The Perversity of Gratitude: An Apartheid Education (Paperback)

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Apartheid, ironically, provided Grant Farred with the optimal conditions for thinking. He describes South Africa’s apartheid regime as an intellectual force that, “Made thinking apartheid, more than anything else, an absolute necessity.”  The Perversity of Gratitude is a provocative book in which Farred reflects on an upbringing resisting apartheid. Although he is still inclined to struggle viscerally against apartheid, he acknowledges, “It is me.”

Unsentimental about his education, Farred’s critique recognizes the impact of four exceptional teachers—all engaging pedagogical figures who cultivated a great sense of possibility in how thinking could be learned through a disenfranchised South African education.

The Perversity of Gratitude brings to bear the work of influential philosophers such as Martin Heidegger and Jacques Derrida. The book tackles broad philosophical concepts—transgression, withdrawal, and the dialectic. This leads to the creation of a new concept, “the diaspora-in-place,” which Farred explains, “is having left a place before one physically removes oneself from this place.”

Farred’s apartheid education in South Africa instilled in him a lifelong commitment to learning thinking. “And for that I am grateful,” Farred writes in The Perversity of Gratitude. His autopoiesis is sure to provoke and inspire readers.

About the Author

Grant Farred is the author of Long Distance Love: A Passion for Football and The Burden of Over-representation: Race, Sport, and Philosophy, and the editor of Africana Studies: Theoretical Futures (all Temple).

Praise For…

“Farred offers readers who dare a perverse anthropology of ‘the surprising intellectual processes that were put into motion precisely because of the violence that the apartheid regime intended its policies to enact on the disenfranchised mind.’ Both loving tribute to his intellectual influences and unsparing theorizing of the conditions of his education, Farred brings apartheid thinking, as a ‘primal scene,’ home to Heidegger and Derrida. Relentless in its audacity, dizzying in its intellectual reach and range, this book thinks—with rigor, ferocity, and grace—the unthinkable.”Dana D. Nelson, Nancy Perot Chair of English and Professor of American Studies at Vanderbilt University, and author of Bad for Democracy: How the Presidency Undermines the Power of the People

“Existential, confessional, deconstructive, self-reflexive, linguistically fraught, restlessly philosophic, The Perversity of Gratitude is autopoetic theorizing at its best, connecting worldliness with self, the word with the world, and meditative serenity with political turbulence. Grant Farred’s situated and grateful thinking transforms the ugly and given context of apartheid into a rich pretext for the only kind of learning that is worth the effort: learning against the grain.”R. Radhakrishnan, Distinguished Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and African American Studies at the University of California, Irvine, and author of History, the Human, and the World Between
Product Details
ISBN: 9781439924976
ISBN-10: 143992497X
Publisher: Temple University Press
Publication Date: January 19th, 2024
Pages: 226
Language: English