Category Archives: books

Don Miller’s new book! Time and Time Again

via Don Miller’s new book! Time and Time Again

Don Miller was the mystical magical master of metaphor at Melbourne Uni in the politics department when it was mad for theory. In those days, Alan Fu Davies, John Cash, Nikos Papastergiadis, Scott McQuire, Glenda Sluga and others met regularly in the open coffee area (now boarded up as cubicle offices) to discuss psycho-social politics, Foucault, Derrida, Spivak, Rose, and where Anthony Giddens came and tore his stretch denim jeans on an armchair and Jean Baudrillard talked about everything as simulation and was asked ‘so why do you write’.

Don has now perpetrated another book, his fourth, a long time coming, but a beauty. Happily published by Pavement, it is endorsed by the great and the good of time studies, but it is much more. Also a theoretical book, but filled with examples, cases studies and commentary on everything relevant to Australian politics, global theory, matters of the minute and problems of the ages. It is infused with sport and science, India and Europe, Melbourne to its core yet never parochial in a way that will wind some people up and get others scratching their heads to think. The ‘think piece’ indeed was Don’s meter, asking his students to sit under a tree and consider their assignment before writing them in – as he encouraged – prose that challenged the stiff conventions of Political Science in its day, and today.

Time itself is more than a metaphor, but then nothing can escape time, or metaphor. The book benefits hugely from years beyond the university, talking to people as a conversationalist, a life coach, an advisor and a neighbour. A product of travels across the globe and across the shelves, armchair readings of psychoanalysis and on the spot samples of subcontinental conflicts, dilemmas and designs. The book is a conceptual challenge to tik-tok and clock time, taking temporality through its paces, trialling different angles, wearing away, shifting, displacing the assumptions of the watch, how duration has a face, apparent and hegemonic, which orders time and is thereby disrupted by those who champion fluidity of thought and action. McEnroe’s sublime.

In his blurb for the book, the China specialist Michael Dutton, also a one-time member of the Melbourne Uni Politics Department, says Miller ‘hones in on the ethereal and the everyday quotidian yet paradoxically political character of timing’. Too much perhaps, but that hits the head of the nail in ways most florid writing cannot. Don’s prose never exceeds its remit, but its remit is to provoke you to think again, to think of how style is bound up with what a book says, to think of multiple times of reading, and living. To accept the gift of being responsible for reading and thinking and living in your time and for all time as a finite yet multiple being. The longer perspective is not in the length of the book but the time that these thoughts will stay at the back of thinking, a contemplation engine informing and reforming thoughts and schedules. Make time to read this book, it will be worth the wait (for the delivery, in this time of Covid, will also pass fast enough, in due course).

 

Buy it here: http://pavementbooks.com/time-and-time-again/

Screen Shot 2020-06-01 at 11.57.46

Domesday’s eastern roots.

It seems like that old “goodness gracious me” sketch about the funny uncle that was claiming everything in Britain was ‘Indian’ was, – yup, Indian – accurate after all:

Reading Wittfogel and on page 214 he finds the Domesday Book, tdocumenting property rights for landlords of yore, has Arab [Saracen – Ghengis – ok, almost Indian] origins…

‘When in 1066 the Normans conquered England, some of their countrymen had already set themselves up as the masters of southern Italy, an area which, with interruptions, had been under Byantine administration until this date: and some of them had established a foothold in Sicily, an area which had been ruled by Byzantium for three hundred years and after that by the Saracens, who combined Arab and Byzantine techniques of absolutist government.

We have no conclusive evidence regarding the effect of this Byzantine-Saracen experience on William and his councilors. But we know that in 1072—that is, thirteen years before William ordered the description of England—the Normans had conquered the capital of Sicily, Palermo, and the northern half of the island. And we also know that there were considerable “comings and goings” 43 between the Italian-Sicilian Normans and their cousins in Normandy and England, particularly among the nobility and clergy. The latter happened also to be actively engaged in administrative work.44 No wonder, then, that on the basis of his knowledge of the period Haskins, the leading English expert on English-Sicilian relations in the Middle Ages, suggests “the possibility of a connexion between Domesday Book. and the fiscal registers which the south had inherited from its Byzantine and Saracen rulers.” [cites himself]

Haskins’ hypothesis explains well why a typically hydraulic device of fiscal administration appeared in feudal Europe. It also explains why for hundreds of years afterward this “magnificent exploit” had no parallel in that area. Evidently, systematic and nationwide registration was as out of place in feudal society as it was customary in the realm of Oriental despotism’ (Wittfogel 1957: 214)

 

from Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power and yes, the Orientalism and the anti-communism are strong in this one, and comparative studies on this scale are wild speculation at the level of conclusion, but int he detail, well, the detail is amazing. It is like a randomised global free association generator.

Back cover copy for the 25th-anniversary edition of Rumour of Calcutta?

Highly unlikely, but if there were to be a collection of quotes for such an edition, this fine example would do very well as a back cover quote alongside the old ones. It is from a very fine-looking book by Nabaparna Ghosh – A Hygienic City-Nation: Space, Community, and Everyday Life in Colonial Calcutta 2020 Cambridge. I am excited to read the rest of the book, as I’ve only seen an early part so far. Of course, I mean the second part of this paragraph, though great to again be in the company of Arturo, and earlier Chris Pinney and others. This is on page 9:

Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 22.50.17

 

The book itself – out in stores soon I believe (you can have a sneaky peak and read about 20 pages on Google books).

Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 22.50.53Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 22.51.05Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 22.51.17
Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 22.50.17Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 22.51.05Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 22.51.17

 

Vietnam – Brazil

Comparative. Who’d have thought to do this one – but, its done, and there’s an intriguing and generous review – of J. Warren’s Cultures of Development: Vietnam, Brazil, and the Unsung Vanguard of Prosperity, from the Journal of Vietnamese Studies Vol 14, No 4 (they have made their content free up till May). Unfortunately, the book itself is mega expensive.

Click on the image to get the review:

Screen Shot 2020-04-05 at 21.06.4110.1525_vs.2019.14.4.84

Robinsonades: we are all a bit Robbo now.

Several Robinsinades are coming soon.

But folks seem a bit confused about which Daniel Defoe to get into right now. As the world splutters towards total collapse,  I mean, do you read his notes on the plague year first, or go for a refresher course on self-isolation in Robinson?

RobbinsonTV

I’ve articles in the works on this, and have been translating an excellent essay from German on Crusoe/Croix/Kreutznaer/Kreutzer by Wulf Hund. But today, recognizing the new viral potency of the Crusoe effect, I am stumbling through a new version. We are all Robbo now.

Sundarbans, Climate, Tigers, Law.

Liquidity of the Sundarbans:

If the Tigers and Cyclones Don’t Get You, the Law Will

This forms the first part of a new research concentration for me, and owes much to colleagues at Jadavpur Uni now battling the BJP monstrosity. This sort of work relies upon the University remaining an open, critical, creative and thinking place. And such works as discussed here – more than three, a whole series of works are considered, reaching back to when I first met the history and philosophy folks at Jadavpur – are indicative of what remains that is good in the university, despite all that is happening.

50 e-prints for those quick off the mark, here: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/AVPTDBBTQNKUBBVHPHSV/full?target=10.1080/00856401.2019.1663884

 

Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 08.57.06

Global South Asia On Screen: India only edition.

via Global South Asia On Screen: India only edition.

Screenshot 2018-12-26 at 10.22.29

Available from Aakar Books Here.

Rest of the world here (bloomsbury paperback in November)

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4826-8949

 

Just because its only out cheaply in India does not mean you canot still buy stauff – the Hardback is 20 quid on some sites.

ANd there are a few older things still kicking about:

 

John Hutnyk is the author of Bad Marxism (Pluto Press, 2004) and Critique of Exotica …
The Rumour of Calcutta: Tourism, Charity and the Poverty of Representation [John Hutnyk] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

Mother of Pearl

Moving from detective fiction in Thailand to commercial reproduction makes sense when its Angela Savage. This is my next non-work read:

Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 14.32.15

Some review snippets lifted from Angela’s blog:

Marian Woolf’s review A gripping story of surrogacy, sisters and power dynamics in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald

Surrogacy and the complicated moral and ethical questions around commercial reproduction is a minefield. The decision to use a surrogate, to become a surrogate, or to facilitate a surrogate pregnancy, are all examined in Mother of Pearl.
However, Savage is interested in more than the individual, and uses surrogacy as a lens through which to probe the differences between Third and First World choices. She tiptoes into frustration at the inward nature of Australian charity, our generosity towards our own relatively wealthy society while seemingly immune to the already poor elsewhere.

Ultimately … Mother of Pearl is a book about relationships – between people, countries and cultures – between those who have, and those who have not.

Linda Jaivin reviewed Mother of Pearl for The Saturday Paper.

‘At times, each character veers dangerously close to stereotype… But author Angela Savage is too skilful a writer to deal in clichés. As the narrative of this, her fourth novel, develops, each of the women reveals herself to be more complex and capable than she first appears.’

Savage, who writes with a tough mind and tender heart, tackles the moral and ethical issues around surrogacy with an unsentimental yet sympathetic eye: this is a novel, not a polemic.

Ken Hayley in the Courier Mail, writes:

‘Even a hard-bitten old codger like myself found certain passages of this work tearful going … Authorial attention to technical detail combined with raw emotional honesty and cross-cultural empathy has produced a narrative of resounding depth … This book is a window opening onto an intersection of economic choices and biological imperatives. We have here a rough literary equivalent of the Mexican movie Roma, except that Savage sees the view, with equal clarity, from both sides.’

And then from the transit lounge sales page for the book, the blurb followed by a review by Christos:

A luminous and courageous story about the hopes and dreams we all have for our lives and relationships, and the often fraught and unexpected ways they may be realised.

Angela Savage draws us masterfully into the lives of Anna, an aid worker trying to settle back into life in Australia after more than a decade in Southeast Asia; Meg, Anna’s sister, who holds out hope for a child despite seven fruitless years of IVF; Meg’s husband Nate, and Mukda, a single mother in provincial Thailand who wants to do the right thing by her son and parents.

The women and their families’ lives become intimately intertwined in the unsettling and extraordinary process of trying to bring a child into the world across borders of class, culture and nationality. Rich in characterisation and feeling, Mother of Pearl and the timely issues it raises will generate discussion among readers everywhere.

‘This is a story of family and motherhood, and also a story of culture and exploitation that asks us to think through the costs of our insatiable desire in the West to have everything. What I find remarkable about this novel is how it refuses easy and lazy judgement, how it takes seriously questions of loss, longing, and our human need to connect with each other.’

Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap

and finally:

‘A beautifully crafted novel from an incredibly gifted writer. Angela Savage explores the ethical minefield of international surrogacy through the stories of three women, desperate but determined to repair the broken parts of their lives The prose is as precise as it is poetic, the characters so deftly drawn. I read this book compulsively, racing to its poignant conclusion with my heart in my throat.’

Melanie Cheng, author of Australia Day and Room for a Stranger

 

With reviews like this…

Global Digital Cultures

Very keen to read this:

Global Digital Cultures: Perspectives from South Asia  – 2019

By Aswin Punathambekar and  Sriram Mohan 

 

Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 08.49.03

Digital media histories are part of a global network, and South Asia is a key nexus in shaping the trajectory of digital media in the twenty-first century. Digital platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, and others are deeply embedded in the daily lives of millions of people around the world, shaping how people engage with others as kin, as citizens, and as consumers. Moving away from Anglo-American and strictly national frameworks, the essays in this book explore the intersections of local, national, regional, and global forces that shape contemporary digital culture(s) in regions like South Asia: the rise of digital and mobile media technologies, the ongoing transformation of established media industries, and emergent forms of digital media practice and use that are reconfiguring sociocultural, political, and economic terrains across the Indian subcontinent. From massive state-driven digital identity projects and YouTube censorship to Tinder and dating culture, from Twitter and primetime television to Facebook and political rumorsGlobal Digital Cultures focuses on enduring concerns of representation, identity, and power while grappling with algorithmic curation and data-driven processes of production, circulation, and consumption.

Rumours! (my emphasis).

and page 208 discussed Afzal Guru:

Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 08.47.32

How to guides… Poppy cultivation

This amazing detailed description is from a book I had been battling to get hold of for a year or more – Amer Farooqui’s “Smuggling as Subversion” 1998:

Once the ground was ready, poppy was sown at the rate of 2 to 2. 5 ser of seed per bigha. The seed was sown broadcast. Apart from the several waterings already referred to, much weeding and loosening of soil had to be attended to in the following months. Besides, when the plants were five or six inches above the ground they had to be thinned to distance of three inches.

As much if not more demanding for the peasant was the extraction of opium. Opium is the ‘inspissated juice obtained by scratching the unripe capsules’ of the poppy plant and ‘allowing the milky sap, which exudes therefirom to dry spontaneously’ This job requires considerable expertise. Lack of skill incoUectmg the jiuice (chik) from poppy capsules could ruin the crop. The peasants ofMalwa were reputed to have sufficient expertise in collecting juice from the poppy by the of the 19th century. 

So much so that when it was found in Gujarat that ‘unskilful management’ by novices ‘in extracting the juice from the pods and preparing the opium’ was leading to a considerable Ioss the ‘assistance of a few Experienced Cultivators from Malwa’ was sought.

When the capsules were half ripe between January and early March, they were punctured with a small trident formed in an instrument of three short prongs on blades at a distance of about the fourth of an inch asunder. Using this instrument three vertical incisions would be made upwards in capsules.

Weather conditions prevailing between January and mid March were a critical factor in determining the nature of the harvest . Even minor variations in weather at this stage could tell on the poppy.

For collecting the juice, the practice in Malwa was to divide a field into four parts and take up ripe plants of two portions in a single day. Since the collection of juice had to be preceded by scratching of the unripe capsules the previous evening, on any given day juice would be scraped off plants of the first part (which had been operated on the day before), while towards evening incisions would be made on plants of the second part to permit collection of their juice, the coagulated latex, the next day and so on. The poppy capsule should properly be wounded late in the evening after sunset. It has to be left overnight after scarnfication and its opaque narcotic juice is collected next morning. The poppies could be bled three to four times for collecting their juice, and thus the entire operation had to be repeated as many times‘.

Pantomime Terror

This book is about storytelling and music video – well, also politics and terror, performance and television.

Screenshot 2018-12-21 at 20.42.16

HUTNYK_PANTOMIME TERROR

The book tunes into music in three acts. I have written on these performers before, and so thank them again for the opportunity to return to their stories. The approach is a continuation of a research project and collective political effort that I joined when I first came to Britain in 1994. This iteration rehearses this work for London and in relation to twenty first-century terrors, as well as returning to a long beloved articulation of divergent interpretations of critical theory, especially the work of Theodor Adorno. In the introduction, there is a first rendition of the theme of pantomime, which will resonate throughout, and perhaps perversely, the end of the intro starts in on the end of the video Cookbook DIY, examined more fully in the next chapter. I advance this end because the point of this book is to record how peripheral ‘messages’ are too often ignored. In this sense, the project of ‘pantomime terror’ as distraction will be affirmed. I thank Aki Nawaz and Dave Watts for what is now a long collaboration.

The chapters are:

1. Introduction: London Bus :: Pantomime :: War Diary :: Mediation :: The Orange Jumpsuit :: Alerts.

2. DIY Cookbook: Visiting the Kumars :: A Suicide Rapper :: 1001 Nights :: Cookbook DIY :: Pantomime Video :: The RampArts Interlude (notes from a screening) :: All is War :: Back to the Kumars.

3. Dub at the Movies: Representing La Haine :: Žižek-degree-zero :: Derrida Writes the Way :: The Eiffel Tower :: Ruffians, Rabble, Rogues and Repetition :: Musical Interlude :: Riff-raff :: Reserve Army :: Coda: The Battle of Algiers :: Molotov.

4. Scheherazade‘s Sister, M.I.A.: Cultural Projects :: Storyteller Nights :: M.I.A. :: Born Free :: Sell Out, or Tiocfaidh ár lá :: Witticisms and Wagner :: Despot Culture :: Scheherazade in Guantánamo.

 

Marx’s Library

From Old Beardo’s library (as listed in the MEGA), the following books related to India or the East India Company have underlining or marginalia by Marx, in blue or red pen:

Alexander, R[ichard]: The rise and progress of British opium smuggling:

the illegality of the East India Company’s monopoly of the drug; and its injurious effects upon India, China, and the commerce of Great Britain. Five letters addressed to the Right Honourable the Earl of Shaftesbury. 3. ed. rev. and enl. London: Judd and Glass, Soc. for „Suppressing Opium Smuggling” 1856. 80 S. Standort des Orig.: SAPMO/Bibl., Ma 916. Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl., 41647 (Kat. 1901, S. 46). – Zentralsekretariat der SED/Bibl. – IMLB/Bibl.

Marginalien von Marx (Tinte) S. 37, 38.

Korrektur von fremder Hand.

Bibliothek Marx.

.

 

[Crosthwaite, Charles Haukes Todd:] Notes on the north-western 261 provinces of India. By a district officer. London: Allen 1869. 160, 23 S. Standort des Orig.: RGA, f. 1, op. 1, d. 6355. Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl., 41556 (Kat. 1901, S. 257), Etikett: 705. – IMLB/Bibl. – IMLM/ZPA. Buchhändleretikett: Subscription Library, London.

Marginalien von Marx (Blaustift) S. 2-70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76-91, 92, 93, 94,

95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100-107, 129-132, 133-135, 136-150, 152, 153-156,

157-159; (Grünstift) S. 129.

Einige Seiten mit Eselsohr.

Bibliothek Marx.

.

 

East Indian Tariff. The debate on the motion of Hugh Birley, Esq., 349 M . P . , respecting import duties on cotton manufactures. Delivered in the House of Commons, Tuesday, July 10, 1877. Extracted from „Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates”, vol. 235. London: Buck 1877. 24 S.

Standort des Orig.: RGA, f. 1, op. 1, d. 6454.

Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl., 41196 (Kat. 1901, S. 47). – Zentralsekretariat der

SED/Bibl. – IMLB/Bibl. – IMLM/ZPA.

Marginalien von Marx (Bleistift) S. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; (Rotstift) S. 8-24.

Textverlust durch Buchbinderschnitt.

Bibliothek Marx.

.

 

Grant, Robert: A sketch of the history of the East-India Company, from its first formation to the passing of the Regulating Act of 1773; with a summary view of the changes which have taken place since that period in the internal administration of British India. London: Black, Parry, Hatchard 1813. 13, L I I I , 397 S. Standort des Orig.: RGA, f. 1, op. 1, d. 6502. Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl., 41311 (Kat. 1901, S. 255). – IMLB/Bibl. – IMLM/ZPA.

Marginalien von Marx (Blaustift) S. 80, 81; (Rotstift) S. 356, 357, 358, 360-363.

Bibliothek Marx.

.

 

Irwin, H[enry] Qrossby]: The garden of India; or chapters on Oudh 610 history and affairs. London: Allen 1880. 350, 36 S. Standort des Orig.: RGA, f. 1, op. 1, d. 6503. Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl., 41403 (Kat. 1901, S. 256), Etikett: 694. – IMLB/Bibl. – IMLM/ZPA. Widmung: Verfasser an ungenannten Adressaten (Schmutztitel).

Marginalien von Marx (Blau- und Grünstift) S. 16-18, 20-26, 27, 28-39, 40,

41-57, 60, 61, 62-79, 80, 81-84, 86, 87, 88-90, 91-94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99,

100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111-113, 114, 115,

116, 117, 118, 119, 120-127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136,

137-139, 140, 141, 142-144, 145-155, 156, 157-160, 161, 162-167,

168-170, 171, 172, 173, 174-182, 183, 184-187, 188, 189, 191, 192, 193,

194-198, 199, 200, 201-204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209-212, 213, 214, 215,

216-218, 219, 220, 221, 222-230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235-238, 239, 240,

241, 242, 243-246, 247, 248, 249-261, 262-265, 266, 267, 268, 269-276,

277, 278-280, 281, 282-284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293,

294, 295, 296, 297-302, 303, 304, 305, 306-309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314,

315, 316, 318, 319, 320, 321-339, 340, 341, 342, 344, 345-348, 349, 350;

Annoncenteil: S. [1], [2], 7, 11, 12, 14, 15, 23, 26-29, 36, [40].

Einige Seiten mit Eselsohr.

Bibliothek Marx.

.

 

M[a]cCuUoch, J[ohn| R[amsay|: A dictionary, practical, theoretical, 815 and historical, of commerce and commercial navigation. Illustrated with maps and plans. A new ed., corr., enl. and improved. With a suppl. London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans 1852. XXIII, 1510, 32 S. Standort des Orig.: SAPMO/Bibl., 54/13140. Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl, 41345 (Kat. 1901, S. 45). – Zentralsekretariat der SED/Bibl. – IMLB/Bibl. Buchbinderetikett: Westley & Co London.

Wahrscheinlich Bibliothek Marx bzw. Engels.

Titel exzerpiert: Marx, 1852 (IISG, Marx-Engels-Nachlaß, В 52); 1853 (IISG,

Marx-Engels-Nachlaß, В 63).

.

 

Titel erwähnt: Marx: Revolution in China and in Europe (MEGAÇ 1/12, S. 149). – T h e East India Company—Its History and Results (MEGAÇ 1/12, S. 186-188, 190, 191). – Grundrisse der Kritik der politischen Ökonomie (MEGAÇ 11/1.2,707, 708). – Zur Kritik der politischen Ökonomie (Manuskript 1861-1863) (MEGAÇ И/ЗА, S. 1353; 3.5, S. 1763). – Ökonomische Manuskripte 1861-1865 (MEGAÇ II/4.2, S. 473). – Das Kapital. Erster Band (MEGAÇ 11/10,

  1. 138). – Le Capital (MEGAÇ II/7, S. 121, 230). – Capital (MEGAÇ Π/9,
  2. 130). – Κ. und

 

.

Sewell, Robert: The analytical history of India, from the earliest times to the abolition of the honourable East India Company in London: Allen 1870. XXVIII, 334 S. mit Tab. Standort des Orig.: RGA, f. 1, op. 1, d. 6498. Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl., 41734 (Kat. 1901, S. 271), Etikett: 693. – IMLB/Bibl. – IMLM/ZPA.

Marginalien von Marx (Rot-, Blaustift und Tinte) S. 3-7, 37, 38, 43, 45-47,

49-52, 53, 54-57, 60, 61, 66, 68, 69, 70, 71, 77-80, 85, 86, 88, 92, 94, 95, 96,

97, 98, 99-105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116-119,

120, 121-126, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132-138, 139, 140-149, 150, 151, 152,

153-155, 156, 157-162, 163, 164-172, 173, 174-176, 177, 178, 179, 180,

181, 182-203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210-213, 215, 216, 217-223,

224, 225-227, 228, 229-233, 234-237, 238, 239, 240, 241-248, 249, 250,

251, 252-255, 256, 257-280, 281, [284]-[312], 314-316, 318-322, 325-327,

330-333.

Einige Seiten mit Eselsohr.

Bibliothek Marx.

Titel exzerpiert: Marx, 1879/1880 (IISG, Marx-Engels-Nachlaß, В 156).

.

 

Seymour, Henry: Waste lands of India. Speech in the House of Commons on the 12th May, 1863. With introd. and app. London: Ridgway 1864 XIII, 102 S. Standort des Orig.: RGA, f. 1, op. 1, d. 6297.

Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl., 41997 (Kat. 1901, S. 257). – IMLB/Bibl. – IMLM/ZPA.

Marginalien von Marx (Bleistift) Titelbl., S. II-XIII, 9-29, 31-33, 49-52, 53, 54,

55-62, 63, 64-70, 75-84, 87-97, 99; (Rotstift) S. 33-49.

Bibliothek Marx.

 

 

Buy Books Not Bombs

Global South Asia on Screen – out now with Bloomsbury
(paperback due late 2019)
With importance for geopolitical cultural economy, anthropology, and media studies, John Hutnyk brings South Asian circuits of scholarship to attention where, alongside critical Marxist and poststructuralist authors, a new take on film and television is on offer.

The book presents Raj-era costume dramas as a commentary on contemporary anti-Muslim racism, a new political compact in film and television studies, and the President watching a snuff film from Pakistan. Hanif Kureishi’s postcolonial ‘fuck Sandwich’ sits alongside Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, updated for the war on terror with low-brow, high-brow versions of Asia that carry us up the Himalayas with magic carpet TV nostalgia. Maoists rage below and books go up in flames while News network phone-ins end with executions on the Hanging Channel and arms trade and immigration paranoia thrives. Multiplying filmi versions of Mela are measured against a transnational realignment towards Global South Asia in a contested and testing political future.

Each chapter offers a slice of historical study and assessment of media theory appropriate for viewers of Global South Asia seeking to understand why lurid exoticism and paralysing terror go hand-in-hand. The answers are in the images always open to interpretation, but Global South Asia on Screen examines the ways film and TV trade on stereotype and fear, nationalism and desire, politics and context, and with this the book calls for wider reading than media theory has hitherto entertained.

Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 09.51.26
Global South Asia on Screen
Buy books at yourlocal bookshop(UK)
Ask for Pantomime Terror by John Hutnyk. Zero Books, 2014 ISBN-10: 1782792090
Ask for The Rumour of Calcutta by John Hutnyk. Zed books/Uni Chicago Press, 1996 ISBN: 9781856494083
Ask for Bad Marxism by John Hutnyk. Pluto Press/Uni Chicago Press 2004 ISBN: 9780745322667
Ask for Critique of Exotica by John Hutnyk. Pluto Press 2000 ISBN: 0745315496
Ask for Global South Asia on Screen by John Hutnyk. Bloomsbury Academic, 2018. ISBN  9781501324963
Ebook retailers 
koboapple iTunesGoogle PlaynookAmazon UKAmazon US

The Rumour of Calcutta – digital book

rumour-cover122 years ago my first book was typeset and laid out in the days before electronics – well, an electric typesetting machine was plugged into a wall, but no digital file was produced. Nevertheless, I had crossed out the digital rights clause in my contract with Zed so I own this. At last some kind anonymous soul has bootlegged it and set digital copy free on the nets, though its a large scanned file and the bibliography was left off (I’ve made a rough scan of the biblio but that too is a large file). Nevertheless, notwithstanding, and such like phrasings, the book is still one of which I am proud, if nothing else for trialling a way of citing tourist backpacker-informants, for its stuff on photography and maps and for the reviews it got (and indeed keeps getting discussed, for example on films – see diekmann2012) and especially for its critique of charity and what charity is for. In the context of do-gooder well-meaning hypocrisy, the effort of charity workers serves wider interests as well as their own, and only marginally any individuals they help – who would be better helped in better funded state-run facilities if the funds extracted through business-as-usual colonialism were, you know, made as reparations for the several hundred years of colonial plunder. Ah well, the critique stands up, the charity industry sadly thrives, second only perhaps to weapons in terms of so-called development, writing books does not yet always change the world as much as you’d like (and no, I did not ever think a book would single-handedly stop Mother Theresa, but…).

I would welcome new readers.

Download The Rumour of Calcutta here:  [John_Hutnyk]_The_rumour_of_Calcutta__tourism,_ch

Biblio here. Rumour biblio

And this retrieved by Toby:

Mushies

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing has written an amazing book. The Mushroom at the End of the World (2015) is all about forests and foraging and revitalising teaching and diasporas and and and – it’s a dense thicket and forest of meanings. There is much in it, but towards the end where generalities are I guess expected, it is only possible to nod sadly in agreement:

“ONE OF THE STRANGEST PROJECTS OF PRIVATIZATION and commodificarion in the early twentieth-first century has been the movement to commoditize scholarship. Two versions have been surprisingly powerful. In Europe, administrators demand assessment exercises that reduce the work of scholars co a number, a sum total for a life of intellectual exchange. In the United States, scholars are asked to become entrepreneurs, producing ourselves as brands and seeking stardom from the very first days of our studies, when we know nothing. Both projects seem to me bizarre — and suffocating. By privatizing what is necessarily collaborative work, these projects aim to strangle the life out of scholarship” page 285

The book is very much worth a look and could be a model for research presentation on global commodity chains and/or Trinketization.

Burning bookshops is the new face of fascism, draped in a flag, and making America hate again.

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 08.46.11.png

Andy Zee talk worth hearing. The Joy of bookshops. I love it. They mean it – as he says, the place is named “revolution AND books”. Although a healthy scepticism about Berkley t-shirts only got a slightly uncomfortable laugh, I found that a great point – trinketization of BA is a part of the RCP’s different take on, well, modesty. Let that not take away the love of books of revolution – even if the BA books are on display at the door, the shelves are full of much much more. Support Revolution Books. Needed.

Steve Redhead: Theoretical Times

I’ve read most of Steve Redhead’s work over the years. Maybe not all the Virilio stuff as I leave that to Sophie, but this is the next one I’ll read:

Theoretical Times

Redehead TTimes

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 09.18.47

And why now? – should have been earlier of course, but I am less often in bookshops with ready cash, and just found out the terrible, most terrible, news of Steve’s passing.

“Am deeply sad to find that just over a week ago the scholar Steve Redhead died. There are many tributes, well deserved. In Manchester in 1994, in another university and in a different discipline, how great was it that a (then) law prof took an interest in a talk on Derrida’s Marx book by an unknown postdoc and in conversation suggested archives I could read on the history of anti-racism activism in the UK, without which no “Dis-Orienting Rhythms”, among so much else. RIP Steve Redhead. Hope his family and friends and especially Tara Brabazon will be fine, despite condolences never being anywhere near good enough.”

 

Perception. A study in the obvious

Got this book long ago in Melbourne by explaining some of its fundamental problems as a text, and on that basis got it Half Price from the bookseller – ahh the days when bookshop staff were also readers (sure, some still are, but I miss the days when Peter from Compendium already knew which two books I would buy from the store each week I came in, though I’d still browse for an hour or two just in case).

Anyway, here I am thinking of producing a series of covers that illustrate problems with texts in publishing, and this trans of Merleau-Ponty I guess is example No 1.

Cartographic Abstraction in Contemporary Art: Seeing with maps

ClaireClaire Reddleman’s new book ‘Cartographic Abstraction in Contemporary Art: Seeing with maps’ is out now from Routledge Advances in Art and Visual Studies!

Claire Says:

“It’s all about different forms of cartographic viewing – including the ‘cartographic view from nowhere’, drone viewing, the Apollonian view (in which the earth is ‘seen’ from space), remote cartographic viewing (with particular reference to the antipodes) and an ‘immersive’ form of viewing cartographically from within an art installation. These ways of seeing with maps are explored with close reference to a series of contemporary artworks, by Joyce Kozloff, James Bridle, Trevor Paglen, Layla Curtis and Bill Fontana. The book is a development of my phd thesis, and so is most likely to be of interest for postgraduate students and researchers – but I think the material about the artworks will also be of interest for art students, artists and art-world professionals, and the theoretical ideas about cartographic abstraction will be of interest for people who work on real abstraction and Marxian-informed ways of thinking about art and visual culture”.

Here is the official blurb:

In this book, Claire Reddleman introduces her theoretical innovation ‘cartographic abstraction’ – a material modality of thought and experience that is produced through cartographic techniques of depiction. Reddleman closely engages with selected artworks (by contemporary artists such as Joyce Kozloff, Layla Curtis, and Bill Fontana) and theories in each chapter. Reconfiguring the Foucauldian underpinning of critical cartography towards a materialist theory of abstraction, cartographic viewpoints are theorised as concrete abstractions. This research is positioned at the intersection of art theory, critical cartography and materialist philosophy.

Here are the chapter headings:

Intro – From Critical Cartography to Cartographic Abstraction: Rethinking the Production of Cartographic Viewing Through Contemporary Artworks

1. Reconfiguring the View From Nowhere: Collage and Complicity in ‘Targets’ by Joyce Kozloff

2. The Drone’s Eye View: Networked Vision and Visibility in Works by James Bridle and Trevor Paglen

3. Remote Viewing, Cartographic Abstraction and the Antipodes: Three Works by Layla Curtis

4. Signification in the Soundscape: Bill Fontana’s ‘River Sounding’

5. Cartographic Abstraction: A Material Modality of Thought and Experience

Availability

‘Cartographic Abstraction in Contemporary Art: Seeing with maps’ is available for library recommendation at under £90 from Routledge: https://www.routledge.com/Cartographic-abstraction-in-contemporary-art-seeing-with-maps/Reddleman/p/book/9781138712577. The kindle edition is about £26. ISBN 10: 1138712574 / ISBN 13: 9781138712577. Paperback in 2019 if you are not made of money.

Review of Zoogenesis: Thinking Encounter with Animals

zoogenesis cover.inddhttp://www.depauw.edu/humani…/issue%2017/calarco-iveson.html

Or here (PDF):

http://www.depauw.edu/…/issue%2…/pdfs/calarco-iveson-pdf.pdf

 

‘Life and Relation Beyond Animalization’ by Matthew Calarco

The growth of animal studies from an emergent field of inquiry into a mature set of discourses and practices over the past several years has been marked by two particularly welcome developments. First, concerns and questions about the status and nature of animals and animality have penetrated ever deeper into the core of disciplines across the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences. This trend has helped to call into question some of the most stubborn dogmas in these disciplines and to provide the space for important intellectual and theoretical transformations. Second, extant approaches and frameworks among animal activists have increasingly come to inform the work being done in animal studies, enriching its ethico-political sensibilities and providing practical support for its enrichment and evolution. What has perhaps gotten lost in the rapid growth of animal studies, however, are deeper questions about what is ultimately at stake in the field. Although the multiplication of disciplinary perspectives on animals and animality is no doubt important, we might ask ourselves: Are some frameworks  more critically insightful than others in terms of trying to discern violence and disrespect aimed toward animals and animalized others? Similarly, we might also wonder: Which perspectives are most fecund for transforming those relations and ultimately arriving at alternative forms of life?

Richard Iveson’s book, Zoogenesis: Thinking Encounter with Animals, seeks to frame and address these important questions. With this ambitious, wide-ranging, and erudite book, Iveson hopes to provide nothing less than new critical and affirmative groundings for future work in animal studies. On Iveson’s account, unless we understand the deep sources of violence toward animals, we will never arrive at a place from which we might begin to contest those sources and eventually reconstitute more respectful relations with animals. In this review, I will track some of the basic elements of Iveson’s fascinating and powerful argument before closing with some questions about some of its possible limitations.

Rejecting the Institutionalized Genocide of Animals. Iveson’s overall project begins from the premise that animals matter for themselves — which is to say, in and of themselves — and not simply in view of how they might shed light on certain questions concerning human nature or human sociality. That the study of animals and animality might illuminate certain aspects of how power circulates among human beings is, to be sure, something worthy of our attention for Iveson; but his primary emphasis is placed on ensuring that animals are seen as beings who have value beyond their instrumental usefulness to human beings. As he writes in the introduction, to accept the chief premise animating his work is

to accept that humans do not have the right to do whatever they like with other animals. It is to accept that our given state of affairs is unacceptable and must be radically transformed. Put simply, it is to no longer accept the economy of genocide into which we have all been thrown. (25)

The overarching aim of his project, then, is to find ways to allow animal lives to matter, that is, to count and become salient in those disciplines, institutions, and practices that have traditionally excluded animals from the circle of concern. Given Iveson’s philosophical background, the natural place to look for allies for such a project is the analytic philosophical tradition, populated by luminaries such as Peter Singer, Tom Regan, and Paola Cavalieri. The standard gesture in this discourse is to extend ethical consideration to animals by way of analogical reasoning, demonstrating that animals are sufficiently similar to human beings as moral patients so as to warrant similar moral standing and consideration. Iveson, though, takes a critical stance toward this tradition, as it tends to gloss over the radical singularity and alterity of animals and to neutralize human-animal differences by way of conceptual and practical schemas. In so doing, he joins philosophers and theorists in the pro-animal feminist care tradition, who seek to ground animal ethics in caring relations between and among human beings and animals. And yet, despite Iveson’s proximity to this tradition, his deeper philosophical commitments derive from the Continental tradition, with Jacques Derrida and Friedrich Nietzsche being among the primary sources of inspiration. From Nietzsche and Derrida, Iveson borrows the notion that the denial of animal finitude and singularity lies at the very heart of the current crisis in human-animal relations. As such, the task of Zoogenesis can perhaps best be read as a meditation on the sources of that denial as well as what it would take to acknowledge and affirm animal finitude and singularity. The latter, affirmative task would not be so much a matter of granting animals their uniqueness and relation to death but of discovering and encountering it in various ways in the shared spaces in which human-animal relations emerge and are sustained. I will track the main thread of this critical and affirmative analysis in Iveson’s work by examining some of the key themes in each of the five main parts of the work.

From Animalization to Zoogenesis. The bulk of Iveson’s book provides a condensed but rigorous reading of the history of philosophy and theory in view of animals and animality. In Part One, he argues that the guiding thread linking together thinkers as diverse as Plato, Martin Heidegger, and Maurice Blanchot is a denigration of animality (both human and nonhuman forms) and a denial of death to animals themselves. In a close reading of Plato’s Meno, Iveson shows how Platonic dualism (the reigning metaphysical system in much of intellectual and Western culture for over two millennia) teaches us to seek the highest truth, beauty, and the Good by leaving behind the sensible world and preparing for a disembodied life beyond death. Although this non-finite mode of human existence is disavowed by post-metaphysical thinkers such as Blanchot and Heidegger, both of whom return the human to its irreducibly mortal mode of existence, such mortality is not understood to be shared between and among human beings and other animals. Instead, mortality and the “capacity” for dying one’s own death come to be seen as  something proper only to human beings. As such, Iveson notes, the post-metaphysical decentering of the human subject that throws the subject outside of itself and toward its singular being-toward-death is insufficient to displace the anthropocentrism at the heart of the philosophical tradition. In order to accomplish this latter goal and to continue the post-metaphysical task of thought require giving finitude back to animals, or rather catching sight of the shared mortality at the heart of all human and animal life.

Failure to recognize the finitude and singularity of all living beings creates the conditions for what Iveson calls animalization. Lives that are animalized are lives that do not matter; such lives are reduced to deathless objects to be annihilated and consumed with impunity. In view of this reduction, Iveson argues that it is

imperative to disclose another way to give death, and to the giving of dying, to animals. To give death to other animals: the gift of and the giving that is the shared finitude of living beings. Only then will the monstrous hubris of an unthinking utilization and consumption of fetishized corpses itself become unthinkable. (94)

If we are to acknowledge the death of animals, Iveson suggests we must begin with the recognition that all singular animal life (whether human and nonhuman) emerges in a process he names zoogenesis.  Zoogenetic relations emerge from a shared, ex-propriated site of encounter. In Part Two, Iveson tracks such animal encounters in literary form with Kafka (“Investigations of a Dog”), in ethico-poetic form with Derrida (in his much-discussed naked encounter with a cat in The Animal That Therefore I Am), and in ontological form with Nietzsche (with the theme of a form of life beyond nihilism). The key to Iveson’s notion of encounter is that it does not ultimately stem from an act of ethical will (which is to say, conscious responsibility for another animal) or a desire for spiritual perfection (understood as seeking out animal encounters as a way of improving oneself and expanding one’s consciousness). Rather, on Iveson’s reading, these thinkers and writers all point toward animal encounters as events, that is, as something that one undergoes — beyond full understanding, presence, and mastery. Thus, animal encounters testify to the ways in which animals are more than a given subject can think. Animal encounters are ways of naming the manner in which animals announce themselves in their singularity and finitude, beyond the strictures of traditional philosophical and theoretical discourses that would seek to strip them of their radical alterity. For Iveson, such unpredictable and astonishing encounters speak to a way of life beyond the nihilism of life-denying transcendence and the incomplete nihilism of the “last man,” a relational encounter with a world that Nietzsche describes in The Gay Science as “over-rich” in all that is “beautiful, strange, questionable, terrible, and divine.”

In Part Three, Iveson explores how such encounters cannot be delimited either to the realm of the inter-human or to one’s preferred forms of animality and nonhuman otherness. As for the former delimitation, he argues that this sort of restriction of the ethics of encounter is at work in Judith Butler’s writings on the recognition and mattering of vulnerability. As with Heidegger and Blanchot, Iveson suggests that Butler’s post-humanist ethics fails to go far enough to displace anthropocentrism. Conversely, he argues that Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s notion of becoming-animal, while radically non-anthropocentric, re-establishes its own zoogenetic limit in the manner in which it configures the outside of the human as populated only by pack-like, feral, and untamed animals and forms of life. In configuring the outside of the human in this manner, Deleuze and Guattari run the risk of missing precisely the kinds of encounters with animal singularities that Kafka and Derrida track and ending up in a kind of undifferentiated, deep ecological holism. While Iveson’s reading of Deleuze and Guattari will be somewhat contentious for some readers, there is certainly merit to this concern with their work and with the manner in which their notion of becoming-animal has sometimes been put to work in pro-animal and ecological discourses.

In Part Four, Iveson tracks this same failure to think zoogenetically at the level of the socius, a restriction that has led to an anthropocentric delimitation of the boundaries of community and the political. Through an analysis of a host of political thinkers, Iveson convincingly demonstrates that no politics based on humanism — no matter how widely or generously the concept of the human is defined — will suffice to constitute a genuinely post-anthropocentric sense of community. Rather than being a neutral designation, on this analysis “the human” nearly always functions in the dominant culture of the West in a performative manner to circumscribe a group of beings considered to be properly human and properly part of the society over and against those who are sub- or non-human. Commenting on this anthropocentric logic in the humanism of Susan Buck-Morss, Iveson explains:

Buck-Morss misunderstands that humanism is only insofar as it sets up a limit between the human and the animal. Such is the demand for line-drawing which humanism can never avoid, and which ever again founds that animalization of the other which is the very condition for those political collectives she imagines her humanism will overcome. (244)

For Iveson, it is only with the more radical Nietzschean and Derridean affirmation of more-than-human life that we can arrive at a conception of community and being-with that overcomes this humanist closure and violence. To say yes to life (and to the finitude at the heart of life) is to affirm that one is always already encountered by singularities that are shared in and with others, that communities and relations pre-exist our encounters, and that community with animals only happens in the midst of these ongoing relations. In Iveson’s words, a community beyond the human is a

“community without limit” … an infinite commonality of singularities which shares and in which is shared all finite living beings. (258)

It is important to note that community and relation, if they are understood in terms of Derridean différance and Nietzschean will to power (as Iveson’s account is), will not issue in a hands-off, rights-based, non-interference ethics and politics but will instead entail considerable transformation among and between those beings called animal and human. Such transformations might even involve a fundamental transformation in the species heritages of human and animal beings, whether through biotechnological transformation or other similar kinds of interventions. In the final section of the book, Iveson explores the question of how his ethics, politics, and ontology both feed into and challenge certain animal biotechnological research. Here, in a complex reading of Bernard Stiegler and related thinkers, Iveson acknowledges that animals and relations can and will change over time and that biotechnological interventions cannot be ruled out a priori; the question is rather one of which relations and transformations to undertake. Iveson suggests that the key limitation with the transhumanist technological project is that it is based on an attempt to master animal life and finitude more generally, seeking to guide zoogenetic becomings along a single dimension or axis (largely structured by the demands of capital). By contrast, Iveson outlines a notion of technicity that is open to becomings that unfold in a variety of un-master-able and unpredictable directions.

On the Scope and Limits of Zoogenesis. The potted overview I have offered here of Iveson’s book fails to do justice to the complexity and intricacy of his arguments as well as the charitable and thoughtful engagement he offers with each of the major figures he analyzes. His book is to be highly recommended for any reader who hopes to gain a deeper understanding of how a critical animal studies perspective might thread its way through the hegemonic history of the West as well as the contemporary theoretical scene. In this closing section of the review, I want simply to pose a couple of questions in view of Iveson’s project for those of us who might take up portions of it in various ways.

Given Iveson’s attempt to think relation and singularity zoogenetically, one wonders about the broader scope of his project. How does the path of thought outlined in the book help to negotiate relations and singularities with non-living beings, systems, and so on? Here the question is not so much one of how mortality and finitude figure in the constitution of living human-animal singularities, but rather one of whether ethics and politics might be extended beyond this particular set of relations. In other words, how should we read Iveson’s call for a “community without limit”? The only example of an ethic of non-animal others discussed in Iveson’s work is deep ecological holism, which is rejected precisely because of its tendency to override singularity in favor of relational wholes. But what if one sought to construct an ethic that recognizes a wider range of singularities, both living and non-living? In other words, how might Iveson’s zoocentrism either be supplemented by or be in opposition to phytocentric, biocentric, or multi-centric environmental ethics? Likewise, how might his project be situated in view of an ethics of the more-than-human world that aims to displace any and all centers in favor of a form of life lived in view of “all our relations”? With Iveson’s close relation to both Derrida and Nietzsche in mind, one can see how such questions and possible tensions might arise. Derrida does not rule out the possibility of thinking through the ethics and politics of such a broad set of relations, but his overwhelming focus is on how différance constitutes the matrix through which living singularities emerge and maintain some semblance of sameness. Nietzsche’s thinking, by contrast, casts a much wider ontological and relational net. He thinks will to power as properly cosmic, insists that the Apollonian and Dionysian agon emerges primordially from nonhuman nature itself, and teaches us to be wary of thinking that life is anything but an exception in the planetary and cosmic order of things.

Such questions arise not simply because of the zoocentric nature of Iveson’s project; this delimitation is entirely understandable given the need to work carefully through the human-animal boundary in particular and the unique forms of violence and becoming that occur along this axis. Rather, what prompts one to consider the scope of Iveson’s framework is his tendency to present zoogenesis as the intractable, sole (“only” is a frequent word deployed by Iveson when considering the necessity of a zoogenetic thinking) site from which to contest the established anthropocentric order and constitute an alternative socius. Were zoogenesis understood as a partial but important aspect of a form of life beyond animalization, there would be no need to pit zoogenesis againstecological or planetary holism. Rather, the latter ethical and political frameworks might come to be seen as supplementary forms of normative consideration, which would themselves be nested inside a host of micro- and macro- singularities and relations that exceed the economy of the living. Of course, to do justice to such a wide variety of singularities and relations, one would have to do away with the desire to privilege any single ontological or normative framework and allow thought to enter into a realm in which plural ontologies (which are rather different from a single pluralist ontology) proliferate in view of doing justice to all our relations. Such questions hover on the edges of Iveson’s project, and it will be of considerable interest to see how Iveson’s forthcoming work on posthumanism and the path of thought he has opened up for his readers will unfold in view of these additional ontological and normative considerations.

Buy here: http://www.pavementbooks.com/zoogenesis

Bangladeshi Cinema and Tanvir Mokammel’s “1971”, a review of John Hood’s ‘The Bleeding Lotus’

Hood

::

Prepare yourself for trauma. John Hood’s book The Bleeding Lotus: Notions of nation in Bangladeshi Cinema (2015, Palimpsest) is not intended primarily as a gore-fest horror but is the more devastating for being a documentation of real and brutal violence on film, presented in relentlessly modest prose, requiring careful and sustained, if confronting, reading.

 

Hood begins his wonderful study of Bangladeshi cinema with an all too cute first line recognition that there were still many people who were ‘born in India, grew up in East Pakistan’ and who, he is writing in 2015, without having travelled, now ‘live in Bangladesh’ (Hood 2015:14). His next 200 pages document that bloody and violent history, tracking films from Zahir Raihan’s Stop Genocide (1971), Tariq and Catherine Masud’s Ontarjatra (2006) through to Nasiruddin Yousuff’s Guerrilla (2011), all the while in extended (short) book length commentary on Tanvir Mokammel’s epic three-hour documentary 1971 (2011). An elegiac annotation of the horrors of partition, language conflicts, civil war, and other assassinations and atrocities, the discussion is all the while shot through with solemn insights about Mokammel’s other films. Hood’s book casts up an ensemble – if that term can be used – that includes the rapist Pakistani military, the bloated bodies of murdered women, groups of dead children in a screen violence perhaps unprecedented, and a horrific witness: ‘deeply moving, powerful visuals’ (Hood 2015:75).

 

Hood knows Bangladesh, and his descriptions of movies that treat the events of the 1971 war, the Pakistan Army, the Razakar collaborators and the resistance, are comprehensive and relentless. Returning over and over to Mokammel’s 1971 with intuition and argumentation, the commentary and synopsis of a great many related films, documentary and feature, are hung on this bleakly enticing frame. The overwhelming humanity of the treatment obliges close attention (many of the films are online, albeit sans subtitles for non-Bengalis). No other film scholars are mentioned and little obvious debt to film theory is required, but the writing is fluent, engaging and engaged. One learns both of Bangladeshi film and and of the difficult birth of Bangladesh as nation, in a fraught emergence which cannot be reduced to a concert or a newsreel summation. Hood shows more clearly than anyone else I have read on this subject that the secularist revolutionary struggle for Bangladeshi freedom was heroic and so are the films, in various degrees of cinematic dress and competence, not spared any necessary critique where warranted, but all in all informative and done with care.

 

The problem of circuits infects film distribution as it does publishing or politics, imposing an hierarchy of visibility and voices according to who shouts loudest with which speaker system. Distribution costs money or favours and without vast resources, sensation and political intrigue substitute for worth. Thus it can be that the most widely viewed documentary ‘evidence’ of the Pakistani Army atrocities is a film that owed its international renown to a cross-border machinations by someone previously not much into the business of facilitating film reviews. As Hood argues in discussion of Zahir Raihan’s Stop Genocide (1971):

 

‘Released even before the war was over [this] was perhaps the earliest cinematic expression of a people’s aspiration for freedom in the face of an occupation army’s inhuman barbarity. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi bought the film rights and had it distributed around the world to project the excesses of the Pakistani military [and so] to justify the Indian intervention’ (Hood 2015:17)

 

Never previously had a twenty minute film found such unlikely international backing, as Indira also used the cover of the war intervention to quash urban Naxals at home. It is then not without irony that Stop Genocide begins with a quote from Lenin and a refrain from ‘The Internationale’, before shadows of palms and the sound of marching boots, barking dogs, and gunfire. Lines of refugees – stop – close-ups of hungry faces and wide abject eyes – stop – the return of revolutionary anthem as a pleading dirge at the end smears misery across the screen, exceeded only with a reference to Auschwitz – stop, stop stop Genocide across the final frames.

 

What further circulates, however, supported in turn by that indubitably well-meaning and necessary Concert for Bangladesh, starring George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, is the globally distributed image of Bangladesh as a space of trauma. Abject nationhood sells, in the hands of such philanthropic friends. Other films or images of a tranquil Bangladesh find distribution deals harder to come by unless they can market the exoticist angles.

 

Hood’s lyrical description of the opening sequence of Morshedul Islam’s Khalaghar (PlayHouse, Dir. Islam, 2006) illustrates the dual tendencies in more recent times:

 

‘The setting is a lush and dense tract of riverbank. The camera focuses on a boat coming along the relatively narrow and secluded stretch of the river. Other than the boatman nothing comes into view; the only other sound than the splash of water by the moving punt is a gentle twittering of birds. It is a truly idyllic scene, which lasts for just about two minutes before the boatman draws to the bank under the cover of low over-hanging branches and in scary silence six young men emerge from the jungle behind the camera to meet the boat. Without a word the boatman proceeds to unload a cargo of arms, passing out guns to the men on the bank. Not a word is spoken’ (Hood 2015:122-3)

 

Reflections in the water play an important role in the sequence, ripples and shimmering in the image, the youth collecting the guns framed under the tree, before a bell rhythm introduces the opening credits. It is a full five and a half minutes before a word is spoken, when the teacher is informed of news about the fight for freedom. The idyll contrasts with an indication of the guerrilla war. Hood is right to double up on noting that words are unnecessary for the effect. Bangladesh, like Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan are rendered as paradise with violence; only sand, dust, mountains, or swollen rivers are interchangeable, and these stereotyped images, along with the all-singing, all-dancing Bollywood ready reckoner, circle the globe. Partition horrors, the emergency and the pogroms dull the tune. Of course other images and critiques of stereotypes are possible. A counter-narrative is found in Humayan Ahmed’s Shyambol Chhaya (2004) where towards the end the Bengali freedom fighters approach a Pakistani Army post disguised as musicians, who, when they get close enough, ‘exchange their instruments for guns and grenades’ (Hood 2015:140). This book and these films take us beyond the lingering consequences of long years of colonial misrule, restoring initiative where there is otherwise only the fading of the vibrant Raj pink of Empire’s nostalgic fantasy – rose-coloured as if the Jallianwalah Bagh massacre of unarmed civilians or Churchill’s wartime ‘necessary’ famine were mere administrative anomalies. If Empire left its outcomes in arbitrary lines and compromises that were unworkable from the get go, Islam’s film Khalaghar, Mokammel’s 1971, and Hood’s book as a whole, alongside many other films and commentary (Prasad et al.,) are efforts to help us negotiate the difficulties and stereotypes that refuse, perhaps especially through invitation and containment, to otherwise succumb to critique.

New Book by Jay Murphy on Antonin Artaud

artaudThis is it – Jay Murphy’s book is out.

Use the pavement site because postage is included…

Artaud’s Metamorphosis: From Hieroglyphs to Bodies without Organs
by Jay Murphy

The first book on the transformation from Artaud’s ‘early’ to ‘late’ work, showing how the ‘final’ Artaud leads straight into our digital present.
£18.99 (inc. free postage)

Artaud’s Metamorphosis: From Hieroglyphs to Bodies without Organs

A great new book from Pavement Books:

by Jay Murphy

£18.99 (inc. postage)
ISBN: 978-0-9571470-9-6

Despite being one of the most influential artists and writers of the mid-20th Century, Antonin Artaud’s voice remains inadequately deciphered. Artaud’s Metamorphosis is the first book on the transformation from his ‘early’ to ‘late’ work, and it shows how the ‘final’ Artaud leads straight into our digital present. This Artaud will alter how you think of media, the virtual, the political, and thought itself.

‘Only after reading Jay Murphy’s beautifully crafted, thought-provoking, scholarly yet light fingered, account did I become aware of the crucial role the benighted Artaud plays in capitalism-and-schizophrenia. Murphy is a most wonderful guide to the madness that is our voyage through reality as a body without organs.’
Michael Taussig, Columbia University

‘Jay Murphy’s book excels as a forensic investigation of the continuing explosion that was Artaud. It collects the traces left by his devastating passage through poetry, art, politics, philosophy, film and theatre and shows how Artaud’s “war unto eternity” pushed him beyonds the limits of the hieroglyph towards the “body without organs”. Lucid without compromising the darkness of Artaud’s suffering, it is essential reading for anyone interested in the madness of the 20th and 21st centuries.’
Howard Caygill, Kingston University

‘There is in Artaud a high velocity veering composed of lucidity and imaginative derangement. To figure out what he is really about is an extraordinary challenge. The most important aspect of Murphy’s contribution is his awareness that Artaud’s bizarre images and propositions carry visionary components relative to virtuality and digitality and may also address new relations of time, space, body and awareness. Such work indicates sophistication in reading Artaud that is far from the American 1960s attitude toward him.’
Clayton Eshleman, Eastern Michigan University

Table of Contents

Introduction: Metabolism and Immortality

I. A PROJECT FOR UNDERSTANDING ARTAUD

The matter of theory: updating ‘cosmos=chaos’

Artaud’s difference: sense and signification

Artaud’s glossolalia: a user’s guide

The yoga of the scream

The ‘figural’ and the language of the body

The revelation of how the ‘hieroglyph’ works in Artaud’s film scenarios

The persistence of myth: Artaud the mystic without mysticism, the shaman without community

II. IN THE LAND OF THE TARAHUMARAS

Artaud on ancient Mayan hieroglyphs: the ‘Space where Life dies’

Explaining ‘occult geometry’: Artaud’s art criticism

The visit to the Tarahumaras

Interpreting the Tarahumara rites

‘Stopping the world’: Artaud’s double, triple worlds

Touching the outside

III. RITUAL ACTS

Maps of the ‘unconscious’

Putting ‘time back on track’

The body is the operator

The conflict of the faculties

The case of Artaud’s ‘Tutuguri’ (1948)

The space of Artaud’s apocalypse

IV. TRANSFORMING RITUAL ACTS

Casting spells

Artaud’s apocalypse as initiation, or ‘complete voyage’

The world of sorcery as ‘permanent liminality’

Artaud and Jesus Christ

The cross and the crossroads, redux

The ‘universal’ cross: enter Guénon

Artaud’s The New Revelations of Being (1937)

The cross as a test of rhythm

V. HIEROGLYPHICS AS PASSAGE

Artaud’s becoming versus being

The fulcrum of the Cross: Artaud’s ‘Gnostic’ delirium

Artaud begins his re-formation: the cross and the sexuality of the ‘true body’

The ‘search for fecality’ in the creation of the new body

The cross is the pivot in this creation of the ‘true body’

The full ‘body without organs’ emerges

Artaud’s  ‘cure’

VI. THE FRACTURING OF THE VOID
AND THE EXPLODING HIEROGYLPH

The spherical body

Artaud’s 1947-8 notebooks: the combustion of hieroglyphics

The opening to animism: the ‘body without organs’ as mythic autoreference

Artaud on Van Gogh: the totem and the implosion of the
hieroglyphic figure

Derrida’s Artaud: the vicissitudes of the ‘subjectile’

Artaud’s ‘graphic cruelties’: the face of the void

The voice at the end of the world: the final sound works

Conclusion: ERASING THE LINE

Artaud’s subversion of hieroglyphics

Artaud in the 21st century: the ‘present body’

 order here:

 http://www.pavementbooks.com/artaudsmetamorphosis

Island Story: Journeys Through Unfamiliar Britain, JD Taylor

JDTaylorJust started JD Taylor’s book, bought in Waterstones sociology section yesterday. Brilliant. I mean, the placing of this book in that shelving – shame its four floors up from ground. If there were two copies I would have moved the one I did not buy down to the new books section at the entrance, alongside stuff from Owen Jones and Russell Brand…

Dan by bicycle around Britain – possibly the last book to Unite the disparate multi Island nation (not one nation, emphatically not):

“I reach Leith, a port town now absorbed intoEdinburgh metropolis, but still retaining its own independent spirit. It’s a bustling though evidently impoverished place, by no means as grim as the early-90s immortalisation in Irving Welsh’s Trainspotting. The Banana Flats cotch over the scene like a piece of Thunderbirds’ concretopia, as colourful as a stubbed out snout. The old docks have now been gentrified by posh restaurants, luxury apartment blocks and a moronic Ocean Terminal mall, a non-place inflicted on Leith for once having any kind of character”

So in 20 years this will be the first of the many travel volumes of the by then portly, but still adjectively agile, latter day Jonathan Meades, William Dalrymple, Bill Bryson, Ian Sinclair. Only he will still seem precocious and young – eat your heart out Owen Jones.

“David meets me in the centre of Nottingham. A friend of a friend, he’s kindly offered me a place to stay and help repairing my bike. He smiles, is gracious and issues wise observations as I tail him up to Canning Circus. A local man, bike enthusiast and university researcher, his insights are as consoling as the porters we clink in the beer-garden.

In the Midlands, these working class communities where things were once made now seem abandoned of political importance. Poverty creeps. There’s a danger of seeking out some master to put it right, David warns. ‘We’ve found a problem, do something about it.’ He remembers the riots of 2011, the local police station getting firebombed. ‘For one small moment’, something important happened. Young people were out in the streets, talking politics and the future. They felt like they had power, that for a moment they might be heard…”

Reasons enough to buy the book. Info here: http://repeaterbooks.com/politics/another-island/

La ligne d’écume: Encountering the French beach

new book from pavement with chapters by Ffrench, Collier, Launchbury, Gledhill, Fuggle etc.,…

Laligne\

Edited by Sophie Fuggle and Nicholas Gledhill

As a trope, theme, myth and very real space, what is at stake in the frequent artistic, cultural and philosophical articulations of the beach in French thought? Adopting a variety of approaches, this is the question that the essays in this collection seek to address. The beach in twentieth and twenty-first century French philosophy, literature and visual culture represents both limit and liminal space. It is a site of multiple encounters with both the other and the self, of arrivals and departures, of both hedonistic freedom and colonial subordination. At the same time, it is the no-man’s land where, as Michel Foucault suggests at the end of The Order of Things, man’s image is literally washed away.

The essays compiled in this collection, explore the French and Francophone beach via the various encounters this complex and multiple space engenders alongside the role it has come to play in both a French and global cultural imaginary. Bringing together a range of critical perspectives from scholars working in fields such as literature, film, philosophy, gender and cultural studies, the collection analyses the violent erasures and appropriations associated with the French beach whilst also calling for a reimagining of the beach as creative, ethical space.

Strands book series

ISBN: 978-0-9571470-7-2

£18.99 (inc. postage)

Table of Contents

Introduction
SOPHIE FUGGLE & NICHOLAS GLEDHILL

I. Beach Archaeologies

Beneath the Cobblestones, the Beach: An Idea in Everyone’s Mind?
CHRISTOPHER COLLIER

Devant la mer: Thresholds of Fiction and Theory
PATRICK FFRENCH

Death on the Sand: From Tragic Humanism to Depressive Realism
NICHOLAS GLEDHILL

II. Framing the Beach

Proust and the Beach as Écran
ÁINE LARKIN

Vacance: Vacancy and Vacation in the Films of Jacques Rozier
GILLES CHAMEROIS

III. War Zones

Bodies on the Sand: Corporeality and the Beach in the Films of Catherine Breillat and François Ozon
FIONA HANDYSIDE

Colonies de Vacances
SOPHIE FUGGLE

‘Elle ne sera bientôt qu’une épave soudée à ses rochers’: Women Writing the Wreck of Beirut
CLAIRE LAUNCHBURY

IV. Eroded Identities

Between Real and Ideal Space: Embodiment and the Beach in Michel Houellebecq
ZOË ROTH

The Beach as Liminal Site in Abderrahmane Sissako’s Heremakono
THÉRÈSE DE RAEDT

 

Buy it here: http://www.pavementbooks.com/lalignedecume