The Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek’s prolific quips on various cultural and political issues around race and related issues, found either in short YouTube clips or lengthy books have gained a lot of attention, much of it admittedly confused and occasionally offended and frustrated. Part of this is likely due to Žižek’s style, which tends to jump around in a blur of philosophical and cultural references, sometimes obscuring what his actual point is. However, his eclectic style shouldn’t deter us from trying to use Žižek’s theories of fantasy and ideology to understand the racial dimensions of our current political situation. This is the project set out by Zahi Zalloua, with his new book Žižek on Race: Towards an Anti-Racist Future (Bloomsbury, 2020), which seeks to use Žižekian philosophy to arrive at more complicated, but also more productive and emancipatory visions of racial oppression and emancipation might look like.
Zahi Zalloua is the Cushing Eells professor of Philosophy and Literature, and Professor of French and Interdisciplinary Studies at Whitman College. He is also the author of Continental Philosophy and the Palestinian Question: Beyond the Jew and the Greek, as well as Theory’s Autoimmunity: Skepticism, Literature and Philosophy.
Stephen Dozeman is a freelance writer.Stephen Dozeman is a freelance writer.
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