Critical Life Studies

Edited by Jami Weinstein, Claire Colebrook, and Myra J. Hird

The core concept of critical life studies strikes at the heart of the dilemma that contemporary critical theory has been circling around: namely, the negotiation of the human, its residues, a priori configurations, the persistence of humanism in structures of thought, and the figure of life as a constitutive focus for ethical, political, ontological, and epistemological questions. Despite attempts to move quickly through humanism (and organicism) to more adequate theoretical concepts, such haste has impeded the analysis of how the humanist concept life itself is preconfigured or immanent to the supposedly new conceptual leap. The Critical Life Studies Series thus aims to destabilize critical theory’s central figure life – no longer should we rely upon it as the horizon of all constitutive meaning, but instead begin with life as the problematic of critical theory and its reconceptualization as the condition of possibility for thought. By reframing the notion of life critically – outside the orbit and primacy of the human and subversive to its organic forms – the series aims to foster a more expansive, less parochial engagement with critical theory.

Columbia University Press