This book is the fruit of many journeys. I began to think about writing it
at the end of 2010, in the middle of a very vivacious and productive conversa-
tion at the conference “States of Feminism/Matters of State: Gender and
the Politics of Exclusion,” which I had co- organized as a fellow at the Jan
van Eyck Acad emy (jve) in Maastricht. The exchange with the other orga-
nizers, Avigail Moss, Rebecka Thor, and Kirsten Stakemeier, as well as with
some of the participants at the conference— Rada Ivekovic, Chiara Bon-
figlioli, Vincenza Perilli, and Neferti Tadiar— encouraged me to develop my
ideas in a more coherent form. That conference and the challenging intel-
lectual climate itself could have not been pos si ble without the passionate
efforts of the advising researchers of the jve Theory Department— Katja
Diefenbach, Dominiek Hoens, and Mladen Dolar—to keep a space for
critique alive in the midst of the neoliberal Netherlands. I thank also my
colleagues and friends for two memorable years (2009–2010) in that insti-
tutional context. Beyond those I mentioned above, I am grateful to Emiliano
Battista, Pietro Bianchi, Giuseppe Bianco, Nathaniel Boyd, Vanessa Brito,
Luisa Lorenza Corna, Gal Kirn, Dubravka Sekulic, Tzuchien Tho, Oxana
Timofeeva, and Samo Tomsic.
From the beginning of 2011 until 2013, I was fortunate to be able to work
intensely on this book thanks to two generous fellowships, at the Center
for Excellence at the University of Konstanz (Germany) in 2011 and at the
Institute for Advanced Study (ias) in Prince ton in 2012 and 2013. I would
like to thank Rita Casale, my colleague and friend in Konstanz, with whom
I discussed several parts of this book when they were still in an unshaped
and underdeveloped form. Her astute and always challenging comments
pushed me to clarify my concepts. I am thankful for her continuous support
and friendship.
I owe a special debt to Joan W. Scott, with whom I had the pleasure
plea sure to discuss all parts of this manuscript during my period of
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