How reading and writing are collective acts of political pedagogy, and why the struggle for change must begin at the level of the sentence.
“Reading is class struggle,” writes Bertolt Brecht. Politically Red contextualizes contemporary demands for social and racial justice by exploring the shifting relations between politics and literacy. Through a series of creative readings of Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Walter Benjamin, W. E. B. Du Bois, Fredric Jameson, and others, it casts light on history as an accumulation of violence and, in doing so, suggests that it can become a crucial resource for confronting the present insurgence of inequality, racism, and fascism. Reading between the lines, as it were, and even behind them, Cadava and Nadal-Melsió engage in an inventive mode of activist writing to argue that reading and writing are never solitary tasks, but always collaborative and collective, and able to revitalize our shared political imagination. Drawing on what they call a “red common-wealth”—an archive of vast resources for doing political work and, in particular, anti-racist work—they demonstrate that sentences, as dynamic repositories of social relations, are historical and political events.
About the Author
Eduardo Cadava is Philip Mayhew Professor of English at Princeton University. His books include Words of Light: Theses on the Photography of History, Emerson and the Climates of History, and Paper Graveyards.
Sara Nadal-Melsió is a New York City-based Catalan writer, curator, and teacher. Presently writer-in-residence at the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia, she has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, SOMA in Mexico City, and New York University. Her essays have appeared in various academic journals, edited volumes, and museum catalogs. She is the co-author of Alrededor de/ Around, and the editor of two special issues on cinema, The Invisible Tradition: Avant-Garde Catalan Cinema under Late Francoism and The Militant Image: Temporal Disturbances of the Political Imagination. She has recently cocurated a show on Allora & Calzadilla for the Fundació Tápies in Barcelona and has written a book essay about it, To Be All Ears, To Be in the World: Acoustic Relation in Allora & Calzadilla, as well as edited a companion volume on the Puerto Rican crisis, A Modest Proposal: Puerto Rico’s Crucible. Her book Europe and the Wolf: Political Variations on a Musical Concept is forthcoming from Zone Books.