Daniel Bertrand Monk and Michael Sorkin (eds.), Between Catastrophe and Revolution: Essays in Honor of Mike Davis – OR Books, 2021
It is all worse than we think. It is even worse than Mike Davis, for whom “every day is judgment day” (The Nation), could have imagined. The contributions to this volume are explorations of what Davis—in typical wry fashion—once referred to as the field of “disaster studies.” Collectively, they show how our “disaster imaginary” has been rendered inadequate by the existing order’s ability to feed off and coopt our resistance to it.
Contemporary mass protests are now subsumed as instances of an established, profitable politics of rage. Geopolitical conflict poses not as a threat to hegemonic power but rather serves the interests of a global market which capitalizes on lucrative, permanent war. Climate change itself, if it was ever thought to be a universalizing phenomenon, is now treated as an extensive market opportunity by global risk insurance conglomerates and predatory lenders who bet against any rescue of the planet.
Such catastrophic developments resist the language we use to describe and deconstruct them. The contributions to this volume seek to reimagine our understanding of disaster, and, following the example of Davis himself, to refuse outdated models of political transcendence as vigorously as they reject narratives of resignation.
Contributors: Mauro Caraccioli, Bruno Carvalho, Charmaine Chua, William Connolly, Mustafa Dikeç, Jairus Victor Grove, Waleed Hazbun, Andrew Herscher, China Miéville, Don Mitchell, Jacob Mundy, Ana Muñiz, Christian Parenti, Andrew Ross, Rob Wallace, Kenichi Okamoto, Alex Liebman, and Michael Sorkin.
“Some of the essays in this volume patiently argue; some sweep forward in righteous fury. All borrow Mike Davis’s grammar of catastrophe to anticipate a revolutionary moment when, at last, humanity pulls the handbrake. Whether they eulogise places and peoples laid waste by violence and war, or report on heating oceans and air and land, these essays are electrifying and urgently necessary.” —Laleh Khalili, author of Sinews of War and Trade
“Over the course of the decades, Mike Davis has mobilized his cool intelligence, breathtaking scholarly creativity, intellectual fearlessness and radical political imagination to illuminate the spatial violence and ecological madness of modern capitalism, as well as ongoing struggles for alternative forms of collective life. In this remarkable volume, several generations of radical thinkers engage with and take inspiration from Davis’s ideas. In so doing, they not only celebrate Davis’s wide-ranging insights, but illustrate their urgent importance for contemporary scholarship on the catastrophes and revolutions of our time.” —Neil Brenner, author of New Urban Spaces
Geographer Richard Walker discusses the many contributions of his fellow urbanist and radical.