Empire of Dirt: Chapter I (Part 2)

Image: Chad Rossouw, The Future 1 (2012)  Ink on erased 19th Century vellum Ge’ez bible leaf Lying on this cool carpet of simulated grass, he singed the flesh of the limpets on the flame of his lighter that he kept wrapped in plastic. He then took out of his pocket the piece of slate that he had fashioned into a curved blade and he scooped … Continue reading Empire of Dirt: Chapter I (Part 2)

4 Books on Violence – Camus, Arendt, Fanon & Zizek

1.The Rebel – Albert Camus Camus’s The Rebel (L’Homme Révolté) was famously panned by Sartre and his friends in the periodical Le Temps Moderne.  In the published exchanges that ensued Camus was, it is often said, defeated in the rhetorical joust.  Even Tony Judt, a great admirer of Camus, said: ‘In L’Homme Révolté (1951) Camus offered some important observations about the dangers of lyrical revolutionary illusions; … Continue reading 4 Books on Violence – Camus, Arendt, Fanon & Zizek

Where I Stand 08/06/2016

Like much of Hannah Arendt’s thinking the three essays published in her book On Violence tends to need some further clarification and justification if it is to stand as one single theory.  Her distinctions between violence, power and authority are interesting but just how power and violence function separately is, at least on first reading, unclear to me. But as Tony Judt pointed out, that despite her often … Continue reading Where I Stand 08/06/2016

4 Putdowns by Tony Judt

Tony Judt (1948 – 2010) was a British historian who died of motor neurone disease 6 years ago.  His books on French history as well as his tome Postwar are some of the great contributions to their fields and it was this intellectual platform that allowed him, in his essays, to write some of the most appositely humorous intellectual demolitions in literature. On David Cesarani’s biography of … Continue reading 4 Putdowns by Tony Judt

The South Africa of the Mind

I was, while walking through Glasgow, listening to the audiobook of Tony Judt’s Reappraisals – a collection of essays largely written for the New York Review of Books.  It is a book that changed my mind on many things not least on Israel and Palestine but also thankfully on Judt’s friend Edward Said.  This is not to say that I have changed my mind on Said’s, I believe, … Continue reading The South Africa of the Mind

Where I Stand 03/06/2016

I have, over the last few weeks, been reading about violence in general and revolutionary violence in particular.  This is largely due to a certain focus within my PhD on Albert Camus and his book The Rebel, but also because of the reoccurrence of the strange version of political violence in South Africa that is taking place there yet again.  Perhaps the most enigmatic of this literature is … Continue reading Where I Stand 03/06/2016