A journal of critical
humanities and
social sciences,
since 1985.


︎Visit Ki, a new project
overseen by the Editorial
Board of Qui Parle

  Copyright © 2023 Editorial Board, Qui Parle
Qui Parle, Volume 26, Number 2, December 2017

Vol. 26 | No. 2 | December 2017

The Time of My Life
Avital Ronell

. . . A period of mourning has kept me away from music, so my head fills with static bombs instead. I usually like to work with some sort of sonic signature. A subtle incentive laying down a basic beat, musical accompaniment allows me to pummel at a stubborn knot in life. In his work on cryptonymy, Laurence Rickels has claimed that background music rings a death knell. That may be so. I’m always hitching a ride on the death drive—the flex of my drivenness—a sure fire way to language. Doing without the rhythmic support that music supplies has presented complications in the mostly monogamous relation to writing. Ach! Despite my willingness to integrate silence and random noise into phrasal regimes, I become a bit sissyish when drafts recede so that nothing on the order of language assertion comes my way. Plunk, plunk. OK, so I’m still learning. As panic shivers through me: muteness happens.

Read now at Duke University Press

When Actions Speak Louder...
Marianne Constable

The use of the saying “Actions speak louder than words” renders problematic both political and legal judgments. With its often excruciating attention to language, law in particular insists on maintaining relations between speech and reality or between words and the truths that they promise in the action of speaking. In the context of President Trump’s repudiation of words, claims that actions speak louder than words threaten the possibilities of law, insofar as law relies on language.

Read now at Duke University Press

On Proust and Talking to Yourself
Michael Lucey

This article uses the writings of Erving Goffman, M. M. Bakhtin, and Edward Sapir to pose some questions about what is happening when spoken language is produced. In particular, it looks at certain complexities of the partial roles of “animator,” “author,” and “principal,” into which Goffman proposed breaking down the role of speaker. It suggests that implicit in Goffman’s essay “Footing” is the possibility that even the analytic roles of animator, author, and principal will not be fine-grained enough to capture what happens through language use. This possibility is then pursued through a look at three scenes from Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu in which the event of someone talking to themselves is represented and then analyzed, notably to reveal that it is not so easy to assume that the speech authored within any single mind-space is owned by the person associated with that mind.

Read now at Duke University Press

Who Speaks? Thirtieth Anniversary Dossier: Interventions
Qui Parle’s Editorial Board, with: 

Jared Sexton, Jean-Luc Nancy, J. Hillis Miller, Lisa Myōbun Freinkel, Karen Jacobs, John Culbert, Alexander García Düttmann, Michael Naas, Lisa Samuels, Jeff Fort, Ara H. Merjian, Stuart J. Murray and Sara Kendall, Gerhard Richter, Karen Feldman, Alphonso Lingis, Paola Bacchetta, Marjorie Perloff, James Martel, Eli Friedlander, Wayne Koestenbaum, Simon Porzak, John Brenkman, Joseph Vogl, Mieke Bal, Christopher Bracken, Stefanos Geroulanos, Martin Crowley, Michael Marder, Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda

It’s our thirtieth anniversary here at Qui Parle. Wondering how to honor this milestone—in a year that gave more reason for outcry than celebration—we turned to our title as a guiding frame: who speaks? Formulated as a question in the first weeks of 2017, this was, most immediately, a turn to thinking about speech today, be it free, double, or squarely violent. At the same time, it was a self-referential move. Who speaks when Qui Parle speaks? From its beginnings, Qui Parle has been a deeply collective project, with an astoundingly rapid generational turnover, and to capture it in its broadest essence would prove nearly impossible. None of us currently on the board of editors has been around for more than five years, so in a sense, we approach this anniversary with something of a short-term memory. But perhaps these shortcomings are the best testament to pay to the future of this collectivity, that it might keep growing, expanding, giving voice. We decided to reach back in time, offering up the limits of our collective memory as the catalyst for reunion, and gathering past voices from across and throughout these thirty years to testify as they saw fit to the journal, to speech, or simply to use this occasion as a timely soapbox.

Read now at Duke University Press


Checkpoint Time
Helga Tawil-Souri

Taking the checkpoint as anthropological site and as a symbol from which to analyze the relationship to time and communication, this article shows how Palestinian temporality is distorted. A detailed description of the temporality engendered in the spaces of the checkpoint—through spaces such as automated turnstiles, constricted corridors, and ever-increasing technologies of separation and surveillance—is combined with an analysis of the spheres of interaction and communication that are possible and impossible within these constrained, and often solitary, spaces. By explaining how time is an important parameter of communicative possibility as well as a situated power dynamic, this article argues that the checkpoint demonstrates Israel’s colonial practice of controlling and erasing Palestinian time. “Checkpoint time” is both the haunting experience inside the checkpoint and the shrinking time and space of Palestine that ultimately expresses the ontological and political insecurity faced by Palestinians.

Read now at Duke University Press

How to Grow out of Nothing: The Afterlife of National Rebirth in Postcolonial Belarus
Serguei Alex. Oushakine

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 unleashed a new wave of decolonization, and throughout the 1990s, the newly independent states spent a lot of time and effort articulating their visions of sovereignty. Unlike neighboring Lithuania, which could turn its brief experience of interwar independence into a paradigmatic model of the postcolonial and postsocialist state, Belarus had to produce its narratives of political independence from scratch. This essay looks closely at the so-called National Rebirth, a vibrant intellectual attempt to elaborate an anticolonial view of the Belarusian past and its postcolonial present, which took place in the 1990s. Framed in negative terms and expressed through gestures of rejection, the Rebirth emerged as a form of apophatic nationalism that envisioned nationhood through an extensive cartography of nonbelonging and self-erasure. Following the key figures of the Rebirth, this essay shows how instances of absence were persistently elaborated, classified, and transformed into genealogies and historiographies; how nothingness was mined as a source of inspiration; and how nonalignment became a strategic choice.

Read now at Duke University Press

Kimberly Juanita Brown

Using a productive deployment of the double elegy, poets Lucille Clifton and June Jordan carve out a space of maternal retrieval to negotiate the loss of their creative yet stifled mothers. In doing so, both writers engender fury as a mechanism of propelled delineation, allowing them to explore the contours of their own artistic ambition, using their mothers as focal points. Embedded in this retrieval is the acknowledgment of suppressed agony both writers recognize as belonging to their mothers. “Furia” positions this acknowledgment at the center of the framework of literary production for Clifton and Jordan, as part of the way they privilege the creative world their mothers produced for them.

Read now at Duke University Press

    Literary Works

Pierre Alferi

Witness statement from Udhayasûriyan Kurmagati, age 47

By the time you notice it, it’s already been there a while. A weight added onto each thing. The fatigue of the legs, the irritation around the neck. And the lightest of sleep. I had to pant while opening a window to suspect it. And to admit it, I had to suffer a startling sweat while standing in line at a peddler’s handcart.

I step out of the line, careful not to brush up against anything, to keep my shirt or pants from coming into further contact with my drenched skin. I can feel fat, warm drops rolling down my temples and neck. A repugnant stream starts to flow down my spine. Symmetrically, sweat runs down to my belly button. I’m even sweating from the crown of my head. Its ridge marks out my watershed...

Read now at Duke University Press

A Prayer for Lim Lee Ching
Jeremy Fernando

Il lit sur mon lit

a phrase that came to me suddenly, in the middle of nowhere

—as I was reading.


Perhaps even   I am always in bed when reading


   regardless of where I am; or even, whenever I read, a he that is me but not I (moi, non je) is in bed . . .

Read now at Duke University Press

Three Poems
Michael D. Snediker

The Ambassadors/Rothko Chapel

My boy blue holds out these hands to show the world we’d broken is different from the one we made I am being eaten alive a maroon throbbing to deeper indigo an arc keeping us from and in ourselves a clearing in the heart of which as Boscovich or Mabel Mercer writes the possibility of nerves re-growing where nerves were needed.

Read now at Duke University Press

    Review Essays

Performing Race, Speaking the Body: On Asian American Performance Studies and Everyday Racializations
Yuhe Faye Wang

A review of Chambers-Letson, Joshua Takano, A Race So Different: Performance and Law in Asian America (New York: New York University Press, 2013), and Kim, Ju Yon, The Racial Mundane: Asian American Performance and the Embodied Everyday (New York: New York University Press, 2015).

Read now at Duke University Press

What About the White People?
Quinn Lester

A review of Cramer, Katherine J., The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), and Gest, Justin, The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).

Read now at Duke University Press

Traces of a Revolution: Reopening the Moment of Contingency in 1979 Iran
Donna Honarpisheh

A review of Ghamari-Tabrizi, Behrooz, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016).

Read now at Duke University Press

Cover: Elisa Giardina Papa, Technologies of Care, 2016. More info.

Volume 26.2 is available at Duke University Press and Project Muse. Qui Parle is edited by an independent group of graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley and published by Duke University Press.