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Exploring the Utopian Impulse

Essays on Utopian Thought and Practice


Edited By Michael J. Griffin and Tom Moylan

Exploring the Utopian Impulse presents a series of essays by an international and trans-disciplinary group of contributors that explores the nature and extent of the utopian impulse. Working across a range of historical periods and cultures, the essays investigate key aspects of utopian theory, texts, and socio-political practices. Even as some critique Utopia, others extend its reach beyond the limits of the modern western tradition within which utopianism has usually been understood. The explorations offered herein will take readers over familiar ground in new ways as well as carry them into new territories of hope and engagement.
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Truth, Temporality, and Theorizing Resistance


← 45 | 46 → ← 46 | 47 → SUSAN MCMANUS

A spectral moment, a moment that no longer belongs to time, if one understands by this word the linking of modalized presents […] Furtive and untimely, the specter does not belong to that time.

—JACQUES DERRIDA, Specters of Marx

And you should know that the zapatista dead are very restless and talkative. They still speak, despite being dead, and they’re shouting history. They’re shouting it so that it can’t go to sleep, so that memory won’t die, so that our dead will live, shouting.


The complicated problem of truth forms a reinvigorated horizon in contemporary radical, critical, and utopian political theory. This horizon is shaped by four aspects: first, the reclaiming and refunctioning of “truth” as a cognitive form that is at once situated and perspectival, as well as anticipatory, “fictive,” or imaginative; second, the possibility that such truths can be deployed to cultivate “combative lucidity” or transformative knowledges of, and orientations within, the world; third, the ways in which the “affective register” of the subject can enhance ethical energies and political agency; and fourth, the possibilities that inhere in temporality itself.1 These aspects ← 47 | 48 → of the horizon of truth overlap. For theorists such as Jacques Derrida, Alain Badiou, and Antonio Negri, for example, figures of truth are theorized via the disordering effects of spectrality, the radical interruption of the Event, or the imaginative refusal invoked by...

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