Book Launch: Wanting Something Completely Different


Book launch with Jairus Banaji, Alberto Toscano, and Rashmi Varma
Chaired by Sezgin Boynik
Friday, 13th October
Maa-Tila, Pääskylänrinne 10, 00500 Helsinki

Rab-Rab Press and Tutkijaliitto warmly welcome you to the launch party of Jairus Banaji’s Wanting Something Completely Different. The book discusses a range of political figures, themes, directors and writers in a series of brief, evocative descriptions (‘vignettes’) aimed at laying out a vision of a modern, cosmopolitan left that can think creatively about the world we live in.

The political figures include both thinkers and activists from a wide range of backgrounds — from Frantz Fanon and the Palestinian novelist Ghassan Kanafani to the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. The themes range equally widely from the death of Walter Benjamin (reconstructed here from a remarkable documentary on the same theme) and the slaying of Pasolini to the work of British Marxist Perry Anderson, or the corrupt nature of India’s leading corporate groups, or the outstanding contributions of Italian and U.S. Black feminists to feminist theory. And under the rubrics which discuss film and literature, there is the same striving for diversity and depth.

Jairus Banaji, Alberto Toscano, and Rashmi Varma will join us on zoom. After the discussion, celebrations will continue at Maa-Tila with refreshments.

Warmly welcome!


Jairus Banaji is a historian who received the Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize in 2011. His academic work has ranged widely across sources and languages, with major books on Late Antiquity and (most recently) commercial capitalism as well as numerous papers and articles.

Alberto Toscano teaches in the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University. He is the author, most recently, of Late Fascism: Race, Capitalism and the Politics of Crisis and Terms of Disorder: Keywords for an Interregnum. He edits Seagull Essays and The Italian List for Seagull Books.

Rashmi Varma teaches English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. Her most recent book, Modern Tribal: Representing Indigeneity in Postcolonial India, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. She is the founding editorial collective member of the journal Feminist Dissent.

Rab-Rab Press is an independent publishing platform based in Helsinki. It publishes Rab-Rab: journal of political and formal inquiries in art and books combining experimental art and leftist politics with scholarly rigour and punk attitude. Initiated in 2014, Rab-Rab Press is run by Sezgin Boynik. The book lauch will be held in collaboration with Tutkijaliitto.