Maison Centrale de Saigon // General Sciences Library

Trying to read in the library but looking out the window at the reminder that this is no ordinary library experience.

A few parts from a recent text: Sophie Fuggle & John Hutnyk (2022) “Saigon’s penalscape: interpreting colonial prisons.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 23:3, 443-458, DOI: 10.1080/14649373.2022.2108208

At the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, there is a photo of the old French colonial prison, the Maison Centrale de Saigon, once located on the street known as Rue La Grandière, now Lý Tự Trọng. This prison was notorious for its brutal treatment of those who resisted the colonial occupation, with several early communists executed in its courtyard, among whom one is now honoured with a commemorative statue, standing defiantly in that same courtyard. The former prison site today houses the General Sciences Library, a building in a 1970s style that is quaintly and quietly modernist, yet still imposingly functional, as a library should be. Having Lý’s statue stand in front of the library acknowledges the French colonial past of Ho Chi Minh City even as its architectural heritage and urban infrastructure is renovated, replaced, or rebuilt (Kim 2015; Harms 2011, 2016; Doling 2019) This is part of the story of the infamous extensive prison system that operated as part of France’s hundred-year occupation that, across the city, is told in complex and variegated ways via purpose-built memorial museums.

 …

Maison Centrale was the departure point for many of those exiled to Côn Đảo. The journalist Jean-Claude Demariaux writing for La Dépêche d’Indochine in 1939,10 describes how he arranged to visit a prison guard for an “aperitif” in order to ensure a decent view of the prison courtyard on the morning of a transfer to the islands. Memoirs such as that of Bảo Lương (real name: Nguyễn Trung Nguyệt), related by marriage to Tôn Đức Thắng, tell of waiting to see what their fate would be, securing cigarette butts from the French prisoners held far more comfortably upstairs (Tai 2010, 150) and otherwise enduring torture and unsanitary conditions. The French admitted overcrowding in the prison as early as 1905 (Doling 2015b), though it was still in operation during WWII and not demolished until 1968.

 …

While the War Remnants Museum and Museum of Southern Vietnamese Women both lay emphasis on the extensive network of colonial prisons, the few sites that remain within the city are largely unknown and unexplored by international tourists and domestic visitors alike. The former French Police Station on Rue Catinat, renamed Đồng Khởi, now houses the offices of the Department of Culture, Information, Sport and Tourism. Formerly this building was the sinister Police headquarters in which Vietnamese revolutionaries were subject to interrogation and torture. It was used in the same way by the Japanese during WWII and then again by the French on their inglorious return and the RVN Government, as Interior Ministry, until 1975. The French called the headquarters their Direction de la Police et de la Sûreté and it was known in Vietnamese as the Bót Catinat (Doling 2014b).

 …

Across from the “hideous pink cathedral” of Notre Dame, as mentioned in Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American, it is where Inspector Vigot had his office and past which the narrator takes daily walks, heading “back by the dreary wall of the Vietnamese Sûreté that seemed to smell of urine and injustice” (Greene 2002 [1955], 42). Apparently, the dungeons have been flooded, but they were significant enough to warrant a commemorative plaque and feature in the memoir of Nguyễn Thị Bình, known as Madame Binh, the National Liberation Front delegate to Paris and head of the Provisional Revolutionary Government. Madame Binh tells of being beaten and interrogated within the headquarters. Followed by several years in Chí Hòa, she was released only after the defeat of the French at Điện Biên Phủ (Nguyen 2015, 100–104). Her younger brother Nguyễn Đông Hà survived seven years in Côn Đảo’s tiger cages.

 …

[B]uilt in 1968, opened 1971 and only after 1975 inherited and maintained by the unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Doling 2015b). Nevertheless, the library does become a part of the story of resistance that shapes the penalscape in Ho Chi Minh City. A small plaque acknowledges the site of the former Maison Centrale de Saigon, pointing to the guillotine and brutal French colonial rule since its inauguration in 1865-66, and the long history of resistance within the prison, exemplified by young fighters and tragic martyrdom. We started this paper at Lý Tự Trọng Street renamed to remember the Vietnamese revolutionary who was held in the prison before being executed by the French at the age of 17. The prison was demolished in 1968 but had been slated for closure since the opening of Chí Hòa in 1953.

More here: Sophie Fuggle & John Hutnyk (2022) “Saigon’s penalscape: interpreting colonial prisons.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 23:3, 443-458, DOI: 10.1080/14649373.2022.2108208

Goofy was a plant.

“one half of them who perish in London, dye of Phthisical and Pulmonic distempers; that the inhabitants are never free from Coughs” John Evelyn 1661

The biggest trick though is that in the 20th Century then blamed this on cigarettes, not on corporate industrial polluters (I hold no no candle for the tobacco industry, but there are a few others that should come with KILL warnings).

John Evelyn’s text is here:

https://archive.gyford.com/2009/04/28/www.geocities.com/Paris/LeftBank/1914/fumifug.html

Slurs

Defoe is as good at mocking Robinson as anyone, despite swallowing a thesaurus. In volume three: ”poor, wild, wicked Robinson” (316) “a churl, a morose, sour disposition, a covetous, avaricious, selfish principled man” (314). We should appreciate good examples of 18th Century invective.

But damn, turns out these Shipwreck cruises are shipwrecked too, closed down. Others take its place. Ode to a hammock.

Robinson at least had leisure in which to repent his earlier folly, while also condemning reproach and slander ‘as a kind of murder that may be committed by the tongue’ (317). Later, under a new heading, bawdy talk becomes a ‘sodomy of the Tongue’ (345).

On taking a survey.

My favourite Warramiri (?) story from Arnhem Land is of a maths teacher out on a river one time teaching kids to measure distances – how far to from the canoe to the river edge, how far to that mountain etc. It was hot, he asked them if they like swimming and were there any crocodiles in the river (this was long before Paul Hogan etc). They said “yes, this big” and gestured with their hands about a foot apart. “Oh, they are babies, we’ll be alright” said the teacher, and started to strip off his shirt. The kids freaked out insisting that the crocs were “this big” – two hands emphatically a foot or more apart. They were measuring the relevant size – the width of the croc’s mouth, not its length. Ha!. Habermas’s “Knowledge and Human Interests” had nothing on these kids. The maths teacher has retold this ‘lesson’ many times in the decades since.

Against Charity

I wrote my first book as a critique of charity work in Kolkata, India. I attempted a critique of western ‘charity’ workers helping those they saw as the ‘unfortunates’ in classic development colonial style – of the many ‘volunteers’ in Kolkata at the time, the majority worked for Mother Theresa but the ones I hung out with were at a clinic run by a long time medico Jack Praeger. Mostly I was attracted to this lot because they were not as pious as those who came for Missionary work, they drank and drugged their way around the banana pancake trail (backpacker tourism circuit) and ended up in Kolkata as a kind of default. Yet, it was an international charity, and about 95%, of them were from outside India, though with a few Indian doctors doing part time work. The organisation did help people, mostly street dwellers with injuries or leprosy sufferers who were not treated by hospitals because of poverty and stigma, and the limited capacity of the medical system in communist but undeveloped Bengal (undeveloped because the pro-capitalist national govt moved industry away from the then communist state). Ideally, the state would provide all social care, including organising social service programmes (that I would distinguish from charity). Westerners took pictures of themselves doing this charity work, and sent them home as postcards and so on, and increasingly the international support came and funded more westerners to come and do ‘the work’ of volunteering (it had become a stop on the tourist trail, even mentioned in travel guides). But this work was still what the state should do and increasingly it became clear that street people were in a way just a photogenic backdrop for the westerners self-promotion. Here, media imagery, including films, sold the exotic image of the poor of Kolkata to the West. Even feature films were made – for example City of Joy with Patrick Swayze – and endless documentaries about the anti-contraception, love them till it hurts, ‘wizened old saint’ Mother Theresa, who got high profile donations from famous westerners who made a show of being photographed with the poor of Kolkata. Ma T, as Christopher Hitchens put it, was interested in helping the poor die as Christians (in a majority Hindu state) while people like Ronald Reagan, and the Savings and Loans scandal millionaire who shall not be named, had their photos taken with the poor and promoted their ‘good deeds’. So, the issue of representation was huge, but even more, the reasons why these people did ‘charity’ work had to be discussed – in a larger frame, pictures of their giving was more of a gift for themselves, self-promotion of their goodness. Gift and counter-gift – cf Mauss, The Gift; Derrida, Given Time etc. They could just as easily have donated to the medical facilities of Bengal, or quietly worked for industrial contracts to promote the economy and medical facilities, hospital development and inclusive policies, but no, the communist state was not their cup of char. I would think we need a very strict distinction to be made between charity and social service work. I think the issue of representation of children and the poor is always political, that exoticism and exploitation in imagery is real, and that integrating support for the blind, the poor, children etc must be organised through structures like local govt, community and institutions etc. What is most questionable here is what happens when ‘foreigners’ take over and think they can ‘help’ but really they are promoting their own self-image and unexamined values. Only some of this will be relevant now, for sure, but I wanted to rethink my experience and confirm the need to not call everything charity – better organised forms social service work (red summer) seem radically different to what international charity often becomes. And yes, in media studies, the issue of how we represent ourselves and ‘the poor’ (photogenic poverty) is without doubt still a significant concern.

Depression (not mine, ours)

Depression:

I am no expert on depression, at all, but I also note that over the last two decades it has become a more visible topic of discussion in Western circles as well as Southeast Asia – where, deeply distressing to say, the cycle draws in more people in as well. From Kpop and Vpop to bloggers and painters, fashionistas and writers, and the crisis crash bang personas of the overworked academic… Somebody is making a killing from marketing depression as a part of the culture industry. Of course wholesale trading on the personality ‘disorder’ of the difficult artist or the rebel teenager has been around for a long time. Since Dostoevsky and the image of the artist starving in a garret, now it is more psychological, but a similar danger where emulation can lead to disaster. There is an element of this that feeds on mobbing and fandom but it is not all that new – the casualties of previous cult aspects of the culture industries are there to see where social pressures led people into situations that maybe they could not handle in isolation. For example, in the 1960s and 70s, too, the drug consumption of Western pop stars, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones (but not the immortal Keith Richards) and right up to and beyond Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, Sid and Nancy, Kurt Cobain, the pressure on them was often/sometimes mitigated by money, but their recreational drug use was also emulated with disastrous consequences for the many youth who did not get the attention, and doctors, and blood transfusions (yes Keith) that the rich pop stars can command. Their fans are left to work it out alone. Here is a huge problem with the culture industries and ego visibility versus fan inconsequence. Frankly, it is a dark side to many cultural industries. It is rare, but at least more frequent, that some thinkers are beginning to talk of this. Mark Fisher for example, himself suffering a suicide through depression, addressed the problem of depression and alienation in his work and it is exactly this that should be recalled by cultural studies when it elevates the sufferings of the artist above suffering as such. What to say then of Walter Benjamin’s huge impact within the cultural studies field when (also a suicide) he and many others are celebrity cases with little, if any, direct correspondence with everyday depression among those who buy the books marketed in their name. Even where those books have much that is useful for making sense of such things, the unseemly promotion of Mark Fisher as author exceeds and overwhelms the significance of his forthright discussion of depression, anxiety, alienation and the self-destructive consequences of egoism on the left, as opposed to consciousness raising. Sniping and sectarianism go hand in hand here, among the denizens of the caste-dwellers no-one has any direct line on what should be done, but as soon as someone raises their head above the parapet they are shot down, or elevated into irrelevance. In the marketing of Mark Fisher, or on a far grander scale, the reification of Walter Benjamin, I think a chance has been missed because what really can be done with discussion is relevant not only to the music industry or author-ego-tortured artist depression syndrome. What adapting the discussion of fame for all could mean should be on the table. Get the discussion to be about what sort of mental health services and organisation of the general public, the youth and those not readily visible to the pop media celeb glam fashion mags and feeds, get a discussion of how social health can be taken back from the industries of promotion, pharma and corpo-rate me-dia and make it socialise that, rather than the name-brand posturing> Maybe this is mor than to address the very important possibility of taking a step back to see how various cycles are feeding on a dark aspect of ‘the artist’ as tortured soul that belongs to the myth of the emo – emotive, drugged, poverty-stricken, gangster, outside, misfit image. Cool as the dud is, that schtick is only ok for the rich and famous, and really leaves (some) fans in despair since they invariably have less effective access to public or medical support etc. Not only in music, but in any star system – modelling, cinema, theatre, poetry, writers, teachers…

Rosa on opium

Rosa Luxemburg The Accumulation of Capital, ch 18

“Consequently, a stricter law was passed [by the Chinese] in 1833 which made every opium smoker liable to a hundred strokes and two months in the stocks, and provincial [Chinese] governors were ordered to report annually on their progress in the battle against opium. But there were two sequels to this campaign: on the one hand large-scale poppy plantations sprang up in the interior, particularly in the Honan, Setchuan, and Kueitchan provinces, and on the other, England declared war on China to get her to lift the embargo. These were the splendid beginnings of opening China to European civilisation – by the opium pipe.”

Antique prints Dampier at Côn Đảo, reported sketch 1698

“Page no.297: ‘Een Jonk van Palimban.’ (Junk from Palimban on present day Sumatra, Indonesia). A scene that took place near Pulo Condore / Con Son Island an Island off the South Vietnam coast. Men with swords on the junk loaded with spices chase others off the boat, into the sea or the small sloop moored beside it. A larger sailing vessel in the background, anchored just off a coastline. Etching on a verge type handlaid paper. Description: This print originates from the 1698 Dutch edition of William Sewel’s translation of William Dampier’s travelogue: ‘Nieuwe Reystogt rondom de Werreld’ (A New Voyage Round the World), published in the Hague by Abraham de Hondt. Artists and Engravers: Engraver Caspar Luyken (based on monogram C.L. in some of the plates in the originating work).”

Privatisation of academia…

On the issues of weaponising research, this might be a minor quibble, but its part of the great restriction…

Of course I like what academia-edu can do for finding research papers I want, of course I hate that it seems more concerned with monetisation rather than research or politics. And the algorithm conspires to limit what it does not like – a big fat wet phooey to those who think the web is a way to publish anything by anyone, of course its not. This post, for example, compared to others that get seen, has been low on the roster, which comes as no surprise.

https://www.academia.edu/community/EV0j4l

Hi – where can I find the transparency page that shows the salaries and stock holdings of the board of A-edu? Some transparency on this would go a long way to, well, start the discussion of the commercialisation of journals and privatisation university research that is a huge issue that needs urgent refocus of attention. Not that I think Universities are innocent in this themselves, and the very need for a-edu is facilitated by their websites having been reformatted for pecuniary gain (showing off the facilities in a recruitment drive, hiding, it seems to me, the identities of the staff that teach – especially where that effects recruitment, ie, brand name profs whose teaching is done by underpaid adjuncts). So, start here – what is the make up of the board and what are their benefits from all this effort to commodify research paid for by and large by taxpayers and students?

Edit: resources and more here: https://coastsofbohemia.com/2018/04/04/the-rae-and-ref-resources-and-critiques/

Targets for pollution

If we are going to do maps, some sort of campaign aspect is implied.

Here are ten areas of geocide to consider (a Daly is years of life lost because of pollution). Class war anti geocide targetting. From the handy map aggregator Worldatlas:

The Top 10 Polluting Industries In The World

Rank Industry DALYs (Disability-Adjusted Life Years)

1 Used Lead-Acid Batteries (ULAB) 2,000,000 – 4,800,000

2 Mining and Ore Processing 450,000 – 2,600,000

3 Lead Smelting 1,000,000 – 2,500,000

4 Tanneries 1,200,000 – 2,000,000

5 Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) 600,000 – 1,600,000

6 Industrial Dumpsites 370,000 – 1,200,000

7 Industrial Estates 370,000 – 1,200,000

8 Chemical Manufacturing 300,000 – 750,000

9 Product Manufacturing 400,000 – 700,000

10 Dye Industry 220,000 – 430,000

https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-top-10-polluting-industries-in-the-world.html

Waste theory

Examples of advice that may not be worth the paper they are written on…

I was asked to suggest things to read for the topic:

“junk content on social media. My intended layout is
1 What is junk content?
2 Examples of spam content on social networks.
3 Solutions to limit junk content”

I dunno if I can help, but OK. Well, my first thought is good topic. Second one of course is how you will relate this to any of your course’s reading content. A final assessment is usually in large part a test of how well you have read the set texts and understood lecture topics.

Of interest might be that Marx did actually talk about junk too – well, waste, abfallen, which is often translated as shit in English –

see the blog post below – Theory of shit – yes, indecorous title, but it was 15 years ago.

You might also explore Georges Bataille’s excremental philosophy if you have the time and can search. The concept of the accursed share – read the original, not a wiki – will be of use. Glorious waste.

And Artaud – “my works are only waste matter, once they leave my body they cannot stand up by themselves” – quoted from memory from Derrida’s La Parole Soufflée in Writing and Difference 1967.

I still want one day to come back to this post on Marx from this blog 15 years ago, including the comments: https://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2007/05/08/theory-of-shit/

and this blog found when searching for mine – also ten years old – so – somewhat out of fashion topic that maybe needs a reboot up the jaksi. Certainly useful for thinking about spam.

Oct 22 1965 Sydney arrests

The report on this 1965 anti-war protest is marginally better than most current press release churnalism, of course it favours the Police and the future PM McMahon (who eventually presides over troop withdrawal), but its easy enough to read between the lines and see this was the start. So, a welcome find. At this time a Gallop Survey showed more than 50% of Australians supported the Menzies Govt’s decision to send troops to Vietnam (in April 1965 – before that only military advisors [and probably special ops had been there – see ‘The Sullivans’]). The first anti-War teach-ins were held in July that year.

“60 arrested in Vietnam war protest (Canberra Times, 22 October 1965)
SYDNEY, Friday. — About 60 people were arrested tonight during a demonstration against the Vietnam war in which more than 400 people threw Sydney’s peak hour traffic into chaos with a sit-down across Pitt and King Streets.
At one stage, some people feared that the demonstration would develop into a riot. Scores of uniformed and special police were rushed to the area at the height of the demonstration. Police cordoned off one-way streets as 15 radio cars and five police vans surrounded the demonstrators. Earlier, police and demonstrators ex-changed blows in the streets while others were dragged to police vehicles. Some people, caught in the melee, rushed at demonstrators and wrenched their banners from them, tearing them to shreds. The New South Wales Police Commissioner, Mr Allan, called for an immediate report on the incident. It probably will be ready for him late tomorrow. Police said late tonight that most of those arrested had been released on bail. They would appear in Central Court on Monday.
Peak hour traffic. The few who had not been bailed out would spend the night in police cells at Central, Darlinghurst and Regent Street police stations and would appear in court tomorrow. The demonstration began about 5pm as hundreds of workers left their offices. Many had trouble getting through the placard-waving, chanting crowd, and some were still caught there as police reinforcements arrived. The Minister for Labour and National Service, Mr McMahon, was leaving the Commonwealth Bank Building on Martin Place, where parliamentary offices are located, as the demonstration began. The demonstration began peacefully, but soon home-going city traffic was banked up to Circular Quay in the north and the Central Railway Station in the southern end of the main city area. Demonstrators paraded along the footpaths. They carried posters, on which were written anti-American slogans, and photographs of Vietnamese civilian casualties. They marched into Pitt Street during the peak hour and were blocked by police. … Some demonstrators sat and lay across the roadways. They still held aloft their banners, and chanted slogans protesting the Vietnam war. Fights broke out, and extra police moved in. Many people were arrested by police and loaded into vans. They were taken to Central, Darlinghurst and Regent Street stations. Mr McMahon was reported to have spoken to a demonstrator who carried a banner which read: “How can the Vietnamese be aggressive in their own country?” There was a brief exchange and Mr McMahon appeared to offer to shake hands. The demonstrator walked away. Scores of leaflets were handed out by those taking part in the protest, but most were thrown away. After the area had been cleared the leaflets littered the ground. Demonstrators included members of the Waterside Workers’ Federation, the Communist Party, the ALP youth body, women’s organisations including the “Save Our Sons” Movement and university students. Militant members of trade unions, including some officials, were reported to be among those who chanted, “One, two, three, four, We don’t want war . . . Five, six, seven, eight, End the war, negotiate.” Some chanted, “American casualties, one in 20, Australian casualties, one in 10.”
Militant action. Most placards were directed against American policy in Vietnam, although some attacked the Australian Government’s policy on conscription. A spokesman for the demonstrators said tonight that the demonstration was the forerunner of more militant action by the group. Until now they had been prepared to hold peaceful demonstrations in the Sydney Domain and other areas, but in future similar demonstrations were likely, he said. While demonstrators paraded, about a dozen sup- porters of the Australian- Vietnamese policy waved American and Australian flags as a counter protest.”

Tim Page

Fighting the lurgie seemed the right time to read Tim Page’s book on train trips in Vietnam 20 years after his war photo stint – the Dennis Hopper character in the Coppola film “Apocalypse Now” was based on him – at the Directors Cut Premier I had a freebie ticket* and sat with Tim and his assistant, who woke him up for ‘his’ scenes.  Page died in August this year. The book is a travelogue by someone who knew their way around and/or was really just out and about to have a look for himself. There’s a link to a Tiếng Việt article here and one to an article by Sarah McLean who, until it closed approx 2010, ran the Indochina memorial media foundation Page helped set up here.

* I’d got in late I think as a wait list ‘return’ ticket, which I now imagine might have been his ‘plus one’ that he was not bothered to fill as its, frankly, a shoddy film whose only redeeming feature is that it exposes the insanity of US revisionist film history, and he’d have known that before I had.

Lenin pretty clear on Capital

And maybe the overused quote about thorough study of Hegel is a touching nonsense too.

‘In his Capital, Marx first analyses the simplest, most ordinary and fundamental, most common and everyday relation of bourgeois (commodity) society, a relation encountered billions of times, viz. the exchange of commodities. In this very simple phenomenon (in this “cell” of bourgeois society) analysis reveals all the contradictious (or the germs of all the contradictions) of modern society. The subsequent exposition shows us the development (both growth and movement) of these contradictions and of this society in the [sum] of its individual parts, from its beginnmg to its end.’


‘Such must also be the method of exposition (or study) of dialectics in general (for with Marx the dialectics of bourgeois society is only a particular case of dialectics). To begin with what is the simplest, most ordinary, common, etc., with any proposition: the leaves of a tree are green; John is a man; Fido is a dog, etc. Here already we have
dialectics (as Hege’s genius recognised): the individual is the universal’ (Lenin. Vol 38 pp360-1)

Über Jazz

I’ve argued (in Pantomime Terror) that Adorno wrote ‘Über Jazz’ as a way to talk about Nazi marching music. People forget that – even though by then he was mostly living in the UK – he published the essay in Germany under the false name Hektor Rottweiller. Reread in that light, his critique may be mistaken because of not attributing Jazz to the Black tradition, and maybe unfortunate for not being more obvious about its irony, but it is certainly comprehensible that he thought this way at that time. I remember reading an excellent essay by Evelyn Wilcox in Telos on this, so dug out the essay (nothing disappears now):

“His criticism was not directed only at Germany and certainly fits the splendid 1995 playing of “Tuxedo Junction” by the massed bands of the Guards Division at “Beating the Retreat” in London”

Wilcock, E. (1996). Adorno, Jazz and Racism: “Uber Jazz” and the 1934-7 British Jazz Debate. Telos, 1996(107), 63–80. doi:10.3817/0396107063 

What I should do next is study the variations when he took the 1936 version and republished it in Moments Musicaux in 1962.

Ton Kin Sing

The reek of confidence.

Look out for the work of Édouard de Saint-Ours in the future. In a fascinating paper last night he showed many early photographs from Vietnam including most strikingly, this marvellous picture (below) of the Singapore-Malay Saigon-based opium trader Ton Kin Sing by Paul-Émile Berranger in 1859. This guy was disliked by the Chinese in Cho Lon, but set himself up as a broker for deals with the French – a proper comprador, but I was so impressed by his reek of confidence. The paper on colonial photography was a synopsis of the phd underway by Édouard de Saint-Ours at St Andrews, but given here in HCMC yesterday. I had to leave a little early, but Édouard explained the photograph was taken aboard a French ship – floorboards, a sail behind him. Would love to know what the book he holds was – probably a ledger, but it looks to have a musician on the back. Amazing. (Photo is in a private collection, I don’t know the details of that as I had to leave before the end of the talk, but I will be in touch with the author)

Study Study Study – then read like Bhagat Singh

Most interesting post of the day, and by far, has been this attached article on Bhagat Singh and anarchism, shifting to socialism. A few points fist though. I find this the most urgent imperative support for the importance of using a good library. This can never be overstated. Get into the stacks, and learn learn learn (as Godard says Lenin said, though this popular Russian slogan appears as study study study*)

[*”By any means we have to set ourselves a task to refresh our government staff: first, to study, second, to study, and third, to study, — and then check it so that our science would not remain a dead character or a fashionable phrase (which, truth be told, happens often with us), so that the science really would penetrate flesh and bone, become a part of everyday life at the fullest and for real”.

Better Less, but Better; Pravda, №49 March 4, 1923; also: Compendium of Works (in Russian), vol. 45, page 391.

«Нам надо во что бы то ни стало поставить себе задачей для обновления нашего госаппарата: во-первых — учиться, во-вторых — учиться и в-третьих — учиться и затем проверять то, чтобы наука у нас не оставалась мертвой буквой или модной фразой (а это, нечего греха таить, у нас особенно часто бывает), чтобы наука действительно входила в плоть и кровь, превращалась в составной элемент быта вполне и настоящим образом».

Лучше меньше, да лучше, газета «Правда, №49, 4 марта 1923 года. Также: ПСС, т. 45, стр. 391]

https://thewire.in/history/bhagat-singh-dwarka-das-library-lahore-chandigarh

Follow the link to read or listen to this piece from the wire.

https://thewire.in/history/bhagat-singh-dwarka-das-library-lahore-chandigarh

Robinson Crusoe – 1902

This version of Robinson Crusoe, by the immortal Georges Méliès, was made 1902. This 12 and a half minute hand-coloured nitrate print was rediscovered and restored in 2011. The original film was 15 mins, previously only a short clip had survived. This is gold. It smashes the Pierce Brosnan/Tom Hanks versions, and all episodes of Survivor and the lamentable m-o-r of Desert Island Disks, redeeming Robinson (the colonial adventurer) for the ages, clearly it was always meant as satire (alas, Friday is still played for cheap racist laughs though).

25th anniversary of TDTU. Honoured to get an appreciation trophy

And then follow up and stay in touch via these

A book written at the start in Germany after finding the letters of Elsie and Bronislaw Malinowski had been published – and able to mention how Malinowski’s copy to Elsie attributes ‘more than half’ the labour on the book to her. Rare occurance, not on the cover.

This was my third single author book (Bad Marxism) but the first one has sold better over time, based on hanging out in Calcutta in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I had given up on academic work, though was still devoted to the writings of Zawar Hanfi on Heidegger and of course Marx.

The middle book of the set is Critique of Exotica, the product of a reading group at the Charterhouse Hotel in Manchester with mates who also published Dis-Orienting Rhythms (perhaps the favourite title I’ve com up with – after Rumour, which I did not identify as a title at first, as a friend, Matt, saw it as a part of the draft first para and he said ‘is that gonna be the title’. Yes, as it turns out. Critique though is a great title too, inspired varipusly by Kant, the anthro journal Crit of Anth and Gayatri Spivak’s Critique of Postcolonial Reason – which had come out he year before.

Leftword published a translation of Ho Chi Minh I helped do recently, but they also promote my books n India

Diaspora and Hybridity is much cited, has become a core text on Diaspora studies

Lots of videos and other odds and ends from lectures and talks in an immense accumulation of stuff – ungeheure Warensammlung -like

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