This book began when I arrived at the University of Toronto, where I have
been in the company of colleagues and friends whose intellectual daring
and seriousness has been a source of constant pleasure and reassurance.
I would like to thank, especially, James Cahill, Naisargi Dave, Brian Ja-
cobson, Kajri Jain, John Paul Ricco, Scott Richmond, Sara Saljoughi, and
Matt Stoddard. I also want to acknowledge my sincere appreciation of my
chair in the Department of Visual Studies (University of Toronto Missis-
sauga), Alison Syme, for her tireless efforts and constant support. One of
the major themes of this book concerns the difficulty of telling an insti-
tution apart from the people who preside over it. Alison’s leadership has
been an edifying sign for me of just how capacious an institution can be
when it is the hands of intelligent, thoughtful people.
Thanks are owed, as well, to Luka Arsenjuk, Linda Austin, Olga Black-
ledge, Eugenie Brinkema, Robert Cavanagh, Scott Durham, Bishnupriya
Ghosh, Lenora Hanson, Kalling Heck, Scott Krzych, Cooper Long, Dan Mc-
Fadden, Sorin Radu Cucu, Alessandra Raengo, John David Rhodes, Bhas-
kar Sarkar, Kyle Stevens, Domietta Torlasco, and Martin Wallen. Thanks,
also, to my wonderful graduate students at the University of Toronto who,
in my seminars over the past few years, have entertained many of the
questions raised in this book. I cannot thank David Rodowick enough for
the extremely generous and greatly detailed response he offered to the
manuscript. His intervention was crucial and deeply appreciated.
In April 2014, we lost — far too soon — the great political theorist, Er-
nesto Laclau. I am grateful to have known Ernesto, and the ongoing in-
fluence of his work on my own thought cannot be overstated. This book
is, in many respects, an attempt to give something back to him and to
his thought.
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