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Cut of the Real: Subjectivity in Poststructuralist Philosophy (Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture) Hardcover – 14 Feb 2014

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Cut of the Real is an important and original contribution to the complex discussions relating to subjectivity and identity. Through her nuanced reading of Lacan and Laruelle, Katerina Kolozova creates a powerful argument for a notion of democratic love that allows us to break through some of the ambiguities that have attended discussions of subjectivity, human nature, and the possibility of meaningful or radical social change. Her book will be a must-read in fields as diverse as philosophy, anthropology, and law. -- Drucilla Cornell, Rutgers University Kolozova's important new book is a fascinating disruption of the assumptions of post-structuralist feminism. Her creative extension of the 'non-philosophy' of Laruelle radicalizes feminist philosophy as it expands possibilities for theorizing the real as experienced. This is a major contribution to the new materialism. -- Jodi Dean, Hobart and William Smith Colleges Cut of the Real is destined to be an important contribution to ongoing debates in feminist, queer, gender, and race theory, as well as the newly emerging philosophical trend of speculative realism. It is my belief that Kolozova's book is the best introduction to Laruelle's thought to date and that it does an exceptional job discussing why it is valuable and what it can do. -- Levi R. Bryant, Collin College

About the Author

Katerina Kolozova is professor of philosophy and gender studies at the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities Research in Skopje, Macedonia, and has been a member of the International Organization of Non-philosophy since its founding. She is the author of The Lived Revolution: Solidarity with the Body in Pain as the New Political Universal, coeditor of Gender and Identity: Theories from and/or on Southeastern Europe, and editor of Conversations with Judith Butler: Crisis of the Subject.

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Highly recommended 17 Feb. 2014
By Jeremy Smith - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Within the first few pages of this book, I realized that this was NOT a speculative realist text, contrary to Bryant's commentary on the back of the book. This was a very emotional text that deals with the duality between a transcendental subject and an immanent "illegitimate" nonsymbolic Real, a synthesis between nonphilosophy (or non-standard philosophy) with Butler's work on mattering and affirming bodies. The reason why I say that this is not a speculative realist text is because non-philosophy is not always-already for-philosophy, but philosophy is affected by non-philosophy; realism, and in its current phase of speculation, is as every bit reactionary as idealism is by anthropomorphizing and legitimating the real, by purifying it, and so on...whatever your cup of tea towards this review, Kolozova describes these acts within the first few pages.

What I found so beautiful and emotionally striking is actually the post-script to the second chapter, "On the Real and the Imagined," which attempts to synthesize the AND-philosophy of Deleuze with non-philosophy (on Laruelle's terms); in the post-script, Katerina includes Butler's philosophy of liveability and the "derealization" of (transcendental) bodies that occurs with realist thought, especially Badiou. I found this a very compelling and worthwhile contribution to understanding the duality between materialism and the real (not realism).

Furthermore, the emphasis on the Stranger is very important to Kolozova's critique of poststructuralism and feminism. We have here a product of intense emotional mediation between the real (which is deemed "unliveable") and materialism/idealism. Laruelle's introduction adds to this intensity, and I recommend readers for this book to look for Laruelle's and Anne-Francois Schmid's "L'identite sexuee." Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Heresies of a Non-Philosophical Feminism 30 April 2015
By StreetlightReader - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It seems strange to talk about cutting-edge philosophy (considering philosophy’s glacial and perennially wandering spirit), but for a book traveling under the name of the Cut of the Real, it seems oddly appropriate. So much so in fact, that Kolozova claims fidelity not to philosophy, but instead 'non-philosophy', a ‘posture of thought’ that claims to distinguish itself from philosophy altogether, as propounded by the intriguing and enigmatic writings of her mentor, Francois Laruelle. Indeed Kolovoza is one of a handful of recent philosophers - including Ray Brassier, Anthony Paul Smith, John Mullarkey and Alexander Galloway - who have been willing to delve into the thickets of Laruelle’s almost impossibly challenging work in order to dig up the nuggets of gold within.

For Kolovoza, this means using the theoretical resources provided by Laruelle in order to rethink and challenge the practically axiomatic insistence by post-structuralism of the non-unitary nature of the human subject. Instead of considering the subject as essentially ‘riven’, ‘split’, ‘dispersed’, or dispossessed (by language, by the Other, etc, etc), Kolozova asks the question of how it is possible to think of the subject as a stable and continuous ‘One', over and against it’s dissemination into endless multiplicity. As she notes, despite post-structuralism's supposed celebration of the infinite openness of discourse, this freedom is itself sustained by a set of radical prohibitions about what can in fact be spoken of positively: restrictions pertaining to any question with regard to the unity of the subject, which, under the post-structuralist's gaze can only be ‘totalizing’, authoritarian, exclusionary, etc.

Kolovoza’s particular angle of attack is weaved through post-structuralist theories of feminism and gender, which bear the brunt of Kolozova’s fiery analysis. The work of Judith Butler and Rosi Braidotti in particular are singled out as discourses which vacillate between recognizing the continuity of the subject on the one hand, all the while espousing it’s discontinuity on the other. Underpinning this vacillation, Kolozova argues, is a deeper problem: that of the effacement of ‘the Real’, that which functions as a limit and a check on the proliferation of discourse, language and thought (all of which, following Laruelle, are shunted into the category of ‘the transcendental’, over and against the Real). While this is something of an old argument - Slavoj Zizek, among others, has notably wheeled out this line before, and with respect to Butler in particular - Kolozova’s ‘twist’ is to treat the Real in it’s specifically Laruelleian, rather than more familiar Lacanian sense.

Which means what exactly? The key idea here is that the Real (or ‘immanence’), is radically indifferent to thought and language, and that any distinctions made by philosophy (or thought more generally), between say, nature and culture, discourse and reality, fact and fiction, are ‘unilaterally’ generated by thought itself. Insofar as nature does not distinguish itself from itself, thought can never determine the Real, but is instead always subject to the Real’s autonomy and ‘determination in the last instance’. For Kolozova, insofar as feminist philosophy has remained inattentive to this dimension of the Real, it has been unable, in turn, to adequately theorize the singularity of the human subject in it's unity.

As should be obvious by this all too brief summary, for those unfamiliar with the Laruellian lingo - or indeed the philosophical context in which it gains traction - this can be a hard slog. Yet one of the virtues of Kolozova’s book is indeed the meticulous and patient way that she explicates these difficult ideas from a multiplicity of angles. Moreover, it's hard not to caught up in the excitement of Kolozova's iconoclasm; situating herself as a 'heretic' with respect to the 'post-structuralist orthodoxy', the Cut of the Real aims to do away with some sacred cows of theory while at the same time offering a new vision of philosophical possibility. Whether or not the endeavor is entirely successful is open to debate - Kolozova never really explicates what it means for thought to 'correlate', but not 'reflect' the real, a claim she affirms over and over again, and the relationship between the Real and the singularity of the subject is not fleshed out to the degree I'd like. Still, as a manifesto and a critique, the Cut of the Real is a genuinely electrifying piece of (non!) philosophy.
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