Jan Patočka was a Czech philosopher who not only lived through the turbulent politics of twentieth-century Central Europe, but he shaped his intellectual contributions in response to that tumult. One of the last students of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, he was a philosophical inspiration to Václav Havel and other dissidents who confronted the Soviet regimes before 1989, as well as being actively involved in authoring and enacting Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia. He died in 1977 from medical complications resulting from interrogations of the secret police, his political involvement cut short by an untimely death.
Confronting Totalitarian Minds examines his legacy along with several contemporary applications of his ideas about dissidence, solidarity, and the human being’s existential confrontation with unjust politics. Aspen Briton puts Patočka’s ideas about dissidence, citizen mobilization, and civic responsibility in conversation with those of notable world historical figures like Mohandas Gandhi, expanding the current possibilities of comparative political theory. In adding a fresh voice to contemporary conversations on transcending injustice, Confronting Totalitarian Minds seeks to educate a wider audience about this philosopher’s continued relevance to political dissidents across the world.
The figure of the freak as perceived by the Western gaze has always been a part of the Latin American imaginary, from the letters that Columbus wrote about his encounters with dog-faced people to Shakespeare's Caliban. The freak acquires greater significance in a globalized, neoliberal world that defines the "abnormal" as one who does not conform mentally, physically, or emotionally and is unable or unwilling to follow the economic and cultural norms of the institutions in power. Freak Performances examines the continuing effects of colonialism on modern Latin American identities, with a particular focus on the way it has constructed the body of the other through performance. Theater questions the representations of these bodies, as it enables the empowerment of the silenced other; the freak as a spectacle of otherness finds in performance an opportunity for re-appropriation by artists resisting the dominant authority. Through an analysis of experimental theater, dance theater, performance art, and gallery-based installation art across eight countries, Analola Santana explores the theoretical issues shaped by the encounters and negotiations between different bodies in the current Latin American landscape.
The double-sided nature of African nationalism—its capacity to inspire expressions of unity, and its tendency to narrow political debate—are explored by sixteen historians, focusing on the experience of Tanzania. The narrative of the nation of Tanzania, which was created by the anticolonial nationalist movement, expanded by the Union after the Zanzibar Revolution, and fused by the ideology of Ujamaa by Julius Nyerere, has shaped Tanzanian political discourse for decades, but has not obliterated the great wealth of political discourses and identities which exist within the nation.