I won't usually send out two newsletters so close together, but on Thursday afternoon I got a message to say that Couze Venn had passed away. There will be an announcement and possibly some other reflections on the Theory, Culture & Society website in the coming weeks, which I will share in a future letter as they appear. Couze was a brilliant colleague, hugely supportive and is a massive loss. Working alongside Couze was a real privilege and I’m sure he will be greatly missed by many people.
If you haven’t already got a copy, I’d recommend reading Couze’s recent and final book After Capital (described below). It’s amazing and panoramic. Couze wrote on a wide range of issues, and other major interventions included his 2006 book The Postcolonial Challenge amongst many other sharp and thoughtful essays and books.
Couze’s recent articles included two particularly pertinent think-pieces. One on the neglected aspects of the intellectual legacy of 1968 which was published on the TCS website. The other, one of his final pieces, was published just last month on OpenDemocracy and explores the normalisation of hostility.
On Couze and his book After Capital…
There was going to be an event about Couze’s recent book After Capital. The event isn’t going ahead, but it might be rescheduled for a later date and with a different format (I’ll share the information when I have it). I couldn’t attend but I had written a little text about Couze and his book which I’ve included below:
I’m very sorry that I’m absent and that I’m not able to share this moment of celebration with you Couze. Had I been with you I would have spoken about what an inspiration Couze has been to me. I would have also spoken about the amazing After Capital and how it, like Couze’s work in general, is very special in the way that it finds-out the underlying relations, connections and linkages. As well as having an eye for an important angle or a new perspective, Couze doesn’t just find topics, he finds the associations that make them what they are. The amazing contribution of After Capital is in the vision it shows and the deftness of touch of its author. Its pages join the apparently disparate dots scattered about us and illustrate the often unacknowledged connections that define the state of things. Couze, as ever, shines new light on the often unnoticed relations in the world around us. In the case of After Capital, Couze’s analytical eye turns to the convergence of crises. Who else could show us the fundamental interrelations of our multiple crises? Most, understandably, see things in isolation, Couze sees linkages and forces. A hugely brilliant and remarkably uncommon thing to be able to do. I would suggest that After Capital stands alone in articulating the interconnections of crises that define our present moment and that will also define our collective futures.
I would also have spoken of how transformative our regular TCS editorial meetings have been for me personally. Tuning-in to discuss ideas with Couze, Mike and the TCS editorial group once or twice a month is a total joy. An oasis of ideas. From when I first got involved, which is a few years ago now, I immediately loved Couze’s approach to editing and have learnt a huge amount. An encyclopaedic knowledge, robust but generous, erudite and constructive, forward thinking but alert to context: a model of editorial work. Our regular chats have always given me a space for ideas and possibility, for which I continue to have huge appreciation and gratitude. I wish they could continue.