No Demos in the Pandemic

in Democratic Theory
Asma Abbas Bard College at Simon's Rock, USA

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That the present moment ties multiple crises together—not least because each is a future of pasts that wound(ed) through each other—must be factored into our intercessions and visions. If every crisis is also a call to order, then what order, old or new, does the pandemic call us to? Its literality provokes us to keep both the pan and the demos in sight, just as they are being extinguished through borders, disease, poverty, insecurity, hatred, and disposability in the global postcolony. We are asked to remember that capital and colony are inseparable, that the nation-state is too suspicious a source of comfort, that the eroding claims of citizenship across the postcolonial and post-democratic fascist failed states are instructive and prophetic, and that the assumptions of place and movement in our frames of the democratic political need revisiting.

Contributor Notes

Asma Abbas is Director of Advanced Studies, and Associate Professor of Politics and Philosophy, at Bard College at Simon's Rock. She is founding director at Hic Rosa (an art, education, and politics collective), and affiliate faculty at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. Locating her work at the intersection of politics, ethics, and aesthetics, she is committed to transdisciplinary, anticolonial, antifascist, and materialist, political theory. She is the author of Liberalism and Human Suffering (2010) and Another Love: A Politics of the Unrequited (2018), and several essays in journals and edited volumes. She is currently at work on Anti-Odysseus: Fugues of the Non-Homeric. She lives between Richmond, Massachusetts and Karachi, Pakistan. E-mail:

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