To Have Done with the Philosophical Cold War

A Review of Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea by Alberto Toscano

Rodrigo Nunes

How to uphold a politics of universalism, egalitarianism and abstraction without being tarnished by the accusation of fanaticism? In order to open the space in which the question can be asked, Alberto Toscano’s Fanaticism explores various instantiations of the trope of ‘fanaticism’ and other associated concepts (totalitarianism, enthusiasm). Challenging the reliance on simplification, decontextualisation and analogical thinking behind uses of those terms, the book shows how fanaticism as Other conversely engenders a mystified idea of the modern West as the negative of the political and theoretical interdictions associated with them.

Juan Grigera, Jeffery R. Webber, Ludmila Abilio, Ricardo Antunes, Marcelo Badaró Mattos, Sabrina Fernandes, Rodrigo Nunes, Leda Paulani and Sean Purdy


The coming to office of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil has brought to the fore the need to understand the rise of the far right and to come to terms with the conflicted legacies of more than a decade of rule under the Workers’ Party. This forum brings together six leading intellectuals from different traditions on the left and introduces their reflections on the contradictions and complexities of the Workers’ Party, the 2008 crisis, the June 2013 protests, the weakness of the Brazilian left, corruption, and on how to characterise Bolsonaro’s regime. Their interventions offer crucial insights that are relevant today not just to Brazil, or even Latin America, but to the politics of the left worldwide.