Violence: Humans in Dark Times
In a series of penetrating conversations, Brad Evans and Natasha Lennard talk with a wide range of cutting-edge thinkers to explore the role of violence in politics, culture, the media, public speech, and against the environment. "To bring out the best of us," writes Evans, "we have to confront the worst of what humans are capable of doing to one another. In short, there is a need to confront the intolerable realities of violence in this world." First published in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Review of Books, these lively, in-depth exchanges among historians, theorists, and artists offer a timely and bracing look at how the increasing expression and acceptance of violence—in all strata of society—has become a defining feature of our times.
Contributors include in order of appearance: Simon Critchley, George Yancy, Zygmunt Bauman, Adrian Parr, Henry A. Giroux, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Nicholas Mirzoeff, Simona Forti, Bracha L. Ettinger, Cary Wolfe, Richard J. Bernstein, Moira Weigel, Oliver Stone, Gottfried Helnwein, Alfredo Jaar, Neo Muyanga, Tom McCarthy, John Akomfrah, David Theo Goldberg, Christopher Alden, Jake Chapman, Brian Massumi, Elaine Scarry, Erin Manning, Michael J. Shapiro, Allen Feldman, Mickey Mod, & J. Jack Halberstram.
Violence is a phenomenal anthology... Each description of violence, real and metaphorical, if read alone, outside the anthology, is credible and even gratifying as a piece of literature. However, the anthology aggregates the scholarly insights and expert intuitions to forge a sum much larger than the parts"
NY Journal of Books
This is a book that will make everyone feel clever. Reflections on violence, both actual, and the possibility of, mediating so much of social interaction, also makes for critical reading. The range of interviews with leading academics, to filmmakers and artists, is impressive, at once immediate and relevant, but also profoundly philosophical. More essentially, though, the conversations underline the need and suggest ways to resist and organize in a visionary way, in the extraordinary times we live in.
In Violence, Brad Evans and Natasha Lennard have created, alongside their interview subjects, a kaleidoscopic exploration of the concept of violence, in terrains expected and not, in prose taut and unexpectedly gorgeous. Their philosophical rigor provides the reader with an intellectual arsenal against the violence of the current moment.
Standing on their own, the interview subjects featured in Violence: Humans In Dark Times might be identified as the foremost intellectuals, artists, and activists engaged with questions of how violence moves, acts, and is witnessed in the world. But summoned together in this collection by two political thinkers distinguished by both their unmatched intellects and their willingness to deploy those intellects in acts of service rather than performance, their voices materialize as a creative space large and fertile enough to lay the groundwork for an actionable hope. The result is a groundbreaking testament to the vital role of the abstract and the theoretical for understanding the depth to which violence is entrenched in human experience and consciousness and to the necessity of empathetic intellectual stewards like Lennard and Evans to direct such understanding into transformative action. We would be wise to read this collection with a similar eye toward service, and in so doing, open ourselves up to the rare mercy of no longer having to stand on our own