Saturday, March 13, 2010

"My goal in this short essay is not the retelling of intellectual history.

Rather, it is to contribute to a discussion regarding a very specific, very political question: How today, in what intellectually critical idiom, might a global Left learn to speak together? In this context, intellectual history undergoes a transfiguration, no longer a story of specific civilizational continuities, be they Wester or Arabic or Islamic, but an "archaeology of knowledge," to use Foucalt's term, of a present global possibility. In the language of Walter Benjamin, we are looking for Urforms of the present, genealogical lineages that would guide us in articulating a critical discourse adequate to the demands of a global public sphere, in which the hegemony of the colonizing discourses has been shaken so that all criticism must be double critique. At the same time, if a new, global Left is to matter politically, it needs, as Sharabi writes, to "go beyond the negative," rising creatively above critique - without, however, falling into a new dogmatism - a tall order indeed. [12]
-Susan Buck-Morss, "Can There Be a Global Left?," in Thinking Past Terror: Islamism and Critical Theory on the Left, p. 100-101

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