe everything: the middle-aged suspect everything: the young know everything.

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Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up

Tacitus reports, that amongst certain barbarian kings their manner was, when they would make a firm obligation, to join their right hands close to one another, and intertwist their thumbs.

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Stoned

Stoned

By all appearances, stone is a poor medium for keeping time, yet the under-rated rock has much to say about temporality. The extreme slowness of most geological processes renders them perceptible only when viewed in the appropriate timescale.

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What constitutes Latin American philosophy?

What constitutes Latin American philosophy?

In a way, such a question is of a piece with a central topos of Latin American culture: that is, the lack of ground for the unity of what is gathered together under the name.

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OK, Will Stop Texting

OK, Will Stop Texting

It just makes me sad that everyone lets everyone go all the time. Precarity and chronic melancholy have made everyone emotionally inert and estranged.

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“How do you feel?”

“How do you feel?”

Olivia sat across from me in my sunlit office, shadowed in grief. She’d been trying to get pregnant for years, and had been coming to see me for nearly all of them.

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BBB

BBB

Rarely have I seen a cityscape more depressing than that part of Beirut we are expected to call its centre-ville. It once contained a real souk, a vital, organic city center.

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Vaulting Ambition

Vaulting Ambition

Illustration by Salvador Bartolozzi. Via. by Lauren Berlant This is a very lightly revised version of the paper I tried to deliver at the American Studies Association conference as a performance piece that also riffed on the talks just given around me: a complete failure as a performance. Amitava...

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‘Academic philosophy is definitely too narcissistic today’

‘Academic philosophy is definitely too narcissistic today’

The history of philosophy looks a bit like a sine wave (or a roller coaster, if you prefer). It goes up and then down, up again, and then down.

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Philosophy as It Is

Philosophy as It Is

Williams had a famously adversarial relationship toward some leading philosophical movements of the modern era, particularly Utilitarianism and Kantianism.

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Senselessnessness

Senselessnessness

Tejedor is, I think, right to suggest that for Wittgenstein there is more besides senseful propositions, senseless tautologies and contradictions, and nonsense.

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Nothing Is Required But Freedom

Nothing Is Required But Freedom

Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one's own understanding without another's guidance.

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Full Marx

Full Marx

I am agnostic on the question of organizational form. As an ex-communist, I consider my “party” to be those who are also now in some sense “ex”: excommunicated, expelled, or just extremely indifferent to such experiences.

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The Marx of the Avant-Gardes

The Marx of the Avant-Gardes

So much for an academic #Marx21c. What about the avant-gardes?

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“The point is to think philosophically about Christianity”

“The point is to think philosophically about Christianity”

Heidegger famously said of Christian philosophy that it was a ‘wooden iron’ and I am not sure that he is wrong in that.

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Down With the Authoritarian Crackdown!

Down With the Authoritarian Crackdown!

I finally read Michael Walzer's influential article on "Islamism and the Left," after being told a number of times that I had inadvertently been echoing his opinion when I sided unconditionally with the caricaturists against the assassins who came to kill them.

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En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

The cross-dressing Qiu Jin was emblematic of a revolutionary feminist current at the end of the Qing era, writing urgently on women’s emancipation: “While...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

They had obviously taken the pictures of the whale, and the group of people carrying it, out of curiosity. But still the images failed...

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Oscillation

We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world.

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Menachem Feuer: Body

While Sarah Silverman jokingly tells us that her Jewish identity has more to do with her body than with the “responsibilities and limitations” that...

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Jeremy Fernando: Pink

An offering that might well remain in its being offered.

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Rosie Clarke Chats to Amelia Gray

I get the impulse to look to the canon, but I think we should try and challenge and squash the canon, too.

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Mario Carpo: Voice, Words, Memory

It all started with cellphones, a long time ago. No student, and few teachers, would make voice calls from class, but in the early...

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Remembrance of Translations Past

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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Colin Dickey: Time’s Resistless Stream

By now, we are all of us more or less apocalyptic. Our calendar is itself based on the apocalyptic return of Jesus Christ, counting...

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Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

Not that ‘the critic’ has ever been a greatly appreciated or understood figure. Some fat toad with a feather in his hat who thinks...

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Russell Bennetts
Street Fighter: Berfrois Interviews Tariq Ali

The extreme centre is a form of government that arose out of neoliberal economics and exists today in virtually the whole of Europe, North...

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John Crutchfield: Go West

Perhaps this is what finally draws me back to the Western. It is a fundamentally serious genre. It deals with serious questions, and it...

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Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

How may we speak of that which goes off the record in an age of digital colonisation?

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Volker M. Welter on Michael Graves

The designer Michael Graves, who passed away at the age of 80 on March 12th, was widely considered to be one of the founding...

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