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Niklas Olsen, Irene Herrmann, Håvard Brede Aven and Mohinder Singh

Crisis and Existentialism in the Work of Reinhart Koselleck

Gennaro Imbriano, Der Begriff der Politik: Die Moderne als Krisenzeit im Werk von Reinhart Koselleck [The concept of politics: Modernity as a time of crisis in the work of Reinhart Koselleck] (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2018), 187 pp.

Jan Eike Dunkhase, Absurde Geschichte: Reinhart Kosellecks historischer Existentialismus [Absurd history: Reinhart Koselleck’s historical existentialism] (Marbach: Deutschen Literaturarchiv Marbach, 2015), 67 pp. --- Humanity in Practice: New Approaches to Conceptual History

Fabian Klose and Mirjam Thulin, eds., Humanity: A History of European Concepts in Practice from the Sixteenth Century to the Present (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016), 324 pp. --- The Merits of Mistranslation

Eric Schatzberg, Technology: Critical History of a Concept (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 344 pp. --- Beyond Universalism and Nativism: The Conceptual Vocabulary of Indian Modernity

Gita Dharmpal-Frick, Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach, Rachel Dwyer, and Jahnavi Phalkey, eds., Key Concepts in Modern Indian Studies (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015), 350 pp.

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Thomas Meagher and Farhang Erfani

A. Shahid Stover, Being and Insurrection: Existential Liberation Critique, Sketches and Ruptures (New York: Cannae Press, 2019), 266 pp., $20, ISBN: 9781733551007 (paperback)

Yoav Di-Capua, No Exit: Arab Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Decolonization (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 336 pp., $35, ISBN: 9780226503509 (paperback)

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Clarifying Liquidity

Keynes and Marx, Merchants, and Poets

Rolf Hugoson

This article is a history of liquidity presented as interaction between metaphors and theoretical concepts in social contexts. While taking note of Zygmunt Bauman’s metaphor “liquid modernity,” the study instead surveys the wider conceptual field. The text turns around mercantile liquidity (liquidity as clarification) and liquidity in modern economics (characteristic of all assets), as well as older metaphors, notably the famous phrase of the Communist Manifesto, “all that is solid melts into air” (Alles Ständische und Stehende verdampft), which is revealed to have resonance in texts by poets, notably Heinrich Heine. The main result is the historical consistency of the field, where liquidity is a promise of knowledge and clarity.

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Max Stille

This review article provides an overview of important, recent approaches to conceptual history from scholarship on South Asia. While conceptual history is not a consolidated field in South Asia, the colonial encounter has greatly stimulated interest in conceptual inquiries. Recent scholarship questions the uniformity even of well-researched concepts such as liberalism. It is methodologically innovative in thinking about the influence of economic structures for the development of concepts. Rethinking religious and secular languages, scholars have furthermore stressed the importance of smaller communicative units such as genre or hermeneutical practices to shape ideas e.g. of the political. As part of global and imperial formations, scholars are well aware of the link between power and colonial temporalities. Lastly, they have suggested new sources for conceptual history, such as literature, film, and sound.

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Contemporary "Structures" of Racism

A Sartrean Contribution to Resisting Racial Injustice

Justin I. Fugo

This paper develops an account of racism as rooted in social structural processes. Using Sartre, I attempt to give a general analysis of what I refer to as the “structures” of our social world, namely the practico-inert, serial collectives, and social groups. I then apply this analysis to expose and elucidate “racist structures,” specifically those that are oftentimes assumed to be ‘race neutral’. By highlighting structures of racial oppression and domination, I aim to justify: 1) the imperative of creating conditions free from oppression and domination, over the adherence to ‘ideal’ principles which perpetuate racial injustice; 2) the shared responsibility we have collectively to resist and transform social structural processes that continue to produce racial injustice.

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Distributing Responsibilities in an Agricultural Ecosystem

Insights from the Lake Naivasha Water Basin in Kenya

Gaële Rouillé-Kielo

This article explores the responses to acknowledged anthropogenic transformations of Lake Naivasha in Kenya, whose ecosystem is considered to have been disturbed by the intensification of agricultural uses of natural resources (notably land and water) over the last half century. It examines the ways in which a “payments for environmental services” (PES) project has been implemented, reflecting the rationale of ecological modernization. This article aims to challenge the environmental narrative that supports the project by revealing its oversimplifications. Empirical data demonstrates how the environmental issues addressed by the project are embedded in historically inherited land trajectories. This in turn forces us to reflect on the necessary question of responsibility, an issue at the heart of the debate since the emergence of the Anthropocene concept.

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John Ireland and Constance Mui

We are thrilled, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Sartre Studies International, to publish for the first time in English (thanks to Dennis Gilbert’s initiative and perseverance) two interviews on theater given by Sartre to Russia’s oldest continually running theater journal, Teatr, whose first issues date from the 1930s. Six years apart, these two interviews give us the flavor of Sartre addressing a Soviet audience, in early 1956, just before Russian tanks rolled into Hungary and then again in early 1962, as France negotiated its exit out of the disastrous Algerian War. While these interviews intersect at times with remarks made by Sartre in interviews and lectures during the same period in France (the need for theater to become a truly popular forum, the importance of Brecht as a model of politically engaged theater, etc.), the tone of the two interviews (the first in particular) is different, as Sartre seeks to connect with a socialist audience. These interviews also break new ground. Discussing contemporary playwrights, Sartre demonstrates, for example, his familiarity with Kateb Yacine and Algerian theater. More unexpectedly, addressing Russian readers, Sartre offers a much more positive assessment of Jean Vilar’s Théâtre National Populaire than he ever formulated in France. In short, beyond their content, these interviews help us appreciate even more the importance of the situation shaping Sartre’s pronouncements at any given moment.

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Modernity, Ḥadāthā, and Modernité in the Works of Abdallah Laroui

Conceptual Translation and the Politics of Historicity

Nils Riecken

The puzzle this article examines is how one can study the concept of modernity within the history of its universalization as a process of translation. For this purpose, I look at how the contemporary Moroccan historian and intellectual Abdallah Laroui has critically engaged with the history, politics, and epistemology of translating modernity (Arabic ḥadāthā, French modernité) into his intellectual and political setting of Morocco, North Africa, and the Middle East during and after the colonial period. I read him as making a critical intervention into existing modes of timing and spacing the concept of modernity and, thus, what I describe as the politics of historicity. In conclusion, I make a methodological plea for framing the history of concepts across political borders in terms of translational practices.

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Fragile Transfers

Index Insurance and the Global Circuits of Climate Risks in Senegal

Sara Angeli Aguiton

In recent years, Senegal’s developed a program of index insurance to cover farmers from economic losses due to drought. I investigate this emerging market in light of Jane Guyer’s question: “What is a ‘risk’ as a transacted ‘thing’?” To grasp the social practices required to make “rainfall deficit” a transferable risk, I explore the climate and market infrastructure that brings it into existence and follows actors who function as brokers allowing the risk to circulate from Senegalese fields to the global reinsurance industry. I show that the strategies set up to convince farmers to integrate a green and rational capitalist management of climate risks are very fragile, and the index insurance program only endures because it is embedded in the broader political economy of rural development based on debt and international aid.

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Hesitant Recognition

Toward a Crop Ontology among Sugar Beet Farmers in Western Poland

Dong Ju Kim

In response to climate change, sustainability has become the keyword for exploring alternative ways of cultivation in different parts of the world. However, local farmers still understand these sustainable alternatives in terms of soil nutrients and their absorption by crops. I examine how sugar beet farmers in western Poland read the condition of crops and field conditions, and accordingly try to cope with agricultural droughts in spring and early summer. While they maintain a practical position that is extremely inductivist, they simultaneously allow for symbolic, indexical meanings. These meanings of farming practices are multilayered and evoke relationships, local histories, and traditions. The farmers accept the reality of climate change only hesitantly, and their aspiration of gaining recognition in Europe has only started to penetrate the multilayered indexical meanings of farming practices.