NLR 92

Joe TrapidoAfrica’s Leaky Giant

Recent analysis of Congo’s plight has foregrounded notions of local agency and impenetrable complexity, excluding structural analysis. In a landmark rebuttal, Joe Trapido argues that it is just as implausible to deny the agency of powerful outsiders as that of powerful Africans. Dynamics of a primitive accumulation that never results in sustained development, its gains still leaking overseas.

Joshua WongScholarism on the March

Interview with the eighteen-year-old leader of Hong Kong’s radical school students. Joshua Wong discusses his personal and political formation, the battle against Beijing’s patriotic education syllabus and the Umbrella Movement’s three-month occupation of the city’s streets in the fight for democratization.

Sebastian VegLegalistic and Utopian

Distinctive features of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement, in contrast to Occupy, Tiananmen and Taiwan’s Sunflower sit-in. Sebastian Veg identifies the political-historical specificities of a protest that turned a multi-lane highway into an urban garden and art-production site, in the name of constitutional procedure.

Franco Moretti & Dominique PestreBankspeak

What can quantitative linguistic analysis reveal about global institutions? From Bretton Woods to the present, the language of World Bank reports has undergone telling modulations. Moretti and Pestre track the decline of concrete referents and active verbs, the triumph of acronyms over nation-states—and irresistible rise of ‘governance’.

Fredric JamesonThe 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.

How to Mishandle a Crisis

Adam Tooze on Barry Eichengreen, Hall of Mirrors. How Milton Friedman’s students, scholars of the Great Depression, helped stoke the financial crisis of 2008.

Culture After Google

Emilie Bickerton on Astra Taylor, The People’s Platform. Diagnosis of a cultural production laid low by digital consolidation, and political proposals for a push-back.

Nepal’s Maoists in Power

Achin Vanaik on Aditya Adhikari, The Bullet and the Ballot Box and Prashant Jha, Battles of the New Republic. Nepal’s Maoist revolution checked by Delhi and its satraps.