new-york

Jimmie Durham

Nicole Klagsbrun

Jimmie Durham is a liberating presence in the somewhat constricted moment of multicultural criticism, when, as Edward Said has warned in Culture and Imperialism, 1992, nativism, or an insistence on one’s own ethnicity as a kind of absolute, is in the ascendant. The post-Modern acknowledgement of and respect for cultural and ethnic difference has mutated into a fetishization of selfhood or what Freud called the narcissism of small differences. As identity politics turns bloody in Bosnia, India, and Ireland, difference is running amok. We seem to be entering that grim stage of the world cycle described by Empedocles as the absolute ascendancy of difference, which he dubbed the Age of Hate. Countless cultural and ethnic groups feel that their social and cultural issues are theirs alone to comment on, make art about, or otherwise engage. The world is in danger of becoming a Tower of Babel in

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