In their introduction to this serious and highly ethical resource, editors Brad Evans and Natasha Lennard see themselves charting the legacies of war and suffering, challenging abuses of power in all their oppressive forms, and mustering sustained intellectual engagement to counter violence. This confrontation requires developing a mature and realistic critique of the savagery that abounds all over the world.

Violence: Humans in Dark Times brings together essays by 28 artists, writers, cultural critics, philosophers, and academics "to bring critical thought to bear on violence." We full-heartedly concur with Evans and Lennard when they call for more compassion, dignity, and love in dealing with the crisis situations of our times. The major challenge is "to find meaningful solutions to the raw realities of violence that don't simply end up creating more anger, hatred, and division. People are certainly frustrated that the seemingly daily exposure to violence doesn't become a catalyst to steer history in a more peaceful direction."

Here are some of the themes, topics, and thinkers covered in the interviews in this book:

  • "Violence has now become the defining organizational principle for contemporary societies. It mediates all social relations."
    — Brad Evans
  • "Sports is not just some gladiatorial spectacle of violence. It is violence honed into skill and masterful expertise …"
    — Simon Critchley
  • "Given the history of the term 'nigger,' it strikes with the long, hate-filled content out of which the term grew."
    — George Yancy
  • "Humanity is in crisis — and there is no exit from that crisis other than the solidarity of humans."
    — Zygmunt Bauman
  • "Environmental degradation is calling us to the witness stand of history. It demands that we testify against ourselves and mount a case in our defense."
    — Adrian Parr
  • "Ignorance has become a form of weaponized refusal to acknowledge the violence of the past, and revels in a culture of media spectacles in which public concerns are translated into private obsessions, consumerism and famous entertainment."
    — Henry A. Giroux
  • "We should never underestimate the importance of overcoming the suffering, pain, and humiliation of those who are the victims of violence."
    — Richard Bernstein
  • "You can't have a gun in an American movie and see it not used."
    — Oliver Stone

The increase in media presentations is even more appalling because it fuels a real life the taste for violence in our society that is growing. And as the interviews in Violence: Humans in Dark Times graphically reveal "there is a need to confront the intolerable realities of violence in the world." Evans and Lennard talk to those who know the most about the "dark times" brought on by state power, white supremacy, guns, climate policy, and pornography. Their aim is not just to discuss violence, but to help us all learn to undo it.