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A Time for Critique


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Table of Contents

Introduction, by Didier Fassin and Bernard E. Harcourt
Part I: Critique as Practice
1. How Is Critique?, by Didier Fassin
2. Critique as a Political Practice of Freedom, by Linda M. G. Zerilli
3. Critique Without a Politics of Hope?, by Ayse Parla
4. The Usefulness of Uncertain Critique, by Peter Redfield
5. Human Rights Consciousness and Critique, by Karen Engle
6. Critique as Subduction, by Massimiliano Tomba
7. What's Left of the Real?, by Vanja Hamzic
Part II: Critique in Practice
8. Subaltern Critique and the History of Palestine, by Lori Allen
9. Critical Theory in a Minor Key to Take Stock of the Syrian Revolution, by Fadi A. Bardawil
10. Pragmatic Critique of Torture in Sri Lanka, by Nick Cheesman
11. Dispossession, Reimagined from the 1690s, by David Kazanjian
12. Crisis, Critique, and Abolition, by Andrew Dilts
13. Law, Critique, and the Undercommons, by Allegra M. McLeod
14. Critical Praxis for the Twenty- First Century, by Bernard E. Harcourt
List of Contributors

About the Author

Didier Fassin is the James Wolfensohn Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study and a director of studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. The author of several books, including most recently Life: A Critical User's Manual, he was the first social scientist to receive the Nomis Distinguished Scholar Award.

Bernard E. Harcourt is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and professor of political science at Columbia University and a director of studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. Founding director of the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought at Columbia University, he is the author of several books, including most recently The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went to War Against Its Own Citizens.


What is a timely book? Perhaps one that, in the middle of urgency, is untimely enough to bridge the gaps between a rich tradition and a problematic future, identifying multiple forms of resistance and innovation within multiple life worlds which are also places of reflection. I found all that, and more, in Fassin and Harcourt's fascinating inquiry on the question of critique and its relation to practice. And I trust that readers will think as much. -- Etienne Balibar, author of Secularism and Cosmopolitanism: Critical Hypotheses on Religion and Politics
These essays make an eloquent case for the vitality of the critique contributed by today's social movements, for the ongoing relevance of critical thought, and for a new theoretical lexicon for the practice of contemporary critique. -- Penelope Deutscher, author of Foucault's Futures: A Critique of Reproductive Reason
If critique is in a crisis today, this is not only because critical options are limited in view of social conditions that present themselves as without alternative or because what is criticized is proving to be extremely resistant. Rather, critique itself has become the target of critique. The present volume intervenes in this debate in a helpful way. Not just another volume on the question of criticism it is groundbreaking in that it asks less for the normative basis of critique than for its present state. Starting with the analysis of the practice of critique and of critique as a practice, the authors develop an approach that neither denies the discontent with critique nor adopts a defeatist approach. As in a self-application of Marx's principle of immanent critique to critique itself, here 'the new world' (of critique) is developed 'from the old,' the future possibilities and tasks of critique from its existing practices, from its reality and its problems. Thus again it becomes clear what critique can and should be: an urgently needed catalyst for the transformation of existing social structures and relations. -- Rahel Jaeggi, author of Alienation and Critique of Forms of Life
The authors look at recent trends in critical theory and reimagine its future...provide[ing] a useful set of tools for understanding our current times. * Choice *
I hope that readers will be inspired even when not fully persuaded about the value of critique to wake them up from their dogmatic slumber and embrace it as a way of life and not only as part of the life of the mind. * Social Epistemology *

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