The French Revolution profoundly influenced many of the ideas and institutions that created the modern world. This far-reaching revolutionary upheaval drew widely on eighteenth-century Enlightenment culture to construct and spread modern ideas about human rights, republicanism, legal equality, nationalism, and the value of scientific knowledge. At the same time, France’s revolutionary leaders began to create new institutions that France and other modern countries would use to develop large state bureaucracies, mass conscription armies, centralized monetary and taxation systems, nationwide legal codes and police surveillance, carefully orchestrated public rituals, and new plans for public education.
Identities, Economics, Social Exchanges, and Humanitarianism
Anthony Chinaemerem Ajah, S. J. Cooper-Knock, Josette Daemen, Douglas L. Berger, and Hayden Weaver
Uchenna Okeja, Deliberative Agency: A Study in Modern African Political Philosophy. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2022, 214 pp.
Gideon van Riet, Hegemony, Security Infrastructures and the Politics of Crime: Everyday Experiences in South Africa. London: Routledge, 2021, 224 pp.
Richard Grusin (ed), Insecurity. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2022, 272 pp.
Tao Jiang, Origins of Moral-Political Philosophy in Early China. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021, xiii–xvi+556 pp.
Judith Butler, The Force of Nonviolence: An Ethico-Political Bind. London: Verso, 2020, 209 pp.
Following the footsteps of scholars who have made contributions to the debate about the question of method and analysis in Fanon’s work, this article explores the implications of his concerns with the link between madness and struggle on our understanding of the transformative role of radical political strategies in the colonial context and the contemporary world. The main argument it pursues is that Fanon regarded madness and revolutionary violence in the colonial context as effects of colonial alienation. Most importantly, this argument sets the article apart from the works which focus on how Fanon’s proto-structuralist analysis of the process of madness and the question of cure reveals his concerns with the conditions for the possibility of a politico-philosophical paradigm or a universal morality in postcolonial time or national liberation time.
Historical Time and Revolutionary Change in Marx, Gramsci, Benjamin, and Fanon
Inspired by contemporary criticism(s) levelled against evolutionist conceptions of history present within much classical social theory, this article seeks to discuss alternative conceptions of historical time, modernity, and coloniality within the works of Marxist-inspired thinkers who have sought to tackle the problematic aspects of evolutionism and ‘historical progress’ head on – namely, Antonio Gramsci, Walter Benjamin, and Frantz Fanon. After discussing orthodox Marxism’s ambivalent relation to notions of historical necessity and human agency, the article turns to discussing Gramsci’s anti-economistic conception of hegemony and Benjamin’s and Fanon’s respective conceptions of the ‘dialectics of rupture’ in order to present alternative conceptions of historical time which partly or fully depart from orthodox Marxism’s tendencies towards evolutionism, albeit whilst retaining a focus on dialectics, power struggle, and revolutionary transformation.
How the Institute of Race Relations Strategically Misinforms Us about Racism and Policy (as a Threat to Deliberative Democracy)
Phila M. Msimang
Historically, the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has been viewed as a reliable source of information given its near century-long work of compiling statistics and reports about race relations and the social conditions affecting different race groups in South Africa. I make the case that the IRR should not be considered a reliable source of information about race groups and their social conditions in contemporary South Africa because of how the IRR misrepresents the views of ordinary South Africans with the intention of influencing policy towards the IRR’s preferred ideological positions. Rather than presenting criticism of their ideological slant, I show how their policy proposals are not supported by their survey data or their interpretation. Furthermore, I argue that their misrepresentation of South Africans’ beliefs is damaging to democratic processes because what the public claims it wants from government has a significant impact on what government’s mandate from its citizenry is thought to be.
The Case of Feminist Philosophy
Hilkje C. Hänel and Johanna M. Müller
This article argues that non-ideal theory is distinctive in its use of a certain methodology which is prior to specific topics (such as injustice, oppression, etc.), grounded in the idea of socially situated knowledge, and able to address ideological situatedness. Drawing on standpoint epistemology, we show that one’s social position within given power structures has implications for knowledge acquisition and that being in a vulnerable or marginalised position can be advantageous to knowledge acquisition. Following ideology critique, we argue that both marginalised and powerful social positions are embedded within a given ideology. As ideology is more than a mere set of attitudes or beliefs that social agents endorse or resist, situated agents and theorists cannot develop normative criteria that are not themselves situated. Hence, non-ideal theory has to be equipped with methods that are likely to make this situatedness visible. We close by presenting some diverse methods that already do so.
Salvage, Repatriation, and the Politics of Jean Prouvé’s Maisons Tropicales
The Maisons Tropicales are three prefabricated housing structures designed by Jean Prouvé. Fabricated in France, they were transported to and assembled in Brazzaville and Niamey, then part of the French colonies, around 1950. Their design was tied closely to the belief in the so-called civilizing and enlightening power of European modernist design and, thereby, also the French colonial agenda. In the early 2000s, an American collector, Robert Rubin, and a French art dealer, Eric Touchaleaume, “repatriated” the houses to France. There, they were transformed into and celebrated as icons of French modern design, while their colonial histories were ignored. This article analyzes the importance of discourse in this transformation and how it reflects ongoing dynamics of power and dispossession in the art world. Rubin and Touchaleaume simultaneously employed conflicting narratives mirroring anthropological “salvage” and “repatriation” discourses to describe the Maisons’ removal. The case study highlights the moral weight associated with the language around processes of repatriation, the nested relationships between heritage and the market, and the continuation of colonial practices of dispossession.
Isabelle Williams, Florence Esson, Yunci Cai, Lee Davidson, Valentin Gorbachev, Nathan Jones, Kirsty Kernohan, Heidi Weber, Xiaomei Zhao, and Xuelei Li
Women Mean Business: Colonial businesswomen in New Zealand, Catherine Bishop. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2019.
Imagining Decolonisation, Rebecca Kiddle with Bianca Elkington, Moana Jackson, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton, and Amanda Thomas, eds. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 2020.
Cosmopolitan Ambassadors: International Exhibitions, Cultural Diplomacy and the Polycentral Museum, Lee Davidson and Leticia Pérez Castellanos. Wilmington, DE: Vernon Press, 2019.
Museums, International Exhibitions and China’s Cultural Diplomacy, Linda Da Kong. London: Routledge, 2021.
Curating (Post-)Socialist Environments, Philipp Schorch and Daniel Habit. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2021.
A Cultural Arsenal for Democracy: The World War II Work of US Museums, Clarissa J. Ceglio. Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2022.
Mobile Museums: Collections in Circulation, Felix Driver, Mark Nesbitt, and Caroline Cornish, eds. London: UCL Press, 2021.
Écrire la muséologie: Méthodes de recherche, rédaction, communication [Writing museology, Research methods, writing, communication], François Mairesse and Fabien Van Geert. Paris: Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle Ed, 2021.
Cultural Renewal in Cambodia: Academic Activism in the Neoliberal Era, Philippe Peycam. Leiden: Brill, 2020.
Animal Classification in Central China: From the late Neolithic to the early Bronze Age, Ningning Dong. Oxford: BAR Publishing, 2021.
Museums in the COVID-19 Era
Noga Raved and Havatzelet Yahel
The current research analyzes worldwide trends in which museums acted in response to a new global social health order. It is based on information from a survey we conducted among members of the International Committee of Regional Museums in addition to other surveys conducted by international museums and cultural bodies. We tried to understand how museums can remain relevant to their audiences, how they might evolve in this changing environment, and how they operate to reflect the new situation. Our main findings show that various methods were used, including shifting to digital platforms, changing physical operations, refocusing on local audiences, collecting materials relating to the COVID-19 crisis, and curating special exhibitions dedicated to the pandemic and its impact on daily lives.
Cultural Democracy in Action?
This article presents findings and reflections of the Citizen Curators program, designed and led by the author on behalf of Cornwall Museums Partnership and seven participating museums. Dubbed an experiment in cultural democracy, as well as providing a novel alternative pathway into museum work, Citizen Curators took place between 2017 and 2021 with four cohorts resulting in more than 80 successful completers, one-fifth of whom went on to jobs in the sector. The program was designed as an action research project in curatorial education in an era of equity, socially engaged practice, and ethical awareness. The article presents qualitative and quantitative findings on the program’s design, impact, and what was learned about the realities of cocuration, diversity, and inclusion over the four-year program.