The Battlefield of the Anthropocene

Azimuth n. 9 – 2017 (I)
Edited by Sara Baranzoni, Paolo Vignola

Genealogy and the Present Thought

Azimuth. Philosophical Coordinates in Modern and Contemporary Age is a highly-scientific review headed for an international public, that would be interested in the double orientation of philosophy, as it is conceived by the editors: it is genealogy of problems and themes in the modern Age as well as reinterpretation of them in the present days. This two-dimensional attitude also explains the name chosen, Azimuth, that’s the english translation from arabic term as-sûmut indicating the distance from a point to the plane of reference, which gives the necessary coordinates to determine the position of a celestial body. The aim is to provide the necessary coordinates to guide human thinking through the elaborate, stratified reality of the present days, which requires an intersection of different knowledges and approaches in order to be understood in its complexity.

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The issue explores a particular domain at the intersection of different human sciences, such as anthropology, literature, philosophy and the cultural studies. The complex constellation constituted by the – parallel and yet different – fields of the German “Kulturwissenschaften” and the Anglo-American cultural studies is inquired from two complementary perspectives: by analyzing the peculiar aspects, inner differentiations and specific focus of these two traditions, on the one side, and by exploring their mutual influence, on the other side; i.e., by considering and comparing the most important authors and consistent schools, the respective methodologies, the local manifestations as well as the historical, theoretical and thematic backgrounds of both traditions. READ MORE

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The “onlife” condition is a living sphere in which our practical and ethical action do not need to distinguish between informational and non-informational objects. For this reason, in the last twenty years digital technologies have generated a strong interest in the philosophical scenario and, since digital tracking has become a daily routine, it started gathering around itself the work of many philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists and media theorists. The aim of this seventh issue of Azimuth is to stir a philosophical debate in the belief that digital traces can offer a new paradigm starting from which we can re-think Humanism and the human being, its environment and its technical action in the world. In other words, we suggest the possibility a computational turn in philosophy comparable with the computational turn we have seen in many ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ sciences in these last ten or fifteen years. READ MORE

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What does it mean to perform obscenity? How can the borders of obscenity be defined, given that it deals with a huge variety of topics, ranging from eroticism to violence, from transgression to the exercising of power? In the last thirty years, thanks to an increased interest in the body, pornography has become a philosophical subject, which has acquired – starting from Foucault – a paradigmatic role in the works of Agamben, Han, Žižek and the vast constellation of gender studies. Pornography does not concern only the display of sexually explicit content, but because of the use and consumption which lie at the heart of cyberporn, it is an extreme metaphor of contemporary culture in which desire and capitalism are combined. In an attempt to shed light on a wide range of aspects – with regard to an aesthetic mediology, a politics of the body and a semantics of desire – , this volume collects different essays in order to investigate obscenity as a philosophical tool and a cultural category of the present age. On the one hand, it has been investigated as a theoretical device, a filter for the analysis of social processes, a gender challenge, a social form of power and pleasure; on the other hand, by dealing with cultural visibility, it involves many different medias: from cinema to literature, from art to photography, from ancient statuary to Youporn. READ MORE

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As the keyword of the present issue the editors have chosen the term (and concept) of ‘exchange’. This has been envisaged as the theoretical linchpin enabling us to keep a sharp focus on the relations between economics and the social sciences, while moving beyond the all too current discourses on the issue of debt. We have thus set our sights on contributions that would approach the topic from a range of different angles, while centring the analysis on the two original macro-topics: economics and the humanities.


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The issue addresses the relationship between cosmology and ratio, or the dialectical and structural connection which links the same definition of “world” as an uniform, homogeneous, coherent and possible system with the very logical and narrative (and then uniform, homogeneous, coherent and possible) character of our rational description of it. Otherwise, every ratio mundi – understood both in a metaphysical or in an epistemological or in a phenomenological way – amounts, really because it is a ratio, as an explication and an articulation of an object formerly preunderstood and, so to speak, invented, cum discursu, or rather into specific logic and descriptive categories. Because of this structural co-belonging of the concept of “cosmos” to his own narrative dimension, we may can reduce the history of cosmology to a long sequence of depictions, but overall of creations and re-creations of the world, that allow us to distinguish in a only partial way a physical and naturalistic discussion from a theological, a metaphysical or a linguistical-imaginative one – READ MORE

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The term ‘Utopia’ has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt to create a perfect world and fictional societies portrayed in literature. However, far from being only a literary topic, ‘Utopia’ has got a critical and philosophical content that concerns the present time as well as the future. This third issue of Azimuth aims to investigate the relationship between language and politics in the utopian theoretical and political projects. Every political change is always a linguistic change as well: Utopias and Dystopias are connected to a semantic turn and to a different use of the language. This issue is focused on the well-known Utopias of the past, the global challenges of the present time and the linguistic Utopias in poetry and philosophy. Nowadays, there here is a renewed interest in Utopian studies. In the current global crisis, reflecting upon Utopia could be a philosophical tool to build a new strategy of resistance, to create a new way of living together and to organize pessimism in the hope of making a better future – READ MORE

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If one tried answer the traditional Arendtian question about “human condition” today, from the point of view of our present times, one should undoubtedly say that the very proper feature of contemporary human beings is their inter-connectivity – their connectedness to the world as well to ways of sharing it and inhabiting it. We don’t use this term lightly: “inter-connectivity” means not only “interconnection”, which of course refers to the social, cultural, and political bonds that make possible our living-together. These relationships have always been part of human societies and represent a traditional topic of (political-)philosophical thought. More precisely (and maybe even more radically), “inter-connectivity” also refers to the sphere of relations mediated by technics and its applications: relations that define – more extensively and pervasively than in both ancient and modern times – not only our current living together in social and cultural systems, but also our being human – READ MORE

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The current issue looks into the concept of Man and in particular at the anthropological domain that this notion has represented at different times in the history of modern and contemporary western thought. It does this, however, by focusing on its cut-off points, where questions have revealed a fundamental instability at the root of the very concept of “human’’, thus attempting to show that every “theory of human nature’’ must by its very nature look beyond human nature as it identifies and ‘brings out’ to the point of alienation the inner grammar and constitutive logic of that combination of forces commonly known as ‘Man’ – READ MORE