Inquiry into the Truth of Communism

By Marc James LÉger

Bruno Bosteels. Badiou and Politics. Duke University Press, 2011. 436 pp.

Tom Eyers begins his review of Bruno Bosteels’ Badiou and Politics by addressing the relevance of critical theory to the current political conjuncture in which the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011, the anti-austerity demonstrations in Europe, and the Occupy movements have inaugurated a new era of revolt.
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Middle Games and Possible Communisms

By Ryan Culpepper

Lucio Magri. The Tailor of Ulm: Communism in the Twentieth Century. Trans. Patrick Camiller. Verso, 2011. 434 pp.

The trickiest and most demanding moment in chess is the one that separates the middle game—when many pieces are still on the board, forces still appear level in positions not codified in theory, and each player has a plan of action—from the approach to the endgame.
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Establishing Binaries

By Jeff Heydon

Alberto Toscano. Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea. Verso, 2010. 277 pp.

A quick Google search using ‘Kim Jong Il’ and ‘fanatic’ as the terms brings up the following results: “Kim Jong Il: The Movie Fanatic”; “Kim Jong Il’s golfing accomplishments will never be repeated”; and “Farewell to a Fanatic.” The search also brings up a number of references to websites that include the word ‘fanatic’ in the title, more often than not in a positive context.
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No Faith in Form

By Kris Cohen

Claire Bishop. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. Verso, 2012. 388 pp.

…a form: no matter what the philosophical postulates called upon to justify it, as practice and as a conceptual operation it always involves the jumping of a spark between two poles, the coming in to contact of two unequal terms, of two apparently unrelated modes of being.
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Moving Mountains: Art History for the Neoliberal Era

By Danielle Child

Nato Thompson, ed. Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011. Creative Time Books and MIT Press, 2012. 280 pp.

Living as Form is an important volume for anyone interested in understanding the complexities of socially engaged art. The volume accompanies an exhibition of the same name held in Essex Street Market, Manhattan, curated by Nato Thompson and co-authored by Creative Time—a New York-based non-profit arts organization—and Independent Curators International, NY.
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By Theo Finigan

Joan Wallach Scott. The Fantasy of Feminist History. Duke University Press, 2011. 187pp.

In The Fantasy of Feminist History an eminent cultural and gender historian interrogates some of the basic methodological and epistemological assumptions that constitute her discipline. While affirming history’s continued intellectual relevance—it is historians who, crucially, “introduce the difference of time” into interdisciplinary theoretical discourse, for instance (42)—Joan Wallach
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Rethinking Race and Digital Divides

By Lisa Patti

Lisa Nakamura and Peter A. Chow-White, eds. Race After the Internet. Routledge, 2012. 343 pp.

In their introduction to the edited collected Race After the Internet, Lisa Nakamura and Peter A. Chow-White trace the emergence of multiple digital divides in the wake of what they call at different moments the “biotechnical turn,” the “technobiological turn,” and the “techno-genetic turn”–a cultural, institutional, and scholarly transformation that “privileges the technological and specifically the digital over other forms of knowledge, mediation, and interaction”(4).
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Colonial Trains, Postcolonial Tracks

By Nilak Datta

Marian Aguiar. Tracking Modernity: India’s Railway and the Culture of Mobility. University of Minnesota Press, 2011, xxiv +226 pp.

When I first heard Marian Aguiar discuss her book project on Indian Railways at an informal gathering of faculty and graduate students in the fall of 2005, I was excited, skeptical, and optimistic about her project all at once.
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The Art World’s Dark Matter

By Bruce Barber

Gregory Sholette.  Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture. Pluto Press, 2011. 240 pp.

In Lana Jokel’s 1972 film monograph on Andy Warhol (Blackwood Films), the artist is asked to conjecture what he considers will become the next major international art movement. With his voice stammering a little under the weight of the question, Warhol responds in a familiar affected manner with “ah…it’ll be…ah…p ….
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Deconstructing the “Middle Class”; Constructing its Transnational History

By Mehita Iqani

A. Ricardo Lopez and Barbara Weinstein (eds.) The Making of the Middle Class: Toward a Transnational History. Duke University Press, 2012. 446pp.

The Making of the Middle Class is an edited collection that spans an impressive—almost intimidating—amount of material. Featuring chapters and commentaries by 21 writers, it provides a collection of historical analyses of the formation of the middle class in a variety of historical moments and geographical contexts, offering the resources through which a detailed and global picture of its formation can emerge.
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