Hope and redemption
When there is no vision, the people they perish
But whosoever keepeth Jah Jah love, happy is he I say
Cause he that causeth the poor to go astray
Shall surely pay this day, shall surely pay this day
The fire gonna burn and there’ll be nowhere to turn.
Dennis Brown, “Oh what a day,” 1980
Deliverance will come, come, come, deliverance will come
For I have seen the land of my father in my visions
From the hills of captivity’s plains.
Dennis Brown, “Deliverance will come,” 1978
The major characteristic of millenarian movements is the
CH APTER 3
Legal evolution and the redemption of
The dilemma of international law is that of ecclesiastical dogma.
Elastic interpretation adapted to diverse needs increases the number
of the faithful. Rigid interpretation, though theoretically desirable,
provokes secessions from the church. (E. H. Carr, 19391)
It has become a commonplace to note that the modern body of inter
national law, shared by a society of civilised nations, has its roots in
the classical tradition of jus gentium and in a ‘law of nations’ applicable
to a family of
The indigenous redemption
of liberal universalism
A critical historiography of liberalism shows its contingent availability to specific political projects. Bhikhu Parekh has demonstrated, for example, how the
work of John Locke and John Stuart Mill was available to colonising authority.
Locke judged American Indians according to the extent to which their laws and
institutions realised the capacity for reason that was humanity’s common heritage. In their application of reason to the use of the natural resources that God
had endowed and to the
The escalation of systematic, if random, violence in the contemporary world frames the
concerns of the article, which seeks to read Baldwin for the present. It works by a
measure of indirection, arriving at Baldwin after a detour which introduces Chinua Achebe.
The Baldwin–Achebe relationship is familiar fare. However, here I explore not the shared
congruence between their first novels, but rather focus on their later works, in which the
reflexes of terror lie close to the surface. I use Achebe’s final novel, Anthills of the
Savanah, as a way into Baldwin’s “difficult” last book, The Evidence of Things Not Seen,
suggesting that both these works can speak directly to our own historical present. Both
Baldwin and Achebe, I argue, chose to assume the role of witness to the evolving
manifestations of catastrophe, which they came to believe enveloped the final years of
their lives. In order to seek redemption they each determined to craft a prose—the product
of a very particular historical conjuncture—which could bring out into the open the
prevailing undercurrents of violence and terror.
writing, Kracauer did not loose sight of the possibility that the
problems of modernity could yet be overcome, and this possibility is summed
up in his central idea of ‘redemption’, an idea that will be
discussed more fully later in this chapter, in relation to Kracauer’s
related conception of ‘totality’. Before that, however, three
further major influences upon Kracauer’s conception of modernity
– those of Kant, Freud and
Interviewing can be a vampiric act especially when it involves leeching from its subject
the fluidic exchange which exists between life and art. The vampire novelist Anne Rice had
agreed to let me interview her at Waterstones Bookshop in Bristol, England, on 26 January
1993 about the fourth book in her Vampire Chronicles, The Tale of the Body
Thief (1992). In the interview she describes the novel as dealing with the
differences between art and life and mortality and immortality. Specifically, the story
examines the paradox of choosing to be Undead for the sake of life, and the way in which
art opens up a locus for a redemption that is outside of life. In my view, the text is as
much about the process of interviewing as about authorship. A more obvious example is
Rice‘s well-known novel Interview with the Vampire (1976) in which the
hapless interviewer eventually enters into the very narrative he is recording by becoming
another Ricean revenant.
James Baldwin has frequently been written about in terms of his relationship to geographical locations such as Harlem, Paris, St. Paul-de-Vence, Istanbul, and “the transatlantic,” but his longstanding connection to the American South, a region that served as a vexed and ambiguous spiritual battleground for him throughout his life and career, has been little discussed, even though Baldwin referred to himself as “in all but no technical legal fact, a Southerner.” This article argues that the South has been seriously underconsidered as a major factor in Baldwin’s psyche and career and that were it not for the challenge to witness the Southern Civil Rights movement made to Baldwin in the late 1950s, he might never have left Paris and become the writer and thinker into which he developed. It closely examines Baldwin’s fictional and nonfictional engagements with the American South during two distinct periods of his career, from his first visit to the region in 1957 through the watershed year of 1963, and from 1963 through the publication of Baldwin’s retrospective memoir No Name in the Street in 1972, and it charts Baldwin’s complex and often contradictory negotiations with the construction of identity in white and black Southerners and the South’s tendency to deny and censor its historical legacy of racial violence. A few years before his death, Baldwin wrote that “[t]he spirit of the South is the spirit of America,” and this essay investigates how the essential question he asked about the region—whether it’s a bellwether for America’s moral redemption or moral decline—remains a dangerous and open one.
disaster and conflict must be halted as soon as possible,
and the path to redemption – to, as far as possible, re-establishing normal service
– comes through showing all of those looking on that the catastrophe has been
contained . It is a kind of quarantine effect, whereby what frightens observers
is the idea of uncontrolled, ongoing, unpredictable suffering. Humanitarians arrive to create a
moment of ‘new normal’ where the flow has been stemmed, the hole plugged. The
Ebola response is an example of this – the vast cost in life and suffering and
On the basis of a body of reggae songs from the 1970s and late 1990s, this book offers a sociological analysis of memory, hope and redemption in reggae music. From Dennis Brown to Sizzla, the way in which reggae music constructs a musical, religious and socio-political memory in rupture with dominant models is illustrated by the lyrics themselves. How is the past remembered in the present? How does remembering the past allow for imagining the future? How does collective memory participate in the historical grounding of collective identity? What is the relationship between tradition and revolution, between the recollection of the past and the imagination of the future, between passivity and action? Ultimately, this case study of ‘memory at work’ opens up on a theoretical problem: the conceptualisation of time and its relationship with memory.
This is the first book-length critical reading of the prose works of the Nigerian, America-settled, ‘global Igbo’ writer Chris Abani. Addressing his three novels – GraceLand (2004), The Virgin of Flames (2007), and The Secret History of Las Vegas (2014) – and the two novellas Becoming Abigail (2006) and Song for Night (2007), the book Chris Abani combines an original overview of the author’s career and new insights into his works. It provides a full picture of the oeuvre of a writer who is more and more asserting his worth in the international arena, and whose work stands out for the richness of its poetic language, its complex investigation of the contemporary human experience in a variety of extreme and surprising situations, and its probing ethical gaze. Building on the notions of biopolitics, necropolitics, mediascape imagination, and the performative quality of subjectivity, this volume highlights Abani’s ability to represent the tragedies and horrors of our times while also signalling the possibility of redemption. His characters’ attempts to find ways of becoming themselves, together with a poetical writing that clashes against the violence of history and humankind, make Abani’s work a significant contribution to the contemporary debate about human rights and literature.