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A Politics of Philosophy. A Presentation for publishers (Instead of Chapter 1/6)

Posté par radaivekovicunblogfr le 30 octobre 2009

On this page, the book A Politics of Philosophy consists in all of 6 « chapters ». Apart fromt the separate presentation (appearing as « Chapter 1″) of the unpublishd book A politics of philosophy,  the latter actually starts here from its second chapter. The site is under construction and the chapters too. The first chapter of A Politics of Philosophy will not appear here, as it has been shortened and transformed into a paper for the online journal Transeuropéennes,  www.transeuropeennes.eu. That paper is titled « A Politics of Philosophy since Modernity. Indian and Western philosophies ». 

An unpublished book: 

©rada iveković

A Politics of Philosophy / A Politics of Reason

[This is a book in view of the epistemological revolution to come]

What is this book about and what is its objective :

This book is about the politics of philosophy ; it deals with the relation between Western and Indian philosophy (as well as, in principle, with other non-western philosophies) in a novel and original way, in the perspective of politics. In so doing, it also considers gender, sociology, history, partition, transition, translation. It is innovative conceptually and methodologically. It has a rich, substantive content and it is rigorous. It is also an author’s book with explicit theoretical interest and a few surprises. It deploys an interplay between diverse thinking traditions.

What to learn from this book ?

We should learn that any philosophy has a politics of philosophy guiding it, though usually unacknowledged. The relation of western and Indian philosophy has not really been studied in a political perspective. We shall explore the politics versus Indian or other thinking traditions guiding philosophy in general, and western philosophy in particular. This is worth knowing because it may contribute to decolonizing philosophy as such and because it may give us methodological instruments for detecting other kinds of bias in philosophy and in culture. More importantly, it may help us construct a new common ground for philosophy beyond comparative philosophy – and a new philosophical corpus – fed by and relying on concepts and conceptual histories from different parts of the globe. The book gives examples and evidence from reading of various texts or historic events and from interpretation by the author of how these conclusions are valid.

Some of the main points raised :

In India too, when we say “philosophy”, we generally mean western philosophy, and we have to specify “Indian” when dealing with Indian philosophy (generally understood as solely “ancient”). This book addresses the asymmetrical relationship of the two, as well as the asymmetrical relation of western philosophy to any thought of any other geographical origin. It gives some methodological clues for these issues which the author believes to be primarily political (a politics of thinking), but it does so while working on contemporary textual or political material ranging from a variety of fields. It is an author’s book presenting her own philosophical theories too, drawing on, and engaging with, philosophies Indian and western and with the sensitive rapport between the two. It explores and analyses the historic fact that the “west” is not only an outer world for India, but also partly its inner condition (and possibly vice-versa too in another way), due to the universalization of western patterns. Indian philosophy, however, is not directly the topic of the book ; it is rather its main parameter.

Many philosophical concepts we all use have their western origin in ancient Greece (and certainly further, in many other unacknowledged sources pumped by the Greeks) ; many of them depend on the local history of the Greek polis. They are also intimately linked to the western imagination and self-representation. The same is true of concepts of Indian philosophy, which are also dependent on local history and imagination. For the latter, it is particularly difficult to travel across the borders of international philosophies, beyond the western stereotypes of oriental mysticism or spirituality, because in the west we are not familiar with that local history and life experience. This is so because of the world cultural asymmetry. The real defiance might be to investigate local conditions through the challenge of the concepts drawn from elsewhere. What does Indian (or Chinese, or Yoruba, or Maya, or Aboriginee) history yield or contribute in terms of political autonomy (a concept having its western genealogy) as we understand it today for example, and for universal use ? On the contrary, how do such concepts as mokša, nirvāna or karma translate if/when identified even partly from, or pursued in a European context ? How do you translate into politics and political terms what has been seen as aesthetics, as mysticism or as “culture” ? “Culture”, a naturalised concept, is indeed not translatable back into “society” – it is an afterlife of society (Boris Buden). We shall remind ourselves of Gilles Deleuze’s view about philosophy (alongside with history) being a “royal science” (science royale), in the sense of a knowledge instrumental to mastering the world.

We use the term philosophy in a broad sense. Philosophy draws on other disciplines.

Who may be interested by this book (audience) :

This book addresses primarily an audience interested in philosophy (students and teachers), Eastern or Western. But it should be of interest to a general public of people interested in cultural studies too. It may catch the attention of a general public curious regarding an interaction between tradition and modernity, both locally as well as internationally. It addresses a public interested in “international politics” applied to the sphere of culture, and in cultural politics. It stresses the importance of south-south relations and politics.

The book should attract an Indian readership too. India is obliquely there “as a method” in many ways. This book, although India is not its topic in the strict sense would never have been possible had the author not studied in India and were she not indebted to Indian culture and intellectuals.

Methodology and expected results :

This book goes a step beyond comparative philosophy ; the latter is methodologically problematic because it privileges one of the sides without saying so. A whole new public space of philosophical and political translation (contextual translation) between India or China and the rest of the world is likely to be opened in the near future. This book may contribute to a breakthrough in the matter. Why ? Because philosophy will, under the pressure of contemporary history, sooner or later disentangle itself from its predominantly western perspective. This will shed new light not only on ancient and modern Asian (or other) philosophies, but also on the reasons why modern political concepts such as “democracy”, “human rights” and others breed in a different historical context in Asia, distinct from their place of origin, and why, therefore, they will give different results. This is where we need contextual translation. As everyone knows, philosophy in modern India is split between ancient Indian philosophy in care of the pandits, and more or less modern western philosophy taught separately at university. The latter is usually confined to a number of authors or schools (for ex. Kant, or Sartre and existentialism ; Foucault and his older work) when at all dealing with “continental” topics. Or it is analytical, pragmatic philosophy drawing on USA campuses. The connection, in the latter, with the nyāya or other schools of Indian logic is possible typologically directly and independently from a historic and thus political context. Even there, relatively few authors, such as Matilal, have engaged in connecting. With due exceptions (such as Daya Krishna, Mohanty), surprisingly few Indian philosophers have after all ventured into cross-reading and intersecting of Indian and western concepts. We think such cross reading – of one by the other – is possible and necessary for the development of the transborder discipline of philosophy, and we call for what we believe to be the methodology of “contextual translation”. This methodology will not confine itself to the relation India/the West but will find a broader application. The author has access to ancient Indian philosophy as much as to post-colonial studies and contemporary politics, which she makes interact.

The methodology is also the novelty of the book.

What is unique in this book and how would it enrich our understanding of (a politics of ) philosophy :

The idea of a “politics of philosophy” developed out of our previous research on partage de la raison, “partage” of reason, where “partage” (in French) means two opposite things at the same time : sharing and separating, cleave & cleave to. (Forthcoming is on this topic Uses and misuses of reason, with Zubaan, Delhi.) In considering this useful concept, we observe that reasoning inevitably functions through binaries (references as well as an indebtedness to Nâgârjuna or to such modern authors as Kalidas Bhattacharya are obvious here). But this should not be considered as a fatality leading to a dead-end. On the contrary, keeping reasoning and thought fluid beyond any dichotomies puts the accent on the way, the road, and the conceptual bifurcations as an ongoing process salutary to critical thinking : we call it the politics of philosophy.

This approach should open an absolutely new and hitherto inexistent public space, a third space (which does not pre-exist, but is constructed in the process). It can by no means be reduced to comparative philosophy as it was once studied. We wish to gradually bring Indian concepts into western philosophy, politics and social sciences, and vice versa, and to operate recontextualisations. We call for an epistemological revolution. We should introduce Indian philosophical concept into western philosophy in the same way in which Greek or German philosophical concepts can be used in English or French language philosophy. A whole new intellectual field opens here between the two, the philosophical political field of the exchange between the two, ground for both to develop. For example, the assumption is in western philosophy in general that Indian thought does not have the concept of subject or agency, and that it is consequently not political. But clearly, the civilizational option not to develop or use such a concept is in itself a deliberate political and intellectual choice. A whole series of other concepts around it are nevertheless available which delineate a figure in the “negative” (“negative” in the « photographic » sense) – the figure of the deliberate preference not to develop the objectal relation subject-object, not to establish a relation of appropriation of the world and not to dwell on the metaphysics of the subject. These concepts “around” what continental philosophy sees as a subject, delineate a complex context of conceptual structure (interlinked and complementary concepts) where the “absence” of the notion of a subject is not a deficiency, but a different historic and cultural construct and context. All these conceptions together, as well as each individually, can also be read and understood through a political grid, or under a “political regime” of philosophy, not withstanding the traditional western philosophical injunction never to read Indian philosophy as political. The latter depoliticization has its own historic reasons we should by now overcome. Once we have agreed to examine – and read – different ideas within one and a same philosophical regime (and, in this proposal – in a political regime of discourse), translation from one to the other, indeed contextual translation, will be made possible. Ideas from different cultural and historic origins may be made mutually contextually translatable and understandable, in spite of some inevitable gaps. (See “Translating violence”, ed. by R. Iveković : http://translate.eipcp.net/transver….) Language of the book and manner of writing :

English is not the author’s mother tongue, and her language needs to be checked. She writes and publishes in several languages, mainly French and English, while in the past she has published in Serbo-Croatian. The style of writing is rather that of the usual French essay writing for philosophy. This is an author’s book : the aim is not to present chronologically all the different achievements and previous books by other authors in the fields traversed, but rather to present the author’s development of the topics of her choice when starting from other authors. It does however summarize the current state of knowledge on these topics, and states clearly what it adds to that body of knowledge, albeit in an essayistic manner. A linking is provided to contemporary political and intellectual history. If no major changes are required by the publisher, the book is practically ready (all the chapters are written) and needs only one re-reading by the author with updating of some footnotes, some bibliography, as well as the English language corrections by the publisher. Introduction and Conclusion may be added or rewritten if required. The book avoids jargon as much as possible, has for its aim clarity of expression, and keeps spotlighted main ideas. However, the references, bibliography and notes may not be done according to your usage, and may need to be adapted in case you were interested in publishing the book.

The central focus of the book, that of a politics inherent in philosophy, including in the author’s approach itself, is never lost sight of throughout the manuscript. There always is a politics of philosophy, whether acknowledged or not. But it is not indifferent which politics it will be. In a world changing through globalization, which politics of philosophy will be adopted matters a lot not only for philosophy itself, but generally, for the way we construct the world.

How many words : TOTAL WORDS : 53.646 :

The liberal totalitarian system and gender, 4956 words A Politics of philosophy, 7282 words Exception as space & time : borders and partitions, 6230 words Terror/ism as the political or as heterogeneity. On meaning and translation, 11687 words Ethnicization and nation in the making of larger integrations (Identity principle), 4046 words Gender and transition, 10309 words Transborder Translating, 7182 words Bibliography, 1954 words (will be longer ; to be completed by transfers from the chapters and additions), Index to be made ?

Table of contents :

A Politics of Philosophy / A Politics of Reason

Introduction : The liberal totalitarian system and gender

A Politics of philosophy (This chapter is on Indian philosophy)

Exception as space & time : borders and partitions

Terror/ism as the political or as heterogeneity. On meaning and translation

Ethnicization and nation in the making of larger integrations (Identity principle)

Gender and transition

Conclusion : Transborder Translating

An after word may be added if needed

Bibliography (needs to be completed by transfers from the chapters and additions)

Index ?

Short description of the chapters :

The liberal totalitarian system and gender (as an introduction)

Our body-and-reason (nāma-rūpa) is an existential paradox, in that we are traversed by differences many of which appear as binaries (for ex. gender), and that we are at the same time historic and transcendent beings. Historic and limited as individual, and transcendent as humankind. Since each of us individually and all of us in common are at stake in the process of sharing or joining up reason, we are necessarily in a permanent process of translation. The construction of the universal as associated to power and domination. Globalization and gender generally explained as they interact, in a philosophical and political sense. References to some Indian authors. This chapter sets the political tone of the book.

A Politics of philosophy

This chapter is on Indian philosophy, its understanding by western philosophy, its different origin and configuration from the latter. Starting from an approach to Indian philosophy, a politics of philosophy is developed in this chapter, which can be generally used (not only for Indian philosophy). The question of the limits of philosophy as such is raised. This chapter sets the philosophical programme of the book.

Exception as space & time : borders and partitions

Partitions and the creation of borders are explored, starting with references to the partition of India and also to that of the former Yugoslavia. This chapter should be interesting for Indian readers because it puts partition within the general context of partitions. Indeed, the Indian partition is not the only one ; partitions are frequent and have comparable patterns all over the world. Examples of colonial partitions are investigated, and especially the Hispanic one. Their commonalities are explored and given a general theoretical framework sometimes missing in local descriptions of historic partitions. Gender is constantly tracked as an active dynamics in partition. More than one Indian author is constantly invoked and their theories used to test other historic examples than the Indian one.

Terror/ism as the political or as heterogeneity. On meaning and translation

Chapter on desemanticisation – the loss of meaning – in political language, and on the politics of language in the service of constructing “terrorism” and the nation. Such desemanticisation serves the purpose of depoliticising and of silencing certain populations and denying them access to political expression and representation. The chapter deals with the creation of terrorism by state terror. It has examples from the Middle East, from the Balkans, as well as quotes from and a critical analysis of Bush’s speeches on the “war on terror”. It quotes, among others, several Indian authors who are crucial to understanding the mechanism of constructing “terrorism”.

Ethnicization and nation in the making of larger integrations (Identity principle)

This chapter gives examples of processes of ethnicisation in nation-making in different countries or regions, the Balkans or India among others. It examines the process of globalization particularly in Europe at the end of the cold war, as well as the production of international migrations.

Gender and transition

This chapter is a description (though in a loose way) of transition, comparing post-colonial and post-socialist transitions. Then the intersection of nation and gender is analysed ; it is important because transition is understood today within globalization, the other end of which are fragmentations along “ethnic” national lines. The author investigates the importance of the threshold of 1989 and especially of its meaning for the making of Europe against its “others”. Finally, a view on world cycles and their connection to different types of patriarchies are exposed. Examples are given of the Indian partition and of the post-socialist partitions.

Transborder Translating (and conclusion)

This is a theoretically important chapter. It exposes the politics of language and of contextual translation elaborated by the author. The relationship and translatability between an Indian and a western philosophical context, between an Indian and a western frame of mind is explored.

An after word may be added if needed

Bibliography (needs to be completed from the chapters)

About the author :

The author Rada Iveković is a French scholar who studied in the former Yugoslavia and India. She teaches and publishes in France, where she lives. Her approach combines the Yugoslav and French approaches, is “south oriented” and indebted for its origin to a “non-aligned” cultural background looking towards the third world and the south. She draws also on Indian, Yugoslav, Algerian, Latin American sources, which gives to her work an original edge.

Address : collectif@ciph.org

BIO-BIBLIO DATA of the author :

Rada Iveković, philosopher, indologist, writer, was born in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, in 1945. She taught at the Philosophy Department at Zagreb University until 1991. She joined the University “Jean Monnet” of Saint-Etienne in September 2003, after having worked at the University of Paris-8 (St. Denis) since 1992, Department of Philosophy. She is Programme Director at the Collège international de philosophie, Paris (www.ciph.org). She published mainly on political philosophy (nation and gender), on feminist theory as well as on Indian and comparative philosophies. Books in foreign languages (other than her mothertongue) : Orients : Critique de la raison postmoderne, Paris : Ed. Noël Blandin 1992 ; Benares. Ein Essay aus Indien, Graz : Literaturverlag Droschl 1993 ; Benares. Un essai d’Inde, L’Harmattan, Paris 2001 ; Jugoslawischer Salat, Graz : Literaturverlag Droschl 1993 ; Europe-Inde-Postmodernité, ed. by Rada Iveković and Jacques Poulain, Paris : Ed. Noël Blandin 1993 ; La Croatie depuis l’effondrement de la Yougoslavie. L’opposition non-nationaliste, ed. by R.I., Paris : L’Harmattan 1994 ; Briefe von Frauen über Krieg und Nationalismus, co-written with Biljana Jovanović, Maruša Krese, Radmila Lazić and Duška Perišić-Osti, Frankfurt a/M.-Berlin : Suhrkamp 1993 ; La balcanizzazione della ragione, Roma : manifestolibri 1995, Le sexe de la philosophie. Jean-François Lyotard et le féminin, Paris, L’Harmattan 1997 ; Autopsia dei Balcani. Saggio di psico-politica, Raffaello Cortina, Milano 1999, and in German, Autopsie des Balkans. Ein psycho-politischer Essay, Droschl : Graz (2001) ; From Gender to Nation (ed with Julie Mostov) : Europe & the Balkans Network-Longo Editore, Ravenna 2002 ; Le sexe de la nation, Paris, Eds. Léo Scheer 2003, forthcoming in English at Zubaan – Kali for Women, New Delhi ; Dame Nation. Nation et différence des sexes, Ravenna, Longo Editore 2003 ; Ghislaine Glasson Deschaumes & R. Iveković (eds.), Divided Countries, Separated Cities. The Modern Legacy of Partition, Delhi, OUP 2003 ; Le sexe de la nation, Paris, Eds. Léo Scheer 2003 (forthcoming in English with Zubaan Kali for Women, New Delhi) ; S. Bianchini, S. Chaturvedi, R. Iveković, R. Samaddar, Partitions. Reshaping States and Minds, London, Routledge Frank Cass 2005 (chapter 2. “Partition as a form of transition” by R. Iveković, pp. 13-47 ) ; reprint by Routledge India 2006 ; Captive Gender. Ethnic Stereotypes & Cultural Boundaries, Delhi, Kali for Women – Women Unlimited, 2005 ; Uses and Misuses of Reason, Zubaan – Kali for Women, New Delhi, forthcoming. http://www.reseau-terra.eu/article783.html?var_mode=calcul http://www.ciph.org/direction.php?idDP=27 http://www.ciph.org/blog/

Contact : collectif@ciph.org

[The manuscript is available. THIS BOOK among others IS LOOKING FOR A PUBLISHER.]


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