Daily Archives: March 26, 2024

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Benjamin P. Davis | Critique at Sea Level: Paul Gilroy’s Renewed Critical Theory

In a 2015 lecture, the British cultural theorist Paul Gilroy argued that risking one’s life to save that of another is “not something to pass over casually.” Gilroy went on to suggest that an individual’s “bravery could have something to teach the rest of the EU about primal, humanitarian responsibility to and for others less fortunate than oneself.” Gilroy’s invocation of an ethical obligation to others as a natural or “primal” part of human life cuts against the grain of much critical theory today. In “progressive” or “radical” circles, claims to essence and nature are avoided at all costs. Gilroy’s willingness to make such a foundationalist claim was part of why he earned the title, in a 2021 profile in The Guardian, “The last humanist.” [Continue reading here…]