Anyone with a commitment to socialism needs to take an interest in the history and fate of the German Democratic Republic (ddr), up to now the object of systematic neglect by West-of-the-Rhine liberal and radical intellectuals alike, who have scant knowledge of its achievements in painting and film, and assume its economic and political lessons to be exclusively negative. This is yet another instance in which Cold War dismissals in the name of Stalinism and totalitarianism—essentially political judgements—continue to be tacitly accepted by today’s lefts in embarrassed silence. To be sure, the Soviet Union is another matter, and its rise and fall is as respectable a historical topic as the life and death of the Roman Empire; but at the same time it is widely assumed that the evolution of its ‘satellites’ is necessarily a secondary matter.
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Badiou and the French Tradition
How to locate an energizing philosophy of activity and production, and of fidelity to past revolutionary ruptures, in relation to the line that runs from Sartre, Althusser and Lacan to Foucault, Derrida and Deleuze? A critical interrogation of the return to philosophical tradition, from metaphysics to ethics, in Badiou’s major systematic works.
Recent films of the Soviet-trained director Aleksei Gherman read as enigmatic late-modern outcrops—or meteorites from an unimaginable future—resistant to the all-pervasive aestheticization processes of consumer capitalism.
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Against conventional comparisons with War and Peace, Fredric Jameson offers a path-breaking formal reading of Vassily Grossman’s great fiction of the Battle of Stalingrad. The war against Hitler as crucible for a new collectivity, in which freedom finds itself, or as grounds of social—and thus narrative—totality.
The Aesthetics of Singularity
Can postmodernity still define the present age, or is the concept now obsolescent? In a major retrospect and re-evaluation, Fredric Jameson reflects on the cultural logic of globalization and its temporalities. Art, cuisine and financial derivatives as one-off ideas and events; global politics and counter-possibilities as land-grabs, or occupied space.
Reflections on the occasion of the Rome Lecture and on its themes. Dialectic of the inside and the outside, the surprising role of non-knowledge in subjectivity—and new technologies and labour processes as experiential grounds for transformation in class consciousness.
In Soviet Arcadia
Fredric Jameson on Francis Spufford, Red Plenty. A documentary-cum-fable reconstructs the lost future of the Khrushchev era.
Regieoper, or Eurotrash?
Opera has been globalized, and big-bang productions of Wagner’s music-dramas now outnumber those of all other works. How to frame an aesthetics for this cultural-historical phenomenon—allegorical ideogram strings, or Gesamtkunstwerk as vaudeville?
Marx and Montage
The author of Archaeologies of the Future unearths fragments from ‘ideological antiquity’ in Alexander Kluge’s recent film on Capital. Encounters with Eisenstein’s unrealized equivalent, seeking a cinematic transposition of the commodity fetish.
Fredric Jameson on Christoph Henning, Philosophie nach Marx. Austerities of a German rejection of social philosophy, in the name of the Moor.
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Between the dizzying technologies of the First World, and social disintegrations of the Third, does the concept of utopia still possess a meaning? Fredric Jameson on the resistant negations of fantasy-based systemic critique.