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Himani Bannerji

Feb 14, 2022

The Ideological Condition

Selected Essays on History, Race and Gender

Brill/Haymarket 2020

How should we understand identity? What sort of politics are needed to address various forms of oppression and marginalization? Are knowledge and practice untainted by ideological obfuscation possible? These questions and many more are what animate my guest today, Himani Bannerji, here to discuss her book The Ideological Condition: Selected Essays on History, Race and Gender (Brill, 2020). Clocking in at close to 800 pages and spanning several decades of research and writing, this volume brings a number of themes together.

Following Marx, Bannerji argues that social inquiry and critique must start with everyday life as it is lived, with the various social formations and relations generating various forms of consciousness. From this rather humble starting point, Bannerji is poised to enter into a productive dialogue with various other thinkers, particularly Lukacs, Gramsci and Dorothy Smith. She is also able to tackle questions of education, economics, race, gender, narrative, history, colonialism and emancipation. Tying these threads together is no easy task, but in working her way through an assortment of different themes and thinkers, Bannerji helps clarify the ways in which disparate elements of reality are tied to one another and cannot be understood in isolation. Readers will find this book to be overflowing with insights, and endlessly clarifying in the struggle to understand who we are, what we know, and what we can do.

Shortlisted for the Isaac Deutscher Memorial Prize, the book was published as part of the Historical Materialism book series, and was published first by Brill and then by Haymarket.

Himani Bannerji is professor emeritus of sociology at York University. Her publications include Demography and Democracy: Essays on Nationalism, Gender and Ideology, Inventing Subjects: Studies in Hegemony, Patriarchy and Colonialism, The Dark Side of the Nation: Essays on Multiculturalism, Nationalism and Racism and Thinking Through: Essays on Feminism, Marxism and Anti-Racism.

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