The lack of peace in Sri Lanka is commonly portrayed as a consequence of a violent, ethnonationalist conflict between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority. Viewed in this light, resolution could be attained through conflict management. But, as Qadri Ismail reveals, this is too simplistic an understanding and cannot produce lasting peace.
Abiding by Sri Lanka examines how the disciplines of anthropology, history, and literature treat the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict. Anthropology, Ismail contends, approaches Sri Lanka as an object from an “outside” and western point of view. History, addressing the conflict from the “inside,” abides by the place and so promotes change that is nationalist and exclusive. Neither of these fields imagines an inclusive community. Literature, Ismail argues, can.
With close readings of texts that “abide” by Sri Lanka, texts that have a commitment to it, Ismail demonstrates that the problems in Sri Lanka raise fundamental concerns for us all regarding the relationship between democracies and minorities. Recognizing the structural as well as political tendencies of representative democracies to suppress minorities, Ismail rethinks democracy by redefining the concept of the minority perspective, not as a subject-position of numerical insignificance, but as a conceptual space that opens up the possibility for distinction without domination and, ultimately, peace.
Qadri Ismail is associate professor of English at the University of Minnesota. He has also been a journalist in Sri Lanka.
From Thomas Piketty to David Harvey, scholars are increasingly questioning whether we are entering into a post-capitalist era. If so, does this new epoch signal the failure of capitalism and emergence of alternative systems? Or does it mark the ultimate triumph of capitalism as it evolves into an unstoppable entity that takes new forms as it engulfs its opposition?
After Capitalism brings together leading scholars from across the academy to offer competing perspectives on capitalism’s past incarnations, present conditions, and possible futures. Some contributors reassess classic theorizations of capitalism in light of recent trends, including real estate bubbles, debt relief protests, and the rise of a global creditocracy. Others examine Marx’s writings, unemployment, hoarding, “capitalist realism,” and coyote (trickster) capitalism, among many other topics. Media and design trends locate the key ideologies of the current economic moment, with authors considering everything from the austerity aesthetics of reality TV to the seductive smoothness of liquid crystal.
Even as it draws momentous conclusions about global economic phenomena, After Capitalism also pays close attention to locales as varied as Cuba, India, and Latvia, examining the very different ways that economic conditions have affected the relationship between the state and its citizens. Collectively, these essays raise provocative questions about how we should imagine capitalism in the twenty-first century. Will capitalism, like all economic systems, come to an end, or does there exist in history or elsewhere a hidden world that is already post-capitalist, offering alternative possibilities for thought and action?
"After the Nazi Racial State offers a comprehensive, persuasive, and ambitious argument in favor of making 'race' a more central analytical category for the writing of post-1945 history. This is an extremely important project, and the volume indeed has the potential to reshape the field of post-1945 German history."
---Frank Biess, University of California, San Diego
What happened to "race," race thinking, and racial distinctions in Germany, and Europe more broadly, after the demise of the Nazi racial state? This book investigates the afterlife of "race" since 1945 and challenges the long-dominant assumption among historians that it disappeared from public discourse and policy-making with the defeat of the Third Reich and its genocidal European empire. Drawing on case studies of Afro-Germans, Jews, and Turks---arguably the three most important minority communities in postwar Germany---the authors detail continuities and change across the 1945 divide and offer the beginnings of a history of race and racialization after Hitler. A final chapter moves beyond the German context to consider the postwar engagement with "race" in France, Britain, Sweden, and the Netherlands, where waves of postwar, postcolonial, and labor migration troubled nativist notions of national and European identity.
After the Nazi Racial State poses interpretative questions for the historical understanding of postwar societies and democratic transformation, both in Germany and throughout Europe. It elucidates key analytical categories, historicizes current discourse, and demonstrates how contemporary debates about immigration and integration---and about just how much "difference" a democracy can accommodate---are implicated in a longer history of "race." This book explores why the concept of "race" became taboo as a tool for understanding German society after 1945. Most crucially, it suggests the social and epistemic consequences of this determined retreat from "race" for Germany and Europe as a whole.
Rita Chin is Associate Professor of History at the University of Michigan.
Heide Fehrenbach is Presidential Research Professor at Northern Illinois University.
Geoff Eley is Karl Pohrt Distinguished University Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Michigan.
Atina Grossmann is Professor of History at Cooper Union.
After the Thrill Is Gone is a serious appraisal of what South African democracy has yielded and has failed to yield in the era following the heady expectations of liberation from apartheid’s multiple repressions. Since that time, South Africa has revealed itself as a turbulent, dynamic nation. After the release of black political prisoners in 1990 and the first national democratic election in 1994, its citizens have witnessed a massive increase in crime, unemployment, and poverty and an educational system in chaos.
In a range of politically inflected essays by philosophers, community activists, political scientists, sociologists, literary scholars, and cultural and postcolonial theorists—many of whom are diasporic or resident South Africans—this special issue of SAQ provides a critical look at the realities of black majority governance, at the African National Congress, and at the costs of ANC rule to the populace. One essay draws a condemning sketch of poverty and violence in the townships and the growing communities of squatters that continue despite the emergence of democracy. A philosophical piece contemplates the practice of human rights in a South African society grappling with the memory of apartheid abuses. The fiction and poetry in the collection explore sexual identity, including issues created by the AIDS epidemic, and offer critiques of government policies. Using comic strips, another contributor demonstrates the ability of South African popular culture to satirize the nation’s political status quo. Taken together, the essays in After the Thrill Is Gone open a sobering perspective on South Africa’s recent history, its present, and its future.
Contributors. Rita Barnard, Patrick Bond, Ashwin Desai, Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze, Grant Fared, Michiel Heyns, Shaun Irlam, Neil Lazarus, Michael MacDonald, Zine Magubane, Richard Pithouse, Lesego Rampolokeng, Adam Sitze
The fall of the Berlin Wall. The collapse of the Iron Curtain. The Orange Revolution. The Arab Spring.
The rush of events in recent decades seems to confirm that Alexis de Tocqueville was right: the future belongs to democracy. But take a closer look. The history of democracy since the 1830s, when Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America, reveals a far more complicated picture. And the future, author Chilton Williamson Jr. demonstrates, appears rather unpromising for democratic institutions around the world.
The fall of communism sparked the popular notion that the spread of democracy was inevitable. After Tocqueville challenges this sunny notion. Various aspects of twenty-first-century life that Tocqueville could scarcely have imagined—political, economic, social, religious, intellectual, technological, environmental—militate against democracy, both in developing societies and in the supposedly democratic West.
This piercing, elegantly written book raises crucial questions about the future of democracy, including:
•Just what is democracy? As Williamson shows, definitions and concepts have become so varied that the term is effectively meaningless.
•How does a system whose institutions and habits arose in small-scale societies adapt to a postmodern, globalized world?
•After two centuries of democratization, are Western countries really more free?
•How can democracy endure when people care more about procuring what they want than about securing liberty?
•How does a political system survive when it is beset by problems that cannot be solved by political means?
Two decades ago, Francis Fukuyama famously pronounced the “end of history.” History, it turns out, is still very much with us. Democracy (whatever it is) may not be in the decades and centuries to come.
During the age of dictatorships, Latin American prisons became a symbol for the vanquishing of political opponents, many of whom were never seen again. In the postdictatorship era of the 1990s, a number of these prisons were repurposed into shopping malls, museums, and memorials. Susana Draper uses the phenomenon of the “opening” of prisons and detention centers to begin a dialog on conceptualizations of democracy and freedom in post-dictatorship Latin America. Focusing on the Southern Cone nations of Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina, Draper examines key works in architecture, film, and literature to peel away the veiled continuity of dictatorial power structures in ensuing consumer cultures.
The afterlife of prisons became an important tool in the “forgetting” of past politics, while also serving as a reminder to citizens of the liberties they now enjoyed. In Draper’s analysis, these symbols led the populace to believe they had attained freedom, although they had only witnessed the veneer of democracy—in the ability to vote and consume.
In selected literary works by Roberto Bolaño, Eleuterio Fernández Huidoboro, and Diamela Eltit and films by Alejandro Agresti and Marco Bechis, Draper finds further evidence of the emptiness and melancholy of underachieved goals in the afterlife of dictatorships. The social changes that did not occur, the inability to effectively mourn the losses of a now-hidden past, the homogenizing effects of market economies, and a yearning for the promises of true freedom are thematic currents underlying much of these texts.
Draper’s study of the manipulation of culture and consumerism under the guise of democracy will have powerful implications not only for Latin Americanists but also for those studying neoliberal transformations globally.
At the end of apartheid, under pressure from local and transnational capital and the hegemony of Western-style parliamentary democracy, South Africans felt called upon to normalize their conceptions of economics, politics, and culture in line with these Western models. In Against Normalization, however, Anthony O’Brien examines recent South African literature and theoretical debate which take a different line, resisting this neocolonial outcome, and investigating the role of culture in the formation of a more radically democratic society. O’Brien brings together an unusual array of contemporary South African writing: cultural theory and debate, worker poetry, black and white feminist writing, Black Consciousness drama, the letters of exiled writers, and postapartheid fiction and film. Paying subtle attention to well-known figures like Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, and Njabulo Ndebele, but also foregrounding less-studied writers like Ingrid de Kok, Nise Malange, Maishe Maponya, and the Zimbabwean Dambudzo Marechera, he reveals in their work the construction of a political aesthetic more radically democratic than the current normalization of nationalism, ballot-box democracy, and liberal humanism in culture could imagine. Juxtaposing his readings of these writers with the theoretical traditions of postcolonial thinkers about race, gender, and nation like Paul Gilroy, bell hooks, and Gayatri Spivak, and with others such as Samuel Beckett and Vaclav Havel, O’Brien adopts a uniquely comparatist and internationalist approach to understanding South African writing and its relationship to the cultural settlement after apartheid. With its appeal to specialists in South African fiction, poetry, history, and politics, to other Africanists, and to those in the fields of colonial, postcolonial, race, and gender studies, Against Normalization will make a significant intervention in the debates about cultural production in the postcolonial areas of global capitalism.
Born in 1755 on a small Caribbean island to unmarried parents, Alexander Hamilton did not enjoy the privileges of wealth or heredity by which so many of his contemporaries advanced to the highest levels of power. Yet Hamilton's natural ability and ambition earned him prevailing influence in the American Revolution and the government created thereafter, eventually securing his place in the pantheon of America's founders.
Editor John P. Kaminski has gathered a remarkable collection of quotations by and about Alexander Hamilton that paint for us a nuanced portrait of a complex man. Through his own words and the words of his contemporaries -- including the man who killed him in a duel, Aaron Burr -- we can gain a better understanding of this fascinating man who rose from anonymity on a small Caribbean island to the corridors of power.
Alexis de Tocqueville possessed one of the most fertile sociological imaginations of the nineteenth century. For more than 120 years, his uncanny predictive insight has continued to fascinate thinkers, and his writings have continued to influence our interpretations of history and society. His analyses of many issues remain relevant to current social and political problems. In this volume John Stone and Stephen Mennell bring together for the first time selections from the full range of Tocqueville's writings, selections that illustrate the depth of his insight and analysis.
Western political philosophers since Plato have used the family as a model for harmonious political and social relations. Yet, far from being an uncontentious domain for shared interests and common values, the family is often the scene of intense interpersonal conflict and disagreement. In All in the Family, the political theorist Kennan Ferguson reconsiders the family, in its varied forms, as an exemplar of democratic politics and suggests how real rather than idealized family dynamics can help us to better understand and navigate political conflict.
By closely observing the attachments that arise in families despite profound disagreements and incommensurabilities, Ferguson argues, we can imagine a political engagement that accommodates radical differences without sacrificing community. After examining how the concept of the family has been deployed and misused in political philosophy, Ferguson turns to the ways in which families actually operate: the macropolitical significance of family coping strategies such as silence and the impact that disability and caregiving have on conceptions of spatiality, sameness, and disparity. He also considers the emotional attachment between humans and their pets as an acknowledgment that compassion and community can exist even under conditions of profound difference.
How does regional interdependence influence the prospects for conflict, integration, and democratization? Some researchers look at the international system at large and disregard the enormous regional variations. Others take the concept of sovereignty literally and treat each nation-state as fully independent. Kristian Skrede Gleditsch looks at disparate zones in the international system to see how conflict, integration, and democracy have clustered over time and space. He argues that the most interesting aspects of international politics are regional rather than fully global or exclusively national. Differences in the local context of interaction influence states' international behavior as well as their domestic attributes.
In All International Politics Is Local, Gleditsch clarifies that isolating the domestic processes within countries cannot account for the observed variation in distribution of political democracy over time and space, and that the likelihood of transitions is strongly related to changes in neighboring countries and the prior history of the regional context. Finally, he demonstrates how spatial and statistical techniques can be used to address regional interdependence among actors and its implications.
Kristian Skrede Gleditsch is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.
New political parties have regularly appeared in developed democracies around the world. In some countries issues focusing on the environment, immigration, economic decline, and regional concerns have been brought to the forefront by new political parties. In other countries these issues have been addressed by established parties, and new issue-driven parties have failed to form. Most current research is unable to explain why under certain circumstances new issues or neglected old ones lead to the formation of new parties. Based on a novel theoretical framework, this study demonstrates the crucial interplay between established parties and possible newcomers to explain the emergence of new political parties.
Deriving stable hypotheses from a simple theoretical model, the book proceeds to a study of party formation in twenty-two developed democracies. New or neglected issues still appear as a driving force in explaining the emergence of new parties, but their effect is partially mediated by institutional factors, such as access to the ballot, public support for parties, and the electoral system. The hypotheses in part support existing theoretical work, but in part present new insights. The theoretical model also pinpoints problems of research design that are hardly addressed in the comparative literature on new political parties. These insights from the theoretical model lead to empirical tests that improve on those employed in the literature and allow for a much-enhanced understanding of the formation and the success of new parties.
Simon Hug is Lecturer in Political Science, University of Geneva.
America at Risk gathers original essays by a distinguished and bipartisan group of writers and intellectuals to address a question that matters to Americans of every political persuasion: what are some of the greatest dangers facing America today? The answers, which range from dwindling political participation to rising poverty, and religion to empire, add up to a valuable and timely portrait of a particular moment in the history of American ideas.
While the opinions are many, there is a central theme in the book: the corrosion of the liberal constitutional order that has long guided the country at home and abroad. The authors write about the demonstrably important dangers the United States faces while also breaking the usual academic boundaries: there are chapters on the family, religious polarization, immigration, and the economy, as well as on governmental and partisan issues.
America at Risk is required reading for all Americans alarmed about the future of their country.
James W. Ceaser
William A. Galston
Harvey C. Mansfield
Kay Lehman Schlozman
James Q. Wilson
Robert Faulkner is Professor of Political Science at Boston College. Susan Shell is Professor of Political Science at Boston College.
"America at Risk goes well beyond the usual diagnoses of issues debated in public life like immigration, war, and debt, to consider the Republic’s founding principles, and the ways in which they have been displaced by newer thoughts and habits in contemporary America. A critical book for understanding our present condition."
—Francis Fukuyama, Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
"In this penetrating book, the nation’s finest social and political thinkers from across the spectrum take a careful and no-holds-barred look at the dangers facing the American political system. The conclusions are more unsettling than reassuring---but that is because they are honest and real."
—Norm Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
"In the midst of overwrought pundits, irate soccer moms, and outraged bloggers, it is difficult to distinguish genuine dangers from false alarms and special pleading. This book enables us to do so, in a way that helps us to actually think about, not just feel anxious about, threats to those features of American society that are worth cherishing. The authors range in ideology and expertise, but they are uniformly judicious, incisive, and informative. This is a fascinating book about issues that the political system usually ignores or exaggerates."
—Jennifer L. Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University
On the face of it, most of us would agree that catastrophe is harmful and avoiding it is key to human survival and progress. And yet, the planet warms, 30,000 more Americans are killed by guns each year, and Donald J. Trump creates political chaos with his rage tweets. American Catastrophe explores such examples to argue that, in fact, we live in an age where catastrophe not only functions as a dominant organizing rhetoric but further as an appealing and unifying force for many communities across America.
Luke Winslow introduces the rhetorical homology as a critical tool useful for understanding how catastrophic appeals unite Americans across disparate religious, ecological, cultural, and political spheres. More specifically, the four case study chapters examining Christian fundamentalism, anti-environmentalism, gun rights messaging, and the administration of Donald Trump reveal a consistent formal pattern oriented toward catastrophe. In teasing out this orientation toward catastrophe, Winslow offers a fresh, provocative, and insightful contribution to our most pressing social challenges.
A permanent political class has emerged on a scale unprecedented in our nation 's history. Its self-dealing, nepotism, and corruption contribute to rising inequality. Its reach extends from the governing elite throughout nongovernmental institutions. Aside from constituting an oligarchy of prestige and power, it enables the creation of an aristocracy of massive inherited wealth that is accumulating immense political power. In a muckraking tour de force reminiscent of Lincoln Steffens, Upton Sinclair, and C. Wright Mills, American Oligarchy demonstrates the way the corrupt culture of the permanent political class extends down to the state and local level. Ron Formisano breaks down the ways this class creates economic inequality and how its own endemic corruption infects our entire society. Formisano delves into the work of not just politicians but lobbyists, consultants, appointed bureaucrats, pollsters, celebrity journalists, behind-the-scenes billionaires, and others. Their shameless pursuit of wealth and self-aggrandizement, often at taxpayer expense, rewards channeling the flow of income and wealth to elites. That inequality in turn has choked off social mobility and made a joke of meritocracy. As Formisano shows, these forces respond to the oligarchy 's power and compete to bask in the presence of the .01 percent. They also exacerbate the dangerous instability of an American democracy divided between extreme wealth and extreme poverty.
“A compelling, even moving, portrait of the national landscape—its past, its meaning, its urgent need of rescue.”
—James Carroll, author of House of War and An American Requiem, winner of the National Book Award
“Anne Mackin has taken a fresh and provocative look at that most fascinating of relationships: the one between the American people and the American land.”
—Michael Pollan, Knight Professor of Journalism and Director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism at University of California Berkeley, contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, and author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and The Botany of Desire
“Anne Mackin has given us a valuable and less-used lens to view the development of our neighborhoods, towns and cities: the land itself. Our relationship to the earth beneath our feet—how we dig it, buy it, sell it, zone it, pave it, spoil it or pamper it—helps explain what is produced on top of the land in our nation, from farms to homes to skyscrapers. All in all, Mackin takes us on a novel and erudite journey, from one coast to the other, and from Colonial times to the present. This valuable book marks a significant and lasting contribution to the way we see and understand our landscape and ourselves.”
—Alex Marshall, author of How Cities Work: Suburbs, Sprawl, and the Roads Not Taken
“To really understand the origins of the range war now raging between smart growth and property rights advocates over the future of the American land, you need to read this exceptional book.”
—Robert D. Yaro, President Regional Plan Association and Professor in Practice, University of Pennsylvania
Thomas Malthus once said, “The happiness of the Americans depended much less upon their peculiar degree of civilization than . . . upon their having a great plenty of fertile uncultivated land.”
Malthus knew. Lord MacCaulay knew. Albert Gallatin knew. America and its people would change as a growing population whittled away the supply of land.
Nothing has shaped the American character like the abundance of land that met the colonist, the pioneer, and the early suburbanite. With today’s political and economic institutions shaped by the largesse of yesteryear, how will Americans fare in the new landscape of water wars, expensive housing, rising fuel prices, environmental and property rights battles, and powerful industrial lobbies?
Why is land the key to American democracy? How can we protect our democracy as more people and industries compete more intensively for our remaining resources? Americans and Their Land begins an important, overdue discussion of these questions. Anne Mackin takes the reader story by story from frontier history to the present and shows how land shaped the American political landscape. She shows how our evolving traditions of apportioning resources have allowed diminished supplies to create our present, increasingly unequal society, and she asks how 300 million Americans living in the new American landscape of growing competition can better share those resources.
Anglophilia charts the phenomenon of the love of Britain that emerged after the Revolution and remains in the character of U.S. society and class, the style of academic life, and the idea of American intellectualism. But as Tamarkin shows, this Anglophilia was more than just an elite nostalgia; it was popular devotion that made reverence for British tradition instrumental to the psychological innovations of democracy. Anglophilia spoke to fantasies of cultural belonging, polite sociability, and, finally, deference itself as an affective practice within egalitarian politics.
Tamarkin traces the wide-ranging effects of anglophilia on American literature, art and intellectual life in the early nineteenth century, as well as its influence in arguments against slavery, in the politics of Union, and in the dialectics of liberty and loyalty before the civil war. By working beyond narratives of British influence, Tamarkin highlights a more intricate culture of American response, one that included Whig elites, college students, radical democrats, urban immigrants, and African Americans. Ultimately, Anglophila argues that that the love of Britain was not simply a fetish or form of shame-a release from the burdens of American culture-but an anachronistic structure of attachement in which U.S. Identity was lived in other languages of national expression.
Joshua Cohen is one of the best political philosophers in America, as well as one of the best essay writers. He studied with John Rawls during the 1960s and since then, like his teacher, has dared to provide an ideal of democracy to be the guide for political thought rather than the minimalist account that many thinkers seem to believe is the best they can do. These essays, written over the past 20 years, are widely recognized by philosophers and political theorists as major and sometimes defining papers in their fields. The majority of them are essays on democracy and justice, or they discuss major ideas or figures (Locke, Rousseau, Rawls, Habermas) within the liberal and democratic traditions of social and political thought. However, many of these essays are published in obscure editions or journals and some have never been published at all, which makes them hard to find even for the most determined scholar. By gathering these seminal insights into one volume, Harvard Press is performing a valuable service to the community of philosophers and political theorists. Not only does The Arc of the Moral Universe and Other Essays showcase a brilliant theorist whose influence is only going to grow, it also continues the legacy of John Rawls at Harvard University Press.
Today, democracy is seen as the best or even the only legitimate form of government—hardly in need of defense. Delba Winthrop punctures this complacency and takes up the challenge of justifying democracy through Aristotle’s political science. In Aristotle’s time and in ours, democrats want inclusiveness; they want above all to include everyone a part of a whole. But what makes a whole? This is a question for both politics and philosophy, and Winthrop shows that Aristotle pursues the answer in the Politics. She uncovers in his political science the insights philosophy brings to politics and, especially, the insights politics brings to philosophy. Through her appreciation of this dual purpose and skilled execution of her argument, Winthrop’s discoveries are profound. Central to politics, she maintains, is the quality of assertiveness—the kind of speech that demands to be heard. Aristotle, she shows for the first time, carries assertive speech into philosophy, when human reason claims its due as a contribution to the universe. Political science gets the high role of teacher to ordinary folk in democracy and to the few who want to understand what sustains it.
This posthumous publication is more than an honor to Delba Winthrop’s memory. It is a gift to partisans of democracy, advocates of justice, and students of Aristotle.
The Army and Democracy
Aqil Shah Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress UA853.P18S53 2014 | Dewey Decimal 322.5095491
In sharp contrast to neighboring India, the Muslim nation of Pakistan has been ruled by its military for over three decades. The Army and Democracy identifies steps for reforming Pakistan's armed forces and reducing its interference in politics, and sees lessons for fragile democracies striving to bring the military under civilian control.
When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, Eastern Europe saw a new era begin, and the widespread changes that followed extended into the world of art. Art and Democracy in Post-Communist Europe examines the art created in light of the profound political, social, economic, and cultural transformations that occurred in the former Eastern Bloc after the Cold War ended. Assessing the function of art in post-communist Europe, Piotr Piotrowski describes the changing nature of art as it went from being molded by the cultural imperatives of the communist state and a tool of political propaganda to autonomous work protesting against the ruling powers.
Piotrowski discusses communist memory, the critique of nationalism, issues of gender, and the representation of historic trauma in contemporary museology, particularly in the recent founding of contemporary art museums in Bucharest, Tallinn, and Warsaw. He reveals the anarchistic motifs that had a rich tradition in Eastern European art and the recent emergence of a utopian vision and provides close readings of many artists—including Ilya Kavakov and Krzysztof Wodiczko—as well as Marina Abramovic’s work that responded to the atrocities of the Balkans. A cogent investigation of the artistic reorientation of Eastern Europe, this book fills a major gap in contemporary artistic and political discourse.
Coming to terms with a new period of uncertainty when it is still replete with possibilities
This quick and engaging study clearly lays out the United States’ current democratic crisis. Examining the early stages of the Nazi movement in Germany, William E. Connolly detects synergies with Donald Trump’s rhetorical style. Tapping into a sense of contemporary fragility, Aspirational Fascism pays particular attention to how conflicts between neoliberalism and the pluralizing left have placed the white working class in a bind. Ultimately, Connolly believes a multifaceted democracy constitutes the best antidote to aspirational fascism and rethinks what a politics of the left might look like today.
Forerunners is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital works. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.
Across the Euro-Atlantic world, political leaders have been mobilizing their bases with nativism, racism, xenophobia, and paeans to “traditional values,” in brazen bids for electoral support. How are we to understand this move to the mainstream of political policies and platforms that lurked only on the far fringes through most of the postwar era? Does it herald a new wave of authoritarianism? Is liberal democracy itself in crisis?
In this volume, three distinguished scholars draw on critical theory to address our current predicament. Wendy Brown, Peter E. Gordon, and Max Pensky share a conviction that critical theory retains the power to illuminate the forces producing the current political constellation as well as possible paths away from it. Brown explains how “freedom” has become a rallying cry for manifestly un-emancipatory movements; Gordon dismantles the idea that fascism is rooted in the susceptible psychology of individual citizens and reflects instead on the broader cultural and historical circumstances that lend it force; and Pensky brings together the unlikely pair of Tocqueville and Adorno to explore how democracies can buckle under internal pressure. These incisive essays do not seek to smooth over the irrationality of the contemporary world, and they do not offer the false comforts of an easy return to liberal democratic values. Rather, the three authors draw on their deep engagements with nineteenth–and twentieth–century thought to investigate the historical and political contradictions that have brought about this moment, offering fiery and urgent responses to the demands of the day.
The election of America’s first black president has led many to believe that race is no longer a real obstacle to success and that remaining racial inequality stems largely from the failure of minority groups to take personal responsibility for seeking out opportunities. Often this argument is made in the name of the long tradition of self-reliance and American individualism. In Awakening to Race, Jack Turner upends this view, arguing that it expresses not a deep commitment to the values of individualism, but a narrow understanding of them.
Drawing on the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Ellison, and James Baldwin, Turner offers an original reconstruction of democratic individualism in American thought. All these thinkers, he shows, held that personal responsibility entails a refusal to be complicit in injustice and a duty to combat the conditions and structures that support it. At a time when individualism is invoked as a reason for inaction, Turner makes the individualist tradition the basis of a bold and impassioned case for race consciousness—consciousness of the ways that race continues to constrain opportunity in America. Turner’s “new individualism” becomes the grounds for concerted public action against racial injustice.
The troubled transition to democracy in Iraq has led many to wonder how the country’s Shi’ites and Sunnis will balance their religious beliefs with political pressures. Inthis volume, historian Juan R. I. Cole explores clerical participation within Iraq's emerging democracy, including that of the Da’wa Party, the al-Sadr Movement, and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution. Ideal for students and scholars of foreign affairs, Cole’s thought-provoking analysis will be important reading for anyone concerned about the future of Iraq.