In the war on Iraq, the Bush administration has advanced a strategy of preemption—striking in advance of any realized threat. Creating its own reality of war and presenting the destabilization of a supposed threat as a measure of success, preemption allows victories to be declared in advance and justifies violent and unilateral strikes on peoples, on liberties, on perception, and on truth. Against Preemptive War, a special issue of positions: east asia cultures critique, is a call for critical and international opposition to the logic of preemptive war.
Gathering material from politically active scholars, artists, and authors from Europe, Asia, and North America, this collection reflects on the likely fallout from the corruptive U.S. strategy of preemption. In the introduction, the editors criticize the American press for being, with few exceptions, easily if not willingly deceived by the Bush administration’s propaganda regarding weapons of mass destruction. One contributor redefines fascism as a situation in which contradictions are evident but blatantly ignored, one which creates a false sense of cohesion between events. Another argues that U.S. military bases around the world are now maintained not for military defense and quick mobilization but to create a culture of American militarism, noting that troops were sent from the U.S. for the invasion of Iraq rather than from closer bases around the world. Finally, the issue raises a formidable question: how do we end war waged against what might come to pass rather than what actually is?
Contributors. Tani Barlow, Jim Bonk, Josh Brown, Bei Dao, Carolyn Eisenberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Matthew Fryslie, Sue Golding (as johnny de philo), Freda Guttman, Yukiko Hanawa, Harry Harootunian, Sharon Hayashi, Reynaldo C. Ileto, Joy Kogawa, Thomas LaMarre, The Liberal Islam Network, Sumit K. Mandal, Edoarda Masi, Brian Massumi, Anne McKnight, Carel Moiseiwitsch, Alberto Moreiras, Claudia Pozzana, Alessandro Russo, Ukai Satoshi, Laurie Sears, Kuang Xinnian, Marilyn Young
Kawamata Chiaki University of Minnesota Press, 2012 Library of Congress PL855.A863G4613 2012 | Dewey Decimal 895.636
Japan, 1980s: A special police squad is tracking down one of the “afflicted” to recover the “stuff.” Although the operation seems like a drug bust, the “stuff” is actually some kind of text. Death Sentences—a work of science fiction that shares its conceit with the major motion picture The Ring—tells the story of a mysterious surrealist poem, penned in the 1940s, which, through low-tech circulation across time, kills its readers, including Arshile Gorky and Antonin Artaud, before sparking a wave of suicides after its publication in 1980s Japan. Mixing elements of Japanese hard-boiled detective story, horror, and science fiction, the novel ranges across time and space, from the Left Bank of Paris to the planet Mars.
Paris, 1948: André Breton anxiously awaits a young poet, Who May. He recalls their earlier encounter in New York City and the mysterious effects of reading Who May’s poem “Other World.” Upon meeting, Who May gives Breton another poem, “Mirror,” an even more unsettling work. Breton shares it with his fellow surrealists. Before Breton can discuss the poem with him, Who May vanishes. Who May contacts Breton about a third poem, “The Gold of Time,” and then slips into a coma and dies (or enters another dimension). Copies of the poem are mailed to all of Who May’s friends—Breton, Gorky, Paul Éluard, Marcel Duchamp, and other famous surrealists and dadaists. Thus begins the “magic poem plague.”
Death Sentences is the first novel by the popular and critically acclaimed science fiction author Kawamata Chiaki to be published in English. Released in Japan in 1984 as Genshi-gari (Hunting the magic poems), Death Sentences was a best seller and won the Japan Science Fiction Grand Prize. With echoes of such classic sci-fi works as George Orwell’s 1984, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and Philip K. Dick’s Martian Time-Slip, Death Sentences is a fascinating mind-bender with a style all its own.
A leading philosopher seeks to recover “common sense” as a meeting place to reconcile science and philosophy
With her previous books on Alfred North Whitehead, Isabelle Stengers not only secured a reputation as one of the premier philosophers of our times but also inspired a rethinking of critical theory, political thought, and radical philosophy across a range of disciplines. Here, Stengers unveils what might well be seen as her definitive reading of Whitehead.
Making Sense in Common will be greeted eagerly by the growing group of scholars who use Stengers’s work on Whitehead as a model for how to think with conceptual precision through diverse domains of inquiry: environmentalism and ecology, animal studies, media and technology studies, the history and philosophy of science, feminism, and capitalism. On the other hand, the significance of this new book extends beyond Whitehead. Instead, it lies in Stengers’s recovery of the idea of “common sense” as a meeting place—a commons—where opposed ideas of science and humanistic inquiry can engage one another and help to move society forward. Her reconciliation of science and philosophy is especially urgent today—when climate disaster looms all around us, when the values of what we thought of as civilization and modernity are discredited, and when expertise of any kind is under attack.
The poetry of the Heian court of Japan has typically been linked with the emergence of a distinct Japanese language and culture. This concept of a linguistically homogeneous and ethnically pure “Japaneseness” has been integral to the construction of a modern Japanese nation, especially during periods of western colonial expansion and cultural encroachment. But Thomas LaMarre argues in Uncovering Heian Japan that this need for a cultural unity—a singular Japanese identity—has resulted in an overemphasis of a relatively minor aspect of Heian poetry, obscuring not only its other significant elements but also the porousness of Heian society and the politics of poetic expression. Combining a pathbreaking visual analysis of the calligraphy with which this poetry was transcribed, a more traditional textual analysis, and a review of the politics of the period, LaMarre presents a dramatically new view of Heian poetry and culture. He challenges the assumption of a cohesive “national imagination,” seeing instead an early Japan that is ethnically diverse, territorially porous, and indifferent to linguistic boundaries. Working through the problems posed by institutionalized notions of nationalism, nativism, and modernism, LaMarre rethinks the theories of scholars such as Suzuki Hideo, Yoshimoto Takaaki, and Komatsu Shigemi, in conjunction with theorists such as Derrida, Karatani, Foucault, and Deleuze. Contesting the notion that speech is central to the formation of community, Uncovering Heian Japan focuses instead on the potential centrality of the more figural operations of poetic practice. Specialists in Japanese history and culture as well as scholars working in other areas of cultural criticism will find that this book enriches their understanding of an early Japan that has exerted so much influence on later concepts of what it means to be Japanese.
Originally published in French in 1997 and appearing here in English for the first time, David Lapoujade's William James: Empiricism and Pragmatism is both an accessible and rigorous introduction to James's thought and a pioneering rereading of it. Examining pragmatism's fundamental questions through a Deleuzian framework, Lapoujade outlines how James's pragmatism and radical empiricism encompass the study of experience and the making of reality, and he reopens the speculative side of pragmatist thought and the role of experience in it. The book includes an extensive afterword by translator Thomas Lamarre, who illustrates how James's interventions are becoming increasingly central to the contemporary debates about materialist ontology, affect, and epistemology that strive to bridge the gaps among science studies, media studies, and religious studies.