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THE SOCIAL COMMONS: CITIZENS IN THE SHADE, ALIENS IN THE SUN With Raqs Media Collective

Posted On: Friday, June 19th, 2015 | by project88pressadmin

Published on 18 June, 2015 on e-flux

Botched Enlightenment – A Conversation with Leela Gandhi & Bhrigupati Singh

Arcimboldo, Portrait of Adam , 1578. Oil on canvas.

Arcimboldo, Portrait of Adam , 1578. Oil on canvas.

“Bhrigupati Singh: Leela, I want to discuss a recent event with you because I’m not sure of the horizon from which to consider its significance. The event occurs in your recent book The Common Cause. Like your earlier work, this book makes a world map. Strange figures appear on this map: loinclothed Indian “gymnosophists” in conversation with Greek Cynics, gurus beside minor mutineers. But one doesn’t have to be frugal or rebellious to do philosophy. Kant, as you describe him, becomes quite cozy, even charming—a dapper dinner party host. But in these dressings and undressings, an event occurs. You take the scare quotes off Enlightenment. Are we now less scared of this word? Or maybe it’s not a matter of removing the marks. You color it differently. Enlightenment. How strange this word now looks! And how moving that devotees of reason consented to retain this stubbornly spiritual word as a term for their modern aspirations. This baring or recoloring of Enlightenment, your deduction of quotes, may not have been an event if someone else had executed it. You are said to be a postcolonial theorist, and for postcolonials it is often assumed that the only permissible attitude to the term Enlightenment is one of skepticism. Does The Common Cause betray its cause?”

Botched Enlightenment – Conversation with Leela Gandhi & Bhrigupati Singh