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Featured video – ‘Gramsci: Space, Nature, Politics’ book launch

Edited by Michael Ekers (University of Toronto, Scarborough), Gillian Hart (University of California, Berkeley), Stefan Kipfer (York University) and Alex Loftus (King’s College London), Gramsci: Space, Nature, Politics was published last year in the Antipode Book Series. With contributions from John Berger, Adam David Morton, David Featherstone, Geoff Mann, Joel Wainwright, Jim Glassman, Vinay Gidwani and Judith Whitehead, among many others, “Gramsci’s geographical imagination receives here the thoroughgoing exploration it has always deserved” (Cindi Katz).

Here we’re pleased to present a recording of the book launch. Co-sponsored by the Antipode Foundation, and held in March 2013 at York University, the event brought together some of the book’s editors and contributors with colleagues from York to discuss Gramsci’s geography, different readings and critiques of Gramsci, critical analyses of the current conjuncture, and much more besides.

Michael Ekers opens the event, introducing the book, its development, and the key concepts of space, nature and politics (“constitutive moments within an overall philosophy of praxis”, as he and Alex put it in the introduction [p.16]): “In excavating Gramsci’s writings on nature and space we respond to what we see as two blind spots in Gramscian studies while at the same time building on the extensive work that investigates Gramsci’s understanding of politics and difference” (p.25).

From 06:14, Nicola Short (York University) considers historical materialism and the politics of difference, thinking through feminist, antiracist, queer and postcolonial concerns with, and also beyond, Gramsci. Following Short, we might say of Gramsci what Hardt and Negri once said of Marx, that “to follow in Marx’s footsteps one must really walk beyond Marx…” (Multitude, p.140-141).

From 11:47, Stefan Kipfer argues that Gramsci’s philosophy of praxis is ‘a form of spatial historicism’, sketching out some of the book’s contents and looking at the way contributors ‘translate’ Gramsci’s work in the present, “strengthening, qualifying, and reformulating” it, “elaborating, modifying, and transforming” in analyses of different situations (to borrow his and Gillian Hart’s words from the conclusion [p.323, 326]).

From 18:52, Greg Albo (York University) considers the ways in which the book takes Gramsci studies in new directions, contributes to thinking through the concerns of our times – thinking in/beyond the political economic and ecological crises facing us – helping us make connections and build movements for the future.

From 31:33, Shubhra Gururani (York University) tells us how she sees the book as ‘generative’, as putting Gramsci to work, putting his writings in motion, rather than merely commenting on them; they’re things to be used, she argues, things of practice – things to confront, and also be challenged by, our times and places.

From 41:49, David McNally (York University) presents the book as an ‘original and stimulating’ contribution not just to Gramsci studies but to thinking about revolutionary, anti-capitalist Left politics today, one to which questions of difference, of gender, race, sexuality and colonialism, are central; such a politics holds out the possibility of diverse struggles becoming a ‘hegemonic project’, that is, a collectivity capable of not just resistance but transformation properly so-called…

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