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Anthony Alessandrini


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

[Still image from Nuri Bilge Ceylan'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. Upon being awarded the Best Director honor at ...

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On Being "Wrong" on Iraq

[Iraqi protesters in Liberation Square in Baghdad. Image via]

This is not another article about Christopher Hitchens. This may come as something of a relief, given the spilling of ink occasioned by Hitchens’ untimely death last week, with Neal Pollock’s fine parody hopefully bringing this outpouring to an end. After an initial set of hagiographies, it was encouraging to see a number of pieces reminding readers of Hitchens’ role in forcefully and bloodthirstily advocating for the war on Iraq, and for the “war on terror” more generally, ...

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Our University: On Police Violence at CUNY

[Image via The GC Advocate]

This past Monday, I was one of a handful of faculty and staff among a group of CUNY students standing in the lobby of a building at Baruch College in Manhattan. We had all entered with our CUNY i.d. cards in hand. Our intention was to attend a public hearing called by the CUNY Board of Trustees to discuss proposed tuition increases. Among us, it should be noted, were students who had signed up in advance to speak at this public hearing. I was surprised—although, given recent ...

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Back to Work: OWS and the Arab Spring

[Image via unknown archive.]

I have been trying, and failing, to write about the Occupy movement—more specifically, about Occupy Wall Street, and even more specifically, about the connections between OWS and the popular uprisings that have come to be known by the convenient (although no longer remotely accurate) name of “the Arab Spring”—for weeks now. One of the many feelings that hit me yesterday morning when I woke to the news of the police raid on Liberty Square (nee Zuccotti Park) was a dismal ...

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The Others, the Elsewhere of Our Here

[Still image from the film

John E. Drabinski, Godard Between Identity and Difference. New York and London: Continuum, 2008. John Drabinski’s Godard Between Identity and Difference is a rare thing in the world of contemporary academic writing: a book that reveals the author’s personal, idiosyncratic, and loving relationship with his subject. The reader comes away from this book not merely impressed by its arguments and enlightened by its readings, but also moved by its passion. One feels that one has ...

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Missing Edward Said

[Edward Said. Image via SIPA PRESS/REX]

Today marks the eighth anniversary of the passing of Edward Said. It is an anniversary that continues to fill me with a deep sense of melancholy, one shared, I know, by so many admirers of his work and his example. The ways in which we miss Said today, and have found ourselves missing him over the course of this bloody decade, are innumerable. Some comfort can be found in the fine work inspired by Said’s legacy in the intervening years, including the excellent and inclusive ...

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Obama's Palestine Problem, and Ours

[Protest against US Tax-Funded Aid to Israel. Photo via SUSTAIN-Philadelphia.]

It is shocking, but not surprising, that in the US, the primary way of understanding and analyzing the debate at the United Nations over Palestinian statehood is in terms of its effect upon American politics. More specifically, the main focus in the US media has been on how the Obama administration would handle the “crisis” at the UN, inevitably described as one aspect of the supposed "roiling tensions in the region." Very little thought is being devoted to the ...

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[Cover of

Patriot Acts: Narratives of Post-9/11 Injustice. Compiled and edited by Alia Malek. San Francisco: McSweeney’s Books/Voice of Witness Series, 2011. Listen: I didn’t know I wasn’t an American until I was sixteen and in handcuffs. (Adama Bah) This time I got pulled out of the car by officers, thrown onto the hood of the car, and handcuffed. My kids were screaming in the backseat, everybody in the car was just screaming and crying. I said to the officers, “I was born and ...

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A Creature Which Would Be Impossible If It Did Not Exist: "Midnight's Children" Turns Thirty

[Image from]

Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, which turns thirty this year, opens with one of the most celebrated bouts of throat-clearing in literary history: I was born in the city of Bombay...once upon a time. No, that won’t do, there’s no getting away from the date: I was born in Doctor Narlikar’s Nursing Home on August 15th, 1947. And the time? The time matters, too. Well then: at night. No, it’s important to be more...On the stroke of midnight, as a matter of fact. ...

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Anthony Alessandrini


Anthony Alessandrini is an associate professor of English at Kingsborough Community College-City University of New York 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, and Reconstruction. 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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