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Noir into history

James Ellroy’s Blood’s a Rover
by / RP 163 (Sep/Oct 2010) / Article

‘… history, the billiondollar speedup’ John Dos Passos, USA, 1938

Blood’s a Rover (2009) is the final volume of James Ellroy’s ‘Underworld USA’ trilogy, which includes American Tabloid (1995) and The Cold Six Thousand (2001).1 It is one of a recent glut of long, serially formatted works of crime–detective fiction, others …

Capitalist Epics

Abstraction, totality and the theory of the novel
by / RP 163 (Sep/Oct 2010) / Article

In our recent highlight from RP163, David Cunningham examines the relationship between Lukács’ ‘The Theory of the Novel’ and his later Marxist works, and its asks how we are to read this work today.

Imaginative mislocation

Hiroshima’s Genbaku Dome, ground zero of the twentieth century
by / RP 162 (Jul/Aug 2010) / Article

The average Westerner … was wont to regard Japan as barbarous while she indulged in the gentle arts of peace: he calls her civilized since she began to commit wholesale slaughter on Manchurian battlefields. Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea, 1906

The controversy that erupted in March over the publication of Charles Pellegrino’s account of …

Everybody thinks

Deleuze, Descartes and rationalism
by / RP 162 (Jul/Aug 2010) / Article

In his 1968 book Difference and Repetition, Gilles Deleuze famously stresses the violent, unnatural and shocking character of thought, counterposing his own anti-representational philosophy of difference to what he depicts as a dogmatic, humanist ‘image of thought’. In his own words: ‘“Everybody” knows very well that in fact men think rarely, …

The performative without condition

A university sans appel
by and / RP 162 (Jul/Aug 2010) / Article

‘Responsibility’ and the homonymy of autonomy

‘Take your time but be quick about it, because you don’t know what awaits you’, said French philosopher Jacques Derrida in 1998 at Stanford.1 Indeed. He would not have expected to be cited like this by Valérie Pécresse, French Minster for Higher Education and Research, in January …

Dossier On Universities

by , and / RP 162 (Jul/Aug 2010) / Article

The University and the Plan: Reflections from Vienna

The immediate causes of the current protests by students, lecturers and academic researchers in Europe are contingent; they are directed at individual educational institutions or administrators, and the demands they make are capable of being met over the short term.* But on a second level, one that …

Marx’s Eurocentrism

Postcolonial studies and Marx scholarship
by / RP 161 (May/Jun 2010) / Article

The English jackasses need an enormous amount of time to arrive at an even approximate understanding of the real conditions of … conquered groups. Karl Marx, 1879

A great deal of ink has already been spilled on the question of Marx’s Eurocentrism. The debate turns on his relationship to colonialism, the conception of Asian societies …

Reading Schmitt geopolitically

Nomos, territory and Großraum
by / RP 161 (May/Jun 2010) / Article

With the 2003 translation of The Nomos of the Earth, a rather different set of Carl Schmitt’s ideas became accessible to an anglophone audience. While previously his work had shaped debates on politics, the political, the friend/enemy distinction, the question of democracy and the sovereign decision, his ideas on international politics …

What is – or what is not – contemporary French philosophy, today?

by / RP 161 (May/Jun 2010) / Article

The question that serves as the title of my lecture,* the question that motivates this lecture, is sustained by a negation that is absolutely necessary to the construction of the problematic I aim here to open. For I have found no other means than the ‘labour of the negative’, in the …

Levinas’s prison notebooks

by / RP 160 (Mar/Apr 2010) / Article

The philosophical importance of Levinas’ notebooks from his time as a prisoner of war.

A sudden topicality

Marx, Nietzsche and the politics of crisis
by / RP 160 (Mar/Apr 2010) / Article

Marx, Nietzsche and the politics of crisis

Marxism and war

by / RP 160 (Mar/Apr 2010) / Article

War for Marxism is not exactly a concept, but it is certainly a problem.* While Marxism could not invent a concept of war, it could re-create it, so to speak – that is, introduce the question of war into its own problematic, and produce a Marxist critiqueof war, or a critical theory of warfare, war …

Children of postcommunism

by / RP 159 (Jan/Feb 2010) / Article

Transitology and the infantilization of postcommunist societies (part of RP 159’s dossier on ‘The Postcommunist Condition’).

War as peace, peace as pacification

by / RP 159 (Jan/Feb 2010) / Article

To stress one’s own love of peace is always the close concern of those who have instigated war. But he who wants peace should speak of war. He should speak of the past one … and, above all, he should speak of the coming one.1

A remarkable consensus appears to have emerged onthe Left: that …

Sovereign democracy

Dictatorship over capitalism in contemporary Russia
by and / RP 159 (Jan/Feb 2010) / Article

Sovereign democracy and Russian capitalism

Down to earth

Detemporalization in capitalist Russia
by and / RP 159 (Jan/Feb 2010) / Article

As part of RP 159’s dossier on ‘The Postcommunist Condition’, Svetlana Stephenson and Elena Danilova consider The Exhibition of the Achievements of the National Economy in relation to the changes within Russia since the start of market transition.

Towards a critical theory of postcommunism

Beyond anticommunism in Romania
by / RP 159 (Jan/Feb 2010) / Article

As part of RP 159’s dossier on ‘The Postcommunist Condition’, Ovidiu Tichindeleanu attempts to move beyond anticommunism in Romania by developing a critical theory of postcommunism.

Who was Oscar Masotta?

Psychoanalysis in Argentina
by / RP 158 (Nov/Dec 2009) / Article

As Manuel Vázquez Montalbán’s sardonic detective Pepe Carvalho ruefully observed, in a dictionary of Argentine clichés, psychoanalysis would have a crucial place, along with ‘tango and the disappeared’.1 ‘One’ knows that along with Paris, Buenos Aires is one of the centres of psychoanalytic practice, and one of the leading training centres …

The absent philosopher-prince

Thinking political philosophy with Olympe de Gouges
by / RP 158 (Nov/Dec 2009) / Article

Since the publication of Olivier Blanc’s biography of Olympe de Gouges and the first collection of her texts, compiled and edited by Benoîte Groult,1 dozens of articles on various aspects of de Gouges’s work have been published. All of them share the assumption that the author of this work was a fascinating figure of the …

As flowers turn towards the sun

Walter Benjamin’s Bergsonian image of the past
by / RP 158 (Nov/Dec 2009) / Article

Benjamin’s theses ‘On the Concept of History’, the final precipitate of the unfinished Arcades Project, was intended to strike at the fundamental pillars of a thought complicit in its times.1 On the seventieth anniversary of the Ribbentrop–Molotov pact, which prompted its drafting, it is tempting to question the attraction of this …