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Qui Parle, Volume 27, Number 2, December 2018

Vol. 27 | No. 2 | December 2018


The Politics of Fiction
Jacques Rancière

This essay uses constructions of avowed fiction from modern Western literature and criticism (Erich Auerbach, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner) to question the sense of reality constructed by dominant social discourses that claim to be the mere expression of reality. Avowed fiction has in fact an “epistemological” privilege: it is not obliged to deny its fictional character. It must build and make visible these modes of presentation of situations and the connection of events that appear elsewhere to be imposed by the very obviousness of the real. In such a way it can better teach us the multiple ways of creating a sense of reality and their links with the forms of the social order.

Read now at Duke University Press

Two Incompletes
Thomas Schestag

This essay gathers two contributions to conferences or panels delivered in 2015 and 2016. The liminal figure relating both incompletes is the Sammler, as discussed in two texts by Walter Benjamin: “Eduard Fuchs, der Sammler und der Historiker” (“Eduard Fuchs: Collector and Historian”) and “Ich packe meine Bibliothek aus: Eine Rede über das Sammeln” (“Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Collecting”).

Read now at Duke University Press

Lively Up Your Ontology: Bringing Deleuze into adrā’s Modulated Universe
Laura U. Marks

This essay brings a process approach to the One-Many problem as treated in Gilles Deleuze’s thought, by focusing on the work of Ṣadr al-Dīn Muhammad al-Shīrāzī (Shiraz, 1571–1640). First acknowledging Avicenna’s concept of the univocity of being (attributed to John Duns Scotus) that influenced Deleuze, this essay examines how later Islamic philosophy, only recently transmitted to the West, provides methods for a lively process-based ontology. It compares Ṣadrā’s process cosmology to those of Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz and Alfred North Whitehead and examines his critique of abstraction in light of tashkīk, systematic ambiguity or modulation. The essay argues that Ṣadrā’s influence can make generative contributions to Deleuzean thought in terms of process realism, tashkīk as disjunctive synthesis, immanent causality, singularity, and an optimistic, world-oriented approach. Ṣadrā’s work allows us to rethink the boundary between philosophy and theology, and the essay proposes means to de-transcendentalize religious philosophy, if necessary.

Read now at Duke University Press

The X of Representation: Rereading Stuart Hall
David Marriott

This essay is a study of the notion of representation—its relation to difference, politics, diaspora, otherness, truth, and doxa—within Stuart Hall’s work. The reevaluation of this concept in terms of dialectics and différance, or of blackness and innocence, is shown to be an abiding preoccupation of Hall’s work. In particular, because blackness (or its notion) is never innocent, this essay explores the consequences of a certain undecidability that attends any encounter between representation and difference. And it is this X—its shaping of black meaning and life—that alerts us to an unsettling tension in Hall’s work that no knowledge or encounter can fill and that leads to a purely negative reassessment of the racial imperatives of certain truths.

Read now at Duke University Press

    Friendship: Correspondences (Dossier)

Jessica Ruffin

Perhaps Adorno and Kracauer were more than friends, at least for a time, but their letters are where this project Friendship: Correspondences began. While the above excerpt is quite raw in its tone, other letters by “Friedel” and “Teddie,” as they called each other, are more scholarly—tinged with a cool professionalism that requires us never-intended readers to sense the pain and longing beneath and between the lines. All of their correspondences, though, are the between of these thinkers’ finished and published works. Friendship, it becomes clear, is often an unseen condition of scholarly and creative production—until you die and become an archive, that is. Through this dossier’s exchanges and correspondences, we seek to make friendship visible for the living...

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Can a Dog Really Be a Man’s Best Friend?: An Exchange between Humans
Thomas Laqueur; Alexander Nehamas

This essay is an exchange between friends and scholars Thomas Laqueur and Alexander Nehamas. Laqueur offers a number of possible answers to the question “Why is a dog a man’s best friend?” as he explicates and analyzes a varied historical record of archaeological evidence, philosophy, art, and literature. Laqueur builds on Aristotle’s conception of friendship as he explores what types of friendships we humans have with dogs and how such relationships may benefit both species. Nehamas responds to Laqueur’s text and Aristotle on philia as he traces the limits of human relationships with dogs as well as human friends.

Read now at Duke University Press

How Do You Draw a Frog?: A Visual Conversation
Amy Fung-yi Lee; Kiran Chandra

I opened up this project to Kiran with a rather structured idea about process—a blind drawing game whose rules resembled Exquisite Corpse. When I work on my own, I usually work within boundaries that describe the images and methods I believe suit me. With Kiran, I started simply by putting pencil to paper next to a friend I know, who loves drawing as much as I do...

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“A Picture of Peace”: Friendship in Interwar Pacific Women’s Internationalism
Courtney Sato

During the interwar period, internationalists declared Hawai‘i the “new Geneva” of the Pacific: a locus for regional diplomacy, social reform, and cross-cultural exchange. This article examines the Pan-Pacific Women’s Association (PPWA) as part of the emerging Honolulu-based Pan-Pacific internationalist movement. The PPWA enacted social reform grounded in ideals of antiracism, affective connection, and cross-cultural exchange. The article recuperates “friendship” in two ways: first, as a fundamental tenet of Pacific interwar internationalist praxis, and second, as an analytic attuned to internationalism’s entanglements with empire, race, gender, and sexuality. Despite the PPWA’s progressive antiracist liberal cosmopolitanism, the ideology and practice of international and interracial friendship often consolidated, rather than dismantled, hierarchies of race, nationality, class, gender, and sexuality.

Read now at Duke University Press

Between Friends
Jessica Ruffin; Simon Stirner

In this experimental essay authors and friends Jessica Ruffin and Simone Stirner explore the question of friendship through a dialogic exchange, engaging with friendship as a theoretical concept alongside their own personal histories and relationships. Emails exchanged beneath and between the dialogue lay bare the various registers of friendship and collaboration.

Read now at Duke University Press

    Review Essay

Staging the Speculative: On Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140
Spencer Adams

A review of Robinson, Kim Stanley, New York 2140 (New York: Orbit Books, 2017).

Read now at Duke University Press

Cover: Kiran Chandra and Amy Fung-yi Lee, How Do You Draw a Frog?, 2018. See corresponding article in this issue for more info.

Volume 27.2 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.