Published and forthcoming publications. Links [pdf] are generally to my penultimate draft. Please cite only the published version. If you do not have access to a particular article, email me and I will make it available to you.
Spinoza: A Life’s Manual
For the last 340 years, nearly all writing devoted to Spinoza is exegetic. Going against this trend, this project asks instead whether it is possible to turn Spinoza’s writing into an everyday manual for living? The idea that philosophy is a form of self-transformation goes back at least to Cicero who, in his Tusculanae Disputationes, famously put forward a type of philosophy as a medicine for the soul (animi medicina). Spinoza’s disciple, E.W. von Tschirnhaus also argued in his Medicina Mentis that philosophy should be seen as a way of curing the soul. As is well known, Spinoza, who knew Cicero’s work well, also developed a type of philosophy as a way of “improving the understanding and purifying it … so that it may apprehend things without error and in the best possible way.” Taking up such a desire for self-transformation is precisely what is aimed at with this manual: provide a living Spinoza for the everyday.
Curating as Ethics
Everyone nowadays curates images, objects, and sounds through digital or other means and in varying degrees of professionalism. The ever-increasing popularity of this activity has led some to lament that, today, everybody is a curator. Far from simply highlighting our ceaseless superficiality (the next selfie, update, blogged or twitted image pasted onto the constellation of our curated lives) or our increasing dependence on profit-seeking global corporations, this ever-popular activity reveals in fact a much more fundamental human trait. This trait is not to overwhelm the world with an unnecessary surplus of images and meaning, but to ethically share the world, that is, to care for its survival. University of Minnesota Press, Spring 2020, 298pp. ISBN: 9781517908652 Download Introduction here
Visual Cultures as World Forming
How does the world form itself and what is the role of the visual in this formation? Most responses to these questions refer to the rise of what has been called globalization, thus highlighting the acceleration of exchanges, the proliferation of information and communication devices as well as the multiplication of globally circulated goods and images that characterize the world we live in. Visual Cultures as World Forming takes a different approach by focusing on the as yet under-examined modalities of world forming: the relations of bodies and their incestuous intersections. With these modalities, Jean-Paul Martinon and Adnan Madani expose not only how the contemporary imaginary is constructed but also the ways in which we are embodying it. The publication is made of two newly commissioned essays and a conversation. Forthcoming, Sternberg Press, 2020.
After “Rwanda” – Is writing about peace after the Rwandan Genocide self-defeating? Whether it is the intensity of the massacres; the popularity of the genocide; or the imaginary forms of cruelty, however one looks at it, everything in the Rwandan Genocide appears to defy once again the possibility of thinking peace anew. In order to address this problem, this book investigates the ethics of specific French and Rwandese philosophers in order to renew our understanding of peace today. Through this path-breaking investigation, peace no longer stands for an ideal in the future, but becomes a structure of inter-subjectivity that guarantees that the violence of language always prevails over any other form of violence. This book is the very first monograph in philosophy related to the events of 1994 in Rwanda. Rodopi, Summer 2013, 304pp. ISBN: 97890420377113 Download Introduction here Read a review of After “Rwanda” here
The Curatorial – Stop curating! And think what curating is all about. This new collection of 28 essays by leading thinkers, artists, and curators starts from this simple premise: let’s distinguish between ‘curating’ and ‘the curatorial’. If ‘curating’ is a gamut of professional practices for setting up exhibitions, then ‘the curatorial’ explores what takes place on the stage set up, both intentionally and unintentionally, by the curator. It therefore refers not to the staging of an event, but to the event of knowledge itself. In order to start thinking about curating, this book takes an unusual perspective. Instead of relying on conventional art historical narratives (for example: the emergence of independent curatorship, the merging of artistic and curatorial practices, the creation of global curator-authors, or the proliferation of new biennials), this book puts forward a multiplicity of approaches that goes from the anecdotal to the theoretical and from the personal to the philosophical. The Curatorial is a book without compromise: it asks us to think again, fight against the complacency of easy formulations, sweeping art historical generalizations, the sedimentation of ideas and the draw of the sound bite. Curating will not stop, but at least with this book it can begin to allow itself to be challenged by some of the most complex thought of our times. Bloomsbury, October 2013, 250pp. ISBN: 9781472525604 Download Introduction here Read a review of The Curatorial here Read another review of The Curatorial here
The End of Man
The End of Man – This book attempts to address the question of masculinity by revisiting key philosophical concepts in its construction, not in order to re-write or debunk them again, but in order to provide a radically new departure to what masculinity means today. This new departure focuses on an understanding of sexuality and gender that is neither structured in oppositional terms (masculine-feminine, male-female, man-woman) nor in performative terms (for which the opposition remains always secretly in play), but in spatio-temporal terms, that is, in a situation where it is no longer possible to distinguish between gender, space, and time. In doing so, this book doesn’t aim to establish yet another theory within the field of masculism or men’s studies, but to put forward a personal account of how a revised understanding of the relationship between space, time, and gender can thoroughly alter concepts of masculinity and subsequently, virility and patriarchy. Punctum, 2013, 130pp. ISBN: 9780615766782 Read a review of The End of Man here
On Futurity – The times ahead of us, the times that we can sense coming: a promising young horse, the possibilities of a scientific breakthrough, our retirement, our old age, our death. In this conventional sense, futurity is the present space of the future, what allows us to “gaze” or “peep” into futurity, what forces us to “proceed carefully” or “throw oneself” into futurity, all the while knowing that this gazing, peeping, or careful process is only that afforded by our present situation. The meaning of the term is therefore unambiguous: that which can be identified here and now as the future. None of these connotations are used in this book. The title of this book is simply a deliberate mistranslation of a French verbal expression: à-venir [“to-come”]. This deliberate mistranslation is intended to give an English word a new connotation: futurity signifies here something that no futurologist, clairvoyant, or gambler could possibly forecast: that is, what can never be reduced to the simplicity of a future present. Palgrave, 2007, 224pp. ISBN: 9780230506848 Download Book here Read a review of On Futurity here