Now Available for Pre-order: Ellen Hinsey’s Mastering the Past

Mastering the Past:
Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe and the Rise of Illiberalism
by Ellen Hinsey

Over the last decade Ellen Hinsey has traveled across Central and Eastern Europe researching a critical shift in the European political landscape: the rise of illiberalism. A quarter of a century after the changes of 1989—and as former Soviet sphere societies come to terms with their histories—the specters of populism, nationalism, extreme-right parties, and authoritarian rule have returned in force. Through a series of eyewitness reports, Mastering the Past offers an insider’s view of key political events, including the 2012 Russian elections, the Polish presidential plane crash in Smolensk, and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s vision for a new Hungary. Hinsey explores the darkening hour of European politics with an incisive mind and an eye for detail, recording the urgent danger that illiberalism represents for the new century.

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Elliot Neaman’s Free Radicals Takes First Place at London Book Festival

Telos Press is delighted to announce that Elliot Neaman’s Free Radicals: Agitators, Hippies, Urban Guerrillas, and Germany’s Youth Revolt of the 1960s and 1970s has won first place in the History category at the London Book Festival. Congratulations!

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On Two Versions of the Counterculture

“There were actually at least two countercultures in 1968. The street mutineers dreamed of a political revolution, which was acted out as theater, using old scripts. In the second, politics became personal; emancipation came in the form of consumer choices. The first was collectivist and failed, the second was libertarian, individualistic, futuristic, and carried the day. In the United States Stewart Brand, the visionary who founded The Whole Earth Catalog in 1968, pithily described the difference as between ‘Berkeley and Stanford’: ‘Around Berkeley, it was Free Speech Movement, “power to the people.” . . .’ In Germany this kind of technology-as-revolution mindset was much more difficult to launch, given the entrenched romantic aversion to technology in the counterculture. . .”

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Mechanized Warfare and the Fate of the Individual

“The vastness and deadly desolation of the field, the long-distance operation of steel machines, and the relay of every movement in the night drew an unyielding Titan’s mask over the proceedings. You moved toward death without seeing it; you were hit without knowing where the shot came from. Long since had the precision shooting of the trained marksman, the direct fire of guns, and with it the charm of the duel, given way to the concentrated fire of mechanized weapons. The outcome was a game of numbers: Whoever could cover a certain number of square meters with the greater mass of artillery fire, won.”
—Ernst Jünger, Sturm, describing the Battle of the Somme, whose centenary is this year.

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On Late Capitalism

“The idea of a revolutionary, ‘post-materialistic’ subject, personified by marginal actors, was popularized by Jean-Paul Sartre, who viewed outcasts and criminals, like the writer and petty criminal Jean Genet, as enlightened critics of bourgeois society. In Germany, Frankfurt School theorists like Claus Offe proposed that in ‘late capitalism’ ever more social groups—the unemployed, the mentally ill, the lawbreakers—would be pushed to the margins and could eventually pose a real threat to the social order. The problem, as one wit put it, was that ‘late capitalism’ kept arriving too late.”

—Elliot Neaman, Free Radicals: Agitators, Hippies, Urban Guerrillas, and Germany’s Youth Revolt of the 1960s and 1970s

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Critical Theory of the Contemporary: Brexit, Immigration, and Populism

In addition to exploring the history and legacy of the George Circle, Telos 176 (Fall 2016) features a special section of topical writing, introduced here by Russell A. Berman, that continues our ongoing commitment to setting forth a critical theory of the contemporary. Telos 176 is now available for purchase in our store.

For nearly half a century, Telos has sustained a discussion of critical theory, broadly understood, encompassing various and diverse intellectual traditions and individual thinkers whose work points toward trenchant examinations of our contemporary society and culture. Articles published in the journal operate in various registers—philosophy, political theory, intellectual history, cultural criticism, or more generically “theory”—but despite this range of disciplinary idioms, they each contribute directly or indirectly to the ongoing elaboration of an examination of the present. Beyond their import as contributions to their respective academic fields, Telos articles enhance our ability to articulate the ongoing and constantly evolving critical theory of the contemporary.

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