Bert Olivier

The humanities and the advent of the ‘posthuman’

One of the most promising and exciting developments in recent thought has been the emergence of the “posthuman” as a distinct field within, and simultaneously transcending, the humanities. It comes from within this disciplinary field insofar as thinkers working in humanities disciplines such as philosophy and literary departments have contributed to what can perhaps be…

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Read Yanis Varoufakis’s “The Global Minotaur”!

Until recently, Yanis Varoufakis was the Greek Minister of Finance, who resigned after the Greek populace voted overwhelmingly against the imposition of more austerity measures against them in order to service the country’s crippling debt — resigned, because he believed that would give Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, more negotiating space with the representatives of…

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Bravo Greece!

The outcome of the Greek referendum on whether to accept the stringent conditions for another “bailout”, laid down by its creditors, should be applauded as an unambiguous manifestation of the democratic public spirit that refuses to continue allowing the neoliberal economic regime to put money before people. It also testifies to historical amnesia on the…

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Crime, capital and economic apartheid

In the book Blank: Architecture, Apartheid and After (edited by H Judin and I Vladislavic; David Philip Publishers, Cape Town 1998), Lindsay Bremner’s contribution, “Crime and the emerging landscape of post-apartheid Johannesburg” (pp. 48-63) uncovered the roots of racial segregation in the origins of Johannesburg as a gold mining camp in 1886. During the apartheid…

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Florence, Siena and the ‘space of flows’

We are in Florence for a conference, in what is to my mind the most enchanting part of Italy, namely Tuscany. Because I have always been interested in art and architecture, and in principle we don’t take taxis, but walk everywhere we go, we have already seen the most beautiful buildings and urban landscapes, framed…

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What is a ‘rhizome’ in Deleuze and Guattari’s thinking?

People who do a lot of gardening probably know what a “rhizome” is in botanical terms. It is a kind of plant (including the prolific “wandering Jew”) that pops out of the ground over an expanding area, giving the impression that many separate plants are emerging in close proximity to one another, but in fact…

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What is ideology?

Those of us who were studying at the time of the great “cold war” tussle between the superpowers would remember that, at that time, one thought of ideology as a more or less coherent system of ideas that demanded a way of living, or certain actions in accordance with those ideas. So, for example, communism…

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Anticipating reality – Peter F Hamilton’s Fallen Dragon

Although the title of Peter F Hamilton’s Fallen Dragon (Pan Books, 2001) creates the impression that it belongs to the fantasy genre (not really my cup of tea), one soon learns that you are dealing with science fiction. And you know that you are dealing with a master of science fiction when many of the…

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What is the ‘logic of sufficiency’ in economics?

Imagine a world in which people, wisely, remind themselves that there is a tomorrow – if not for themselves, indefinitely, then for their children – and that the manner in which they enter into a relationship with their physical environment WILL unavoidably make a difference to the kind of tomorrow their children, and their children’s…

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A ‘cyborg’ future?

When Donna Haraway published her famous (or notorious, some would say) “Cyborg Manifesto” in 1985, later included her book Simians, Cyborgs, and Women (1991), not to mention its many inclusions in various anthologies, she probably could not foresee its incredible history of influence. (For a condensed version of this, see David Bell’s Cyberculture Theorists: Manuel…

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