Delegates at the Asian African Conference at Bandung, Indonesia, April 1955

Delegates at the Asian African Conference at Bandung, Indonesia, April 1955

Empire, Modernity, Critique

Global Intellectual, Political, and Aesthetic History


This new book series, ‘Empire, Modernity, Critique’, will foreground intellectual, political, and aesthetic history from the world beyond Europe – especially philosophical thought that emerges from conditions of colonisation in Africa, Asia, as well as the worlds of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans. The mission of this series is therefore twofold. First, it will offer books that situate the history of intellectual and aesthetic production of these regions within their properly global provenance. Second, it will also foreground the relationship between the intellectual contributions of the colonised world and the imperial world, but without relegating these contributions to the dustbin of the uncomplicatedly ‘equivalent’, the ‘belated’, or the mere ‘response’. The books in the series will treat philosophical and literary thought from the so-called ‘non-western world’ with historically and geographically specific protocols, and, furthermore, demonstrate a self-reflexive approach to these protocols.

The series title implicitly argues for this mission and the books we seek. By EMPIRE we draw attention to the unequal relationship between Europe, the UK, and the US, and their colonial holdings; consequently, the unequal conditions of possibility for producing philosophical inquiry. Empire, we argue, is the central organising event of our long present.

MODERNITY names the experience of contradictions – of philosophies, politics, and aesthetic forms – in the long present. As many scholars have argued, modernity denotes intellectual production in response to both a sense of rupture as well as a sense of continuity. We are primarily interested in publishing books whose timeframe is ‘the long twentieth century’, in Giovanni Arrighi’s famous usage. The books in the series will therefore foreground ‘modernity’ less as a period of time, and more as a global, though uneven, experience.

Finally, CRITIQUE names the key form and shape of the texts, thinkers, and thought that the books in the series will explore. By foregrounding this work as ‘critique’, and therefore worthy of the status that its western counterpart has tended to solely possess, we seek to correct the omission of African, Asian, and Oceanic thought from previous scholarship on global intellectual and literary history.

To participate in this series: