Photo: Till Westermayer.

Issue #97
With: Günther Anders, Khaled Saghieh, Nikolay Smirnov, Ana Hoffner ex-Prvulovic, Kathryn Yusoff, Yazan Khalili, Kristen Alvanson
As we study the foundations of what we think we know, we might ask: What do we truly know? Mussolini’s regime banned not only words but five entire letters of the alphabet. In 2018, both “immortality” and “migration” were blocked indefinitely in web searches in China. How many letters or words, or even numbers, have been banned in the past? And among those, how many were never remembered again? In this issue of e-flux journal , Nikolay Smirnov examines the historical…
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8 Essays February 2019
Günther Anders (1902–92) is undoubtedly one of the most interesting, ignored, oppositional, radical, and nearly forgotten philosophers of the twentieth century. Having grown up in Germany, Anders (whose real name was Stern) and his wife Hannah Arendt had to flee the country in 1933. Via Paris, now divorced, Anders came to the United States, where he never really found his place; red-baiting and propaganda against the left made it difficult for him to find a job. In 1950 he decided to return…
“Speak Into The Mic, Please” is an essay series that will be published serially in e-flux journal throughout 2019. The text below by Khaled Saghieh is the first essay in the series, for which I have the honor of serving as guest editor. The title of the series comes from Lina Majdalanie and Rabih Mrou é ’s performance Biokhraphia (2002), in which Majdalanie speaks to a recorded version of herself that is constantly reminding her to speak into the mic in order for the audience…
In this article, I argue that we should regard Eurasianism as an early experiment in postcolonialism. The key concern for both ideologies is the relationship between cultural relativism and universalism. I examine the left-wing Eurasianist project as an ideology that emphasized Russia’s crucial role in building international socialism and as a specimen of Russian philosophical radicalism that attempted to wed the universal with the particular via the messianic. Eurasianism was a…
1. Recently I found myself at the Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts, standing in front of an orientalist image. Together with a colleague I was looking at The Slave Market by Jean-Léon Gérôme, painted in 1866, only one year after the official abolition of slavery in the US. The caption of the painting said the following: A young woman has been stripped by a slave trader and presented to a group of fully clothed men for examination. A prospective buyer probes her teeth….
Too much has been made of origins. All origins are arbitrary. This is not to say that they are not also nurturing, but they are essentially coercive and indifferent —Dionne Brand, A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging The white utopia was a black inferno. —Sylvia Wynter, “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom: Toward the Human, After Man, Its Overrepresentation”—“An Argument,” The New Centennial Review 1610 The…
Is freedom of speech universal? In what follows, I try to reflect on freedom of speech as a political structure, working through it in light of a key question: Who has the right to speech? The reflections, anecdotes, thoughts, and real-life experiences here show the power structure within which freedom of speech operates, and the paradox that confronts politically engaged artists who speak to power, or about it. Freedom of speech reveals itself as the structure that defines what is and isn’t…
Kristen Alvanson
At his spot by an escalator in Madison Square Garden—potential Tests would pass there on their way to Penn Station, the subway, or the lower-level arcade all day—Kade stood behind the small folding table he’d bought at Staples for the occasion. Brushing aside the temporary embarrassment of looking like an unlicensed street vendor and trying for once to be organized, he had neatly arranged twelve bracelets on the table to his left, and on the right a flat-screen touchpad to log the names and…

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