I loathe you, Nina Power

You go out for dinner on a Saturday night, making sure not to stay out too late since you’ve got some writing to do, with Sunday set aside to prep for teaching. You get home a bit earlier, spend a couple of hours breaking out the quotations you want to use, taking note of the points you want to make in the paper you’re prepping for a conference. You set out an outline thinking, ok, I have something here in terms of a paper, even though others have written on this before: Badiou’s debt to Sartre’s theory of the subject in the CDR; the group-in-fusion as a subject but one that is a praxis, not a thing; the “subtraction” that is mathematical and pre-determinable in Sartre’s work and thus linkable to Badiou’s work; you don’t have quotes from certain interviews, but you pull out places Badiou is explicit about this debt, including the Pocket Pantheon; yada yada, presto a paper in a couple hours of writing on Sunday morning, including taking time out for breakfast and the Sunday Times.

Then instead of the Times, you see the Pli vol 20 sitting on the table and remember there’s a book review or two that you could read. Then you note that, right, Nina Power has that article on Sartre and Badiou’s theory of the subject. You think, good, maybe I’ll have a couple of ideas to cite in a footnote or paragraph there. You read along and realize, wow, there’s the points I wanted to make. You take note of her use of quotations you planned to use. By the tenth page, you realize that she’s said your thesis (and said it better). By the last page, you now realize you’re going to have figure out a new paper theme, with what you’ve done being the introduction, noting how this has been covered in Nina Power’s “The Truth of Humanity: The Collective Political Subject in Sartre and Badiou,” Pli Vol 20 (2009). You realize you’ll have to put this off until much later when time comes up for it again. Sunday afternoon might be gone.

Which is to say: I wholly recommend her essay, rendering as it does in quick order concise and important points often missed in Sartre’s and Badiou’s work, especially about the dialectical elements and unpredictability of the groups-in-fusion. Alas.



  1. I love how moments like these force us to reevaluate our paper in question, and moreso, re-think what it means to produce original work (and, generally, what we conceive of as important work) in our respective fields. Cheers to that.

  2. That’s more than fair. And I was only going to work on it on a Sunday morning. Besides my working method is such that writing is the last part (I guess by definition it always is): I grab the quotes I want, sketch out an outline, and then play connect the dots… But yeah, it’s good to see some decent work on the CDR…

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