Review of Susan Buck-Morss’ Thinking Past Terror: Islamism and Critical Theory on the Left

Ross Wolfe
This is great:

“In many ways this quest for authenticity reflects the residue of the Third Worldist discourse. The ideology of anti-imperialism in Third World guise equated those more exotic and unlike ‘us’ as the more revolutionary force, as the one least tarnished by the virus of capitalist modernity. In particular it was the Third World peasant that really got the romanticism of the western academic left going. While part of this phenomenon is the fetishism of the ‘other,’ we must also remember that this is not unique to our views of the Third World, but is also a feature of all forms of populism. The folksy jargon of praise for the authentic German peasant, who is honorable and works with his hands and who is pure and unsoiled by the cheapness of bourgeois urban life, was an important ideological component of fascism. It is surprising that a theorist [like Buck-Morss] who sees her thought rooted in the tradition of the Frankfurt School does not realize this, because one of the theoretical achievements of this tradition was a clear analysis of the cultural and ideological foundations of National Socialism.”
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