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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Stuart Elden: Confessio

Stuart Elden: Confessio

Foucault promised various books on the relation between power, subjectivity and truth in his career. In the first volume of the History of Sexuality, published in 1976, he said that it would be followed by a series of five books, of which the first was under the title La...

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We might reflect on the ambiguity manifested in bisexuality…

We might reflect on the ambiguity manifested in bisexuality…

The prevailing attitude in political and journalistic circles is to cling onto this widely-held belief, rooted in the philosophical and social systems of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that individualism remains triumphant. Yet the plural person and emotional tribes – this is the reality we see all around us...

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Heidegger’s Little Black Books

Heidegger’s Little Black Books

For Heidegger the “inner truth and greatness” of the Nazi movement lay in “the encounter between global technology and modern humanity” (a specification he secretly added to a 1935 lecture when it was published in 1953). These are not the words of a brutal realist

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There is nothing that costs less to acquire than the name of philosophe…

There is nothing that costs less to acquire than the name of philosophe…

The professional conception of ‘philosopher’ in the early-21st-century United States bears an interesting comparison to the figure of the ‘philosophe’ in 18th-century France. As is well-known, the philosophes, like most current members in good standing of the APA, were often seen from the outside as not really being philosophers...

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Abercrombie & Pinch?

Abercrombie & Pinch?

The superstar of left critical theory, Slavoj Žižek, faces allegations of lifting passages from a white supremacist magazine. The history of Zizek’s “fraudulences”, both real and imagined, is rooted in the anxiety of the romantic Left itself.

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Claudia Landolfi on Ubaldo Fadini

Claudia Landolfi on Ubaldo Fadini

In recent years there has been great attention paid to the so-called Italian theory in the field of political philosophy. This definition has brought to the fore Italian thinking, but at the same time also covers many reflections of the past several decades, by creating a category easily disclosable...

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Discourse on the Modern

Discourse on the Modern

If philosophy questions everything, surely it must also question the periodization of its own history. Professional historians themselves tend to agree that the imposition of periods on the past –premodern, Renaissance, early modern, and so on-- is always to some degree arbitrary, even if it is also impossible to...

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Making Out With a Goddess by j/j hastain

Making Out With a Goddess by j/j hastain

When the moment for a meal finally manifests, its metabolism ravenously ricochets, physically increasing the size of the python’s heart in just a short three-day period. Enzyme-gush protects the heart from injury, and this occurs just after the python has engorged. The body is a green area constantly being...

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Prisoner, Discoverer, Founder, Liberator

Prisoner, Discoverer, Founder, Liberator

The four small stones we dredged up from the river and placed in my knapsack began to weigh me down with African history. I had gone with Shola, a friend, and Johnson, a colleague, to the ancient Yoruba sanctuary of Osun. Located in the remnants of high primary forest in...

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God Gone Astray

God Gone Astray

by Justin E. H. Smith There is an observation sometimes made in connection with the history of philosophical reflection on the nature of human distinctness, that language has moved in, in the past few centuries, to fill a role that had previously been taken up by belief in a...

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Intersectionality is an ornamentation of the present order, not a questioning of it….

Intersectionality is an ornamentation of the present order, not a questioning of it….

It is hard not be struck by the severe parochialism, and usually the US-centrism, of the now-popular approach to human diversity that calculates a person’s ‘privilege ranking’ by considering a few supposedly basic features of identity, particularly gender, religion, sexual identity, physical ability, and ‘race’.

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Giljotin

Giljotin

I knew another of my periodic retreats from the public expression of political opinions had arrived when, contacted by a certain French media outlet for my views on the recent electoral victories of the Front National, I muttered something about how I've been busy writing about animals recently, and...

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Contingent and Necessary

Contingent and Necessary

by Justin E. H. Smith There is a familiar distinction in philosophy between contingent and necessary truths. Truths of the latter sort are those the negation of which implies a contradiction, or those that are true simply in virtue of the meaning of the words involved. For example, “A...

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A Tear

A Tear

From Evolution of household articles, animals etc. according to Darwin’s doctrine, Fr. Schmidt. Via Wellcome Library From The Threepenny Review: I remain stuck with the fact that Darwin cannot explain the origin of The Origin of Species. The story of evolution would be very different if the narrator weren’t...

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“But-but-but, but-but-but…”

“But-but-but, but-but-but…”

Surely no one makes the case for orthophemism as a virtue of public speech more clearly than Cicero: "When you speak of the anus," he writes, "you call it by a name that is not its own; why not rather call it by its own [i.e.,...

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To the extent that music involves repetition, it is all rooted in poetry…

To the extent that music involves repetition, it is all rooted in poetry…

by Justin E. H. Smith If cultural studies were not so wrapped up in the vapid and fleeting, to the point where they forget all about Baudelaire’s injunction to find ‘the eternal in the ephemeral’, they might just be able to discern some important truths about the sacred character...

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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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