Critical Theory

The Against Nature Journal #3
Aimar Arriola, Grégory Castéra (eds.)
Council - 15.00€ -

This third issue reviews the many ways in which medicine has pathologized non-procreative sexual desire— those bodies that challenge gender binaries or expose different abilities—while imagining other ways of collectively well-being.

"The issue opens with a commissioned work by visual artists CANDICE LIN and P. STAFF that evokes the central concerns of the journal in subtle and unexpected ways. Lambda Literary Award–winner INDRAPRAMIT DAS speculates on other forms of kinship in a new science-fiction story, while a transnational questionnaire offers insights into the continuous fight for reproductive justice.

We republish a chapter from the autobiography of the late South African, trans, traditional healer NKUNZI ZANDILE NKABINDE, which is introduced by RUTH MORGAN.

We continue to honor the power of poetry with works by ROSA CHÁVEZ and STELLA NYANZI, while celebrating the energy of collective action with a piece by WHAT WOULD AN HIV DOULA DO? In anticipation to his new book on queer desire in the Caribbean, scholar ANDIL GOSINE shares a previous article addressing the notion of “against nature,” while our Columns section brings news from Brazil, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, and the UK during a season of pandemic fatigue, but also care work, organization, and hope." — the editors

Cruiser L'Utopie
José Esteban Muñoz
Brook - 22.00€ -

First French translation of José Esteban Muñoz's field defining work—an intellectual inspiration for a generation of LGBTQ scholars.

Cruiser l'utopie describes a movement, a drifting advance between theory, philosophy, art criticism and personal narrative. The works cited, narrated, are mixed with family or individual narrative and more academic considerations. This practice of queer theory and aesthetics is part of a new interpretation of hope as perceived by philosopher Ernst Bloch, articulated with black radical thought and the poetic research of authors such as Fred Moten and Eileen Myles. 

Muñoz focuses here on the period of the Stonewall revolts (New York, 1969) and analyzes, for example, the works of Frank O'Hara, King Jone/Amiri Baraka, Andy Warhol, Kevin Avance, Samuel R. Delany, Fred Herko, Jill Johnston, Ray Johnson. Queer theory as a study has a new way of researching and writing, a form of hybridity between philosophy and cultural studies. The critique is, as if by anticipation, contained in the counter-normative artistic practice and daily life whose narratives, both subjective and historical, hint at a queer future, a place of transformation and liberation. 

The text, translated from English by Alice Wambergue, is accompanied by a preface by Elisabeth Lebovici and a poem by Fred Moten.

José Esteban Muñoz (1967 - 2013) is a queer scholar and art theorist. Author of The Sense of Brown (published posthumously in 2020), Cruising Utopia, the Aftermath and Elsewhere of Queer Advent (2009), and Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics (1999), he edited the collective works Pop Out: Queer Warhol (1996) and Everynight Life: Culture and Dance in Latin/o America (1997). Muñoz has long taught in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and edited the Sexual Cultures series at New University Press, where he has published works such as Jack Halberstam and Samuel Delany.

Speculative Facts
Department of Speculative Facts
Onomatopee - 20.00€ -

The Department of Speculative Facts connects two seemingly contradictory approaches: Speculation which attempts to think and act beyond existing knowledge and structures, and fact-checkers in search for a solid consensus on which our reality can be built. When stretching knowledge and speculating with fiction, what sense of responsibility is needed in times of democratized opinions and fake news? Learning from the other SF—Science Fiction—we think of speculation through facts, and facts through speculation, to situate truth culturally.

The backbone of this book is an e-mail exchange between two fact-checkers from the New York Times Magazine, which we handed over to artists to re-write, re-perform, and re-design. The publication includes the original letters, workshop scripts, as well as additional texts by philosophers, journalists, writers, and artists looking at new social contracts, with which we can anchor ourselves in the present.

Department of Speculative Facts is Lietje Bauwens, Quenton Miller, Karoline Świeżyński.

Contributions by Sepake Angiama, Lietje Bauwens (DoSF), Kate Briggs, Federico Campagna, Alex Carp & Jamie Fisher (NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE), Mette Edvardsen, Tristan Garcia, Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, Nicoline van Harskamp, Quenton Miller DoSF, Ingo Niermann, Michael Portnoy, Achal Prabhala with WIKIAFRICA, FACT FACTORIES, AFRICA CHECK, CHIMURENGA, Wolfgang Tillmans, Bob Trafford (FORENSIC ARCHITECTURE).

Design by Karoline Świeżyński

Philosophy for Spiders: On the Low Theory of Kathy Acker
Mckenzie Wark
Duke University Press - 23.00€ -

McKenzie Wark combines an autobiographical account of her relationship with Kathy Acker with her transgender reading of Acker's writing to outline Acker's philosophy of embodiment and its importance for theorizing the trans experience.

Over the decades readers have found a punk Acker, a feminist Acker, a queer Acker, a kink Acker, and an avant-garde Acker. In Philosophy for Spiders, McKenzie Wark adds a trans Acker.

Wark recounts her memories of Acker (with whom she had a passionate affair) and gives a comprehensive reading of her published and archived works. Wark finds not just an inventive writer of fiction who pressed against the boundaries of gender but a theorist whose comprehensive philosophy of life brings a conceptual intelligence to the everyday life of those usually excluded from philosophy's purview.

As Wark shows, Acker's engagement with topics such as masturbation, sadism, body-building, and penetrative sex are central to her distinct phenomenology of the body that theorizes the body's relation to others, the city, and technology.

The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader
Gloria Anzaldúa, AnaLouise Keating (ed.)
Duke University Press - 29.00€ -

A collection of published and unpublished writings of the groundbreaking Chicana writer and self-described "chicana dyke-feminist, tejana patlache poet, writer and cultural theorist" Gloria Anzaldua.

Gloria Anzaldúa (1942-2004) was a visionary writer whose work was recognized with many honors, including the Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award, a Lambda literary award, the National Endowment for the Arts Fiction Award, and the Bode-Pearson Prize for Outstanding Contributions to American Studies. Her book Borderlands/La frontera was selected as one of the 100 Best Books of the Century by Hungry Mind Review and the Utne Reader. AnaLouise Keating, Professor of Women's Studies at Texas Woman's University, is the author of Women Reading, Women Writing: Self-Invention in Paula Gunn Allen, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Audre Lorde; editor of Anzaldúa's Interviews/Entrevistas and EntreMundos/AmongWorlds: New Perspectives on Gloria Anzaldúa; and co-editor, with Anzaldúa, of this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation.

AnaLouise Keating, Professor of Women's Studies at Texas Woman's University, is the author of Women Reading, Women Writing: Self-Invention in Paula Gunn Allen, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Audre Lorde; editor of Anzaldúa's Interviews/Entrevistas and EntreMundos/AmongWorlds: New Perspectives on Gloria Anzaldúa; and co-editor, with Anzaldúa, of this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation.

Patriarchy of the Wage: Notes on Marx, Gender, and Feminism
Silvia Federici
PM Press - 15.50€ -

In Patriarchy of the Wage, Silvia Federici, bestselling author and the most important Marxist feminist of our era, asks why Marx's crucial analysis of the exploitation of human labor was blind to women's work and struggle on the terrain of social reproduction. Why was Marx unable to anticipate the profound transformations in the proletarian family that took place at the turn of the nineteenth century creating a new patriarchal regime? Patriarchy of the Wage does more than just redefine classical Marxism. It is an urgent call for a new kind of radical politics.

Conflict Is Not Abuse
Sarah Schulman
Arsenal Pulp Press - 20.00€ -  out of stock

From intimate relationships to global politics, Sarah Schulman observes a continuum: that inflated accusations of harm are used to avoid accountability. Illuminating the difference between Conflict and Abuse, Schulman directly addresses our contemporary culture of scapegoating. This deep, brave, and bold work reveals how punishment replaces personal and collective self-criticism, and shows why difference is so often used to justify cruelty and shunning.

Care Work
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Arsenal Pulp Press - 16.50€ -  out of stock

Lambda Literary Award winning poet and essayist and long-time disability justice advocate Leah Piepzna-Samarasinha writes passionately and personally about disability justice in her latest book of essays. Discussing subjects such as the creation of care webs, collective access, and radically accessible spaces, she also imparts her own survivor skills and wisdom based on her years of activist work, empowering the disabled - in particular, those in queer and/or BIPOC communities - and granting them the necessary tools by which they can imagine a future where no one is left behind.

All Incomplete
Stefano Harney, Fred Moten
Minor Composition - 28.00€ -  out of stock

Building on the ideas Harney and Moten developed in The Undercommons, All Incomplete extends the critical investigation of logistics, individuation and sovereignty. It reflects their chances to travel, listen and deepen their commitment to and claim upon partiality. All Incomplete studies the history of a preference for the force and ground and underground of social existence.

What Is Sex?
Alenka Zupančič
The MIT Press - 22.50€ -  out of stock

Why sexuality is at the point of a "short circuit" between ontology and epistemology.

Consider sublimation, conventionally understood as a substitute satisfaction for missing sexual satisfaction. But what if, as Lacan claims, we can get exactly the same satisfaction that we get from sex from talking (or writing, painting, praying, or other activities)? The point is not to explain the satisfaction from talking by pointing to its sexual origin, but that the satisfaction from talking is itself sexual. The satisfaction from talking contains a key to sexual satisfaction (and not the other way around), even a key to sexuality itself and its inherent contradictions. The Lacanian perspective would make the answer to the simple-seeming question, "What is sex?" rather more complex. In this volume in the Short Circuits series, Alenka Zupančič approaches the question from just this perspective, considering sexuality a properly philosophical problem for psychoanalysis; and by psychoanalysis, she means that of Freud and Lacan, not that of the kind of clinician practitioners called by Lacan "orthopedists of the unconscious."

Zupančič argues that sexuality is at the point of a "short circuit" between ontology and epistemology. Sexuality and knowledge are structured around a fundamental negativity, which unites them at the point of the unconscious. The unconscious (as linked to sexuality) is the concept of an inherent link between being and knowledge in their very negativity.

Where Do You Draw The Line Between Art and Politics
Davide Tidoni
a.pass - 15.00€ -

Where Do You Draw The Line Between Art and Politics? consists of a series of interviews with individuals who have been active in various capacities at the intersection of art and politics. Between historical documentation, political memory, dialogic reflections and motivational support, the publication focuses on the experiences, commitments, and feelings that animate and inform aesthetic priorities in social spaces both within and outside of art institutions; a repository designed to inspire and enourage the politicization of aesthetics, as opposed to the aestheticization of politics. 

Davide Tidoni is an artist and researcher working with sound and listening. With a particular focus on direct experience, observation, and action, he creates works of different formats that include live performance, intervention, walk, video, audio recording, and text scores. He is interested in the use of sound and music in counter-culture and political struggles and has published a sound based field research on the northern italian ultras group Brescia 1911 (The Sound of Normalisation, 2018).

Published 2021.

The Parasite
Michel Serres
University of Minnesota Press - 19.50€ -  out of stock

Influential philosopher Michel Serres’s foundational work uses fable to explore how human relations are identical to that of the parasite to the host body. Among Serres’s arguments is that by being pests, minor groups can become major players in public dialogue, creating diversity and complexity vital to human life and thought.

Ethical Portraits: In Search Of Representational Justice
Hatty Nestor
Zero Books - 15.50€ -

Ethical Portraits investigates the representation of the incarcerated in the U.S. criminal justice system. Through interviews, creative non-fiction, and cultural theory, Hatty Nestor deconstructs a range of different prison portraiture.

Prisons systematically dehumanise the imprisoned. Visualised through mugshots and surveillance recordings, the incarcerated lose control of their own image and identity. The criminal justice system in the United States does not only carry out so-called justice in ways that compound inequality, it also minimises the possibility for empathetic encounters with those who are most marginalised. It is therefore urgent to understand how prisoners are portrayed by the carceral state and how this might be countered or recuperated. How can understanding the visual representation of prisoners help us confront the invisible forms of power in the American prison system? Ethical Portraits investigates the representation of the incarcerated in the United States criminal justice system, and the state's failure to represent those incarcerated humanely.

Through wide-ranging interviews and creative nonfiction, Hatty Nestor deconstructs the different roles of prison portraiture, such as in courtroom sketches, DNA profiling, and the incarceration of Chelsea Manning. Includes a foreword by Jackie Wang.

Hatty Nestor is a cultural critic and writer, published in Frieze, The Times Literary Supplement, The White Review and many other publications. She is currently completing a PhD at Birkbeck, University of London.

Order Out of Chaos: Man’s New Dialogue with Nature
Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers
Verso Books - 25.00€ -

A pioneering book that shows how the two great themes of classic science, order and chaos, are being reconciled in a new and unexpected synthesis.

Order Out of Chaos is a sweeping critique of the discordant landscape created by modern scientific knowledge. An exciting and accessible account of the philosophical implications of thermodynamics, it brings contradictory philosophies of time and chance into a novel and ambitious synthesis. Since its first publication in 1978, this book has sparked debate among physicists, philosophers, literary critics and historians.

The Corona Crash
Grace Blakeley
Verso Books - 13.00€ -  out of stock

Free market, competitive capitalism is dead. The separation between politics and economics can no longer be sustained.

In The Corona Crash, leading economics commentator Grace Blakeley theorises about the epoch-making changes that the coronavirus brings in its wake.

We are living through a unique moment in history. The pandemic has caused the deepest global recession since the Second World War. Meanwhile the human cost is reflected in a still-rising death toll, as many states find themselves unable—and some unwilling—to grapple with the effects of the virus. Whatever happens, we can never go back to business as usual.

This crisis will tip us into a new era of monopoly capitalism, argues Blakeley, as the corporate economy collapses into the arms of the state, and the tech giants grow to unprecedented proportions.

We need a radical response. The recovery could see the transformation of our political, economic, and social systems based on the principles of the Green New Deal. If not, the alternatives, as Blakeley warns, may be even worse than we feared.

The Dialectic of Sex
Shulamith Firestone
Verso Books - 16.00€ -

An international bestseller, originally published in 1970, when Shulamith Firestone was just twenty-five years old, The Dialectic of Sex was the first book of the women’s liberation movement to put forth a feminist theory of politics. 

Beginning with a look at the radical and grassroots history of the first wave (with its foundation in the abolition movement of the time), Firestone documents its major victory, the expansion of the franchise in 1920, and the fifty years of ridicule that followed. She goes on to deftly synthesize the work of Freud, Marx, de Beauvoir, and Engels to create a cogent argument for feminist revolution. 

Ultimately she presents feminism as the key radical ideology, the missing link between Marx and Freud, uniting their visions of the political and the personal. The Dialectic of Sex remains remarkably relevant today—a testament to Firestone’s startlingly prescient vision. The author died in 2012, but her ideas live on through this extraordinary book.

Critique of Everyday Life
Henri Lefebvre
Verso Books - 35.00€ -  out of stock

Lefebvre's classic analysis of daily life under capitalism in one complete volume.

The three-volume text by Henri Lefebvre is perhaps the richest, most prescient work about modern capitalism to emerge from one of the twentieth century's greatest philosophers and is now available for the first time in one complete volume. Written at the birth of post-war consumerism, Critique was an inspiration for the 1968 student revolution in France. It is a founding text of cultural studies and a major influence on the fields of contemporary philosophy, geography, sociology, architecture, political theory and urbanism. Lefebvre takes as his starting point and guide the "trivial" details of quotidian experience: an experience colonized by the commodity, shadowed by inauthenticity, yet remaining the only source of resistance and change. This is an enduringly radical text, untimely today only in its intransigence and optimism.

Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil
W.E.B. Du Bois
Verso Books - 19.50€ -  out of stock

The distinguished American civil rights leader, W. E. B. Du Bois first published these fiery essays, sketches, and poems individually nearly 80 years ago in the Atlantic, the Journal of Race Development, and other periodicals. Part essay, part autobiography, Darkwaterexplicitly addresses significant issues, such as the oppression of women and Eurocentric standards of beauty, the historical rise of the idea of whiteness, and the abridgement of democracy along race, class, and gender lines. Reflecting the author’s ideas as a politician, historian, and artist, this volume has long moved and inspired readers with its militant cry for social, political, and economic reforms for black Americans.

The Return of the Political
Chantal Mouffe
Verso Books - 17.00€ -

In this work, Mouffe argues that liberal democracy misunderstands the problems of ethnic, religious and nationalist conflicts because of its inadequate conception of politics. He suggests that the democratic revolution may be jeopardized by a lack of understanding of citizenship, community and pluralism. Mouffe examines the work of Schmidt and Rawls and explores feminist theory, in an attempt to place the project of radical and plural democracy on a more adequate foundation than is provided by liberal theory.

The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems
Nancy Folbre
Verso Books - 29.00€ -

In this groundbreaking new work, Nancy Folbre builds on a critique and reformulation of Marxian political economy, drawing on a larger body of scientific research, including neoclassical economics, sociology, psychology, and evolutionary biology, to answer the defining question of feminist political economy: why is gender inequality so pervasive? In part, because of the contradictory effects of capitalist development: on the one hand, rapid technological change has improved living standards and increased the scope for individual choice for women; on the other, increased inequality and the weakening of families and communities have reconfigured gender inequalities, leaving caregivers particularly vulnerable.  

The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems examines why care work is generally unrewarded in a market economy, calling attention to the non-market processes of childbearing, childrearing and the care of other dependents, the inheritance of assets, and the use of force and violence to appropriate both physical and human resources. Exploring intersecting inequalities based on class, gender, age, race/ethnicity, and citizenship, and their implications for political coalitions, it sets a new feminist agenda for the twenty-first century.

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