Eurozine Review on Glänta 1.18

Glänta serves as ‘another place’ for people who ‘share alliances’ on the subject of personal identity. Ten writers have contributed to this argumentative, thoughtful collection of essays and narrative poems, all critical of a society that celebrates secularism and capitalism, as well as ‘maleness’ and ‘whiteness’.

Introducing an issue of Glänta entitled ‘Differences Similarities’, editors Göran Dahlberg and Linn Hansén write: ‘It seems that on a general level, both the statement that opposites attract and the other extreme, that like seeks like, are equally true and reasonable. Both are strongly supported in biology, chemistry and physics.’

Dahlberg’s micro-essays deal with humans, ghosts and the entities in between. Here is Dahlberg on social life: ‘Two or more people walking together often happily keep in step in order to achieve the silence in the intervals. A rhythmic silence.’ And on art: ‘There is something scary about a really good imitation. It is deeply disturbing when a phenomenon seems to be neither fake nor real. Even more so when it is not obvious whether the intention is to make the fake appear as real as possible or to make the fake explicit – or, for that matter, what the third option might be.’

Blackness/whiteness: Glänta translates an interview with James Baldwin by the Turkish publisher Nazar Büyüm, conducted in 1969 and rediscovered in 2015. Among other things, Baldwin talks about the difference between freedom and liberation – ‘in order to be able to speak about “freedom” … man should first be liberated’; on the myth of the melting pot – ‘the Negro as an indispensable economical mule, built the country and then became the most unwanted person in that country’; and white working-class racism: ‘The poor white of the South is pitiable because he thinks he is superior to the Negro … He is anxious about his wife … he is anxious about his job, he is anxious about his children, in fact his anxiety is about what it means to be white.’ (English original.)

Identity: Achille Mbembe writes on African nationalism and the aporias of identity: ‘Within much of Black discourse, the fundamental foundations of nineteenth-century anthropology –the prejudice of evolutionary thinking and the belief in progress – remain intact. And the racialization of the nation and the nationalization of race go hand in hand.’ (English original.)

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