An Interview with Todd McGowan about his recent Emancipation After Hegel: Achieving a Contradictory Revolution (Columbia University Press, 2019). The book advocates for the relevance of Hegel’s dialectical method to questions of contemporary theory and politics. It seeks to disabuse readers of common misapprehensions concerning Hegel’s philosophy, such as the familiar thesis-antithesis-synthesis schema to which the dialectic has so often been reduced, and to show that the concept of contradiction understood in Hegelian fashion is intrinsically subversive of authority. By championing contradiction over ‘difference’ it defies the rhetoric of much leftist theory as it has been formulated in the wake of so-called ‘post-structuralism’. Emancipation After Hegel also combines sophisticated discussion of matters like the limits of formal logic and the history of German Idealism with playful allusions to Star Trek characters and classic films like Casablanca and Bridge on the River Kwai.
Bill Schaffer is a semi-retired academic and writer. He received his PhD from the University of Sydney and held positions teaching Film Studies, Philosophy, and Literature at campuses in Australia and the UK. He has published widely in Film and Animation Studies. He is currently a scholar of No Fixed Institution.