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People of the Universe (Sternberg Press / e-flux journal)

People of the Universe (Sternberg Press / e-flux journal)

Current price: $24.00
Publication Date: August 5th, 2025
Sternberg Press


How have we evolved within the globalized market economy that has reigned triumphant in the decades since the 1999 Battle of Seattle?

“Commentating, illustrating
 Description giving, adjective expert
 Analyzing, surmising, musical
 Myth-seeking people of the universe, this is yours!”
—T La Rock, “It’s Yours”

What are people like now? How have we, in a cultural sense, evolved within the globalized market economy that has reigned triumphant in the decades since the 1999 Battle of Seattle? 

In People of the Universe, Charles Mudede begins with the distinction between the cultural and the social. The former emerges from the latter, which defines the kind of animal we are universally. Sociobiological universality is stretched to the cultural with political consequences whose temporality is not directly biotic (the social) but historical. The historical specificity of a collective experience is defined by the principles of a culture determined by the distributional logic of the market system. We do not experience abstract time, which is the time of always. We specifically experience market-time, which is not transhistorical. 

People of the Universe is infused with a futurism that is not without its problems. A number of its essays examine the limits not only of a futurism directed by an unthinking reverence of progress that has its origins in the Victorian cultural world, but, more specifically, Afrofuturism. Other essays scan the horizon with a third conceptual tool, this time taken from world-systems thinking, which, in essence, organizes the history of capitalist accumulation into four state forms.

Copublished by e-flux journal

About the Author

Charles Tonderai Mudede is a Zimbabwean-born cultural critic, urbanist, filmmaker, college lecturer, and writer. He is the Senior Staff Writer of The Stranger and a lecturer at Cornish College of the Arts, and has collaborated with director Robinson Devor on three films, two of which, Police Beat (2005) and Zoo (2007), premiered at Sundance, and one of which, Zoo, screened at Cannes. Mudede's first film as director, Thin Skin, will be released by Mutiny Pictures in fall of 2022. He has also written for the New York Times, Cinema Scope, Tank Magazine, e-flux journal, LA Weekly, Nest Magazine, and C Theory.