BA, MA (Penn)
Critical theory; comparative literature; intellectual history
Gavin Walker works at the intersection of critical theory, literary studies, and intellectual history. He is Associate Professor at McGill University, and has previously been a Mellon Graduate Fellow in the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University and a visiting researcher at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, Japan. He is a member of the editorial collective of positions: asia critique (Duke University Press) and has served as a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association / Revue de la Société historique du Canada (2014-2017).
Walker co-directs the Critical Social Theory at McGill research group in collaboration with colleagues in English, Political Theory, and Philosophy. He currently holds an individual SSHRC Insight research grant from 2016-2022, and is the recipient of multiple streams of internal and external research funding. From 2016 to 2018, he is a Faculty Fellow of the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas (IPLAI).
The Sublime Perversion of Capital: Marxist Theory and the Politics of History in Modern Japan (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2016), re-reads Marx’s work in relation to the development of Marxist theory in Japan in the 1920s and 30s, and particularly the work of the theorist Uno Kōzō, taking in contemporary topics in Marxist thought, historiography, postcolonial studies, and critical theory. Using this debate as an unexamined ‘prehistory’ of current controversies in Marxist theory over the question of uneven development in capitalist modernity, the book attempts to expand our understanding of the theoretical relation between the nation-form, capital, and the subject, the thinking of primitive accumulation, the concept of labour power, and new readings of Marx on the question of the local specificity of capitalist society in the "non-West" within an overall “world of capital.”His first book,
In addition to these projects, he has edited two forthcoming volumes: The Archive of Revolution: Marxist Historiography in Modern Japan (co-edited with Katsuya Hirano), and The End of Area: Biopolitics, Geopolitics, History, a special volume of positions: asia critique (Duke University Press) co-edited with Naoki Sakai, which includes new work from some of the leading critical social thinkers of Europe, Japan, and North America.
Current projects include a translation of Kojin Karatani’s Marx: Towards the Centre of Possibility (forthcoming from Verso), an edited volume on the politics and history of the 1968 revolutions in Japan (also forthcoming from Verso), and two further monographs, one on topics in contemporary critical theory after 1968 and the politics of the "outside," and the other on the relation of the literary and the historical, the concept of cultural and literary form, and its allegorical function.
Critical theory; intellectual history; comparative literature; Marx, Marxist theory, and the history of Marxism; twentieth century continental philosophy; nationalism and the national question; histories of internationalism and anticolonialism; postcolonial studies; psychoanalysis; historiography and historical time.
Books and volumes:
The Sublime Perversion of Capital: Marxist Theory and the Politics of History in Modern Japan (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2016). 264 pages. Clothbound ISBN: 978-0-8223-6141-1; Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-6160-2.
The End of Area: Biopolitics, Geopolitics, History, a special issue of positions: asia critique, edited by Gavin Walker and Naoki Sakai (Durham & London: Duke University Press, forthcoming).
Articles and chapters:
“The Work of Form: Capital and the Nation” in The Archive of Revolution: Marxist Historiography in Modern Japan, edited by Gavin Walker and Katsuya Hirano (book manuscript under review with Columbia University Press).
“The Accumulation of Difference and the Logic of Area” in The End of Area: Biopolitics, Geopolitics, History, a special issue of positions: asia critique, edited by Gavin Walker and Naoki Sakai (Durham & London: Duke University Press, forthcoming).
“The End of Area” (co-written with Naoki Sakai) in The End of Area: Biopolitics, Geopolitics, History, a special issue of positions: asia critique, edited by Gavin Walker and Naoki Sakai (Durham & London: Duke University Press, forthcoming).
“The Schema of the West and the Apparatus of Capture: Variations on Deleuze and Guattari” in Deleuze Studies (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, forthcoming).
“The Supplements for Theory: Structure and Formalization” in ARTMargins (MIT Press, forthcoming).
“Surplus alongside Excess: Uno Kozo, Imperialism, and the Theory of Crisis,” co-written with Ken Kawashima, in Viewpoint 6: Imperialism, June 2017, <http://viewpointmag.com> (forthcoming).
“The Postcolonial and the Politics of the Outside: Return(s) of the National Question in Marxist Theory” in Viewpoint 6: Imperialism, June 2017, <http://viewpointmag.com> (forthcoming).
“The Subjective Drive of Capital: Kakehashi Akihide’s Phenomenology of Matter” in Confronting Capital and Empire: Rethinking Kyoto School Philosophy, ed. Murthy, Schaefer, and Ward (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 229-262.
“Tanigawa Gan and the Poetics of the Origin” in positions: asia critique, vol. 25, no. 2 (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2017), 351-387.
“The ‘Ideal Total Capitalist’: On the State-Form in the Critique of Political Economy” in Crisis & Critique, special issue on The Critique of Political Economy, November 2016, 434-455.
“Challenging Abe’s Japan” in Jacobin, 13 November 2015.
“Žižek with Marx: Outside in the Critique of Political Economy” in Repeating Žižek (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2015), 195-212.
“The Regime of Translation and the Figure of Politics” in Translation: A Transdisciplinary Journal, no. 4, special issue on “Politics” edited by Sandro Mezzadra and Naoki Sakai (Rimini: Raffaelli Editore, 2014), 30-52.
“Primitive Accumulation and the State-Form: National Debt as an Apparatus of Capture” in Viewpoint 4: The State, October 2014.
“The Reinvention of Communism: Politics, History, Globality” in South Atlantic Quarterly (113.4), special issue on Communist Currents, eds. Bruno Bosteels and Jodi Dean (Duke University Press, 2014), 671-685.
“Filmic Materiality and Historical Materialism: Tosaka Jun and the Prosthetics of Sensation,” in Tosaka Jun: A Critical Reader, eds. Ken Kawashima, Fabian Schaefer, and Robert Stolz (Ithaca: Cornell East Asia Series, 2013), 218-254.
“The Absent Body of Labour Power: Uno Kōzō’s Logic of Capital” in Historical Materialism, vol. 21, no. 4, Autumn 2013 (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 1-34.
“Limits and Openings of the Party: A Reply to Jason E. Smith” in Theory and Event 16.4 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013).
“The Body of Politics: On the Concept of the Party” in Theory & Event 16.4 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013).
「政治経済（学）批判と国家形態―〈福祉〉と資本の慾動」『情況』思想理論編第二号（東京：情況出版、2013年６月別冊). “Seijikeizai(gaku) hihan to kokka keitai: <Fukushi> to shihon no yokudō” (The Critique of Political Economy and the State-Form: ‘Welfare’ and the Drive of Capital) in Jōkyō, supplemental volume no. 2 (Tokyo: Jōkyō Shuppan, June 2013), 119-140.
“Citizen-Subject and the National Question: On the Logic of Capital in Balibar” in Postmodern Culture, (22.3) special issue on the work of Étienne Balibar (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, May 2013).
“On Marxism’s Field of Operation: Badiou and the Critique of Political Economy” in Historical Materialism, vol. 20, no. 2, Summer 2012 (Leiden: Brill), 39-74.
「現代資本主義における「民族問題」の回帰―ポストコロニアル研究の新らたな政治的動向」『思想』（1059号）7月号2012年（東京：岩波書店）122－147頁. “Gendai shihonshugi ni okeru ‘minzoku mondai’ no kaiki: Posutokoroniaru kenkyū no aratana seijiteki dōkō” (“The Return of the National Question in Contemporary Capitalism: New Political Directions in Postcolonial Studies”) in Shisō, no. 1059, July 2012 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten), 122-147.
“The World of Principle, or Pure Capitalism: Exteriority and Suspension in Uno Kōzō” in The Journal of International Economic Studies, no. 26 (Tokyo: Hōsei University, Institute for Comparative Economic Studies, 2012), 15-37.
「資本の世界における〈街頭の事実〉―恐慌・国家・国債」『現代思想』2012年2月号、96－109頁. “Shihon no sekai ni okeru ‘gaitō no jijitsu’: Kyōkō, kokka, kokusai”(“The ‘Facts of the Streets’ in the World of Capital: Crisis, State, and the National Debt”) in Gendai shisō: Revue de la pensée d’aujourd’hui, no. 40-2 (Tokyo: Seidosha, February 2012), 96-109.
“The Dignity of Communism: Badiou’s Communist Hypothesis,” in Socialism and Democracy, vol. 25, no. 3 (London: Routledge, 2011), 130-139.
“Primitive Accumulation and the Formation of Difference: On Marx and Schmitt,” in Rethinking Marxism, vol. 23, no. 3 (London: Taylor & Francis, 2011), 384-404.
“Postcoloniality and the National Question in Marxist Historiography: Elements of the Debate on Japanese Capitalism,” in Interventions, vol. 13, no. 1 (London: Taylor & Francis, 2011), 120-137.
「資本のプロレタリア的零度―外部の政治的物理学」『政治経済学の政治哲学的復権―理論の理論的〈臨界‐外部〉にむけて』長原豊編（東京：法政大学出版局、2011年）351－390頁. “Shihon no puroretariateki reido: gaibu no seijiteki butsurigaku” (“Capital’s Proletarian Degree Zero: The Political Physics of the Outside”) in Seiji keizaigaku no seiji tetsugakuteki fukken: Riron no rironteki ‘rinkai-gaibu’ ni mukete (Political-Philosophical Resurrections of Political Economy: Towards the Theoretical Limit/Outside of Theory), ed. Nagahara Yutaka (Tokyo: Hōsei University Press, 2011), 351-390.
“Postcoloniality in Translation: Historicities of the Present,” in Postcolonial Studies, vol. 14, no. 1 (London: Taylor & Francis, 2011), 111-126.
「権力としての資本―政治的賭けと〈共〉の稀少性」『無理という閾と〈共〉の生産』〔下〕『情況』2010年10月号、185－203頁. “Kenryoku toshite no shihon: Seijiteki kake to kyō no kishōsei” (“Capital as Power: The Political Wager and the Rarity of the Commons”), Muri to iu iki to kyō no seisan (The Threshold of Excess [muri] and the Production of the Commons) Part 2, in Jōkyō, October 2010 (Tokyo: Jōkyō Shuppan, 2010), 185-203.
「資本の起源的閾―襞としての労働力」『無理という閾と〈共〉の生産』〔上〕『情況』2010年5月号、120-134頁. “Shihon no kigenteki iki: hida toshite no rōdōryoku” (“Capital’s Originary Threshold: Labor Power as Fold”), Muri to iu iki to kyō no seisan (The Threshold of Excess [muri] and the Production of the Commons) Part 1, in Jōkyō, May 2010 (Tokyo: Jōkyō Shuppan, 2010), 120-134.
“The Double Scission of Mishima Yukio: Limits and Anxieties in the Autofictional Machine” in positions: east asia cultures critique 18: 1, Spring 2010 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010), 145-169.
------. “The Double Scission of Mishima Yukio: Limits and Anxieties in the Autofictional Machine,” reprinted in Perversion and Modern Japan: Psychoanalysis, Literature, Culture, eds. Nina Cornyetz and J. Keith Vincent (London: Routledge, 2010), 164-185.
“The Filmic Time of Coloniality: On Shinkai Makoto's The Place Promised in our Early Days,” in Mechademia 4: War/Time (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), 3-18.
“On ‘the End’: Mishima Yukio and the Double Dislocation of Literature,” in Proceedings of the Association for Japanese Literary Studies, vol. 9: Literature and Literary Theory, eds. Atsuko Ueda and Richard H. Okada (Summer 2008), 240-246.