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Anthony Alessandrini


Introduction: Remembering Barbara Harlow

[Barbara Harlow speaking in 2012. Image via YouTube.]

In the opening pages of her 1996 book After Lives: Legacies of Revolutionary Writing, a book that focuses on Ghassan Kanafani, Roque Dalton, and Ruth First—all of them revolutionary writers, all of them assassinated—Barbara Harlow notes that all three of these writers were also “committed critics…at a time and place when criticism and commitment often challenged each other’s practices.” She goes on to suggest that “in their own work, as in their persistent example,” ...

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Rescuing the Revolution from Its Outcome

[Cover of Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi,

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part two of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi’s Foucault in Iran: ...

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The ‘Arab Spring’ Never Happened (in English)

To investigate the trials and tribulations of the phrase “Arab Spring” for English-language audiences since 2010, it may be useful to start with a Google search—or, rather, a quick history of Google search results. If one looks at the top results for English-language searches using the term “Arab Spring” from 2010-2012, here is what you get:   A few things jump out, foremost among them the celebratory tone, accompanied by the desire to locate and attribute the ...

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The MLA and BDS—or, Comedy and Resistance

[Still image from

This weekend, the Modern Language Association's (MLA) Delegate Assembly voted against a detailed, closely-argued, and voluminously documented resolution to support the boycott of Israeli academic institutions (79 for, 113 against). A few minutes later, the same body proceeded to pass a brief, four-paragraph anti-boycott resolution (101 for, 93 against), which did little more than assert that “the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel ...

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Internationalism after Trumpism

[Image via Wikipedia]

In the interest of full disclosure: on 8 November, Election Day in the United States, I wrote a short piece intended to be part of the roundup of responses to the elections by Jadaliyya co-editors (if you have not read this excellent set of reflections yet, they can be found here). I sent off my neat thousand words around 7:30 on the night of the elections, and then settled in to watch the results. A few hours later, I wrote a slightly worried but not yet definitive email to ...

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Humanism and Its Others

[Banksy's Armoured Peace Dove, West Bank, Palestine, 2007. Image by eddiedangerous on Flickr.]

Who could possibly be against humanism? Wouldn’t this be tantamount to being against humanity—that is, being against oneself? This all depends, of course, on whether you have had the chance to count among those who are considered to be “human” in the first place—or, to put it in the terms of contemporary protests in the United States and elsewhere, whether you are one whose life is seen to matter. The critique of humanism that has emerged in the late twentieth and early ...

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Filming Revolution: An Interview with Alisa Lebow

[Image from the

[Alisa Lebow, a filmmaker and film scholar who teaches at the University of Sussex, is the Creator/Director/Producer/Writer of Filming Revolution, an interactive data-base documentary archive about independent and documentary filmmaking in Egypt since the revolution, which was launched in October 2015.] Anthony Alessandrini (AA): Could you talk a bit about what made you put together this project: when did you decide to set Filming Revolution in motion, how did the specific ...

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Of Shadows and Solidarity

[Cover of Keith P. Feldman,

Keith P. Feldman, A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015. In July 2014, at the height of the most recent Israeli military assault upon Gaza, a major rally was held in New York City—in defense of Israel. “United We Stand with Israel” attracted major figures in city, state, and national politics, the large majority of them progressive Democrats, who offered fiery speeches affirming Israel’s right to ...

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After the Elections: Solidarities Old and New

[Poster created by the the Palestine Solidarity Committee of South Africa. Image via Wikimedia Commons.]

It is no exaggeration to say that some of the most positive assessments of the recent election results in Israel have come from within the Palestine solidarity movement. “Positive” is, of course, not quite the right word, since no one serious about justice in Palestine would suggest that there is any bright side to the fact that Israeli voters rewarded Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party for a campaign that was deeply, viciously, and explicitly racist even by the degraded ...

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On the BDS Blacklist

[This is a slightly revised version of comments presented as part of the event “Palestine Solidarity: A Faculty Roundtable and Student Q & A,” held at the CUNY Graduate Center on 17 October. The discussion was organized by a group of students involved with a resolution currently before the Doctoral Student Council at the Graduate Center, endorsing the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. I want to dedicate my remarks to these courageous students, who are engaged in ...

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New Texts Out Now: Anthony Alessandrini, Frantz Fanon and the Future of Cultural Politics

[Cover of Anthony C. Alessandrini,

Anthony C. Alessandrini, Frantz Fanon and the Future of Cultural Politics: Finding Something Different. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Anthony Alessandrini (AA): This book started as a way to bring together and expand on a lot of pre-existing work I had been doing on the life and work of Frantz Fanon. As I worked on the book, though, I came to realize that the larger topic I was dealing with was the question of how to ...

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Do Not Compel Me to Sing

[Still image from

I Left My Shoes in Istanbul, directed by Nigol Bezjian. Lebanon/Turkey, 2013. Nigol Bezjian’s I Left My Shoes in Istanbul begins with its protagonist protesting that he has no desire to go on the journey that lies at the heart of the film. It ends with the haunting voice of a singer, begging the listener, “Do not implore me, I will not sing.” Between these two attempts to escape from a story that nevertheless must be told, Bezjian presents us with a vision that is deeply ...

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On Not Despising the Present: Some Notes on Faris Giacaman’s 'The Sadness of Post-Militance'

[Detail from the cover of Elias Khoury,

A Brechtian maxim: “Don’t start from the good old things but the bad new ones.” — Walter Benjamin, “Conversations with Brecht”[1] You have no right to despise the present. — Charles Baudelaire, quoted in Michel Foucault, “What Is Enlightenment?”[2] I was quite moved by Faris Giacaman’s recent article “The Sadness of Post-Militance: Some Reflections on Brown University’s ‘New Directions in Palestine Studies’ Conference.” For a young scholar to call into question the ...

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Foucault, Fanon, Intellectuals, Revolutions

[Cover of the Turkish translation of

[This article is the final in a three-part Jadaliyya series that looks at Foucault's work in relationship to the legacy of French colonialism in North Africa. Read the first and second installments here: "The Dangers of Liberalism: Foucault and Postcoloniality in France" by Diren Valayden and "Justifications of Power": Neoliberalism and the Role of Empire by Muriam Haleh Davis.] My theoretical ethic ...

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What’s Happening in Turkey? A Roundtable with the Turkey Page Editors

[People gathered in front of a hospital in Istanbul on 5 January to celebrate the fifteenth birthday of Berkin Elvan, who has been in a coma since 15 June, when he was shot in his head with a teargas capsule while walking to buy bread. Photo by Adnan Onur Acar/Nar Photos.]

Those who have followed the political scene in Turkey over the past few weeks have watched the unfolding of a number of overlapping major events. Among the breaking stories are those related to the corruption crisis, which has resulted in a significant challenge to the power of the AKP government; the open conflict between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his important former ally Fethullah Gülen; rising interest rates, which have drawn international attention; the ...

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The Space Between

[Still image from

The Space Between: A Panorama of Cinema in Turkey. 27 April – 10 May 2012, Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York, NY. Introducing “The Space Between: A Panorama of Cinema in Turkey,” a major retrospective of Turkish cinema featuring twenty-nine films from 1958 to the present recently screened in New York City, Richard Peña, the revered director of the Film Society at Lincoln Center, noted that he first proposed the idea of a major series on Turkish cinema when he was ...

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Art and Subversion: An Interview with Omar Kholeif

[Still image from Khaled Hafez, “On Presidents and Superheroes” (2009, video). Copyright and courtesy of the artist.]

Subversion. Featuring work by Akram Zaatari, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Khaled Hafez, Larissa Sansour, Marwa Arsanios, Sharif Waked, Sherif El-Azma, Tarzan and Arab, and Wafaa Bilal. Curated by Omar Kholeif. Cornerhouse, 70 Oxford Street, Manchester, UK. 14 April - 5 June 2012, preview/symposium 13 April 2012. [Omar Kholeif is Curator of Subversion, a large-scale exhibition and public program, which runs until 5 June 2012 at Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK. More ...

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali's War

[Cover of Newsweek.]

For a couple of centuries now, we have had to make due with Samuel Johnson’s famous phrase: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Thanks to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, we can now revise this phrase for the twenty-first century. Tthe last last refuge of a scoundrel, it appears, lies in taking up the battle against something called “Christophobia.” Hirsi Ali coins this term as part of her alarmist and deeply hateful cover story for Newsweek. “The War on Christians” is splashed ...

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Imagine Africa

[Cover of

Imagine Africa. Published by the Pirogue Collective. Brooklyn, NY and Dakar, Senegal: Island Position, 2011. If you do a Google search for the phrase “Imagine Africa,” the results are not encouraging. Among the most popular results, you will find a company operating under that name offering “luxury safaris and beach holidays” in Africa. You will also encounter a project originating out of the University of Michigan under the name “IMAGINE Africa,” which in this case stands ...

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My Lonely and Beautiful Country: Recent Work on the Cinema of Turkey (Part Two)

[Still image from Zeki Demirkubuz's

Gönül Dönmez-Colin, Turkish Cinema: Identity, Distance, and Belonging. London: Reaktion Books and Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008. Asuman Suner, New Turkish Cinema: Belonging, Identity, and Memory. London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2010. Deniz Bayrakdar, Aslı Kotaman, and Ahu Samav Uğursoy, editors, Cinema and Politics: Turkish Cinema and the New Europe. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009. [Part One of this review essay, which considers ...

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Anthony Alessandrini


Anthony Alessandrini is a Professor of English at Kingsborough Community College and the MA Program in Middle Eastern Studies at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York, where he is also a member of the Committee on Globalization and Social Change. He is the author of Frantz Fanon and the Future of Cultural Politics: Finding Something Different (Lexington, 2014); the editor of Frantz Fanon: Critical Perspectives; and the co-editor of the JadMag special issue "Resistance Everywhere": The Gezi Protests and Dissident Visions of Turkey. Recent articles have appeared in Foucault Studies, Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy, Reconstruction, and Social Text: Periscope. He is a member of the faculty of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. He is a Co-Editor of Jadaliyya E-Zine and co-edits the Reviews Page, the NEWTON Page, and the Turkey Page.

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