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indifference to difference: critical engagements with alain badiou
1. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 4
Elisabeth Paquette, Amrit Mandzak-Heer, Dhruv Jain Introduction
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2. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 4
Colin Wright Colour Intensities: Logics of Race and Resistance in Jamaica
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This article evaluates the gains but also the losses of the set-theoretical ontology Badiou develops in Being and Event, in order to stress the importance of the shift to a concern with appearance and difference in Logics of Worlds. It is argued that this shift suggests a possible rapprochement between Badiou’s philosophy of the event on the one hand and postcolonial critical race theory on the other. This is explored through an evental reading of the so-called Morant Bay Revolt that took place in Jamaica in 1865. The article closes by exploring some of the overlaps between Badiou’s development of an “objective phenomenology” in Logics of Worlds, and Frantz Fanon’s elaboration of a phenomenology of race in Black Skin, White Masks.
3. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 4
Elisabeth Paquette Humanism at Its Limits: A Conversation between Alain Badiou and Sylvia Wynter
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Alongside Colin Wright, I contend that it is important to consider the implications of Alain Badiou’s political project in various distinct geopolitical locations. To this end, in this paper I bring Badiou’s work into conversation with the decolonial feminist project of Sylvia Wynter. Both Badiou and Wynter provide an account of political emancipation that operates by disrupting already existing oppressive structures. However, I argue that the manner in which they hope to achieve this emancipation, or the manner in which it is possible, is inherently distinct. Badiou proposes a kind of universality that subtracts from differences and identity in order to achieve justice and equality. However, Wynter underlines the importance of the liminal or marginal position that exists as identity or difference for the purpose of disrupting problematic hierarchical structures in order to attain a kind of universal emancipation.
4. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 4
Michael Neocosmos Thinking Badiou’s “Immanent Exception” and Its Aftermath: The Emancipatory Event of People’s Power in 1980s South Africa and Its Subjective Traces
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Africans have universally been considered as victims rather than as subjects of history. This article show how this view is false with reference to the case of the popular struggle in South Africa during the 1980s. After discussing some fundamental concepts developed in Badiou’s thought of politics and Lazarus’s theorisation of modes of politics, this article examines at some depth some of the features of the event of 1986–1987 in South Africa in which an excessive subjectivity was inaugurated through a mode of politics which challenged the militaristic conceptions of the national liberation struggles of the 1950s and 1960s. This event arguably pointed the way to a new mode of politics for the twenty-first century on the African continent which we saw manifested later in North Africa in 2011. The contradictions of this mode of politics are brought out in order to account for its saturation while its reactive subjectivity is accounted for in terms of a politics of representation which gradually established its dominance over popular affirmative politics.
5. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 4
Grant Farred The Fourth Spartacus
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“The Fourth Spartacus” uses Alain Badiou’s work, especially Logics of Worlds, to critique the 1976 Soweto student rebellion. Soweto 1976 is one of the key events in black South African anti-apartheid history. Taking its cue from the figure of Spartacus, a figure that assumes many iterations in political history, this essay argues for a fidelity to the event of Soweto 1976: the recognition that Soweto 1976 must be understood as a radical moment that is not continuous with the preceding and, particularly, successive moments of anti-apartheid struggle. Soweto 1976, “The Fourth Spartacus” insists, did not culminate, as the dominant political narrative in post-apartheid South Africa claims, in the democratic elections of 1994. More than anything, the event of Soweto 1976 stands determinedly opposed to the democratic materialism of post-apartheid South Africa.
6. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 4
Robert Boncardo, Bryan Cooke “Long Live the International Proletariat of France!”: Alain Badiou and the SONACOTRA Rent Strike 1975–1979
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This article deals with Alain Badiou’s practical and theoretical engagements with the SONACOTRA rent strike, which ran from 1975 to 1979 and mobilized tens of thousands of immigrant workers across France. Drawing on the work Histoire politique du mouvement des foyers Sonacotra (1981), a retrospective study written collectively by members of Badiou’s Maoist group L’Union des communistes de France marxistes-léninistes (UCMFL), we demonstrate how the practical stakes of the movement were taken up in philosophical form in the contemporaneous text Theory of the Subject. Finally, we suggest that this interweaving of practice and theory is an exemplary instance of Badiou’s conception of politics as the immanent construction of a universal—a conception that links Badiou’s Maoist engagements with his current philosophical and political commitments, from Being and Event to Logics of Worlds.
7. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 4
Louise Burchill Of a Universal No Longer Indifferent to Difference: Badiou (and Irigaray) on Woman, Truths, and Philosophy
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Badiou’s contemporary claim that truth processes can no longer be considered as indifferent to sexual difference is set here in the context of the French philosophical moment of the second half of the twentieth century—a sequence in which the deployment of the category of “the feminine” by Badiou’s philosophical peers precisely entailed a formalization of women’s different relation to “the symbolic.” When compared, in particular, with the philosophy of sexual difference elaborated by Luce Irigaray, Badiou’s intertwining of “woman,” love, and the universal—both before and after his inflexion on the sexuation of truths—is confronted with the systematic counterproposition of alternative conceptual constellations. Might it not, then, be possible that the comparison of Badiou and Irigaray ultimately brings into play something of the order of a demonstration of thought’s sexuation?
8. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 4
Sigi Jöttkandt “With a Lever . . . ”: Beckett, Badiou, and the Logics of Sexual Difference
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This paper addresses an apparent shift in Alain Badiou’s thinking on sex and the universal. Previously Badiou had maintained that sex was a particularity that requires subtraction from the universal, together with the other predicative descriptions of identity such as nation, race, and class. However in a recent paper, “Figures of Femininity in the Contemporary World,” Badiou contends that the sexuation of philosophical and symbolic thought is “inevitable.” Taking Badiou’s readings of Samuel Beckett as its guide, and addressing Badiou’s discussions of change in Logics of Worlds and Subject of Change, this paper works through the implications of this new claim. It asks whether Badiou’s thought allows the possibility of a real change in his philosophy, including thereby the potential to change one’s sex.
9. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 4
Thomas Nail The Nomadic Proletariat: An Interview with Alain Badiou
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Thomas Nail’s interview with Alain Badiou focuses on the concept of the migrant, or the sans-papiers. Badiou discusses the importance of this concept in his previous work and for contemporary politics. Nail also inquires into Badiou’s involvement with a migrant-focused political organization, L’Organisation politique, as well as his eventual break with the organization.
book discussion: george yancy, backlash: what happens when we talk honestly about racism in america
10. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 4
Alison Bailey Newark Lessons
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