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Political acts are encoded in medial forms — feet marching on a street, punch holes on a card, images on live stream, tweets — that have force, shaping people as subjects and constituting the contours of what is sensible, legible, visible. Thus, these events define the terms of political possibility and create terrain for political actions.

Sensible Politics: The Visual Culture of Nongovernmental Activism considers the constitutive role played by aesthetic and performative techniques in the staging of claims by nongovernmental activists. Attending to political aesthetics means focusing not on a disembodied image that travels under the concept of art or visual culture, nor on a preformed domain of the political that seeks subsequent expression in media form. Instead, it requires bringing the two realms together into the same analytic frame.

Drawing on the work of a diverse group of contributors, from art historians, anthropologists, and political theorists to artists, filmmakers, and architects, Sensible Politics situates aesthetic forms within broader activist contexts and networks of circulation and in so doing offers critical insight into the practices of mediation whereby the political becomes manifest.

Contributors include: Barbara Abrash, Negar Azimi, Ariella Azoulay, Amahl Bishara, Judith Butler, Eduardo Cadava, Jonathan Crary, Ann Cvetkovich, Faye Ginsburg, Sam Gregory, Zeynep Devrim Gürsel, Roger Hallas, Andrew Herscher, Sandi Hilal, Kirsten Johnson, Liza Johnson, Thomas Keenan, Carrie Lambert-Beatty, Jaleh Mansoor, Yates McKee, Meg McLagan, Alessandro Petti, Hugh Raffles, Felicity D. Scott, Kendall Thomas, Leshu Torchin, Eyal Weizman, Benjamin J. Young, Huma Yusuf, and Charles Zerner.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935408246
Publisher: Zone Books
Publication date: 10/05/2012
Series: Zone Books
Pages: 664
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Meg McLagan is an independent filmmaker and scholar based in New York City.

Yates McKee is an art critic based in New York City

Yates McKee is an art critic based in New York City

Meg McLagan is an independent filmmaker and scholar based in New York City.

Ariella is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University and the author of Death's Showcase: the Power of Image in Contemporary Democracy (MIT Press).

Eduardo Cadava, a writer, translator, and scholar, is the author of Words of Light: Theses on the Photography of History, coeditor of The Itinerant Languages of Photography, and Professor of English at Princeton University.

Carrie Lambert-Beatty is Assistant Professor in the Department of History of Art and Architecture and the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University.

Jonathan Crary is Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory at Columbia University. A founding editor of Zone Books, he is the author of Techniques of the Observer (MIT Press, 1990) and coeditor of Incorporations (Zone Books, 1992). He has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Getty, Mellon, and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Felicity D. Scott is Associate Professor of Architecture at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, where she directs the PhD program in architecture and codirects the program in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture. She is the author of Architecture or Techno-utopia: Politics after Modernism (MIT Press).

Eyal Weizman is Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College, University of London and a Global Scholar at Princeton University. A founder of Forensic Architecture, he is also a founding member of the architectural collective DAAR in Beit Sahour/Palestine. His books include Mengele's Skull, The Least of All Possible Evils, and Hollow Land.

Andrew Herscher is an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan with appointments in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Department of Art History. His publications include Violence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict (2010), The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit (2012), and, coedited with Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi, Spatial Violence (2016).

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Sensible Politics: The Visual Culture of Nongovernmental Activism decodes and dissects the multiple interconnections between visual culture and the domain of the political. And it does it in a series of texts that are far-reaching, bold and never predictable. I’ll recommend this book for anyone interested in activism, politics, social science, culture or/and visual art.” — we-make-money-not-art.com

“Photographs, maps, videos, reports, charts, spaces, and bodies—these and many other material things assemble into what the editors of this remarkable volume call an ‘image-complex’ that conditions how we know what we know, and what we do with that knowledge. Sensible Politics is a practical, theoretical guide for thinking and acting in the aesthetico-political register that puts art and politics together with rigor, imagination, and urgency. For anyone concerned with these matters, this is not just an interesting book, or a useful book. It is a necessary book.” — Reinhold Martin, Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University

Sensible Politics seeks to attend to the dispersion of aesthetics across the multiple institutional and discursive networks and platforms that constitute political action in the present. And so it does! Sensible Politics confounds our current divisions of the aesthetic and the political and challenges scholars and activists —scholaractivists and activistscholars—to rethink the political potential of images as they are absorbed by the concrete apparatuses of contemporary regimes of governmentality.” — Elizabeth A. Povinelli, author of Economies of Abandonment: Social Belonging and Endurance in Late Liberalism

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