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On Contemporaneity Today

The Concept and its Times

Zsuzsa Baross, Professor Emerita of Cultural Theory at Trent University, Canada, is the author of The Scandal of Disease in Theory and Discourse (University of Amsterdam, 1988), Posthumously: For Jacques Derrida (SAP, 2010), and Encounters: Gérard Titus-Carmel, Jean-Luc Nancy, Claire Denis. She has published a wide number of essays in anthologies and journals, including International Studies in Philosophy, New Literary History and Derrida Today. Recently she has been collaborating and publishing with “Artistic Research”, Orpheus Instituut in Gent, Belgium.


Who are our contemporaries today? Alain Badiou, Jean-Luc Nancy, or Giorgio Agamben, or the already neglected Althusser or Lacoue-Labarthe? From among the thinkers of the last “great generation” of the past century, who are the precursors whose voice is strong enough to speak to our present today? when the nature of time itself is uncertain: a time of “mutation” (Nancy), a “change of epoch” (Blanchot), an “epoch without an epoch” (Stiegler), or more catastrophically, the time of the geocide (Deguy)? Is it Bataille (Inner Experience) or Blanchot (The Writing of the Disaster) who anticipates the future that is already our present? Or Derrida who announced the unsurpassable dilemma of the law of hospitality? Announced a future to be presented only as a “monstrosity”? Or is it rather Deleuze, whose geo-philosophy already dispenses with the subject, privileges matter over spirit, and subordinates the great movements of peoples and animals – of history and revolution, the political and the social as relative – to the de- re-territorializing powers of the forces of the Earth? Or again, is it not philosophy but rather art that measures up to the intensity of the forces pressing against us in the present? The exhausted prose of Beckett, the broken verse of Celan? The stammer of Artaud?

These are some of the questions that animate the critical reflections in the writing of this first of two volumes that in a fragmented way work toward re-opening the question of contemporaneity today – as exigence, as critical task, and most of all, as a concept that may or may not be still (un)timely or actual or actualizable.


Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-991-3
Paperback Price: £19.95 / $29.95
Release Date: October 2019
   
Page Extent / Format: 80 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No
   
The Concept and its Times is the first of a two-volume publication. The second volume, Art in the time that remains (978-1-84519-992-0), is due March 2020.

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