Hope Against Hope: Philosophies, Cultures and Politics of Possibility and Doubt
In September 2006, when 45 scholars and activists from 19 countries around the world gathered amid the spires and gargoyles of Oxford for a conference entitled, “Hope: Probing the Boundaries,” complex dialectics of hope and despair circulated through the meeting rooms by day, and the conversations in quadrangles and pubs late into the night. On the one hand, the remarkable social and political openings and possibilities of the previous decade, from Berlin to Johannesburg, Leningrad to the Lacandon jungle of Chiapas, seemed to be ever-more constrained by political and economic forces as brutal as those that preceded them, but, on the other hand, there were the Zapatistas and a thousand other movements persisting in the belief that, to echo the mantra of the World Social Forums, “another world is possible,” and there we were from around the world, to do the work of theorizing, describing, and enacting the persistence of individual and collective hope despite grim realities. The essays developed from that conference and collected here reflect both the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings and the cultural and political praxes of “hope against hope.”
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