Limit Horizons & Critique: Seductions and Perils of the Nation

Tayyab Mahmud


This essay introduces four contributions on nation and nationalism that form a cluster in the 2005 Annual Symposium of Latina/o Critical Legal Theory (LatCrit). It puts forward the concept of "limit horizons": the hegemonic ontological categories that so imprint the imaginary of an age the even critique remains imprisoned in the normalcy of these categories - an imprisonment that curtails the transformatory potential of critique. It is argued that the modern concept of the nation is such a limit horizon. Consequently, any critical engagement with the concept of the nation must concurrently be an exercise in self-critique to ensure that tools of critique are not blunted by the weight of this primary limit horizon of our age.