Gavin Walker

is Associate Professor of History at McGill University, the author of The Sublime Perversion of Capital (Duke University Press, 2016), and a member of the editorial collective of positions: asia critique. His work concerns the interrelations of capitalism, the national question, globalization, and the postcolonial at the crossroads of Marxism, critical theory, history, and literature. He is the editor and translator of Kōjin Karatani’s Marx: Towards the Centre of Possibility and the editor of The Japanese ’68: Theory, History, Politics (both forthcoming from Verso). Walker is currently finishing his second book, Topologies of the Dialectic: Cultural Forms and the Allegories of History. Together with Ken Kawashima, he is working on a new theoretical project, Surplus alongside Excess.

Antonio Berni, Desocupados, 1934

Surplus Alongside Excess: Uno Kōzō, Imperialism, and the Theory of Crisis

Uno Kōzō’s Theory of Crisis provides us with not only a way to think about Marx’s Capital as a theoretical structure, but also the conditions of possibility for a renewal of politics in the face of our current situation. Paradoxically, the theoretical eternality of the laws and norms constituting capitalist society is precisely what allows us to grasp the historicity and finitude of the capitalist mode of production itself. And while the necessity of crisis does not simply lead to the necessity of collapse of the system, it does allow us to think otherwise about the necessity of capitalism itself.

Now and Coming Time III

The Postcolonial and the Politics of the Outside: Return(s) of the National Question in Marxist Theory

Today, the field of inquiry called “postcolonial studies” appears to be in a crisis of self-legitimation. This crisis concerns not the “success” of postcolonial studies as a disciplinary formation in the production of knowledge, but rather the foundational assumptions and political directions implied by the emergence of this disciplinary formation.