Issue 10.3 | Summer 2012 / Guest edited by Jonathan Beller

Europe: Gender, Class, Race

The present essay has three parts. All three parts present the critique of the spatializations of Europe in the context of global neoliberal discourse on one side and the completely intertwined discourse of postsocialist/post-Cold-War Europe on the other.

The first part conceptualizes a possibility to think socially, politically, and culturally about a space once known as Eastern Europe, which in the 1990s—after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989)—transformed into the former Eastern Europe, and since 2004, has been partly integrated into the European Union (to become in the future the United States of Europe or simply to vanish!), and partly waiting at the European Union’s threshold. In this first part, gender is seen as one of the major ways of control, subjugation, and repetition of coloniality.

The second part elaborates a genealogy of contemporary performative practices and political spaces in the former Yugoslavia that dismantles the singular, established contemporary history of art and performative practices (conceptual, body, and performance) that has been imposed by the former (as they like to call themselves now) Western Europe’s historiography. In order to dismantle such a singular history, the concept of politically queer is elaborated.

The third part clearly exposes that the question of race has—and will have—a pertinent political weight in Europe. Europe must critically review its colonial and racial history and present. The contemporary European Union’s hyperbolic, regained whiteness and reiterated ideology of Occidentalism brutally reproduce the regimes of racial and class coding that govern economic, social, and political inequality in Europe.

Therefore the three parts can be seen as a dialectical process that goes from positivization (implying brutal gender policy or genderization) through negation (the politically queer as dismantling the singular history of the former Eastern Europe as only the heterosexual, white, and patriarchal space on the other side of the Iron Curtain), and then to an even more brutal “synthesis” in class racializations. The outcome of the latter also implies a change from biopolitics to necropolitics, or from a mode of life that is based on the management of life (bios) to a mode of life that capitalizes on real, social, and symbolic death (necro). This change became painfully visible on September 11, 2001, and was intensified by the crisis in 2008.

Therefore, I want to expose the ways in which gender, class, and race were and are overdetermined, but without falling into the simplification that they are merely contradictory.

PART ONE: Art and Gender from the Former East of Europe

The culture of resistance in global capitalism has come to an end of the way resistance to capitalist overexploitation was perceived in the past, when it was presumed that it was enough to take a place on the other side of the structures of power. In global capitalism this is no longer the case. Why? Global capitalism functions not by division but by entanglement. It is a specific entanglement of power and capital that can precisely be described as a Christian, white, capitalist world reiterated through a constant humanization. “Becoming human” is a specific process of racialization that works hand-in-hand with class racialization.

This functions in Europe through the manufacturing of the former Eastern Europeans—so to say former “nonsubjects”—into gendered, European, white, bourgeois subjects. It is about us acquiring our capitalistic, conservative, chauvinistic, patriarchal, mostly petit-bourgeois lineage in order to safeguard the heterosexual family and the racialized nation’s “substance.” The European Union aims to transform former “barbarian Communist” Eastern Europeans into “humanized” and “civilized” Europeans.

Of course, this process has its “ghastly underside: the story of the racialized subject’s dehumanization.”[1] In 1998, Brian Carr elaborated on this relation of production of “ humans” that leaves the so-called nonhumans untouched by asking: What is left at the threshold in the process of manufacturing humans? His answer is brief: Race!

Kwame Nimako, the director of NiNsee (the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy) in Amsterdam, bitterly states:

Now that the Berlin wall (in 1989) had fallen, Western Europe had Eastern Europe to go to and they could do away with Africa. Africa was no longer relevant. African migration started to be controlled. This is the major preoccupation of Europe today–how to prevent Africans from coming to Europe. Now Eastern Europe has become the source of full agricultural production. Another factor is the civilization mission of the ‘former’ Western Europe in Eastern Europe. They are going to civilize the Eastern Europeans to teach them democracy, to teach them how to treat the Roma citizens, to teach them about race relations and human rights. Western Europe ‘solved’ all these problems–the problem of education, the problem of development, the problem of freedom–and it is the rest that has to be taught. From the point of view of race relations, it also marginalizes the black community, because once Europe becomes larger, the black community becomes small.[2]

Referring to Angela Mitropoulos,[3] I can argue that Europe today is—in its most basic sense—constituted by “the problem of the legal form of value, of its imposition and perseverance,” and by “origin and lineage.” Europe’s migration/labor, capital, sexual reproduction, and race are nowhere more disputed and uneasy than at the frontier between the spectral former East and “former” (note that I use the quotation marks in this case) Western Europe—at the meeting point of “natural” citizens and migrants, colonizers and descendants of the colonized, and the European Union and the non-E.U. states, etc.

To understand how in Europe the white (petit-) bourgeois subject is made through gender, while others are made through race and class, or by “classtimate”[4] of race representationally, symbolically, and through real exploitation and discrimination “unmade,” it is necessary to proceed with an analysis based on an exemplary case. This is the exhibition, Gender Check–Femininity and Masculinity in the Art of Eastern Europe, displayed in the Museum of Modern Art, or MUMOK, in Vienna from November 2009 to February 2010. The exhibition is being toured around Europe and maybe will come to your city soon!

The exhibition provides a platform for a political analysis of the new Europe that was enthroned with the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 2009. It is a paradigmatic case of the entanglement of feminist positions from the former Eastern Europe and global multinational capital within the European context. Gender Check–Femininity and Masculinity in the Art of Eastern Europe was curated by Bojana Pejić;[5] the exhibition was presented in MUMOK, Vienna; and in every respect produced—that means initiated, and even more importantly, financially made possible—by the ERSTE Foundation. The exhibition was one of the most expensive projects in art and culture in contemporary Europe produced by the ERSTE Foundation of Vienna. ERSTE Foundation—as was exposed a few times in the opening speeches of the exhibition, and in its post-opening symposium event as well—is the foundation that manages the ERSTE Bank, and not vice versa, as we had believed until then.

This makes an important difference, because until now, the analysis of projects produced by the ERSTE Foundation—and they are numerous (bearing the brand of ERSTE)—were always, at least, as defined by us theoreticians as, “art and cultural interventions,” made by the multinational bank corporation ERSTE, based in Vienna, to save face, so to speak, for a proper invasive allocation of capital mostly throughout the former Eastern European territory.

The way to understand this—let’s be frank—rhetorically banal shift from bank to foundation was accurately elaborated by Santiago López Petit in his book, Global Mobilization: A Brief Treatise for Attacking Reality,[6] in which he states that global capitalism shows two major characteristics today. One is that capitalism is not an irreversible process but, as stated by López Petit, is a reversible and conflictual event that is nothing more than the repetition of a single event: the “unrestrainment” of capital. The second characteristic is the new condition of relation between capital and power in global capitalism. López Petit names this relation the “co-propriety of capital/power.” This co-propriety of capital/power in global capitalism (in distinction to what López Petit defines as the relation unity of capital/power in the 1970s) signals that: (1) Capital is more (than) capital, (2) Capital that is more than capital is power.

The co-propriety of capital/power that was (unconsciously and therefore proudly) displayed (as well as articulated through the opening speeches) by the ERSTE Foundation means that the bank owns (it does not matter if only temporarily) MUMOK, the main public institution of art in Austria and its institutional (public to critical) machine. The exhibition therefore fits perfectly with the changes in art and culture brought by global capitalism in Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall.


Now I want to clarify the conceptual architecture—e.g., what is actually meant by repetition? My interest is to try to think a logic at the base of neoliberal global capitalism, especially as in all the processes that are connected with the present crisis a fake concept of morality is involved. In such a situation, we are ready to accept, almost naturally, I would say, fake discourses of morality in which capitalism tries to cover up the outcome of the crisis (the financialization of capital) by stating that it was all just some sort of a mistake; as capital is noble; financialization, making money from money without investing in production, is just a single perversion, a mistake. But the Spanish theoretician Santiago López Petit states that if we think of globalization as the result of a process, we imply a development and a progression (also, temporarily, a regression, a crisis), and therefore, we are not capable of understanding the way capitalism functions. Capitalism, as elaborated by López Petit, is not an irreversible process but a reversible and conflictual event. The core of this reversibility is presented in the following way: López Petit states that in the world today, all is brought back to one single event, and this is not the crisis, but what he calls the “unrestrainment” of capital (in Spanish des(z)boc(ka)amiento), that can be more colloquially grasped as the “unrestraining,” or “unleashing” of capital.

That means that neoliberal global capitalism is nothing more than the repetition of this single event—that is, the unrestrainment of capital. Even more, this unrestrainment of capital creates a paradoxical spatialization that requires two repetitions working at once: on the one hand, a founding repetition in which a system of hierarchy is reestablished, leading to the constant reconstruction of a center and a periphery; and, on the other hand, a so-called de-foundational repetition that presents itself as the erosion of hierarchies, producing dispersion, multiplicity, and multi-reality. The unrestrainment of capital is the only event that—being repeated in any moment and any place—unifies the world and entangles everything that is going on within it.

I emphasize three major fields in which López Petit tackles global capitalism: reality, capital/power, and democracy. These segments are linked together through two almost old-fashioned mechanisms that are evidently still operative today: circularity, in the way of self-referentiality and empty formalism, on the one side; and tautology that produces obviousness on the other. Tautology means obviousness. This tautology, as argued by López Petit, presents itself today as the complete and total coincidence of capitalism and reality. To say that capitalism and reality totally coincide means that today reality is reality. This is precisely the result of the deadly obviousness of the tautological format (that capitalism and reality totally coincide), which our life is based on in neoliberal global capitalism.

The date of the event that made reality and capitalism totally coinciding is, as argued by López Petit, September 11, 2001. This is also the date that announced the entrance of global capitalism onto the main stage. López Petit states that the outcome of September 11, 2001 was the excess of reality; it was the moment when reality exploded. López Petit warns us that in the global era, the debate between modernity and postmodernity has become obsolete. The global era is a break with modernity and with the postmodern radicalizations of modernity that were developed by Giddens, Beck, Lash, etc. López Petit states that the classical concept of modernity is about modernization. It is presented as an endogenous process that is caused by factors within the system. Modernity is presented as the work of reason itself. Likewise, modernity constructs a rationalist image of the world that implicates the duality subject/object, and the distance is, says López Petit, that of man and the world. Postmodernism abolishes this distance and situates man inside a world that is made of signs and ahistorical languages. The global era oscillates this distance between zero and infinity. This is why we may feel the absence of the world and simultaneously witness its overabundance. So it comes as no surprise that most of the theoretical books that have been published recently deal with this oscillation between zero and infinity. The limit of the postmodern discourse resides in the contemplation of reality as neutral; that it has now come to political neutrality. But what is necessary to do today is to call for the repoliticization of reality, and to de-link ourselves from its political neutrality.

I will also claim that modernity continues to be important, as it allows us to rethink two emancipative projects that failed historically: the Enlightenment and communism. The failures are historically clear, on one side we have the brutal history of colonialism, and we have the Holocaust. Moreover we cannot start any talk on the matter without including in our critical stance the brutal history of colonialism and the many faces of contemporary coloniality. To be precise, colonialism is directly linked to Nazism and fascism. Contemporary epistemological coloniality reproduces only the Western matrix of the Enlightenment and does not take into consideration the epistemological breaks and shifts in the so-called “exterior,” or rather, as it is termed by the Eurocentric epistemological apparatus, the “edges” of Western European scientific thought.[7] I insist on a continued analysis of knowledge/coloniality/modernity.

The other big project of modernism is communism, which has not been reflected well enough either, due to the past brutal failure of the “project” of Stalinism. The future of communism is paradoxical though, as it is today emptied of its historical context, in order to be presented as an infinite playground model of jouissance for emancipated Western intellectuals.

After this clarification we can enter the post-Cold-War European space, as only with the process of repetition—and not division, as in the time of the Cold War—is it today possible to understand the new processes of hegemony and discrimination that are implied in Europe. This repetition is also referring to Kwame Nimako (quoted in the beginning of this essay) when talking about the way in which Western Europe is to civilize (or better, “to teach”) the former Eastern Europe.

Post-Cold War and Gender Check

In this section, I attempt to show the ways in which representations of gender are central to the previously mentioned spatializations of Europe and to processes that govern mentality, classification, historicizations, and how this is linked to the processes of racialization that I emphasized in the third part. Therefore it is necessary to go back to the post-Cold-War time and the exhibition, Gender Check–Femininity and Masculinity in the Art of Eastern Europe.

First: The invitation to the exhibition did not mention a single name of any of the included artists. This is something that would not be possible if it were the case that Western artists were taking part in the show. One of the reasons for this omission, as stated by ERSTE, MUMOK, and the curator (each passing the “problem” on to the other) was that more than 200 artists were invited. As the producer of the show was the ERSTE Foundation, it is impossible to imagine that an extra sheet of paper could not have been provided as part of the invitation on which to list the names! Money was never a question in this exhibition, as the Erste Fundation, having tight relation with the Erste Bank, abundantly financed the project.

But what was even more disturbing was the fact that the press material did list a selection of names in a way. What I want to say is that the Eastern European artists, whose names were chosen from the total of some 200, were only presented or listed in the public (press) materials as a selection. The procedure was similar to the way that CVs have been written by artists themselves until now. Therefore, for ERSTE, MUMOK, and the curator, the selected artists’ names from the former Eastern European space were (are to be in the future) taken/included/excluded depending on the contexts for which the different institutions need their CVs.

What is described here is not a joke; it is banal evidence of the status of Eastern European artists (unfortunately, it is not about the eternity of work as it is the case with Western European artists), though this banality has its theoretical framework. One of the most challenging presentations—maybe the only challenging presentation at the symposium—was the lecture by Vjollca Krasniqi (a theoretician from Prishtina, Kosovo), organized immediately after the opening of the Gender Check exhibition. In her talk, entitled “Returning the Gaze: Gender and Power in Kosovo,” she presented a reading of the neocolonial capture of Kosovo by the European Union. Her analysis showed that the processes of discrimination—we could say structural racism—that present the imposed and endured racist measures that are currently implemented by the European Union onto Kosovo are all presented as being needed for the “emancipation” of Kosovars. Vjollca Krasniqi made a clear statement that the discrimination imposed onto Kosovo/Kosovars by the European Union is necessary (in the view of European Union) in order for Kosovars to become, as she stated, “mature political subjects,” ready to enter the future European Union. She clearly presented that “becoming mature” is only possible through changing Kosovo into a neoliberal capitalist protectorate, where maturity is practiced as the infantilization of the citizens of Kosovo through constant discrimination. Similarly, I can state that those few names mentioned of the selected Eastern European artists taking part in the Gender Check exhibition were selected on the presupposition that they were mature enough to be listed as part of the various CVs of different institutions (ERSTE, MUMOK, the curator), depending on the different purposes of those CVs.

More poignantly, I can state, quoting Goldie Osuri—and she refers to Arjun Appadurai’s text, “Number in the Colonial Imagination”—that the Gender Check exhibition can be conceptualized as a juncture of a colonial epistemology of constructing a certain space of visibility for the unnamed, let’s say 180 artists in the show (20 were named depending of the context), and of a necropolitical governmentality (if we think about the mathematics with which the exhibition was constructed).[8] Appadurai talks of a specific way of constituting the colony (in contemporary times, such logic can be applied to Iraq, etc., which is the case in Osuri’s brilliant analysis of Iraqi necropolitics) with what he calls the concept of “enumerative community.” What do I want to say with this?

As it was repeated over and over, from the opening speeches on, it is true that Gender Check is not about Eastern and Western Europe (and therefore the word “East” is actually a mistake in the title of the exhibition), but is about establishing a colonial logic of producing “the former Eastern Europe” as an enumerative community of some 200 artists presenting more than some 400 works—and the curator argued that it could have been even more, but MUMOK was too small! The division between East and West is not at stake here, but what is at stake here is making the neoliberal capitalist logic of governmentality workable. Necropolitics is always established in the postcolony through a specific method of counting that allows for eternity as infinite statistics that evacuate the social, political, and conceptual space.

In Gender Check, some bodies—and let’s be precise, nameless bodies (the invitation that was sent to “everybody,” so to speak, did not list one single artist’s name, except perhaps the artist from the invitation’s cover image)—are taken to stand for other bodies because of the “enumerative principle of metonymy.” Even more, metaphor and metonymy were used as the logics by which to produce meaning throughout the exhibition, bypassing the social and political,[9] where we do not have contexts about different positions in the exhibition, as in ordinary exhibitions nowadays in museums of contemporary art, but just some narratives that function in a metonymic way in order to present a certain old-fashioned metaphor (Ernesto Laclau is right, at least for once, as metonymy is at the base of the metaphor) of the East caught in binaries of private and public, etc.

Just to make a clear comment, as we are constructed as a “bag” of comments, the leaflet for the invitation to the symposium—which was constituted by positions coming from the East and the West—did contain names, and they were listed fully and accurately. It would not be possible to invite speakers from Austria or the “Former West” (as Western Europe like to call itself these days) and not have them listed! The enumerative logic implemented in the construction of the exhibition also comes close to logic of constituting protectorates and zones of control through “genderization.” I develop the concept in relation to Suvendrini Perera:[10] genderization is a neoliberal, capitalist procedure of governmentality; applied through gender onto the whole territory of the East of Europe, after being successfully used on the much more mature terrain of the West of Europe. As argued by María Lugones in her text, “Heterosexualism and the Colonial / Modern Gender System,”[11] gender itself is a colonial introduction, a violent introduction consistently and contemporarily used to destroy peoples, cosmologies, and communities as the building ground of the “civilized” West.

Therefore the term “genderization,” which at once resembles precarization and proletarization, presents not a gentle “gendering” process (similar to “becoming”); but a brutal, colonial logic of forced subjugation of the whole territory of former Eastern Europe to Western practices of gender that are transformed into a mechanism of control and normalization. Gender Check is a repetition of gender mainstreaming from Western Europe onto a territory that needs less subtle mechanisms of checking.

Second: It was repeated over and over again that the exhibition is not about Eastern and Western Europe, as they do not exist anymore. Although it must be clear that this is a paradoxical statement coming from the curator and those who provided the money, as well as many speakers on the panel; as the title of the show was Gender Check–Femininity and Masculinity in the Art of Eastern Europe. But still, it is true!

I pose a question though: What is the logic that organizes a possibility to declare that the borders are gone? I propose a thesis that the so-called imbalance between Eastern and Western Europe today is no longer a question of opposition as it was in the past, but that the Eastern and Western parts of Europe are today in a relation of repetition. It is the same repetition I put forward when speaking of global capitalism, when I stated that today, global capitalism is nothing more than the repetition of one event alone (according to López Petit), this being the unrestrainment of capital. However, this repetition does not go on as a process of mirroring, but it presents a repetition of one part within the other. We witness daily a repetition of the neoliberal, capitalist West amid the nationalist East, and they do not disturb, (so to speak) each other, but reinforce each other. Just think about the racist French politics deporting European Union citizens—the Roma citizens—“back” to Romania.

Another good example of this logic of repetition is the reusing of the word “former” from former Eastern Europe (that describes a precise geopolitical condition) for an empty performative—but fully ideological—move of de-re-framing what is functioning powerfully today as Western Europe. An excellent case of such a repetition is the project Former West that was started in the Netherlands as an international research, publishing, and exhibition project for the period of 2009 to 2012, curated by Charles Esche, Maria Hlavajova, and Kathrin Rhomberg. Former West is not at all a joke, although it could be seen as such, but is a perfect logic of repetition as the key logic of the global capitalism of today. What does the project do? It claims a perverse demand of equal redistribution of “responsibility” and “positions” between the East and West of Europe today. That is, it also answers specifically to the demand urgently imposed by Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall that claimed that East Germany and West Germany were to become “equally” outdated. This is, of course, abundantly financially supported by the new European cultural and financial institutions.

In the case of Eastern Europe, the former means that the processes of evacuation, abstraction, and expropriation imposed by the West are actually “over;” as proclaimed by Germany in 2009, celebrating its twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with the slogan, “Come, come in the country without borders” (and I will say without memory as well). But in the case of the “former” (as it should be at least written) West (Europe), it implies a purely performative, empty, speculative gesture. While the East is excluded more and more from the materiality of its history, knowledge, memory, etc., the West is just performing it. It plays with a speculative format of itself; it wants us to think that its roots of power and capital are fictional! But this is not a strange move today, as it comes in a time when we talk about financialization and the speculative turn in philosophy; the word former in front of West presents a speculative matrix that gives the West the possibility to not be conscious of its own historical and present hegemonic power—and therefore not responsible for it. Be sure that in the future we can expect projects, symposia, and statements in which the imperial colonizing forces—Britain, France, the Netherlands, not to forget Spain etc.—will try to prove how they were also colonized in the past, and that what is happening to them in the present is the result of strange forces that have nothing to do with the internal logic of capitalism itself, which has two drives only: making profit at any cost and privatization.

Or the now reborn former West, the old colonial power, wants to convince us that it is capable of a process of decolonization, but as stated by Achille Mbembe, without self-decolonizing itself. Similarly to financialization, this new decolonization is a “fictive decolonization.” As Mbembe explains, “fictive” decolonization is decolonization without contesting structural racism. The structures of exploitation, inequality, and racism stay in such a way untouched in the European Union—more accurately they are reinforced; the consequences are disastrous.

What should be included in the discussion between the former East and “former” West is precisely the ideological form of repetition. This form presents, encapsulates so to speak, a process of emptying (not only of diminishing, but in many cases completely nullifying, etc.), what at the level of content was made visible. On the other side, the former East and “former” West brilliantly describe the logic of the unrestrainment of capital that works by a paradoxical spatialization that requires two repetitions that have to work at once. Santiago López Petit states that on the one hand, we have a founding repetition with which a system of hierarchy is reestablished, leading to the constant reconstruction of a center and a periphery (the exhibition Gender Check!); and on the other hand, a so-called de-foundational repetition (the project Former West!) that presents itself as the erosion of hierarchies—producing dispersion, multiplicity, and multi-reality—and that makes invisible the always repeating production of the center and periphery. This de-foundational repetition is possible to name postmodern fascism, according to Santiago López Petit.


Based on Ugo Vlaisavljević’s insights in his text entitled, “From Berlin to Sarajevo,”[12] I can claim that the proclamation of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and therefore of the border dividing the East and West being gone, which can be so cheerfully celebrated, has to do with the wrong conceptualization of the border itself. Maybe it is necessary to rethink the concept of the border and to ask: What does this present celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall really mean? Ugo Vlaisavljević, referring to Étienne Balibar, points the finger to a process in Europe that states that the way we perceive borders changes, and with this change, we can conceptualize Europe differently as well.

Vlaisavljević states that the best way to understand the position within the European Union is to actually look toward the borders that are established by the European Union within those states that are not (yet?) integrated into it. Balibar envisioned that we have a process of simultaneous fragmentation of borders resulting in their multiplication on the one hand, and the disappearance of certain borders on the other. In 1997, he wrote—and I will paraphrase—that the borders are shivering, though he warned that this does not mean that they are disappearing. On the contrary, they are multiplied and diminished in their localization, in their function, stretched or doubled, becoming zones, regions, border-territories. Precisely what is at stake here is that the relation between “borders” and “territories” is reversed; that borders, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, started to be transformed into zones.[13]

The consequences of this are more than just a game of monopoly; this means that with this act of establishing zones or territories instead of fixed borders, the question of borders disappears so that the physiognomy of the border is able to change radically. We do not talk about Eastern and Western Europe anymore, but about the transformation of an entire territory into a zone which functions in such a way that it becomes a (new) border. Vlaisavljević clearly points out that this is the function of a new territory called the “Western Balkans,” which has the function of just such a border-zone.

If we take this point, which was almost prematurely developed in the 1990s, and is coming into its full power now (in global capitalism), then it is necessary to conceptualize the exhibition, Gender Check, as a border-zoning. It constitutes the former Eastern Europe as a border-zone, transforming it into a field for testing the level of genderization of the whole territory. We can especially state that this is what is at stake here, as we know that gender got its perverse condition of possibility over the last few years, when it was appropriated by Western, neoliberal, global capitalism in the form of gender mainstreaming, and was subsequently implemented throughout the “former Western Europe.” Therefore, the twentieth anniversary commemorating the fall of the Wall commemorates the fall of a wall of paper, as other walls are, in the meantime, still built of concrete and present the border as a zone. This border-zone is not at all at the border, but it is inside the very territory, or rather, it could be said that the whole territory itself is the border now.

When it was asked rhetorically, “Can Gender Speak East?”—the title of one of the panels of the Gender Check symposium (“Reading Gender: Art, Power and Politics of Representation in Eastern Europe”), those who responded affirmatively are those who do not understand the changes that affected former Eastern Europe or Europe as such. As the shifting of the border into a zone implies that the border is not a line, or not even a wall (and therefore the fall of the Berlin Wall can be cherished so enthusiastically), as the border presents a whole zone today, and gender is such a bordered zone! Gender Check therefore presents this new condition perfectly clearly. This is why the other panel at the same symposium, organized by the Western participants, used the title, “Fuck Your Gender,” because for radicalized (Western) queer positions, gender mainstreaming means the complicity of gender with neoliberal global capitalist governmentality. But for the former Eastern Europe, it seemed as though gender was still good enough, as queer was reserved for the West. The Western participants took queer and left gender for the East. Queer is to be seen in a certain dialectical genealogy that starts from feminism, passing through gender and that now presents a radicalization of feminism as a queer position. Gender, because of gender mainstreaming (malestreaming), presents its failed, negative side.

Biljana Kašić, in her text, “Where Is the Feminist Critical Subject?” states, translating from her own “political, transitional, post-Yugoslav, ‘European-promising,’ gender mainstreaming, vulgar capitalist-oriented” context, that it is necessary to emphasize “three ordering systems that are at play in visualizing (feminism and) Europe today: gender mainstreaming, the neoliberal global capitalist order and the market-consumer dictate that includes control over representation.”[14] I showed that the Gender Check exhibition tries to blur them, making none of them possible to identify. I demonstrated that Gender Check is a gender mainstreaming, that the contemporary capitalist neoliberal order presents the shift from borders to zones under the shield of the co-propriety of capital/power (ERSTE/MUMOK/the institution of the curator). Moreover the control over representation is achieved through an enumerative logic, which is the new juncture between colonial epistemology and necropolitical governmentality.

Or to paraphrase Angela Mitropoulos in her text, “Legal, Tender,”[15] what Gender Check does is to normativize an economy of gender and sexuality, blurring the line that binds the zone to the border, as well as connecting sex and desire to race and (re)production in a hegemonic way.

Therefore, precisely through this process of the reversal of borders into territories or zones, we can claim that the borders are disappearing for the need of the imperialism of circulation, and therefore, we can cheerfully greet the fall of the Berlin Wall, as it is a paper wall, transformed into a zone that will be repeated as a border elsewhere. Balibar stated that the Berlin Wall is gone—instead, we got a bureaucratic process of visa acquiring—and the border police are not at the borders anymore, but are in the hearts of the cities that are not yet part of the European Union, where within fortified embassy offices, as reported by Vlaisavljević, policemen, rather than what we knew in the past as embassy and consular bureaucrats, keep the walls firmly standing. Today, as noted by Vlaisavljević, the “former Western European” states’ embassy personnel are more and more professionalized bureaucratic police. Vlaisavljević stated that integration into the European Union starts before the future E.U. member state is integrated. In short, as lucidly pointed out by Vlaisavljević, Europe does not need the Berlin Wall anymore, as it has established invisible internal judicial police and managerial borders that function as outside walls.

Yes, as it was proclaimed by the slogan of the unified Germany in 2009: “Come, come to the country without borders.” The only problem is if you (we) happen to be, by “chance,” in any one of the many detention camps or prisons in Germany; or in similar facilities elsewhere in the European Union, the land without borders; or if you (we) are waiting in a line somewhere to get visa or asylum papers.

In short, for this first part of the text it is possible to say that gender binaries and the evacuation of the most important social contradictions from the space of former Eastern Europe, which were put forward in the entangled policy between the ERSTE bank and the curator, resulted in a symbolically dead space of the former Eastern Europe, incapable of thinking politically of hegemony, discrimination, racism, and exploitation.

In conclusion, it is important to state that this exhibition offers a substantial and fascinating illustration of colonial repetitions of processes of enfoldment within a “Western same” under conditions of tutelage.

PART TWO: Former Yugoslavia, Queer and Class

Now in this second part the question is posed of how to step out of the binary imposed on the former Eastern Europe space through processes of colonial repetition in which gender has a main role, as I have tried to show. A possible answer is given by implying the concept of queer onto the way of historically rereading the changes of the former Yugoslavia space. This concept of queer is elaborated with reference to philosopher and queer activist Beatriz Preciado’s text, “Gender and Performance Art. Three Episodes from a Feminist Queer Trans Cybermanga…,” published in 2004, in which she tries to develop an inventory that reflects on the history of performance art in the West in relation to the American history of feminism and postfeminist and queer practices and writings.[16]

I will attempt a similar genealogy for Eastern European space, more precisely for the former Yugoslav space. In the latter case, my task is to present through this new genealogy (which includes what is perceived as the Second World, i.e., the former Eastern European space) what I call the gesture of repoliticization of the space of performance art and its history, as well as the gesture of repoliticization of (post)feminism through queer optics.[17]

Before proceeding it is necessary to clarify this former Yugoslav space. The term “former Yugoslav space” is today discredited by the political elites of the former republics of Yugoslavia. In their nationalist madness, they dissociate themselves ferociously from such a reference in space and time. In radical contemporary art and leftist cultural readings, on the contrary, former Yugoslav space is not conceptualized as a geographical term, but as a political, economic, and conceptual paradigm of productive and contested historical influences between theory, contemporary art, and independent structures that are capable today of reconnecting themselves transversally in order to build works, structures of exchange, and forms of resistance. Feminism in the territory of the former Yugoslavia is an acknowledgment of the power of two centers—Zagreb and Belgrade in the 1970s, which had the capability of developing a powerful feminist movement. It is possible to see the importance of feminism—which was not brought to life until the 1980s in Ljubljana in connection with the underground movement—when we compare its theoretical analysis and activities with theoretical psychoanalysis in Slovenia in the 1980s. Both positions allowed for leftist radical rereadings of the socialist reality of the 1970s and 1980s—through feminism in Zagreb and Belgrade, and psychoanalysis in Ljubljana.

The Genealogy

Why start such a genealogy of performance art in the Eastern European context by connecting it with feminism? The relationship between performance art and feminist activism is, according to Eleanor Antin, constitutive for performance art: “practically, it was the women of Southern California who invented performance.”[18] The Western genealogy of performance as an effect of feminism, according to Antin, has its roots in guerrilla theatre and in the university and street riots of the American women’s movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

The history of performance, as well as the history of feminism and queer politics, is actually a history of battles, nothing is given, and it must not be taken for granted.

In contrast to what Antin suggests, in the context of the former Yugoslav territory, I can state that performance in connection with feminism is deeply linked to art practices such as the body art and conceptual art of the 1970s, and the post-conceptual tradition and alternative or underground movement of the 1980s in Ljubljana. What does such a change imply? It is clear that public space under socialism belonged to the Communist Party and that it was necessary to find another space—precisely to develop and take back the space of contemporary art and culture. The notion of performance therefore finds its productive meaning, paradoxically, in the area of aesthetics and drag culture in connection with political activism.

Beatriz Preciado, in her newly rewritten genealogy of performance art within the Western context, introduces three levels of the dramatization of female sexuality, and I will add performing politics in relation to (post)feminism and queer positioning. My thesis is that not only can we discover, outline, and read a similar genealogy of dramatization, as it is presented by Preciado, in socialism as well as in the postsocialist context of the former Yugoslav space, but even further, we can learn about changes in the paradigm of queer strategy in our contemporaneity.

Preciado talks about the dramatization of sexuality as a three-stage process that develops from heterosexual to drag, and in the end, enters queer space.

In 1970s Zagreb and Belgrade, we witnessed: (1) The dramatization of heterosexual femininity. In the 1980s, within the underground or alternative movement in Ljubljana, we witnessed; (2) The dramatization of femininity in gay culture and later in the 1980s and 1990s in the postsocialist context (under the influence of media art and new performance), we witnessed; (3) The dramatization of masculinity in the queer context of Eastern Europe. Therefore, the specific genealogy of performance and feminism under socialism and the postsocialist context bridges body art and conceptual art with the underground and punk/rock ‘n’roll movement displaying the passage that I will define as being from sexually queer to politically queer.

Capital functions as the evacuation of different spaces; it presents a constant production of “universal,” abstracted, standardized nonspaces. The world becomes unified, easily “understandable,” and even more importantly, easily exchangeable—a transparent machine for the production and circulation of skills, technologies, and organizational models. Global capitalism functions by installing the iron law of sameness everywhere in the world, which is why we talk about the global world! Other worlds and other spaces (that are not part of the First Capitalist World) and their histories and theories, practices, and activities are evacuated, abstracted, and erased. This is why talking about the new political subject of performance via (post)feminism and queer identity today means linking it to different new spaces of battle and engagement. Or, as stated by Brian Carr:

And though this is a history that can never be summarily rescued, a politically invested critical practice cannot suffice to leave it or the subaltern nonsubject in the space of a theoretically foreclosed real, insultingly lamenting it as a hapless loss on which the symbolic must be founded. Such a position only fetishizes the symbolic itself, remaining hinged to a symptomatic of unilateral intelligibility where what appears unrepresentable is forever and essentially so. Indeed, the very positing of the unrepresentable, its very “appearance,” is itself a political production, one that cannot simply be chalked up to the unfortunate “reality” of symbolic intelligibility. It is, after all–and I say this realizing the risk in such a designation–our responsibility to think the symbolic differently, refusing at every turn its supposedly immutable and a priori codes.[19]

I would like to proceed not with a simple illustration, but a conceptualization of the proposed three levels of dramatization in order to politically rethink performance art and transfeminism.

1. The dramatization of heterosexual femininity

Sanja Iveković, Zagreb

Sanja Iveković from Zagreb (Croatia) asked, in her works, for the repoliticization of the most intimate heterosexual inner space. In 1979, she developed a performance piece to be staged the day former-Yugoslav president Tito (who died in 1980) arrived in Zagreb for an official visit. The piece was called Triangle, as in a triangulation of the symbolic, the real, and the imaginary. Iveković appeared on the balcony of her flat in the center of Zagreb at the same time that Tito’s car was passing and a crowd of onlookers stood cheering below on the street. While Tito passed, Iveković read a book while pretending to masturbate. Her actions caught the attention of a secret service officer on a nearby rooftop. Soon after, a policeman or the neighbor rang her doorbell asking, “that persons and objects should be removed from the balcony.”

Triangle by Sanja Ivekovic

Figure 1 Sanja Iveković, Triangle, 1979. Copyright Sanja Iveković.

Triangle by Sanja Ivekovic

Figure 2 Sanja Iveković, Triangle, 1979. Copyright Sanja Iveković.

Triangle by Sanja Ivekovic

Figure 3 Sanja Iveković, Triangle, 1979. Copyright Sanja Iveković.
Triangle consists of 4 photographs: Iveković on the balcony, two are with Tito’s car passing and the crowd cheering him, and the fourth shows the secret service officer on a nearby rooftop.

In Triangle, Iveković transgressed masculine public/political space while dramatizing heterosexual femininity; with this act of female autoerotization “playing the woman,” she masked and softened her performative entrance in the public space, which in socialism has historically belonged to men. This performance resulted in the creation of agency in two ways. It provided a cultural interpretation of the formation of femininity and it was a reflection on the division between private and public spaces. What Iveković performed is what is today interpreted as the “masquerade,” a distinction between genuine womanliness and the public space. According to Preciado the prematurely developed postmodern notion of the masquerade was very influential in twentieth-century analyses of the dramatization of heterosexual femininity. The point not to be lost in this interpretation is that Iveković is not only performing what is to be seen as a (heterosexual) woman for the male gaze, but also the division of private and public spaces. Without the text, the textual narrative about the work given by Sanja Iveković, the work would have a very narrow meaning for the general public. Through the text, the work became a stage for performing gender and private/public spaces. Or, the autoerotization (the masturbation in 1979 by Sanja Iveković, as she explained) still presents a serious problem; women’s sexual actions still do not have the universal male self-explanatory discourse that allows for identification and understandings per se. Women’s autoerotization, as argued by Jacqueline Rose, presented a serious problem; therefore, women artists had to “make up” a good story. Sanja Iveković presented the best one—who could ever think of forbidding the image of totalitarian president Tito, even if it was stained by precisely performed discursive masturbation?

According to Judy Chicago, dramatizations of heterosexual femininity were always aimed at transforming the limits between private and public space, aiming at what was referred to in the United States as a process of consciousness raising.[20]

Vlasta Delimar, Zagreb

Vlasta Delimar from Zagreb (Croatia) is one of the most important female performers in the former Yugoslavia. The beginning of her career can be traced back to the phenomenon of the so-called new artistic practice, a complex artistic conceptual movement in 1970s Croatia. Her artistic work includes, among others, repainted photos and photomontages that all focus on a single heroine: Vlasta Delimar herself. With her narcissistic gestures, so utterly self-centered that she functions at the same time as a sign and icon, Delimar stages the now already internalized awareness of constant self-control, or better yet, the notion that we live as if we were about to be photographed. In these still postsocialist, transitional times, when pure blood and tribal affiliation are existential paradigms in a transitional period of former Eastern European space, I can talk about Delimar as a “bastard,” an illegitimate person.

Grzinic Figure 4

Figure 4: Vlasta Delimar, A Mature Woman, 1998. Copyright: Vlasta Delimar.

Sexuality clings to the female body, says Monique Wittig, so why should we try to get rid of it?[21] In Delimar’s attempts to articulate the desires of the Other, she may in fact be presenting herself as housewife and whore at the same time, yet remains far away from conventional roles. The interesting thing about her work is not so much related to gender, but to sex and sexuality in performative terms, allowing us to make a connection with the early works of performance porn actress Annie Sprinkle.

Vlasta Delimar’s work can also be seen as a subversion of the Catholic morality that is the dominant regulator of social, moral, and human norms in Croatia—and I can state this for all the countries of so-called Central Europe, Slovenia and Austria included.[22] In this context she intervenes with “direct speech,” through titles such as, “I love a dick,” etc. The next important moment is her “rough, genital nakedness” in opposition to the “non genital, shaved” and therefore esthetically tolerated nakedness and sexuality.

It seems that from the so-called capitalist outside, and in relation to stereotypical views on “ex-socialist or ex-communist women,” they seem to have an extra ability to denude themselves, showing their lives unmediated, bare and without veiling. But via Delimar’s work, as pointed out by Šuvaković, we see that naked or bare life is never performed as such, but always through sophisticated technological and new media representational and communication regimes, practices, and power relations (photography, video, Internet). Just think about Google Earth’s “reality show” of Africa’s Darfur tragedy, around-the-clock, bare or naked life, “live” on the net. This is made possible only through sophisticated technological and new media representational and communication tools that regulate visibility and show nothing but death as their “brand” of authenticity.

2. The dramatization of femininity in gay culture

As opposed to the strong feminist movement in the West—which in the 1970s in the entirety of Eastern Europe only came powerfully to life in Belgrade and Zagreb, Slovenia had to wait for its feminist coming-out until the 1980s, a time of strong subcultural and rock ‘n’ roll movements in Ljubljana, and this happened through performative actions that can be identified as gay, lesbian, (post-)punk, sexual, and queer.

It is possible, therefore, to establish a different historization of the former Yugoslavia between feminism and artistic, cultural, social, and theoretical-critical practices. If it was possible in the 1970s to activate feminism as a powerful tool within academic and conceptual art structures in Zagreb and Belgrade, in the 1980s, “feminism” developed as a theoretical and activist practice only in connection with other marginalized but powerfully “revolutionary” interventions. In the 1980s this happened in relation to punk and post-punk as well as in relation to visual culture in the gay community, and underground alternative music and video productions. Feminist positions in connection with gay, lesbian, and transvestite situations were performed and replayed in front of the video camera or on the stage in works by groups such as Meje kontrole št. 4 (The Borders of Control no. 4) and Borghesia, both from Ljubljana. Performances connected with pornography, sadomasochism, and other marginalized sexual practices presented a clear political investment in the space of performance and new media (film, video).[23]

The Borders of Control no. 4, Ljubljana

The first work produced in the 1980s within these horizons of thought, and imbued with the ideology of the underground was Icons of Glamour, Echoes of Death (Ikone glamourja, odmevi smrti), from 1982. The author was the group, “The Borders of Control no. 4.”[24] The video is about the phantasmatic world of a woman, portrayed as a fashion model, and her friend, a hermaphrodite (we discover this in the end of the video when the phallus between her legs emerges). The model, on the other side, is apparently a transvestite, changing gender easily through language. They remember their childhood, their years in school, and their first experiences with masturbation. The visual story in the video presents the confrontation of the model with her photographs and slides. She is playing “live” for the camera, while restaging her poses in the photographs projected in the background. The model poses while we follow the captions of the song The Model (the original lyrics by Kraftwerk interpreted by Snakefinger).[25] The video reuses and applies the aesthetics of German and American avant-garde traditions from the 1960s and 1970s in its lighting, camera, and editing, referring to Fassbinder, Von Praunheim, and Warhol. The performance in front of the camera points to the politics of sexuality and female pleasure. This work was one of the first under socialism that opened up and dramatized the institutions of masculinity through drag and king practices. It can be seen as a clear political statement in favor of lesbians through queer optics.

Grzinic Figure 5

Figure 5: The Borders of Control no. 4, Icons of Glamour, Echoes of Death, 1982. Copyright The Borders of Control no. 4.

It is possible to make a direct correlation to another work in the “West,” to Linda Benglis’ notorious advertisement in the November 1974 issue of Artforum. She called attention to herself by posing naked with a dildo (a plastic prosthesis). The dildo takes the central role in both works: in Benglis’ advertisement and in the video work by The Borders of Control.

When the woman is with the phallus, this phallus is not an object, but a signifier. It inverts the order and role of the gaze. With this move, we can say that a precise anticipation of queer strategies was brought into the socialist context (in the underground). The gendered body is made visible through a signifier. And why is this so important? In order to reclaim feminism and its power for ourselves, it is important to differentiate between heterosexual, transvestite, lesbian, and queer, feminine sexuality—not to hybridize, but to demonstrate the power of these differentiations for feminism. It is equally important to see the transformation from a woman as sign (as was the case for Vlasta Delimar) to a woman as signifier. The signifier performs the subject not just as image, but as discourse, through language, where this discourse is also a critique of the language of the institutions of culture, technology, the social, and the political.

In the 1990s, Judith Butler and Eve K. Sedgwick therefore delivered their definition of gender in terms of performance art. This is one of the reasons for this proposed genealogy! But I would like to advance a thesis that in the East (of Europe), the result of this process of performance agency was the production and reinvention of the political subject in art. The queer body was, in the East, eminently and thoroughly the political body that presented itself as a move from the sexual toward the political queer. This was also connected with the structure of socialism or communism, that in opposition to a hysterical and neurotically configured libidinal space of capitalism—which lives from a constant becoming, changing, and reinventing of identities, and takes parody as its primal aesthetical form—socialism and its big brother, communism, were psychotic spaces. Communism was a psychotic, autistic system where everything was directly connected with ideology, without the art and culture market that is the main regulator of the never-ending, neurotic, and hysterical processes of becoming in capitalism (you can ask yourself, why gender is suddenly so fashionable). The result in socialism was the production of strategies and tactics beyond parody; over-identification being one of the most notorious. Of course, life under capitalism is connected with ideology (especially when capitalism claims that we are living in postideological times), and through bypass, it is “facilitated” by the market, consumerism, and by forced enjoyment with forms of life that are constantly reinvented.

3. The dramatization of masculinity in the queer context

The dramatization of masculinity in the postsocialist context initiated a different attitude toward feminism and performance. Seen through a queer context in the former East, it is a strategy with which to perform the ownership(s) of masculinity. What does this mean? It means to question, through performance within sexual and libidinal contexts, the institution of contemporary art and culture and its (new) proprietary relations in society. It means to question new forms of private ownership of art and culture, the social and the political, as the innermost motor of contemporary, global-capitalist, neoliberal societies. Surplus value is at the core of capital, and it is in correlation with surplus enjoyment (with more and more forms of life, products, identities, etc.) Within such a context, it is possible to articulate private property relations concerning history, intellectual property (copyright for example), etc., as directly connected to the contemporary institution of masculinity. Are we not today witnessing art projects that have several fathers or owners who establish the brands (the Documenta(s), the Balkan exhibition series in Germany and Austria in 2003 and 2004, etc.)? All these new paternalistic figures make apparent that they are behaving as dictators, imposing the absolute right of decisions. New proprietary relations are established for the protection of capitalist property rights, leading to the increasingly privatized ownership of different public projects, exhibitions etc.

Tanja Ostojić, Belgrade

Grzinic Figure 6

Figure 6: Tanja Ostojić, Black Square on White, 1996. Photo: Saša Gajin. Copyright: Tanja Ostojić.

A photograph titled Black Square on White was taken in the 1990s, featuring the black pubic hair of performer Tanja Ostojić styled in the form of a “Malevich” square (a black square centered in the middle of a white plane), and organized in a composition with her white skin, the Mound of Venus.

Kasimir Malevich’s Black Square is one of the most famous creations of Russian art in the last century. The first Black Square was painted in 1915, beginning a turning point in the development of the Russian avant garde. Black Square against a white background became the symbol, the basic element in the system of the art of suprematism, the step into the new art. Being one of the elementary forms, the square embodied the idea of collective work that was of great importance to Malevich.

Between Ostojić’s legs, the real/impossible kernel of the art power machine received its only possible appearance in flesh and blood. The so-called touchy nodal point of contention in art today is the cannibalistic attitude of art’s edifice of capitalist power that displaced, abstracted, and expelled everything and everybody for the sake of its own survival. Works of art are completely abstracted from their historical roots by the capitalist art market. Malevich stands at the beginning of an art-historical edifice that is completely detached from its conditions of possibility—that means this history is presented as detached from any social, political, and economic contexts. What we see is a complete disembodiment that suits disembodied, neoliberal capitalist democracy perfectly. And if we are to rearticulate the ways that this real/impossible kernel is to emerge today in the field of (performance) art, then it is possible only as tropological/topological incarnation(s). In Tanja Ostojić’s work it is precisely the pubic Malevich under the stylish gowns: that is, the black square embodied on the topological place, and not some kind of “wallpaper, poster Malevich.” What else is Ostojić’s Black Square on White, if not a tropological incarnation on a topological place? This work serves as a fleshy (incarnated) embodiment of the total expulsion of the condition of possibility from the capitalist edifice of modern art.

The ontology of gender is, according to Jacqueline Rose, a partial identification as identification in process, a flux that never stops. But what we have here is over-identification. Ostojić does not present a kind of partial identification, as is the case in parody—a mockery that starts with identification, but then becomes a joke. With over-identification we witness an ultraorthodoxy. Tanja Ostojić performs the publicly unspoken ideology of contemporary art literally and until the end, in order to articulate the libidinal dynamics of capitalism.

Let’s take another example from in between Tanja Ostojić’s legs. Tanja Ostojić’s untitled work (after Gustave Courbet) from 2004, which measured 46 by 55 centimeters, and was presented in Camera, Austria, Graz in 2005, and in public space in Vienna in 2006, as part of the European Union meeting of state presidents. It was removed after protests by politicians and publics concerned with “genuine” human rights.

Ostojić’s work reconstructs Gustave Courbet’s painting, The Origin of the World from 1866, of the same dimensions. The difference between these two works is of crucial importance. In Courbet, transgression is abstracted in the name of aesthetic enjoyment. Courbet’s visualization, as argued by Šuvaković, can be seen as a confirmation of him as a master not only in possession of the gaze (the male gaze of nineteenth century), but of the most intimate parts of a woman’s body as well. Ostojić returns this gaze by pointing to the core of another origin, to the origin of the European Union that resides in libidinal and biopolitical organizations and differentiations; that hegemonizes, sorts, and regulates the social, economic, and administrative body of Europe; and that is becoming what critics have called “Fortress Europe.”

We can make another comparison, this time with one of the canonical works of conceptualism. Vito Acconci in his 1970 work, Corrections hides his genitals, with the outcome being a black triangle. The triangle and the square? Is this just about geometry? Or is it politics? Acconci’s work was performed in the time of high modernism, when white male artists did not need to think about the nature or borders of their gender; the Other was just the “painting” or the body (just think about Vienna Actionismus). Acconci’s triangle, the result of his hidden genitals, presents a zero position, or, according to Šuvaković, it is gender apolitical. He does not need to situate his “knowledge,” or, as Lacan would say, his “ignorance.” For conceptual art in Western high modernist times, the white male body was “enough” and did not need any text!

Ostojić’s works challenge the desexualized and therefore depoliticized subject, and the disembodied notion of citizenship within neoliberal capitalist democratic society. Diane Torr (in Preciado’s text) argues that with such projects, we see the possibility of creating, through theatrical/performative reappropriation of the ownership of masculinity, a new territory for experiencing/contextualizing and politicizing the body. This has been, according to Torr, denied to women by a politically correct distribution of gender. A drag king theatrical personification of masculinity generates, according to Torr, a redefinition of the borders between private and public, transforming the space of political and sexual action of the body into a political statement that tackles the core of the capitalist machine: private property and ownership of bodies, art works, spaces, patents, knowledge, and political rights. In the context of the East (of Europe), one might say: transforming the sexually queer into the politically queer.

Šejla Kamerić, Sarajevo

A different story emerges in Šejla Kamerić’s Bosnian girl, from 2003. A photograph of Šejla Kamerić is presented as a poster covered with a text depicted in a graffiti style that says, “No teeth…? A moustache…? Smell like shit…? Bosnian Girl!”

Grzinic Figure 7

Figure 7: Šejla Kamerić, Bosnian girl, 2003. Copyright: Šejla Kamerić.

The bottom of the poster contains a traumatic footnote that is the real: “This text was written by an unknown Dutch soldier on the wall of the army barracks in Potočari, Srebrenica 1994/1995. The Royal Netherlands Army Troops, as a part of the UN Peace Keeping Forces UNPROFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992–95 were responsible the for protection of the Srebrenica safe area.” With this “intrusion” of politics into what seemed like an emotional statement, the trauma becomes visible. The trigger in this work is the reference to where the graffiti was taken from. It presents the transformation, the passage from the abject (something that is neither a sublime object nor a piece of shit) toward the object small a, that in theoretical psychoanalysis is the symptom; as such, it surpasses the agenda of feminism as micropolitics, presenting it as social contradiction, or antagonism. Similarly to sexual difference, social contradiction cannot be symbolized or presented as a relationship—it remains as the traumatic real in society. In Kamerić’s work, the footnote points to a set of homophobic, chauvinistic, and racist prejudices that were/are part of the institution of UNPROFOR in the former Yugoslav territory and of West European policy in the Balkans.

The politics of performing gender through queer subjectivity means finishing with micropolitics and individual storytelling, and pointing a finger to a social antagonism that organizes the entire space of Europe, or presents it through its most traumatic points of failure (for example, European peacekeeping forces and the European policy for establishing order in the Balkan wars).

Eclipse, Ljubljana

Eclipse is a female duo that first exhibited publicly in 1999. One of the members of the duo always performs in front of the camera, as the kitschy porno-functional body, while the other is behind it. The body in Eclipse is constantly being produced through performative actions. In Eclipse’s photograph titled Blood is Sweeter Than Honey, from the 2001 series Pornorama, we see a performer lying naked as if in some Renaissance painting, but not in a green meadow like a Venus, but on an old medical table from the beginning of the previous century used to transport patients and corpses to surgery. Her naked, attractive, and kitschily adorned body is transformed into a map that presents the body as territory, where body parts—breasts, neck, legs, arms—are secured and territorialized with numbers. The photograph also has a legend in which each number is ascribed a name of a well-known artist: Koons, Almodovar, Abramović, Sprinkle, Madonna, etc. The photograph is displayed as a map of the body dismembered by contemporary artists, branded, and owned by the Institution (by the Market) of Contemporary Art—Abramović is connected with arms, after she so obsessively cleansed the bones of war in the former Yugoslavia at the 1997 Venice Biennale; Almodovar with heels (after his film High Heels), etc. These artists already claimed certain parts of the body through the capitalist art market that regulates and distributes the selling and consumption of images.

The result of Eclipse’s work is to show that the master artist, with her or his cannibalistic attitude toward one part of the body, loses part of his or her priority and originality, precisely by being dismantled through Eclipse’s recycling and parodying of models of femininity and masculinity from the high-arts field and displayed as popular trashy postsocialist doubles.

Grzinic Figure 8

Figure 8: Eclipse, Blood is Sweeter Than Honey, 2001. Photo: Rajko Bizjak. Copyright: Eclipse.
The body is a map with the name of a well-known artist ascribed to each number:
1. Jeff Koons; 2. David Cronenberg; 3. Madonna; 4. Marina Abramović; 5. Chapman Brothers; 6. Richard Clayderman; 7. Jan Saudek; 8. Annie Sprinkle; 9. Helmut Newton; 10. Ron Athley; 11. Pedro Almodovar

Queer performance and performative politics dismantle binary oppositions (being of sexual or political character) by questioning institutions of power and their proprietary relations; and in such a way, producing a space for political battles, and creating agency for the political transfeminist subject capable of developing alternatives not only to art and culture, but society and politics as well.

PART THREE: Europe is Reborn through Class Racialization

As stated by Angela Mitropoulos, “origin and lineage are nowhere more disputed and uneasy” than at the border—it is there that the boundaries of property law and its tenure unfold. This is the place where legitimate labor—as argued by Mitropoulos, the very distinction between wage labor and slavery and authorised reproduction—is decided. The European Union functions in transforming mostly migrant labor into pure slavery (and not only in Spain, Italy, France, Austria, etc.). In Slovenia, migrant workers coming from the former republics of a common state once known as Yugoslavia are today working in conditions of slavery; excluded from the law, they become “nonexistent,” lacking the most basic humans rights. Or even more precisely, what occurs at the Schengen border (that is, the frontier between the European Union and the rest of Europe) can be put in parallel with another border, the Tijuana border (32 kilometers from downtown San Diego, the busiest point of entrance into the United States from Mexico), or the borders within the United States and Mexico themselves, regarding employment, social security, deportations of illegal workers, or the relation between increasing criminality and paralyzed social and political space. At the frontier, according to Mitropoulos, that is “a violent positing of the frontier as a space of exploration, cultivation and extraction of wealth–in the scarcities that are obliged as precondition and condition of a market in labor, in the criminalization and recapture of fugitive and wayward (re)production (…) –there would be a periodic recourse to the naturalizing magic of genealogy to settle matters of orderly progression and authenticity.”[26] I stated in the beginning that the human and race reside in their asymmetric ghastly positions; humanization of the former Eastern Europeans is done at the expense of the racialized “non-subjects,” whose access to the representational status of the “human subject” is fundamentally halted. Or, furthermore, following Carr, and as I tried to present in the first part of the essay, “the gendered white bourgeois subject is ‘made,’ of course, with racialized/colonized subjects being (…) ‘unmade.’”[27]

Araba Evelyn Johnston-Arthur describes the situation in Austria as twofold. On the one hand, we have migrants who were invited into the country by the government in the 1960s to help the postwar reconstruction of the country; and on the other, we have a new, vast group of refugees, fugitives, asylum seekers, and deported persons who find themselves caught in the ever-changing immigration laws established and reinforced by the transnational E.U. laws, implemented daily and improved nationally (as in August 2010, when France—supposedly “legally,” as it was based on E.U. laws—deported hundreds of Roma back to Romania and Bulgaria).[28]

What we witness today in Europe is actually what was announced by Partha Chatterjee already in 1993,[29] and was reworked in the previously mentioned compelling essay by Brian Carr written in 1998. There exists a limit in the Foucauldian understanding of the modern regime of power on which the contemporary biopolitical resides today. Actually when biopolitics was elaborated in the 1970s, it was for the capitalist First World and its apparatuses, where the “Other” did not exist, it was only insisting in the space by working. Therefore in Europe we have two modern regimes of power working at once! One is the generalizable modern regime of power that goes from Foucault through Agamben and is radicalized in the time of crises throughout the global world; the other is the regime of colonial power. In distinction to the former regime that today functions with demanding integration and even more with the “distribution” of debts (!), fear, and fantasies; the latter regime functions with exclusion, marginalization, desymbolization, and disfiguration.[30] We have, therefore, two regimes of discrimination, racializations, and exploitations that are almost the same, but the latter is not white.[31] The entanglement between them is visible in the myriad of class racializations.

“Race thus stands at the vanishing point where sexual difference and the human resolve,” as stated by Carr, “into the ungendered figure of dehumanized racial ‘flesh.’”[32] As I wrote already in 2007, and will revisit here, it functions at least on three levels, developed in relation to Lacanian psychoanalysis, and by introducing race, it may be possible, as argued by Carr, to ward off the threat of our own racialization:[33]

  1. As vanishing mediator. What does this mean? Emigrants, women of color, etc., those coming from other worlds outside the First capitalist World—which is presented as the only “properly” civilized world, and that stubbornly exports its civilization bloody everywhere else—are today in a position when they are not seen as human excess (as in the past!), but we get a paradoxical turn through which that which was perceived in the past as “animality” (just think about Fanon’s analysis), is seen today as the zero level of humanity. It covers up the monstrosity of the “human” as such; the zero level of humanity presents today a perverse, almost “sublime” human essence that has to be upgraded and civilized. On the larger territory of Europe, according to Gail Lewis, it is the black woman’s body, or women’s bodies of any other color that do not match the white color of the old and new Europeans, bodies in constant processes of trafficking, exploitation, and subsumation within different stories of contemporary racism.

  2. As real difference. Within such a horizon we can demand not to expand the struggle for different conditions of life into series of equivalences, but to retake a single social antagonism, that of race, as the main force of change. An excellent example of such a political and structurally grounded struggle is the work by the Research Group on Black Austrian History and Presence, from Vienna. As it was precisely stated by Araba Evelyn Johnston-Arthur and Belinda Kazeem (she is active as well within the Black Women Community[34] in Vienna), by “founding a Black Research Group we are thereby recovering displaced knowledge about the Black Austrian history, building up a space for it and for us, Black people in this country (Austria). Crucial for this counter-history writing is the Black perspective, which [lets us] reconstruct hidden (his)stories: visionary history writings far beyond voyeuristic representations of the ‘exotic other,’ that is emancipated from usual racisms and sexisms. Even though Black history of this country stays fragmentary in the end, we–as Black researchers–are not afraid of asking for aspects that cannot be reconstructed and of creating possible counter historical concepts. The aim of the research group, to crack up invisibilities and open new grounds for history writings, is therefore inseparably connected with processes of self-definition, and of making visible and audible the Black Austrian experience and presence in a (self-)determined way” (The Research Group on Black Austrian History and Presence, 2007).

    In the case of our (my proper) former Eastern European and now newly acquired white petit-bourgeois crippled genealogy, we have to critically conceptualize, as stated by Hortense Spillers, that “race” signals gender’s sociosymbolic unmaking.[35] Our change from communist uncivilized nonsubjects to capitalist, post-Cold War “not yet quite, not yet right,” civilized and human subjects (from one propriety relation to another) testifies only to our potentiality for convertibility on the capitalist market. Though it is possible to state that, as argued by Carr, “white bodies are no imaginable as nonhuman because of their race as their whiteness does not have the linguistic gravity of animality, primitivity, or property,” I will propose a correction, arguing: capitalist white bodies. Though it definitely remains true that, “whiteness is not enough to detect us as humans [italics added, in Carr’s essay the “us” refers to the replicants from the film Blade Runner], whiteness is not ‘in and of itself’ a differential mark,”[36] whiteness is tediously-administratively and horrifyingly-monstrously re/produced, nurtured, and manufactured.

  3. As minimal difference. By contesting the exclusion of race from mainstream political and philosophical theory, African American critics expose the confusion between the normative and descriptive levels of liberal theory. bell hooks is skeptical about the universal principles of color-blind justice. She argues (as presented in Ewa Płonowska Ziarek’s An Ethics of Dissensus. Postmodernity, Feminism, and the Politics of Radical Democracy), that such abstractions obliterate the acute historical contradiction between the histories of Euro-American and New World African modernities.[37] Kelly Oliver analyzes the rhetoric of the color-blind society, and argues that this rhetoric denies the social fact of race and its effects as well as the “white” provenance of supposedly neutral categories such as “human” or “American.”[38]

Quoting Orlando Patterson, Brian Carr provides us with an illuminating difference. Already in 1982, Patterson, referring to African Americans, argued that, “exclusion from the scene of subjecthood is not always on the order of death proper.” Carr continues: “Symbolic designification has more regularly, in its more historical and colonial dimensions, installed a condition of what Orlando Patterson, referring to African American slaves in the U.S., calls ‘social death.’”[39] Patterson envisioned these two types of exclusions—these two types of life, and also two types of death—as something that would become the main logic of global capitalism after 2001, and would be named by Achille Mbembe in 2003 as necropolitics.

Carr therefore argues, “Patterson’s paradoxical framing of the ‘socially dead’ allows us to think (…) about how ‘death’ operates within the social and how excluded bodies are rendered dead at the level of sociosymbolic signification. Here, evacuation from a symbolic of bourgeois subjecthood (and its attendant logic of sexual difference) marks a ‘condition’ not analogous to an always nostalgic story about the imaginary ‘stuff’ of a presymbolic subject or a body prior to the enjoining governance of phallic differentiation. That is, bodies excluded from subjecthood in the context of colonial rule should not be conflated with the psychoanalytic notion of the sexually undifferentiated pre-subject, ones whose (pre)history can never be rescued.”[40] These two types—one of inclusion and the other of exclusion—mark different temporal/historical logics and today work at once.

It is possible to state that racism is divided from within and exists on at least two different lines of racism—or of technologies, discourses, judicial, economical, political, theoretical, artistic, cultural, semiotic, psychoanalytic implementations of racialization—in the space of Europe and the global capitalist neoliberal world. Carr insists that the line of division is the colonial difference.[41]

This division from within does not come as a surprise. What does this mean? Biopolitics, which was initially researched by Michel Foucault[42] and further extended by Giorgio Agamben,[43] presents today, I argue, not so much in the direction of how life is administered, but in the way of its differentiation. Before moving to Agamben let’s examine Foucault’s biopolitics. It is obvious that Foucault’s biopolitics, coined in the 1970s in the time of the Cold War, is a specific conceptualization of capitalist liberal governmentality exclusively reserved for the capitalist First World. It presented 1970s liberal capitalism as “taking care” only of the citizens of the First World capitalist nation-states. What was going on in the Second (the Eastern European space) and Third Worlds was not at the center of the management of life in the capitalist First World. One of the James Bond films from the 1970s is an accurate description of biopolitics: Live and Let Die (1973). I can propose a short definition of biopolitics in order to understand Foucault’s conceptualization of it: “make live and let die.”

Giorgio Agamben, in the 1990s, proposed a division between, on one side, modal life—life that presents itself only as an infinite catalogue of forms-of-life, and, on the other side, a life without a form—that is, bare or naked life. Agamben’s life is not anymore “one,” but it is caught in a process of its pure formalization through differentiation. The outcome is that what matters in the capitalist First World are only forms-of-life. Agamben therefore points out that biopolitics is not just about how life is administered (as with Foucault), but is instead about life’s differentiation, its fragmentation. It presents a new division: life is now divided within itself. Life that was seen in the past as only opposite to death has been divided in two. Or to say it differently, this process of differentiation is, in fact, the procedure by which life is administered, managed, and how it is controlled on the supposition of its improvement. It is a process that only allows life as a form-of-life, life as a style (only allowing for new forms, new styles of life).

But, again, after 2001 it became obvious that capital’s surplus value was based on the capitalization of death (in Latin: necro) worlds. This change radicalized Foucauldian biopolitics in order to understand global capitalism and the wars exported globally in the new millennium; but also in order to understand differently Agamben’s division of life from within—i.e., bare-life as just one of the forms-of-life (the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal with rap music). This was conceptualized precisely by Achille Mbembe and termed necropolitics. In “Necropolitics,” Achille Mbembe discusses this new logic of capital and its processes of geopolitical demarcation of world zones based on the mobilization of the war machine. Mbembe claims that the concept of biopolitics, in light of the war machine and the state of exception as one of the major logics of contemporary societies, should be replaced with the concept necropolitics.[44]

As with biopolitics, I can propose a short definition of necropolitics in order to understand Mbembe’s conceptualization of it: “let live and make die.” Necropolitics presents the management of life for the global neoliberal capitalist world. It transforms the aim of “making live” into “letting live,” where “letting live” is a form-of-life that is far from the cozy structures of better life (“making live”). “Let live” presents pure abandonment. You can live if you have means (with the help of a lineage and pedigree of money and power), and all those who cannot live in the situation of pure abandonment by the neoliberal public capitalist structures are to be left to die—or on many other occasions, made to die, as for example, in New Orleans, Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Though Mbembe elaborated necropolitics in order to describe an intensified subjugation of life to capitalist exploitation and governmentality of the social, political, and economic through the war machine in Africa—which he named the “postcolony”[45] already in 2001, proposing a view on Africa distinct from postcolonialism—necropolitics received a palpable shape throughout the world with the “War on Terror,” launched by the United States (supported by Great Britain and NATO) as a response to the September 11, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers in New York.

In such a context, necropolitics presents the repoliticization (and historization) of biopolitics. It is possible to argue that in global capitalism, the institutions of the ideological state apparatuses primarily function today as biopolitical institutions. Therefore, art and culture, along with theory and criticism, education, not to forget the banks, etc., are now purely biopolitical machines: only taking care of themselves and their hegemonic Euro-Atlantic interests, while the social and the political (with what is claimed to be its “autonomous” judicial system) are pure instruments of necropolitical global capitalism.

If in 2008 on the eve of the global economic crisis, Europe was brilliantly tagged by the Slovenian lesbian activist and writer Nataša Velikonja as “Europe is boring!” in 2010, Étienne Balibar stated: “Europe is dead!” Of course, Mbembe was not mentioned—far from it!

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  1. Brian Carr, “At the Thresholds of the ‘Human’: Race, Psychoanalysis, and the Replication of Imperial Memory,” Cultural Critique 39 (1998): 120. [Return to text]
  2. Kwame Nimako, address, Workshop on Education, Development, Freedom, Duke University, Durham, 25-27 February 2010. The workshop was organized by Walter Mignolo at the Center for Global Studies and the Humanities, Duke University. See website. [Return to text]
  3. See Angela Mitropoulos, “Legal, Tender,” Reartikulacija 7 (December 2009). [Return to text]
  4. I refer, with “classtimate.” to Brian Carr’s (2004) proposed coinage of “sextimate” in order to register the gap in Nella Larsen’s novel, Passing regarding sex and race. Both terms refer to Lacan’s extimité that was manufactured by applying the prefix, ex, from exterieur, or exterior, to the Freudian term, intimité, or intimacy. The Lacanian extimate defies the inside/outside, self/other boundaries and is thus both exterior and intimate at the same time. For Carr, though, race is the positivization of a gap, the imaginary overcoming of an internal limit. See Brian Carr, “Paranoid Interpretation, Desire’s Nonobject, and Nella Larsen’s Passing,” PMLA 119.2 (2004): 282-295. [Return to text]
  5. Bojana Pejić is one of the representatives of the ex-Yugoslav feminist movement that was strongly conceptualized in Belgrade and Zagreb, and was of the utmost importance for many emancipative struggles in the history of (former) Yugoslavia. [Return to text]
  6. Santiago López Petit, La movilización global. Breve tratado para atacar la realidad [Global Mobilization. Brief Treatise for Attacking Reality], (Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños, 2009). In Spanish. [Return to text]
  7. I connect this criticism with the group modernity/coloniality, which is one of the most important research endeavors from Latin America (or in relation to it), and that includes members such as Aníbal Quijano, Ramón Grosfoguel, Walter Mignolo, Zulma Palermo, Catherina Walsh, Arturo Escobar, Sanjinés Javier, Enrique Dussel, Santiago Castro-Gómez, María Lugones, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, and Madina Tlostanova, among others. [Return to text]
  8. Arjun Appadurai, “Number in the Colonial Imagination,” Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament, eds. C. A. Breckenridge and P. V. D. Veer (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1993) 314–339. Cited in Goldie Osuri, “Identity and Complicity in Necropolitical Engagements: The Case of Iraq,” Reartikulacija 8 (December 2009). [Return to text]
  9. Appadurai 1993. [Return to text]
  10. See Suvendrini Perera, “Race, Terror, Sydney, December 2005,” borderlands 5.1 (2006). Quoted in Osuri 2009. [Return to text]
  11. María Lugones, “Heterosexualism and the Colonial / Modern Gender System,” Hypatia 22 (2007). [Return to text]
  12. Ugo Vlaisavljević, “From Berlin to Sarajevo,” Zarez 267 (2009): 23–25. [Return to text]
  13. Etienne Balibar, “La crainte des masses: politique et philosophie avant et après Marx,” Collection La Philosophie en effet (Paris: Galilée, 1997): 386–387. [Return to text]
  14. Biljana Kašić, “Where is the Feminist Critical Subject?,” New Feminism: Worlds of Feminism, Queer and Networking Conditions, eds. Marina Gržinić and Rosa Reitsamer (Vienna: Löcker Verlag, 2008) 457. [Return to text]
  15. Mitropoulos 2009. [Return to text]
  16. Beatriz Preciado, “Gender and Performance Art. Three Episodes from a Feminist Queer Trans Cybermanga…” Zehar 54 (2004). All references to Preciado’s arguments and thoughts are from this text. [Return to text]
  17. “Queer theory … attempts to map a more dynamic, less assured account of the body in motion within prevailing discourses of power. Moreover, it is precisely in seeking such destabilizing dis-identifications that the queer project should find points of intersection with feminist and post-colonial inquiry.” In Glenn Burger, “Queer Performativity and the Natural in Chaucer’s Physician’s and Pardoner’s Tales,” Conference on Cultural Frictions: Medieval Cultural Studies in Post-Modern Contexts, Georgetown University, Washington D.C., 27-28 October 1995. Available online. See also Marina Gržinić, “Performativity and Processuality,” Conference on Inventory in Dance and Performance, Tanzquartier, Vienna, 2005. Congress, selection and organization by Martina Hochmuth and Georg Schöllhammer. [Return to text]
  18. Eleanor Antin, quoted in Preciado 2004. [Return to text]
  19. Carr 2004: 143. [Return to text]
  20. Judy Chicago, cited in Preciado 2004. [Return to text]
  21. Monique Wittig, “The Category of Sex,” Feminist Issues 2.2 (1982): 63–68. [Return to text]
  22. Miško Šuvaković, Cases’ Studies (Pančevo, Serbia: Mali Nemo, 2006). All references to M. Šuvaković’s arguments and thoughts are from this book. [Return to text]
  23. See Marina Gržinić, Fiction Reconstructed. Eastern Europe, Post-socialism and the Retro-avant-garde (Vienna: Edition selene, 2000). [Return to text]
  24. The two members of the group who perform in this video are Marina Gržinić and Aina Šmid. [Return to text]
  25. “For every camera, she gives the best she can / I even saw her on the cover of a magazine / Now she’s a big success I want to see her again.” Original lyrics by Kraftwerk, “The Model,” The Man-Machine, Kling Klang, 1978. [Return to text]
  26. Mitropoulos 2009. [Return to text]
  27. Carr 1998: 120. [Return to text]
  28. Araba Evelyn Johnston-Arthur and Belinda Kazeem, “Cafe Dekolonial.‘Sag Zur Mehlspeis’leise Servus…'” [Decolonial café. “Say silently Good Bye to the pastry…”], Reartikulacija 1 (2007). [Return to text]
  29. Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1993, quoted in Carr 1998:146. [Return to text]
  30. All terms are used by Brian Carr in relation to numerous other scholars, among others Hortense Spillers. [Return to text]
  31. See Homi Bhabha, cited in Carr 1998: 146. [Return to text]
  32. Carr 1998: 125 [Return to text]
  33. Carr 1998: 131. [Return to text]
  34. Schwarze Frauen Community (Black Women community): See website. [Return to text]
  35. Hortense Spillers, cited in Carr 1998: 125. [Return to text]
  36. Carr 1998: 139. [Return to text]
  37. bell hooks, Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics (Boston: South End Press, 1990), cited in Ewa Płonowski Ziarek, An Ethics of Dissensus: Postmodernity, Feminism, and the Politics of Radical Democracy (Stanford: Stanford UP, 2001). [Return to text]
  38. Kelly Oliver, Witnessing: Beyond Recognition (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2001). [Return to text]
  39. Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death, (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1982, cited in Carr 1998: 126. [Return to text]
  40. Carr 1998: 126. [Return to text]
  41. Carr 1998: 141. [Return to text]
  42. Michel Foucault, “Governmentality,” The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, eds. Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon, and Peter Miller (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1991) 87-104. [Return to text]
  43. Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: sovereign power and bare life (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998). [Return to text]
  44. Achille Mbembe, “Necropolitics,” trans. Libby Meintjes, Public Culture 15.1 (2003): 11-40. [Return to text]
  45. Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony (Berkeley: U of California P, 2001). [Return to text]