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Qui Parle, Volume 29, Number 1, June 2020

Vol. 29 | No. 1 | June 2020


Carceral Entanglement in the Work of Leila Abdelrazaq
Keith P. Feldman

This essay considers how the graphic arts of Leila Abdelrazaq give form to Palestine’s contemporary worldliness and to the worldliness of Palestinian difference. It argues that Abdelrazaq’s work illustrates the entanglement of diaspora, memory, and futurity within the interconnected structures of enclosure and expulsion.

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Indefinite Detention
Judith Butler

Indefinite detention is a legal norm and practice that is increasingly acceptable throughout the world. It consists of arrest and forcible detention without a clear communication of crimes committed, and it can last indefinitely, since it deprives the detained of recourse to courts for review and release. Kafka’s Trial, which brought this kind of legal nightmare into focus, proves relevant for understanding the temporal sequence by which the expectation of justice through law is confounded and negated. Over and against the expectation that a set of legal procedures sequentially followed will deliver a fair verdict, if not justice, Kafka’s reordering of space and time exposes a world in which the allegation becomes punishment and the expected release becomes the renewal of detention itself. The relation between fictional and legal sequence proves salient for understanding the indefinite postponement of justice through law, exposing in the end a form of legal violence indistinguishable from criminality.

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The Late Masterwork of Gilles Deleuze: Linking Style to Method in What Is Philosophy?
Mathias Schönher

This essay proposes that What Is Philosophy? (1991), written in collaboration with Félix Guattari, not only presents a summary of Gilles Deleuze’s late creative period and, to some extent, a recapitulation of his entire oeuvre but also constitutes his third masterwork. The essay begins by tracing Deleuze’s three periods, especially the development of his thought during the last period, and the process of writing his final book. Then it explores the inextricable connection between the method of creation that results from What Is Philosophy? and its stylistic devices. Through its refined composition and succinct prose, the book puts itself at the service of the approach that leads to bringing forth philosophical concepts, and it attunes the reader to the creative activity. Thus, like The Logic of Sense (1969) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980), it forms a masterwork in which Deleuze’s philosophical efforts that spanned a whole period are condensed and mobilized such that while reading one finds oneself exposed to these efforts and is forced to continue them.

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Critical (Dis)pleasure
Bruno Penteado

Recent developments in literary studies that can be grouped under the umbrella term postcritique purport to restore, in our disciplinary practices, attention to affect, pleasure, and attachment, which postcritics believe the critical tradition has silenced and neglected. Postcritics depict critique as a violent hermeneutic practice of excavating a text’s hidden truths. This essay claims that postcritique’s understanding of critical theory is misguided and caricatural. By focusing on key thinkers of the critical tradition, particularly French philosophers, it argues that hermeneutic openness and nonmastery is a constant in many critical writings—and so is the question of pleasure. It suggests that many of postcritique’s propositions, which postcritics affirm are innovative and claim critique has disavowed, have always been a recurring topic in the work of critical theorists.

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Blanchot and Lautréamont
William S. Allen

Blanchot’s readings of Lautréamont are among the most important writings on this challenging author, and they are also crucial for the development of his own thinking, but they have never been discussed in depth. This essay surveys the whole range of Blanchot’s writings on Lautréamont and shows how they constitute the first considered attempt within his thinking to examine the notions of the fantastic and the image in relation to the experience of metaphor. This survey not only enables a renewed understanding of the significance of Lautréamont’s writings but also reveals how Blanchot transforms the Hegelian thinking of experience by way of its passage through literature.

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I Assure You, We Have the Strictest Alien Act Possible!: The Emergence of the Concept of “Risky Immigrants” in Denmark
Kaspar Villadsen

This essay tells the story of how Denmark transformed from a very welcoming and tolerant country to one whose prime ministers reassure its residents, “We have the strictest Alien Act possible.” The approach is genealogical, following Michel Foucault, and the empirical focal point is Danish immigration policies as they evolved from the late 1960s until today. This development culminates in the emergence of the “restrictionist policy paradigm,” which associates immigrants with risks like economic burdens, high unemployment levels, crimes, undemocratic attitudes, and the development of ghettos. From the perspective of the welfare project, the immigrants became “risky” as they were profiled in terms of their higher probability of developing suboptimal or dysfunctional behaviors that endanger the welfare state. The Danish experience is analyzed from a broader thesis on the welfare state as caught up between welfarist universality, industrial-capitalist expansion, and sovereign territoriality. Drawing on Foucault’s work, these different logics of statehood are analyzed as evolving constellations of law, discipline, and security. Danish immigration policy mutates over time so that policies of security premised on free circulation gradually give way to discipline and legal sovereignty that block, filter, and segregate immigrants. Alongside this movement toward territorial enclosure, the discursive construction of the immigrant changes fundamentally.

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    Review Essays

Mind the Gap: Islam, Secularism, and the Law
Rajbir Singh Judge

A review of Stephens, Julia, Governing Islam: Law, Empire, and Secularism in Modern South Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018); Messick, Brinkley, Sharīʿa Scripts: A Historical Anthropology (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018); and Asad, Talal, Secular Translations: Nation-State, Modern Self, and Calculative Reason (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018).

Read now at Duke University Press

Pact with the People?: Popular Genres, Public Concerns, and the Politics of Representation
Jonas Teupert

A review of Matala de Mazza, Ethel, Der populäre Pakt: Verhandlungen der Moderne zwischen Operette und Feuilleton (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 2018).

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Cover: Leila Abdelrazaq, A Map of Palestine, 2015. More info. 

Volume 29.1 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.