Category Archives: Literature and Philosophy

Descartes’s Stove

By | March 12, 2024

Guest post by Hsuan L. Hsu, author of Air Conditioning Because they were available long before artificial cooling, heating technologies are at the center of many early Western writings that reflect the cultural underpinnings of thermal comfort and air conditioning. Among the most eloquent examples of ambient temperature as a precondition for thought is the… Read More »

Science Fiction and Narrative Form

By | September 18, 2023

The premise of the present book is simple. Like the epic and the novel, science fiction is a literary form. By that we mean a historical narrative form, which is at the same time a narrative form of history—history understood, as in French or German, in the double meaning of story and history. The subject… Read More »

The Marrano Uncanny: The Last and the First of Jews

By | September 15, 2023

Look, look, he’s a marrano, lower than dust. Juan de Lucena, De Vita Beata [1] I once said, perhaps rightly: The earlier culture will become a heap of rubble, and finally a heap of ashes, but spirit will hover over the ashes. Ludwig Wittgenstein [2] This book is the first monograph wholly devoted to the… Read More »

Reading Baudelaire With Adorno: Dissonance, Subjectivity, Transcendence

By | September 13, 2023

To speak of Baudelaire is to speak of paradox and contradiction.  It is to speak of a poet who is modern, amodern, and antimodern, one who vaunts transcendent correspondences and lets his poet’s halo remain trapped in the mud of the urban street.  Baudelaire’s works defy any attempt characterize them except by way of a… Read More »

Critical Memory Studies: New Approaches

By | June 28, 2023

Guest post by Brett Ashley Kaplan Julie Mehretu’s multilayered, palimpsestic paintings insert memories of violence into politicized landscapes. There’s a work of unpacking that goes into experiencing these canvases as they swirl in and out of grids, colors competing with graffiti-esque spray paint, images conjured that fail to concretize. When confronted with her stunning canvases… Read More »

Embracing Ecological Uncertainty through Fiction

By | May 19, 2022

Guest post by Marco Caracciolo The future has always been uncertain, but the ecological crisis presents us with an unprecedented degree of uncertainty in thinking about the future. Scientists who model the effects of global warming typically distinguish between pessimistic and optimistic scenarios. The gap between them is significant: concretely, it could mean the difference… Read More »

The circumcision cure? Jordan Osserman on Circumcision on the Couch

By | April 20, 2022

Circumcision on the Couch, by Jordan Osserman, is out now How would you describe your book in one sentence? A book that uses psychoanalysis to better understand the history and opposed stances surrounding male circumcision; and that uses male circumcision to reassess the history and theory of psychoanalysis. What drew you to writing about this… Read More »

How to Redefine Utopia to Become Utopian

By | July 20, 2021

We all know that the world we live in (in all our intersectional diversity) is beset by a cluster of interrelated crises that are cascading toward even greater destruction, threatening the life of the planet itself. In these dark times, radical action is needed more than ever so that we can face these crises and build a better world for all humans, all nonhumans, and nature itself.

Interview with Mikhail Epstein

By | June 15, 2021

The below is an interview with the author of The Phoenix of Philosophy, Mikhail Epstein. How would you describe your book in one sentence? This book is about the intellectual movements in the late Soviet Union that helped to destroy the totalitarian system built on the Marxist philosophical foundation. What drew you to writing about this subject? All existing histories of Russian and Soviet philosophy end their coverage in the mid-twentieth century, which happens… Read More »

Power and Thought in the Soviet Union

By | June 8, 2021

Guest post by Mikhail Epstein My book, The Phoenix of Philosophy, is about philosophy at one of its most dramatic historical moments, at the boundary of two epochs: the formation of the ideocratic Soviet state—and its destruction.   ​What is philosophy? There is no simple and universal definition, and many thinkers consider it impossible to formulate one. According to A. N. Whitehead, “the safest… Read More »