Gopal Balakrishnan

Gopal Balakrishnan is the author of The Enemy: An Intellectual Portrait of Carl Schmitt, and editor of Debating "Empire" and (with Benedict Anderson) Mapping the Nation. A member of the New Left Review editorial board, he teaches Contemporary Theory at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


  • Benedict Anderson on 'mapping the terrain' of nationalism

    "Nationalism has been ‘around’ on the face of the globe for, at the very least, two centuries. Long enough, one might think, for it to be reliably and generally understood. But it is hard to think of any political phenomenon which remains so puzzling and about which there is less analytic consensus" — in this essay, taken from the Introduction to Mapping the Nation, Benedict Anderson makes sense of some of the difficulties in ‘mapping the terrain’ of nationalism, as well as looking at theorists (including feminist scholarship) who have brought new meaning to this important area of political study.

    Benedict Anderson's ground-breaking study of nationalism, Imagined Communities, is out this week in a new edition, and available at a 40% discount through Saturday, October 15th.

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  • The National Imagination

    Benedict Anderson's classic study of nationalism, Imagined Communities, is out this week in a new edition — available at a 40% discount through Saturday, October 15th.

    We'll be posting writings related to the book throughout the week. Below is Gopal Balakrishnan's critique of Anderson, first published in New Left Review in 1995, and collected in Antagonistics: Capitalism and Power in an Age of War.

    via Wikimedia Commons

    Eric Hobsbawm, in his final chapter of a survey on the history of nationalism, claimed that the nation-state had embarked on a declining curve of historical viability, and that the beginnings of its fossilization would clear the way for deeper explorations into its origins, impact and possible futures. Not long afterwards, this judgment appeared to be refuted by the resurgence of national causes in the former Communist world. Hobsbawm, however, had suitably qualified his prediction so as to take into account the outbreak and intensification of national conflicts in such contexts. His claim that the nation-state was no longer a ‘vector’ of historical development meant only that the trend lines in the most dynamic zones of the world system had begun to push beyond familiar national dimensions.

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  • Political Theory Undergraduate Reading List

    Your campus needn’t be a hotbed of communist activity for you to be armed with the proper theory this school year. Prepare to debate your professors and peers with Verso’s Political Theory 101 syllabus.

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