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DO YOU INTEND TO DIE: Lauren Berlant on Intimacy after Suicide

Lauren Berlant, Mar 4th

In 2009, following the global economic crisis, suicide was the tenth-highest cause of death in the United States. In a series of posts from that year, entitled ‘Do You Intend to Die,’ Berlant moves between the fidiciary suicides, the ‘Campaign against Living Miserably’ programme, and encounters with suicide or self-undermining behaviour amongst personal acquaintances. She investigates the stakes of intimacy in the face of suicidal intent: asking how we might create or curate a politics of mattering from within an overwhelming or precarious state of living.

Recent articles

There will be blood: Expecting violence in Egypt, 2011-2013

Samuli Schielke, Feb 3rd

What in 2011 was described as Egypt’s peaceful revolution (which it never really was), two years later resulted in a counter-revolution that has left behind a trail of violence, death, polarisation and hatred. Trying to understand how it could happen, Samuli Schielke looks at the moral dimension of political violence, grounded as it is in the desire to fight evil by all means necessary and to establish purity and clarity – and purity is a very dirty business.

The Scourge of Caste

Arundhati Roy, Jan 17th

Arundhati Roy recounts the political legacy of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, a leader of India’s national movement, and Gandhi’s greatest political adversary. Roy argues that Gandhi was in fact a “great defender” of the caste system, “a system that can only be maintained through the egregious application of violence”, and which is “the engine that runs India”.

To Take Without Echo: A Brief History of Disappearance

Daniel Macmillen Voskoboynik, Jan 13th

Following the abduction of 43 students in Iguala, Mexico in September, Daniel Macmillen Voskoboynik sketches a short history of the practice of enforced disappearance, inquiring into why governments vanish their citizens.

“A Pale Imitation: the new Turing biopic is a far cry from the fascinating truth”

Annie Burman, Jan 10th

One reason why Turing’s life is so convenient for biographical fiction is that with very little effort, it is possible to find a theme, a red thread, and not one but a number of major resolutions. There is no need to change things around, or to exclude large parts of his life in order to get a good story out of it. Reality outshines fiction at every turn.

Silicon Valley Might Be Sexist, But Its Feminism Is Not The Answer

Frederike Kaltheuner, Dec 18th

Tech companies and their predominately-male-geek employees have joined the ranks of the most powerful global shapers of our future. Does a breed of feminism that equates a corporate career with emancipation really stand to curb or critique this trend? Would the world be a better place if it were run by Sheryl Sandbergs rather than Mark Zuckerbergs?

O mother, mother what have you done?

Jane Haynes, Dec 13th

Reflecting on years of experience as a psychotherapist, Jane Haynes draws on a wide range of sources from film and literature to reflect on mothers and mother-figures. She also gives voice to some of her own patients, offering unique glimpses of the psychological significance of mothers.

Empathy After The Act of Killing

Rafael Dernbach, Dec 9th

A conversation with filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer about his work and the role of empathy in confronting the spectres of our past.

Co-operation

Patrick Bateson, Nov 20th

“The ideal of social cooperation has come to be treated as high-sounding flabbiness,” Pat Bateson writes, “while individual selfishness is regarded as the natural and sole basis for a realistic approach to life. Competition is now widely seen as the mainspring of human activity. The process can be reversed if we work actively against a style of thought that places all the emphasis on confrontation. If we don’t, the building up of enormous arsenals of weapons will lead inexorably to the use of those arms in some moment of blind irrationality.”

The Allure of Real Work

Tom Barker, Nov 4th

While some might celebrate the decline of hard physical labour across “post-industrial” service-based economies, one of the prices we have paid has been greater uncertainty and anxiety about the ultimate worth of the work we do. Tom Barker questions the assumptions underlying talk of “non-jobs” and “bullshit jobs”, and in doing so asks us to interrogate our own definitions of what constitutes “real” work.

What’s food got to do with it?

Tobias Haeusermann, Oct 29th

The bulk of most nutritional science is methodologically flawed and yet continues to cause many unnecessary anxieties about our food consumption. Tobias Haeusermann argues that it is time that we shift our attention to the socioeconomic conditions that give rise to different food habits, and the privilege required to “eat well”.

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African Dawn

Mary SerumagaFeb 10

A long history of coups d’état dating back to the respective Independence days, have not delivered political or economic stability in sub-Saharan African. Mary Serumaga argues that the pattern is for an elite class of politicians and their collaborators capturing the organs of state for their own benefit and to the detriment of what are variously called the urban and rural poor living on a dollar a day.

Speaking of African Politics, Without the Politics

Annabelle WittelsNov 27

Let’s talk about ethnic conflict and national politics. Take the example of one country, where an ethnic group makes up 80% of the population, yet the remaining four ethnic groups exert considerable political influence. These minority ethnic groups together have …

We Want Free Higher Education: What Our Parents Had

Eric LybeckNov 19

Eric Lybeck sympathizes with the thousands of students who are going to be on the streets of London today protesting for ‘Free Education’. While declining public funding for universities and student debt are serious problems, Lybeck argues that the root of the injustice is not that wealth defines who can go to university or that working class students suffer over proportionately from paying back the debt. For him, the problem is that future generations will have to pay for what we think is a collective good.

Palestine and the Slow Burn of Anti-Colonial Resistance

Lorna Finlayson and Clément MouhotOct 27

Clément Mouhot and Lorna Finlayson reflect on the enduring crisis in Palestine and respond to critics who say that singling out Israel is “misguided”, “myopic”, or “immoral”.

What form does laughter take? Disturbing Reactions to Kara Walker’s Newest Piece

Kyle StonemanSep 24

Kara Walker’s installation at the Domino Sugar Refinery has received a lot of attention, much of it problematic. It is Walker’s ironic enlistment of racist stereotypes that gives her work its power, but this can also lead to inappropriate laughter and racist reactions. Kyle Stoneman explores how we tackle race and female bodies in a museum setting, looking at the installation and its impact.

What does it mean to have a right when you don’t know what a right is?

Nikita SimpsonSep 19

The Indian state has made significant headway in both welfare policies and neo-liberal economic development. They are well on the way to creating citizens out of the masses of people. In the column ‘Terra Nullius’, Nikita Simpson questions the narrative government officials spin particularly with regards to women and how in everyday life women are often not the empowered ‘nexus of rights’ the officials imagine.

Heroin and the stainless steel plane of the spoon

Johannes LenhardSep 16

In the Flummox-column, Johannes Lenhard narrates Michael’s story begging, scoring and shooting heroin on the streets of London. Michael is an addict who cares for his drug, but he has reasons for this: on the stainless steel plane of the spoon, the drug cares back – something that he was denied all his life.

Last Night of the What? The Proms are already over.

Anita DattaSep 13

The Last Night of the Proms rests in prime position in the British cultural calendar, but in many ways it is a betrayal of everything The Promenade Concerts stand for, argues Anita Data in the Sound World column.

Radical Feminism, Transgender Issues, and Phenomenology

Sarah Stein LubranoAug 24

A subset of radical feminists argue that trans people’s claims about their gender are invalid, but these radical feminists need to take a harder look at the epistemological basis of their worldview.

Jeremy Deller Confronts the William Morris Myth: Problems of Biography and Image

Kim Clayton-GreeneAug 22

William Morris is celebrated as a British hero, a craftsman who fought for equality. Jeremy Deller’s ‘We Sit Starving Amidst Our Gold’ celebrates and queries this legacy, summoning Morris to throw Roman Abramovich’s yacht into the Venetian lagoon. Kim Clayton-Greene looks at Morris’s biography and popular image, and the ways in which his intent and impact have at times conflicted.