Unfinished Histories: Empire and Postcolonial Resonance in Central Africa and Belgium, edited open access volume by Pierre-Philippe Fraiture
Published in November 2022 by Leuven University Press and with the support of the European Research Council: Unfinished Histories available in open access.
Belgian colonialism was short-lived but left significant traces that are still felt in the twenty-first century. This book explores how the imperial past has lived on in Belgium, but also in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. The contributing authors approach colonial legacies from an interdisciplinary perspective and examine how literature, politics, the arts, the press, cinema, museal practices, architecture, and language policies – but also justice and ethics – have been used to critically revisit this period of African and European history. Whilst engaging with significant figures such as Sammy Baloji, Chokri Ben Chikha, Gaël Faye, François Kabasele, Alexis Kagame, Edmond Leplae, VY Mudimbe, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Joseph Ndwaniye, and Sony Labou Tansi, this book also analyses the role of places such as the AfricaMuseum, Bujumbura, Colwyn Bay, Kongolo, and the Virunga Park to appraise the links between memory and the development of a postcolonial present.
Publication of a new edited volume of interdisciplinary essays on autonomy co-edited by Oliver Davis
Arising from a Warwick-Monash Alliance collaboration, with Dr Chris Watkin, undertaken during the Covid years, this new edited volume considers whether autonomy is still a useful concept today. Is the Enlightenment understanding of autonomy still relevant in addressing contemporary challenges? How have the limits and possibilities of autonomy been transformed by recent developments in artificial intelligence and big data, political pressures, intersecting oppressions and the climate emergency? The challenges to autonomy today reach across society with unprecedented complexity, and in this book leading scholars from philosophy, economics, linguistics, literature and politics examine the role of autonomy in key areas of contemporary life, forcefully defending a range of different views about the nature and extent of resistance to autonomy today. These essays are essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the predicament and prospects of one of modernity’s foundational concepts and one of our most widely cherished values. Oliver Davis's chapter, on conceptualising the role of patient autonomy in psychedelically assisted psychotherapy, can be viewed Open Access here.
New monograph, "Hatred of Sex" by Oliver Davis and Tim Dean, University of Nebraska Press (2022)
New monograph, "Heightened Genre and Women's Filmmaking in Hollywood: the Rise of the Cine-fille", by Mary Harrod, Palgrave (2021)
New monograph: "Past Imperfect: Time and African Decolonization, 1945-1960" by Pierre-Philippe Fraiture, published by Liverpool UP (April 2021)
new free-to-view article by Oliver Davis: 'Neoliberal capitalism's bureaucracies of "governance"'
The account of bureaucracy under neoliberal capitalism which I present in this article, under the innocuous heading it prefers to use to describe itself (‘governance’), draws together recent critical work by the late David Graeber, Wendy Brown, William Davies and Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval, which it repositions in relation to Jacques Rancière’s conception of the ‘police order’. I suggest that the massive production of insecurity by proliferating bureaucracies which structure neoliberalism’s project of competitive hierarchisation creates the ideal conditions for a vicious circle of securitarian inflation. To read the full article click here
New article: Kate Astbury and Diane Tisdall, ‘Sonorising « La Forteresse du Danube » : Functions of music in Parisian and provincial melodrama of the early nineteenth century’
The combination of spectacle and elaborate scenery, orchestra and obligatory dance number made early nineteenth-century French melodrama expensive to produce and, consequently, the genre is strongly associated with the Parisian boulevard theatres. Provincial performances required creative solutions, not least because the music composed for – and central to – the Paris performances remained in manuscript form and was not, therefore, distributed automatically to regional theatres, whereas the play text was printed and widely available. This means that different scores existed for the same play, opening up the possibility that provincial audiences were presented with a different concept of melodrama to Parisians. Using as a case study La Forteresse du Danube (1805) by self-proclaimed leading exponent of the genre, Guilbert de Pixerécourt, this article will explore how comparing scores through performance-led research can further our understanding of the changes needed to make a Paris hit performable in the provinces.
For more, see Studi francesi, 191 (autumn 2020), pp. 248-360.
New book: Douglas Morrey, The Legacy of the New Wave in French Cinema, Bloomsbury, 2019
Douglas Morrey has recently published a major new appraisal of the legacy of the French New Wave
The book looks at both the subsequent careers of New Wave filmmakers and the work of later film directors and film movements in France. It is organized around a series of key moments from the past 50 years of French cinema in order to show how the meaning and legacy of the New Wave have shifted over time and how the priorities, approaches and discourses of filmmakers and film critics have changed over the years. Morrey tackles key concepts such as the auteur, the relationship of form and content, gender and sexuality, intertextuality and rhythm. Filmmakers discussed include Godard, Truffaut, Varda, Chabrol and Rohmer plus Philippe Garrel, Luc Besson, Leos Carax, Bruno Dumont, the Dardenne brothers, Christophe Honoré, François Ozon and Jacques Audiard.
New publication - Philippe Le Goff, Auguste Blanqui and the Politics of Popular Empowerment, Bloomsbury, 2020
Philippe Le Goff has just published with Bloomsbury a major new book on the nineteenth-century French political activist and leader Auguste Blanqui.
Few individuals made such an impact on nineteenth-century French politics as Louis-Auguste Blanqui (1805-1881). Political organiser, leader, propagandist and prisoner, Blanqui was arguably the foremost proponent of popular power to emerge after the French Revolution. Practical engagement in all the major uprisings that spanned the course of his life - 1830, 1848, 1870-71 - was accompanied by theoretical reflections on a broad range of issues, from free will and fatalism to public education and individual development. Since his death, however, Blanqui has not been simply overlooked or neglected; his name has widely become synonymous with theoretical misconception and practical misadventure. Auguste Blanqui and the Politics of Popular Empowerment offers a major re-evaluation of one the most controversial figures in the history of revolutionary politics. The book draws extensively on Blanqui's manuscripts and published works, as well as writings only recently translated into English for the first time. Through a detailed reconstruction and critical analysis of Blanqui's political thought, it challenges the prevailing image of an unthinking insurrectionist and rediscovers a forceful and compelling theory of collective political action and radical social change. It suggests that some of Blanqui's fundamental assumptions - from the insistence on the primacy of subjective determination to the rejection of historical necessity - are still relevant to politics today.
Professor Nick Hewlett is interviewed by the State of Nature Blog on Marx and political violence based on his recent book Blood and Progress. Violence in Pursuit of Emancipation
Dr James Hodkinson and Professor Karen Leeder (Oxford) launch a creative writing competition on Monday 25 Sept.
Win cash prizes in a competition to find a new image for the School's website!
New collection of essays on Rancière
Dr. Oliver Davis, Associate Professor in the Department of French Studies, has edited an important new collection of specially commissioned critical essays on Rancière, published by Polity Press. Oliver has also contributed an essay and a substantial interview with Rancière to the volume. The essays encompass Rancière’s early historical research of the 1960s and '70s, his critique of pedagogy and his later political theory of dissensus and disagreement, his ongoing analysis of literature and 'the aesthetic regime of art', his resistance to psychoanalytic thinking, and his recent publications on film and film theory.
New monograph on Mudimbe
Dr Pierre-Philippe Fraiture, Associate Professor and Reader in the Department of French Studies at Warwick, has published V. Y. Mudimbe. Undisciplined Africanism with Liverpool University Press. This major monograph charts the intellectual history of the seminal Congolese philosopher, epistemologist, and philologist from the late 1960s to the present day, exploring his major essays and novels, and demonstrating that Mudimbe’s intellectual career has been informed by a series of decisive dialogues with some of the key exponents of Africanism (Herodotus, EW Blyden, Placide Tempels), continental and postcolonial thought (Jean-Paul Sartre, Frantz Fanon, Michel Foucault, and Claude Lévi-Strauss), and African thought and philosophy from Africa and the diaspora (L.S. Senghor, Patrice Nganang, and Achille Mbembe).