20 Aug

Series Spotlight: Critical South from Polity and the ICCTP

Posted By Politybooks

The Critical South series publishes the work of major thinkers and key emerging intellectuals from the Global South or other key figures whose interventions complicate the North-South divide, making a timely and much-needed intervention in the annals and contemporary debates about the future of critical thought. Co-edited by Natalia Brizuela and Leticia Sabsay, the series is part of the initiatives of the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programmes, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Coming soon

Black is the Journey, Africana the Name by Maboula Soumahoro

Maboula Soumahoro explores the cultural and political vastness of the Black Atlantic, where Africa, Europe and the Americas were tied together by the brutal realities of the slave trade and colonialism.

Her book is a powerful reflection on race and identity in Black/African diaspora.

“Maboula’s writing is a resolute respiration which, line after line, exposes and challenges the suffocating violence of racism à la française. This is an intimate text that will change how you look at race and blackness.”

Mame-Fatou Niang, author of Identités Françaises.

A Decolonial Ecology by Malcom Ferdinand

The environmental movement can no longer sidestep our colonial past.

The world is in the midst of a storm that has shaped the history of modernity along a double fracture. On one hand, devastation of the Earth’s ecosystems, and, on the other hand, a colonial fracture instilled by Western colonization and imperialism. While these two sides are thought about separately, the tempest continues unabated. Facing the storm, this book is an invitation to build a world-ship where humans and non-humans can live together on a bridge of justice and shape a common world.

“Malcom Ferdinand brilliantly breaks away from the spider web of canonical ecological narratives and arguments. The wrongdoing of modernity is diagnosed from the decolonial Caribbean experience of coloniality.”

Walter D. Mignolo, author of The Politics of Decolonial Investigations

More in the series…

Ch’ixinakax utxiwa by Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui

Bolivian scholar and activist Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui has long maintained that we must acknowledge how colonial structures of domination continue to affect indigenous identities and cultures. This book considers this persistent colonial structure by examining artistic and popular practices of apprehending and resisting it.

“Rivera Cusicanqui is one of the most original, creative, and synthetic thinkers in this hemisphere. Her work very effectively challenges, as she puts it ‘the comfortable dream of liberal society.’ A much needed book.”

Linda Martín Alcoff, The City University of New York

Error, Illusion, Madness by Bento Prado, Jr.

This book makes available in English the work of one of the most important Brazilian philosophers and intellectuals of the twentieth century. First published in 2004, Error, Illusion, Madness is an original contribution to the debate about the nature and role of the subject and its forms of expression.

“Bento Prado Jr. brings to bear the magnitude of his thought and the range of his cultural understanding, which were already discernible in his previous work, on the philosophy that he develops in this book and that is as original as it is profound, situating the author at the interface between the continental and the analytical traditions. With Error, Illusion, Madness, Prado Jr. emerges as the greatest Brazilian philosopher of the twentieth century.”

Renaud Barbaras, University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Colonial Trauma by Karima Lazali

A path-breaking account of the psychosocial effects of colonial domination.

“This book adds an important layer to the psychoanalytic understanding of colonial trauma and its afterlife. Beginning with her bilingual clinical practice in France and Algeria, Lazali addresses how patients differ in their response to the technologies of a ‘whiting out’ of an erased past. She takes up the mantle of Fanon to study intergenerational trauma and how it manifests itself in her patients, in Francophone literary texts, in the bellicose and violent struggles around religion, language, and politics, in concepts of the social, and in the relationship between individuated subjects and the group.”

Ranjana Khanna, Professor of Literature at Duke University

Watch: A Conversation on Colonial Trauma with Karima Lazil, hosted by the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP)

Seven Essays on Populism by Paula Biglieri & Luciana Cadahia

A critical exploration of the meaning and potential of populism in contemporary political thought.

“Debates on populism are currently facing a huge challenge: to move beyond obsolete euro-centric and post-democratic myths and stereotypes. Biglieri and Cadahia demonstrate that a strong comparative angle can greatly assist in this effort and that the Latin American experience is crucial for a much-needed reorientation towards a truly reflexive discussion of populism. Yet, this book cannot be reduced to one more micro-scale social-scientific analysis from a ‘local’ perspective. This is rigorous theoretical reflection & committed democratic argumentation at its best!”

Yannis Stavrakakis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Memory and Autobiography by Leonor Arfuch

This book by one of Latin America’s leading cultural theorists examines the place of the subject and the role of biographical and autobiographical genres in contemporary culture.

“Leonor Arfuch’s Memory and Autobiography is a brilliant reflection on autobiography not as a mere exercise in self-construction but as an act of witnessing the unforgettable and as a call to communal dialogue. An invaluable contribution by one of Latin America’s most insightful cultural critics.”

Sylvia Molloy, Albert Schweitzer Chair in the Humanities Emerita, New York University

Doing Justice by Pablo Oyarzun

Pablo Oyarzun, one of the foremost Benjamin scholars in Latin America, examines the work of Walter Benjamin and demonstrates its relevance for our understanding of justice.

“Benjamin once wrote that ‘The gate to justice is study.’ To this could now be added: ‘The gate to the idea of justice is studying Pablo Oyarzuns Doing Justice.'”

Professor Peter Fenves, Northwestern University

Watch: A Conversation on Doing Justice with Pablo Oyarzun, hosted by the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP)

The Myth of Economic Development by Celso Furtado and Mario Tosi Furtado

This classic work remains one of the most incisive contributions to dependency theory in the Latin American context. While agreeing with other dependency theorists that underdevelopment on the Latin America periphery was structurally connected to the accumulation of capital in the advanced economies at the core of the global capitalist system, Furtado went further and argued that the very idea of development in the periphery is a myth.

“The Latin American ‘structuralists’ made a Copernican jump in understanding of economic development by taking the closed-system world economy rather than the country as the unit of analysis, and showing ‘developed’ and ‘less developed’ to be like Siamese twins. Furtado was a leader of this school, and this short book is an outstanding example of the power of the approach, compared to that of the neoclassical mainstream.”

Robert H. Wade, London School of Economics

Not One Less by Maria Pia Lopez

In June 3, 2015, massive women’s street demonstrations took place in many cities across Argentina to protest against femicide. Maria Pia López, a founding member and active participant in the Not One Less protest, offers a first-hand account of the distinctive aesthetics, characteristics and lineages of this popular feminist movement, while examining the broader issues of gender politics and violence, inequality and social justice, mourning, performance and protest that are relevant to all contemporary societies.

“In this kaleidoscopic study that is part chronicle, part critical feminist theory, part manifesto, María Pia López, one of Latin Americas most lucid thinkers today, lays out the organizational and aesthetic modalities of a movement that has birthed forceful political subjects.”

Marcela Alejandra Fuentes, Northwestern University

Watch: A Conversation on Not One Less with María Pia López, hosted by the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP)

The Black Register by Tendayi Sithole

How can thinkers grapple with the question of the human when they have been dehumanized? How can black thinkers confront and make sense of a world structured by antiblackness, a world that militates against the very existence of blacks? 

These are the questions that guide Tendayi Sithole’s brilliant analyses of the work of Sylvia Wynter, Aimé Césaire, Steve Biko, Assata Shakur, George Jackson, Mabogo P. More, and a critique of Giorgio Agamben.

Watch: A Conversation on The Black Register with Tendayi Sithole, hosted by the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP)

Resolutely Black: Conversations with Françoise Vergès by Aimé Césaire

Aimé Césaire’s work is foundational for decolonial and postcolonial thought. This unique volume takes the form of a series of interviews with Césaire that were conducted by Françoise Vergès in 2004, shortly before his death.

“Whether it be his poetry, plays, essays, or speeches, Aimé Césaire’s writing has remained a canonical essential for over 50 years, but only with the arrival of Resolutely Black can we now enjoy the kinds of detailed insights and commentary worthy of his stature. The interviews with Françoise Vergès further underscore the unnerving prescience of Césaire when it comes to racial politics while also providing much-needed context, depth and texture. A ‘must’ for all students and scholars who study power, diaspora, culture, identity and belonging in the modern world.”

Michelle Wright, Emory University

Watch: A Conversation on Resolutely Black, hosted by the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP)

The Haitian Revolution by Eduardo Grüner

A prize-winning account of capitalism and slavery in the colonization of Latin America and the Caribbean

“Eduardo Grüner’s remarkable book is not only a brilliant discussion of slavery and the Haitian Revolution; it is also a profound philosophical and critical reflection, from the viewpoint of the slaves’ rebellion, on the contradictions of Eurocentric Enlightenment and of Western (capitalist) modernity.”

Michael Löwy, author of The Theory of Revolution in the Young Marx

Modernity and “Whiteness” by Bolivar Echeverria

Bolívar Echeverría was one of the leading philosophers and critical theorists in Latin America and his work on capitalism and modernity offers a distinctive account, informed by the experiences of Latin American societies, of the social and historical forces shaping the modern world. 

“Echeverría’s work seems more vital than ever.”

Los Angeles Review of Books

Plebeian Prose by Néstor Perlongher

Plebeian Prose is an exploration of the politics of desire, questions of identity, Latin American neo-baroque aesthetics, sexual dissidence, violence and jouissance.

“Irreverent and tender in equal measure, these essays carry the energy of radical queer poetics into the streets where social bodies and capitalist impulses collide in the shadow of fascism. Brimming with perverse splendour and neo-baroque viscosities, Perlongher’s classic text has much to teach contemporary movements about the role of queer aesthetics, imaginative sexual politics, and the dynamism of language as a revolutionary force.”

Juana María Rodríguez, author of Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings

Eruptions of Memory by Nelly Richard

In this important book, one of Latin America’s foremost critical theorists examines the use and abuse of memory in the wake of the social and political trauma of Pinochet’s Chile.

What are the perils and social costs of a culture of forgetting? What forms do memories of injustice take in newly formed democracies? How might a history of violence and an ethics of reparation be reconciled in post-autocratic societies?

“In this powerful new book, Nelly Richard, Chile’s premier cultural critic, takes on the reconfigurations of political and cultural memory at various moments since the return to democracy. In each instance, her lucid readings open the seams of oblivion that have sutured Chilean social life.”

Francine Masiello, University of California, Berkeley