The International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP) is pleased to announce the inaugural issue of Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory, a peer-reviewed, open access online journal with the aim of foregrounding the global reach and form of contemporary critical theory. The journal will be published three times a year.
Critical Times seeks to reflect on and facilitate forms of transnational solidarity that draw upon critical theory and political practice from various world regions. Calling into question hemispheric epistemologies in order to revitalize left critical thought for these times, the journal stages encounters between critical theory and related traditions of critique. It hopes to redress missed opportunities for critical dialogue between the Global South and Global North and to generate contacts across the current divisions of knowledge and languages in the South and across the peripheries. Critical Times publishes essays, interviews, dialogues, dispatches, visual art, and various other platforms for critical reflection, engaging with social and political theory, literature, philosophy, art criticism, and other fields within the humanities and social sciences.
In the words of the journal’s former editor Juan Obarrio, “[the] inaugural issue of Critical Times takes the pulse of the current global political condition, engaging with contexts at once marked by the crisis of liberal democratic regimes and the emergence of new authoritarian political and cultural formations. Some of the essays … analyze the sudden consolidation of right-wing populisms, their underlying totalitarian undercurrents, and the attendant shattering of the political and juridical regimes of truth that held sway until recently. Other contributions aim at exploring the popular potential for progressive forms of governance on the left, observing its current achievements and pitfalls, or seeking radical precedents in the historical past.”
In “Counter-Critical Theory,” Bernard Harcourt seeks to further distance critical theory from positivist assumptions to allow for a re-examination of how power circulates. In “Neoliberalism’s Frankenstein,” Wendy Brown reflects on the recent histories of neoliberalism, nihilism, and “repressive desublimation” that have generated the force and legitimacy of today’s Euro-Atlantic right-wing political formations. In “Preliminary Thoughts on Left Governmentality,” Stathis Gourgouris seeks a way around the impasse of left populism. In “Year One: Reflections on Turkey’s Second Founding and the Politics of Division,” Banu Bargu analyzes the remaking of Turkey’s contemporary polity in the wake of the coup attempt in July of 2016. Nandini Sundar considers how in contemporary India, the operations of both procedural and substantive democracy render the lives of many citizens increasingly precarious. Éric Alliez and Maurizio Lazzarato take up once again the reversal of the Clausewitzian formula by Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari in the 1970s, in “Clausewitz and la pensée 68.” In “Who’s Afraid of the Imperative Mandate?” Massimiliano Tomba asks us to reconsider the insurgent legacy of the imperative mandate as we seek left alternatives to representative democracy and the nation-state.
In the artistic interventions collected in this issue, the Raqs Media Collective reflects on an artwork they assembled on the empty and silent dockyards in Liverpool in the early 2000s; Fiamma Montezemolo’s video-essay “Traces” reflects on border life between the United States and Mexico; and photographs of children in the West Bank and Gaza in Alessandra Sanguinetti’s series “Enclosed” explore how these children survive, love, and dream in the face of daily danger. The issue also includes three poems from César Vallejo’s collection Spain, Take this Cup from Me, with an introduction by Gabriela Nouzeilles that emphasizes the continued salience of Vallejo’s poetics in the present.
In addition to these essays, poems, and artworks, the issue features a special section that gathers activist texts and theoretical reflections on the International Women’s Strike of March 8, 2017. Contributors from Turkey, Argentina, Poland, and Italy consider the strike’s implications and effects, emphasizing the ways in which it both speaks to and spurs a radical re-politicization of feminism. Texts by Rita Segato and Françoise Vergès provide critical frameworks for understanding this process. The special section thus foregrounds the urgency and the promise of a feminism that refuses racism, capitalist exploitation, environmental depredation, and state violence.
Issue 2 of Critical Times will be devoted to the critical tasks of the university and higher education in a global frame, and will feature a special section on student movements and protests. Future issues will address populism and democracy and critical memory in the political afterlife of violence. Like our inaugural issue, forthcoming issues of the journal will consider activisms in various global regions.
Critical Times uses Open Journal Systems (OJS), an open source platform for online publishing created by the Public Knowledge Project (PKP). The journal’s editors thank the PKP staff for their generous support with web design and development.