Now available online through Duke University Press

This issue examines the entanglements and aftermaths of colonialism, Apartheid, and genocide in our moment of forced displacements, techno-surveillance, and global authoritarian ethno-nationalism.  The essays connect seemingly disparate legacies of racialized violence; they negotiate continuities and discontinuities between events and aftermaths; and they offer various openings for imagining the future, the un-thought, and the not-yet-imagined. 

Contributors to the issue include Vilashini Cooppan, Paul Gilroy, David Theo Goldberg, Marianne Hirsch, and Debarati Sanyal. Their essays examine the roles of both memory and critique in our understanding of political time. They ask how the legacies of slavery, empire, colonial extraction, and genocide continue to shape contemporary political contexts, and they turn to a range of historical and artistic archives in order to remember and imagine otherwise. In “Rhythm in the Force of Forces,” for example, Gilroy turns to anti-Apartheid jazz and Black Atlantic music as sites of resistance for our current moment. In his essay “Coding Time,” Goldberg analyses the conjunction of technology, security, and racism and develops an algorithmic ontology that parts ways with the posthuman. And in “Stateless Figures,” Hirsch finds possibilities for a counter-monumental form of memory in the work of contemporary women artists responding to the experience of statelessness.

A dispatch from Sudan by Elsadig Elsheik considers the aftermath of the popular uprising that deposed Omar Al-Bashir in 2018. Artistic interventions by Bouchra Khalili and Jane Taylor offer further, compelling perspectives on the questions addressed throughout the issue: the confluence of times, the task of critique, and the commitment to justice.

This issue of Critical Times is guest edited by Debarati Sanyal.

In the Midst | Blog


"In the Midst" conveys the difficulties of writing during critical times, and registers the importance of writing from within concrete, unfolding situations, of staying with the troubles of the moment, of thinking from particular grounds, and of allowing for responsive, experimental, and tentative interventions.

Haifa: War

Muhannad Abu Ghosh / May 20, 2021

Translated by Aaron F. Eldridge

This piece was written on May 13 in Haifa, where mobs of Israeli settlers have violently targeted Palestinians with impunity since May 9 and was published in Arabic on the Cairo-based Mada Masr on May 14. The author included this note to introduce the post: “The last thing I took upon myself before going to the demonstration was to write this post that I sent to a friend, Omar Said. Perhaps it appears unfinished for this very reason: I did not sleep more than 4 hours and for the most part I had assumed that the settlers, with their dreadful numbers, would succeed in invading our neighborhood.” We have asked the author to include some explanatory notes to this English version of the original text...

Paradoxes of the Crisis: The Pandemic Has Generated an Explosion of Domestic Debts in Argentina

Lucía Cavallero and Verónica Gago / January 12, 2021

Translated by Tara Phillips

First published in Página 12 on October 4, 2020.

Unpaid debts for rents and utilities, including electricity, water, gas, and internet access, grew at an accelerated rate during the months of social distancing meant to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Currently, feminized and precarized economies are the preferred objects of indebtedness.

To Appear in Times of Pandemic

Hourya Bentouhami / December 7, 2020

According to Hannah Arendt, if the inside of the body “were to appear, we would all look alike.” If we could see the insides of bodies, they would validate the claim that we are indistinguishable, since we are all subject to the same requirements for the maintenance of life and face the same exposure to disease and death. The philosopher makes this observation to explain that our being of the world cannot be understood as a simple being in the world, reduced to our organic nature or our status as biological bodies. For Arendt, and contrary to a popular belief in ethology, life is not only the external appearance of something interior, since surface effects (such as plumage) are much more differentiated than their internal, organic causes and therefore cannot be simply their secondary expression. Who, by contrast, could distinguish individuals from one another by examining their viscera? We would thus be indistinguishable, a “population,” by virtue of our organic interiority, whereas we become individuals through our expressive surfaces, our appearance, Arendt tells us.

Critical Times, a project of the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs, is a peer reviewed open access journal published by Duke University Press with the aim of foregrounding encounters between canonical critical theory and various traditions of critique emerging from other historical legacies, seeking to present the multiple forms that critical thought takes today.

Critical Times seeks to reflect on and facilitate the work of transnational intellectual networks that draw upon critical theory and political practice across various world regions. Calling into question hemispheric epistemologies in order to revitalize left critical thought for these times, the journal publishes essays, interviews, dialogues, dispatches, visual art, and various platforms for critical reflection, engaging with social and political theory, literature, philosophy, art criticism, and other fields within the humanities and social sciences.