This chapter explores the subterranean politics of anxiety in the student bodies of the USA, UK, and Canada. As a new generation is emerging into adulthood, for whom neoliberalism, financialisation, and its anxieties are all they have ever known, what forms of struggle, survival, and mutual aid are they inventing? Could everyday practices of student self-sabotage become the basis for collective acts of self-sabotage aimed at the financial machinery of the contemporary university?
By situating Baldwin’s Jimmy’s Blues and Other
Poems in conversation with Jericho Brown’s 2019 poetry
collection The Tradition, this article examines the theory of
love in their poetic thinking. It argues that in their poetry, love emerges as a
multifaceted mode of knowing and feeling, grounded in corporeal intensity and
imbued with sociopolitical and historical meanings. Both Baldwin and Brown view
love as integral to the understanding of queer sexuality and racial politics,
foregrounding at the same time the challenges of loving and being loved in a
historically anti-Black society. Their poetics of love coalesces the
intellectual and the affective, the erotic and the political, moving beyond the
conventions of inward-bound and personal lyric toward what Martinican
philosopher and novelist Édouard Glissant termed a “poetics of
relation.” Such transgenerational reading also allows us to explore
Baldwin’s and Brown’s poetry as acutely attuned to historical
moments which seem strikingly similar: Reagan’s and Trump’s
The moral-political undertow of London’s Hindi cinema presence
From the now famous culture-clash blockbuster Purab aur Paschim (East and West, 1970) that pits supposedly real and patriotic Indians against the deracinated diaspora, London has appeared in hundreds of Hindi films. This chapter examines how sometimes London is filmed sparsely and with such banality that it is a meaningless and cliched backdrop of consumption and romance (as in the Camden sequences of Mujse Dosti Karoge? which could be set in any city), but with increasing frequency as a metaphor which epitomises the tensions of secular, globalised modernity, longing for home, and identity, for those in the diaspora. In the wake of Aditya Chopra’s phenomenally successful Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (The One with the Heart Will Win the Bride, 2001), this chapter notes a significant change that began to take place in Hindi films set in London, with the city playing an ambivalent role as a semiotic marker of personal choice, anonymity and modernity which ultimately sours and leaves the protagonists longing to return to their roots, their homeland and their traditions. At the heart of these films (including Namastey London and Patiala House) lies a desire to attract viewers to London only in order to reject its supposedly ephemeral allure. This chapter asserts that most of the plots end by putting London in its place – a place which is fun to shop in, to walk through, but which has no heart; they end with a re-entrenchment of essentialised Indian characteristics. London’s complex material identity as the former capital of the British empire and now an important global financial centre, in both Bollywood and English-language films, is often reduced to a screen identity centred upon global consumption in late capitalism.
The increasing mobility of people, goods and information around the globe has resulted in an increasingly interconnected world with a high potential for cosmopolitan encounters. Both dividing lines and borderlands have the potential to either curtail or promote cosmopolitan moments of self-transformation. So-called ‘border films’ structure their narratives around different types of borders, usually highlighting their paradoxical nature. This chapter looks at London River as an example of a border film that can be inscribed within the category of ‘cultural exchange’ narrative as theorised by Deborah Shaw, Tom O’Regan and others. The film tells the story of two parents: Ousmane, a black Muslim from Mali, and Elisabeth, a white protestant from the Channel Islands, looking for their children in the city of London after the 7th July terrorist attacks. The narrative crosses various geographical borders and was filmed in different locations: France, London and one of the Channel Islands. It was a French–British co-production and it features a multinational cast and crew, including a French director of Algerian origin working in the city of London. This chapter looks at the film’s representation of today’s extremely complex borders, in society in general and particularly in global cities. As argued in the chapter, the movie constructs different spaces of the city of London as both dividing lines and as borderlands, emphasising the dual nature of borders theorised by border scholars such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Mike Davis and Anthony Cooper and Christopher Rumford. London River is an accurate representation of the complex social networks occurring in large cities all over the world.
The Brazilian diaspora in London as depicted in Henrique Goldman’s Jean Charles
Jean Charles (2009) is the work of London-based Brazilian director Henrique Goldman. It is a free adaptation of the story of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian mistaken for a terror suspect and shot dead by British police in Stockwell tube station in 2005. As well as providing a context to the story of Jean Charles and the making of the film, this chapter focuses on the portrayal of London as a space of work and play for the sizeable Brazilian diaspora (between seventy and one hundred thousand Brazilians live in London), in what, at first, is a veritable celebration of Brazilian Portuguese. Brazilians are depicted as being left to their own devices until post-national forces denominated global terrorism spoil this slice of Brazilian life in London, and Jean Charles is shot dead. At this point the language focus notably shifts to English, and London is transformed. Without the safe haven of their language, the Brazilian characters are quite simply lost. Given the difficulties that Goldman experienced in getting this co-production made, this chapter argues Goldman’s film can be just as much read as an exposé of the trials of South American ‘transnational’ filmmakers working in the UK in general as it is a damning critique of the treatment of immigrants at the hands of the UK authorities.
This chapter explores the relation between death and economy through an engagement with the work of Georges Bataille, Norman Brown, and Jean Baudrillard. While capitalism is just the latest in a long series of attempts to manage death anxiety, the accumulation of capital fails to alleviate guilt, resulting in an endless thirst for ever more money, wealth, and power.
The notion of ‘clickbait’ speaks to the intersection of money, technology, and desire, suggesting a cunning ruse to profit from unsavoury inclinations of one kind or another. Clickbait capitalism pursues the idea that the entire contemporary economy is just such a ruse, an elaborate exercise in psychological capture and release. Pushing beyond rationalist accounts of economic life, this volume puts psychoanalysis and political economy into conversation with the cutting edges of capitalist development. Perennial questions of death, sex, aggression, enjoyment, despair, hope, and revenge are followed onto the terrain of the contemporary, with chapters devoted to social media, online dating apps, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and meme stocks. The result is a unique and compelling portrait of the latest institutions to stage, channel, or reconfigure the psychic energies of political and economic life.
Music lives and breathes through the spaces of much of James Baldwin’s
oeuvre. This article introduces a course that features Baldwin’s musical
literature and teaches students to compose music inspired by their newfound
knowledge of Baldwin. The course, entitled “James Baldwin’s
Song,” was taught in the department of Africana Studies at Williams
College in fall 2021. It guided students to listen to Baldwin in a different
way—through a musical lens and by relating Baldwin’s wisdom to
their own lives. This article takes readers behind the scenes as it shares some
of the curricular choices that guided the course and student insights gleaned
from it. Though students heard many things in Baldwin’s musical oeuvre,
two ideas sang out most clearly: that the blues was not just music but was also
a way of living, and that joy differed from happiness. Accordingly, the second
half of this article illustrates these key concepts as featured in original
songs from the professor and student co-authors.
As potent new cultures of desire take shape around the intersection of digital technology and finance, this very site is beginning to take on the qualities of a fantasy, structuring ever more lives around recursive forms of emotional capture and release, while at the same time fuelling a lucrative game of anticipating and capitalising on such cycles. The result is a kind of runaway abstraction that applies not only to money and technology, but also perhaps to desire itself. What if the libidinal economies of digital and financial capitalism run best when detached from definite aims, ends, objects?