Keep a close eye on Verso's events page in the coming weeks: during March, April and May, Juan Gonzalez and Joseph Torres, co-authors of News For All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the Media, will be going across the country for a series of lectures and discussions about the history of race and media in the United States.
Please click below to see a list of their respective speaking dates and stay posted for more information and details to come:
With two new books coming out, Luc Boltanski, author of the sweeping New Spirit of Capitalism, recently sat down for an interview with Books & Ideas to discuss the intellectual trajectory of his career and the possibilities of critique in contemporary society. Placing a particular emphasis on the two major preoccupations of his oeuvre, the sociology of critique and critical sociology, the interview goes on at length about his research with Bourdieu, social class as a viable theoretical concept, and the various presuppositions of his earlier writings.
Pointedly, he highlights the importance of understanding the past political horizon for a cogent re-formulation of critical sociology in the present. Referring to the recent republication of an article he co-wrote with Bourdieu a few years after May 68, he notes that:
it also struck me as useful to shed light on the political era in which we presently find ourselves. The texts that it analyzes-those of Giscard, Poniatowski, or of contemporary economists-lie at the frontier of two outlooks: between, on the one hand, what at the time was called "technocracy," which was still deeply statist, still deeply tied to the idea of economic planning, rationality, and industrialization; and, on the other, neoliberal forms of governance. It is very illuminating to return to the middle of the seventies if one wants to undertake the archaeology of the Sarkozian political universe, which has considerably expanded neoliberal policies while dressing them up, at times, in so-called "republican" rhetoric.
To say nothing of the larger trends dominating the rest of the Eurozone and the United States! To read the rest of the interview in full, please visit Books & Ideas.
On WBAI 99.5 in New York, The Asia Pacific Forum hosted a special two-hour show on the Occupy movement, featuring in-studio interviews with the editors and contributors of Verso's own collection Occupy! Scenes From Occupied America. Discussing everything from what it's like to attend a General Assembly meeting to the larger questions about organized labor and left politics, the show was a valuable occasion for a wide set of reflections on a number of the most pressing issues of the movement.
Among the participants were Astra Taylor and Sarah Resnick, who discussed the genesis of the book; Kung Li, who elaborated about her experience on 'Occupy Atlanta' and considered the role of race in the Occupy movements; Nikil Saval addressed the relationship between trade unions and the possibility for new forms of solidarity with older institutions; and Sarah Leonard spoke about the importance of citizen journalism and the presence and effects of progressive media since the movements first began. As well, Manissa Maharawal discussed the People of Color Caucus, and the show's host, Verso editor and member of the APF Collective, Audrea Lim, discussed her contribution to the collection on gentrification and Chinatown.
Full audio of the interviews is now available online. Please visit the Asia Pacific Forum for a listen.
For a long time people have said that to really think with Nietzsche is to think against him. Yet, as it stands, so many of the writers, philosophers and critics who draw on him or self-identify as "Nietzscheans" rarely, if ever, seek to contest the rhetoric or dominant narratives of strength and superiority in his writings. Surely anyone who has read Nietzsche will be familiar with the seductiveness of his prose and the remarkable ease with which one can --- consciously or not --- identify with the powerful and the masterly. Nonetheless, in spite of this well-known aspect of reading him, it has not been until quite recently that writers on Nietzsche have begun to question the apparent failure to resist this temptation and what broader implications it has on understandings of his thought.
Over at The New Inquiry, David Winters has reviewed Malcolm Bull's new book Anti-Nietzsche, which takes this question centrally and, in an astonishing twist, exhorts us to try and "read Nietzsche like a loser." That is, he encourages us to read Nietzsche's texts through a process of consciously dis-identifying with its dominant perspective and, rather than simply reproducing the relations of dominance it posits, enter into a critical engagement against the grain of the work. For Bull, to do this is to seriously attend to the radical ideas under the surface of Nietzsche's writings, and, crucially, to open oneself up to the radical force and political salience of his thought today.
In his review, Winters notes that,