Jeremy Harding

Jeremy Harding is a contributing editor at the LRB. His books include Border Vigils: Keeping Migrants Out of the Rich World and Mother Country, a memoir. He is working on a collection of essays for Verso.

In the past three years​ there have been seven military coups in former French colonies, all in West or Central Africa. Two coups in Mali, in 2020 and 2021, saw a president and then an interim president deposed. Assimi Goïta, a colonel in his early forties, is now running the country. In Guinea, Alpha Condé, a president in his eighties, was removed by the military in September...

Untitled (c.1965)

Photography​ in the industrial age was fascinated by the subject of work. The readying of humans for their roles in the workforce was a minor subgenre of this huge documentary field. A glimpse of labour in the making was provided in the 1930s by the photographer François Kollar, shooting in a desolate concrete chamber where young French children were learning to...

Macron v. Millions

Jeremy Harding, 4 May 2023

Pensions​ – and ‘the fiscal impact of ageing’ – have long troubled the EU. A European Commission paper published in 2016 noted with relief that ‘most EU member states’ were reforming their pension systems. France is one of them. During his first term in office Emmanuel Macron envisaged an ambitious reform plan, but Covid-19 put paid to it. Re-elected in...

From The Blog
11 January 2023

Charles Simic, who died on Monday, was a regular contributor to the LRB for nearly 25 years. Born Dušan Simić in Belgrade in 1938, he left Europe as a teenager in the 1950s and the family settled in Chicago. He became a US citizen in the 1970s, retaining dual nationality. In the 1990s he was intrigued by international press coverage of the wars in the former Yugoslavia. Reviewing The Serbs by Tim Judah in the LRB in 1997, he argued that there was no deep-rooted concept of a ‘Greater Serbia’ driving Milosevic’s policies: it was just a bogus ‘Plan B’ after his ‘other schemes to extend his power over the rest of Yugoslavia had collapsed’. But ‘even if Mahatma Gandhi had been the president of Serbia there would still have been a Serbian problem to solve.’ Like many former Yugoslavs Simic wasn’t cut out for the reinvention of primitive nationalisms in Europe. Nor is his verse.

Bruno Latour was involved in Actor Network Theory (ANT), an open-ended way of thinking that redistributes agency to all the players in the drama of the sciences. ANT envisaged interactive networks, in which humans and other creatures – or ‘critters’, as Donna Haraway calls them – were on something like an equal footing. Scientific inquiry had always been conducted de haut en bas; the time had come to converse with its silent objects. For laypeople in an age of species extinction this feels like a crucial shift, yet it’s more often systems and technologies that ANT likes to explore, and it’s difficult to form an accurate picture of the networks if you’re not on the team. I think vaguely of Hegel’s dialectic being the wrong way up and Marx announcing that he had stood it on its feet. But in the ANT model there are so many feet for a dialectic to stand on that it could easily trip over itself. Or run amok. I think next of the sorcerer’s apprentice scene in Disney’s Fantasia (1940), where ‘things’, animated by the science of magic, rapidly get out of control.


Basil Davidson, 9 September 1993

‘In olden times, which is when God was deciding what blessings he would give to the countries he was creating, after a long while he finally got to Angola and he asked Gabriel his angel to...

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