Despite the imperative for change in a world of persistent inequality, racism,
oppression and violence, difficulties arise once we try to bring about a
transformation. As scholars, students and activists, we may want to change the
world, but we are not separate, looking in, but rather part of the world
ourselves. The book demonstrates that we are not in control: with all our
academic rigour, we cannot know with certainty why the world is the way it is,
or what impact our actions will have. It asks what we are to do, if this is the
case, and engages with our desire to seek change. Chapters scrutinise the role
of intellectuals, experts and activists in famine aid, the Iraq war,
humanitarianism and intervention, traumatic memory, enforced disappearance, and
the Grenfell Tower fire, and examine the fantasy of security, contemporary
notions of time, space and materiality, and ideas of the human and sentience.
Plays and films by Michael Frayn, Chris Marker and Patricio Guzmán are
considered, and autobiographical narrative accounts probe the author’s life and
background. The book argues that although we might need to traverse the fantasy
of certainty and security, we do not need to give up on hope.