The Militant Intellect offers a way of rethinking the relationship between critical theory and politics. How does critical theory become self-conscious of its own relation to politics? How does it contribute to change the world through its reinterpretation of it? These are some of the questions that drive The Militant Intellect.
In this book Andrés Fabián Henao Castro argues that critical theory cultivates the militancy of the general intellect by training that intellect to work towards the intersectional and structural death of the colonist and thus to envision at the same time the materialization of that feminist decolonial communist queer marronage world that constitutes its horizon. Henao Castro borrows and expands on Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s idea of conceptual persona to qualify the intellectual labor of critical theory as an undisciplined field, that performs its labor through the creation of conceptual personae capable of subjectivizing critical thought. Doing so, The Militant Intellect argues for the indispensable reinterpretation of Plato’s Philosopher Sovereign, Karl Marx’s Communist, Frantz Fanon’s Rebel, Jacques Derrida’s Specter, Gayatri Spivak’s Subaltern, Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Life, Jacques Rancière’s Ignorant Schoolmaster, Judith Butler’s Antigone/Ismene, and Jordy Rosenberg’s Fox as compelling personifications of intellectual militancy for the general intellect to have new scripts capable of cultivating the virtuosity of its more revolutionary performances.
Andrés Fabián Henao Castro is associate professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is the author of Antigone in the Americas: Democracy, Sexuality and Death in the Settler Colonial Present (2021) and his research has also been published in differences, Settler Colonial Studies, Theoria, Theory & Event, Representation, Theatre Survey, Contemporary Political Theory, and Hypatia, among others.
Introduction: The Militant Intellect
Part I: Revolution
Chapter 1. The Just Militant: Plato’s Philosopher Sovereign
Chapter 2. The Critical Militant: Karl Marx’s Communist
Chapter 3. The Decolonial Militant: Frantz Fanon’s Rebel
Part II: Difference
Chapter 4. The Deconstructive Militant: Jacques Derrida’s Specter
Chapter 5. The Feminist Militant: Gayatri Spivak’s Subaltern
Chapter 6. The Fugitive Militant: Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Life
Part III: Universality
Chapter 7. The Egalitarian Militant: Jacques Rancière’s Ignorant Schoolmaster
Chapter 8. The Nonviolent Grieving Militant: Judith Butler’s Antigone/Ismene
Chapter 9. The Desirous Militant: Jordy Rosenberg’s Fox
Epilogue: Militants and/as Comrades
A crucial intervention in political theory, Marxism, and critique that brings together decolonial praxis with the deconstructive indeterminacy of the value-form in original and generative ways. Andrés Fabián Henao Castro offers a committed, radical perspective on the too-frequently dematerialized category of intellectual labor. Elegant, clear language to its reader—a comrade in book-form sure to accompany a wide range of thinkers in struggle.
Henao Castro offers a solution to the problem of expertise that tends to separate rather than include the left-wing intellectual in larger social and political forms of struggle. This book is a model for how to think about radical politics such that thought and action become intertwined and mutually reinventing.
This book requires our most urgent attention and in its revolutionary untimeliness finds itself arriving right on time to catalyze and contextualize what it means to ethically participate in disruptive intellectual labor.
In a time when revolutionary militancy tends to be criminalized and when resistance to domination is reduced to arbitrary and unjustified violence, this book reminds us that the time of the political understood as the time of life and liberation entirely depends on subverting and decolonizing the criteria that decide on the legibility of political action.
For far too long we have sought out philosopher-kings when in fact we needed something different. Tossed about by the choppy seas of the present with all their perils and possibilities, what we need is not a captain but a compass. Let this book be a contribution to getting our collective bearings.