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Abbie Hoffman
American Rebel
Jezer, Marty
Rutgers University Press, 1993
In this sympathetic history of a maligned decade, Marty Jezer, a fellow antiwar activist, details Abbie Hoffman's humor, manic energy, depressive spells, political skills, & above all, his incurable & still contagious optimism. He presents a thoughtful, solidly researched biography of the wildly creative & iconoclastic Yippie, portraying Hoffman as a fresh force in American political culture. Jezer surveys in detail the politics, philosophies, & struggles of the antiwar movement.

"... Abbie, more than any other radical, showed potheads how to demonstrate and radicals how to dance." -- Chicago Tribune

"... deeply sympathetic and scrupulously detached-a triumph of judicious empathy." -- MARTIN DUBERMAN, Distinguished Professor of History, Lehman/The Graduate School, C.U.N.Y.

"... details Hoffman's humor, manic energy, depressive spells, political skills, and above all, his Incurable and still contagious optimism." -- Entertainment Weekly

"Here's the Abbie I knew and loved! Marty Jezer has captured him in all his complexity, dedication, humor, and heart." -- ANITA HOFFMAN
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Abiding by Sri Lanka
On Peace, Place, and Postcoloniality
Qadri Ismail
University of Minnesota Press, 2005
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.
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Abolition Of White Democracy
Joel Olson
University of Minnesota Press, 2004

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The Academy of Fisticuffs
Political Economy and Commercial Society in Enlightenment Italy
Sophus A. Reinert
Harvard University Press, 2018

The terms “capitalism” and “socialism” continue to haunt our political and economic imaginations, but we rarely consider their interconnected early history. Even the eighteenth century had its “socialists,” but unlike those of the nineteenth, they paradoxically sought to make the world safe for “capitalists.” The word “socialists” was first used in Northern Italy as a term of contempt for the political economists and legal reformers Pietro Verri and Cesare Beccaria, author of the epochal On Crimes and Punishments. Yet the views and concerns of these first socialists, developed inside a pugnacious intellectual coterie dubbed the Academy of Fisticuffs, differ dramatically from those of the socialists that followed.

Sophus Reinert turns to Milan in the late 1700s to recover the Academy’s ideas and the policies they informed. At the core of their preoccupations lay the often lethal tension among states, markets, and human welfare in an era when the three were becoming increasingly intertwined. What distinguished these thinkers was their articulation of a secular basis for social organization, rooted in commerce, and their insistence that political economy trumped theology as the underpinning for peace and prosperity within and among nations.

Reinert argues that the Italian Enlightenment, no less than the Scottish, was central to the emergence of political economy and the project of creating market societies. By reconstructing ideas in their historical contexts, he addresses motivations and contingencies at the very foundations of modernity.

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Accountability in State Legislatures
Steven Rogers
University of Chicago Press, 2023

A troubling portrait of democracy in US state legislatures.

State legislatures hold tremendous authority over key facets of our lives, ranging from healthcare to marriage to immigration policy. In theory, elections create incentives for state legislators to produce good policies. But do they?

Drawing on wide-ranging quantitative and qualitative evidence, Steven Rogers offers the most comprehensive assessment of this question to date, testing different potential mechanisms of accountability. His findings are sobering: almost ninety percent of American voters do not know who their state legislator is; over one-third of incumbent legislators run unchallenged in both primary and general elections; and election outcomes have little relationship with legislators’ own behavior.

Rogers’s analysis of state legislatures highlights the costs of our highly nationalized politics, challenging theories of democratic accountability and providing a troubling picture of democracy in the states.

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Accounting for Slavery
Caitlin Rosenthal
Harvard University Press, 2018

A Five Books Best Economics Book of the Year
A Politico Great Weekend Read


“Absolutely compelling.”
—Diane Coyle

“The evolution of modern management is usually associated with good old-fashioned intelligence and ingenuity…But capitalism is not just about the free market; it was also built on the backs of slaves.”
Forbes

The story of modern management generally looks to the factories of England and New England for its genesis. But after scouring through old accounting books, Caitlin Rosenthal discovered that Southern planter-capitalists practiced an early form of scientific management. They took meticulous notes, carefully recording daily profits and productivity, and subjected their slaves to experiments and incentive strategies comprised of rewards and brutal punishment. Challenging the traditional depiction of slavery as a barrier to innovation, Accounting for Slavery shows how elite planters turned their power over enslaved people into a productivity advantage. The result is a groundbreaking investigation of business practices in Southern and West Indian plantations and an essential contribution to our understanding of slavery’s relationship with capitalism.

“Slavery in the United States was a business. A morally reprehensible—and very profitable business…Rosenthal argues that slaveholders…were using advanced management and accounting techniques long before their northern counterparts. Techniques that are still used by businesses today.”
Marketplace

“Rosenthal pored over hundreds of account books from U.S. and West Indian plantations…She found that their owners employed advanced accounting and management tools, including depreciation and standardized efficiency metrics.”
Harvard Business Review

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Aesthetics and Marxism
Chinese Aesthetic Marxists and Their Western Contemporaries
Kang Liu
Duke University Press, 2000
Although Chinese Marxism—primarily represented by Maoism—is generally seen by Western intellectuals as monolithic, Liu Kang argues that its practices and projects are as diverse as those in Western Marxism, particularly in the area of aesthetics. In this comparative study of European and Chinese Marxist traditions, Liu reveals the extent to which Chinese Marxists incorporate ideas about aesthetics and culture in their theories and practices. In doing so, he constructs a wholly new understanding of Chinese Marxism.
Far from being secondary considerations in Chinese Marxism, aesthetics and culture are in fact principal concerns. In this respect, such Marxists are similar to their Western counterparts, although Europeans have had little understanding of the Chinese experience. Liu traces the genealogy of aesthetic discourse in both modern China and the West since the era of classical German thought, showing where conceptual modifications and divergences have occurred in the two traditions. He examines the work of Mao Zedong, Lu Xun, Li Zehou, Qu Qiubai, and others in China, and from the West he discusses Kant, Schiller, Schopenhauer, and Marxist theorists including Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin, and Marcuse. While stressing the diversity of Marxist positions within China as well as in the West, Liu explains how ideas of culture and aesthetics have offered a constructive vision for a postrevolutionary society and have affected a wide field of issues involving the problems of modernity.
Forcefully argued and theoretically sophisticated, this book will appeal to students and scholars of contemporary Marxism, cultural studies, aesthetics, and modern Chinese culture, politics, and ideology.
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After Authority
Global Art Cinema and Political Transition
Kalling Heck
Rutgers University Press, 2020
After Authority explores the tendency in art cinema to respond to political transition by turning to ambiguity, a system that ideally stems the reemergence of authoritarian logics in art and elsewhere. By comparing films from Italy, Hungary, South Korea, and the United States, this book contends that the aesthetic tradition of ambiguity in art cinema can be traced to post-authoritarian conditions and that it is in the context of a transition away from authoritarianism where art cinema aesthetics become legible. Art cinema, then, can be seen as a mode of cinematic practice that is at its core political, as its constitutive ambiguity finds its roots in the rejection of centralized and hierarchical configurations of authority. Ultimately, After Authority proposes a history of art cinema predicated on the potentials, possibilities, and politics of ambiguity.
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After Communism
Perspectives on Democracy
Donald R. Kelley
University of Arkansas Press, 2003
In this collection, top scholars of Soviet and post-Soviet studies convene to explore communism's aftermath. They consider state building and consitutionalism; the transition to market capitalism and democracy across Eastern Europe; the political development of Muslim states; the complex and differential developments of electoral systems; the risks and opportunities of nationalism; and new political and economic activities in Russia, from corruption to contracts. Editor Donald Kelley introduces the volume with a synthesis of the theoretical and empirical findings of the volume, and his brief chapter introductions place each contribution in relation to the other essays and to larger debates on democratization.
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After Independence
Making and Protecting the Nation in Postcolonial and Postcommunist States
Lowell W. Barrington, Ed.
University of Michigan Press, 2006
The majority of the existing work on nationalism has centered on its role in the creation of new states. After Independence breaks new ground by examining the changes to nationalism after independence in seven new states. This innovative volume challenges scholars and specialists to rethink conventional views of ethnic and civic nationalism and the division between primordial and constructivist understandings of national identity.

"Where do nationalists go once they get what they want? We know rather little about how nationalist movements transform themselves into the governments of new states, or how they can become opponents of new regimes that, in their view, have not taken the self-determination drive far enough. This stellar collection contributes not only to comparative theorizing on nationalist movements, but also deepens our understanding of the contentious politics of nationalism's ultimate product--new countries."
--Charles King, Chair of the Faculty and Ion Ratiu Associate Professor, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service

"This well-integrated volume analyzes two important variants of nationalism-postcolonial and postcommunist-in a sober, lucid way and will benefit students and scholars alike."
--Zvi Gitelman, University of Michigan


Lowell W. Barrington is Associate Professor of Political Science, Marquette University.
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After Marx, Before Lenin
Marxism and Socialist Working-Class Parties in Europe, 1884-1914
Gary P. Steenson
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1991
In this book, Gary P. Steenson offers new interpretations of the history and nature of socialist movements in Germany, France, Austria, and Italy, from after Karl Marx's death until World War I.  Based largely on Friedrich Engels's correspondence and those of other socialist party leaders, Steenson analyzes Engels's view of European politics and those of his strategic counsel. He also derives the standards of Marxian orthodoxy from party publications and the political press. The central importance of Engels is clear, as is the seductive appeal of his frequently insightful, often misguided counsel to working politicians. Steenson also finds that this period saw no contradiction in adherence to Marxism and full participation in democratic, representative politics-and that in those countries where democratic forms did not exist, Marxists led the struggle to obtain them.
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After the Imperial Turn
Thinking with and through the Nation
Antoinette Burton, ed.
Duke University Press, 2003
From a variety of historically grounded perspectives, After the Imperial Turn assesses the fate of the nation as a subject of disciplinary inquiry. In light of the turn toward scholarship focused on imperialism and postcolonialism, this provocative collection investigates whether the nation remains central, adequate, or even possible as an analytical category for studying history. These twenty essays, primarily by historians, exemplify cultural approaches to histories of nationalism and imperialism even as they critically examine the implications of such approaches.
While most of the contributors discuss British imperialism and its repercussions, the volume also includes, as counterpoints, essays on the history and historiography of France, Germany, Spain, and the United States. Whether looking at the history of the passport or the teaching of history from a postnational perspective, this collection explores such vexed issues as how historians might resist the seduction of national narratives, what—if anything—might replace the nation’s hegemony, and how even history-writing that interrogates the idea of the nation remains ideologically and methodologically indebted to national narratives. Placing nation-based studies in international and interdisciplinary contexts, After the Imperial Turn points toward ways of writing history and analyzing culture attentive both to the inadequacies and endurance of the nation as an organizing rubric.

Contributors. Tony Ballantyne, Antoinette Burton, Ann Curthoys, Augusto Espiritu, Karen Fang, Ian Christopher Fletcher, Robert Gregg, Terri Hasseler, Clement Hawes, Douglas M. Haynes, Kristin Hoganson, Paula Krebs, Lara Kriegel, Radhika Viyas Mongia, Susan Pennybacker, John Plotz, Christopher Schmidt-Nowara, Heather Streets, Hsu-Ming Teo, Stuart Ward, Lora Wildenthal, Gary Wilder

[more]

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After the Thrill Is Gone
A Decade of Post-Apartheid South Africa, Volume 103
Grant Farred and Rita Barnard, eds.
Duke University Press
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

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Afterimage of the Revolution
Cumann na nGaedheal and Irish Politics, 1922–1932
Jason Knirck
University of Wisconsin Press, 2014
Ascending to power after the Anglo-Irish Treaty and a violent revolution against the United Kingdom, the political party Cumann na nGaedheal governed during the first ten years of the Irish Free State (1922–32). Taking over from the fallen Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith, Cumann na nGaedheal leaders such as W. T. Cosgrave and Kevin O'Higgins won a bloody civil war, created the institutions of the new Free State, and attempted to project abroad the independence of a new Ireland.
            In response to the view that Cumann na nGaedheal was actually a reactionary counterrevolutionary party, Afterimage of the Revolution contends that, in building the new Irish state, the government framed and promoted its policies in terms of ideas inherited from the revolution. In particular, Cumann na nGaedheal emphasized Irish sovereignty, the "Irishness" of the new state, and a strong sense of anticolonialism, all key components of the Sinn Féin party platform during the revolution. Jason Knirck argues that the 1920s must be understood as part of a continuing Irish revolution that led to an eventual independent republic. Drawing on state documents, newspapers, and private papers—including the recently released papers of Kevin O'Higgins—he offers a fresh view of Irish politics in the 1920s and integrates this period more closely with the Irish Revolution.
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Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century
A Reader of Radical Undercurrents
John Asimakopoulos
Temple University Press, 2018

The problems of capitalism have been studied from Karl Marx to Thomas Piketty. The latter has recently confirmed that the system of capital is deeply bound up in ever-growing inequality without challenging the continuance of that system. Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century presents a diversity of analyses and visions opposed to the idea that capital should have yet another century to govern human and non-human resources in the interest of profit and accumulation. The editors and contributors to this timely volume present alternatives to the whole liberal litany of administered economies, tax policy recommendations, and half-measures. They undermine and reject the logic of capital, and the foregone conclusion that the twenty-first century should be given over to capital just as the previous two centuries were.

Providing a deep critique of capitalism, based on assessment from a wide range of cultural, social, political, and ecological thinking, Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century insists that transformative, revolutionary, and abolitionist responses to capital are even more necessary in the twenty-first century than they ever were.

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The Age of Addiction
How Bad Habits Became Big Business
David T. Courtwright
Harvard University Press, 2019

“A mind-blowing tour de force that unwraps the myriad objects of addiction that surround us…Intelligent, incisive, and sometimes grimly entertaining.”
—Rod Phillips, author of Alcohol: A History


“A fascinating history of corporate America’s efforts to shape our habits and desires.”
Vox


We live in an age of addiction, from compulsive gaming and shopping to binge eating and opioid abuse. Sugar can be as habit-forming as cocaine, researchers tell us, and social media apps are deliberately hooking our kids. But what can we do to resist temptations that insidiously rewire our brains? A renowned expert on addiction, David Courtwright reveals how global enterprises have both created and catered to our addictions. The Age of Addiction chronicles the triumph of what he calls “limbic capitalism,” the growing network of competitive businesses targeting the brain pathways responsible for feeling, motivation, and long-term memory.

“Compulsively readable…In crisp and playful prose and with plenty of needed humor, Courtwright has written a fascinating history of what we like and why we like it, from the first taste of beer in the ancient Middle East to opioids in West Virginia.”
American Conservative

“A sweeping, ambitious account of the evolution of addiction…This bold, thought-provoking synthesis will appeal to fans of ‘big history’ in the tradition of Guns, Germs, and Steel.”
Publishers Weekly

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Albanian Cinema through the Fall of Communism
Silver Screens and Red Flags
Bruce Williams
Amsterdam University Press, 2023
Albanian cinema truly represents a terra incognita for most of the world. Decidedly Europe’s most isolated country during the Cold War era, communist Albania had already been cut off from the West for centuries as a one of the western-most outposts of the Ottoman empire. Nonetheless, and unknown to most of the world, communist Albania had a vibrant cinema tradition. Although bound by official orthodoxy, the films of the state-run Kinostudio enterprise were surprisingly innovative and, at times, daringly subversive. This book opens with examinations of moving images in Albania from the Ottoman period, through those captured under independence and the Fascist occupation. It subsequently foregrounds transformations in Kinostudio, from the early optimism of socialist realism through the brooding social angst of the 1980s, which constitute a bridge to the socioeconomic concerns of Albanian films of the postcommunist period.
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Alexander Hamilton
From Obscurity to Greatness
John P. Kaminski
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2016
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.
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Allies of the State
China's Private Entrepreneurs and Democratic Change
Jie Chen and Bruce J. Dickson
Harvard University Press, 2010
Jie Chen and Bruce J. Dickson draw on extensive fieldwork as they explore the extent to which China’s private sector supports democracy, surveying more than 2,000 entrepreneurs in five coastal provinces with over 70 percent of China’s private enterprises.The authors examine who the private entrepreneurs are, how the party-state shapes this group, and what their relationship to the state is. China’s entrepreneurs are closely tied to the state through political and financial relationships, and these ties shape their views toward democracy. While most entrepreneurs favor multi-candidate elections under the current one-party system, they do not support a system characterized by multi-party competition and political liberties, including the right to demonstrate. The key to regime support lies in the capitalists’ political beliefs and their assessment of the government’s policy performance. China’s capitalists tend to be conservative and status-quo oriented, not likely to serve as agents of democratization.This is a valuable contribution not only to the debates over the prospects for democracy in China but also to understanding the process of democratization around the globe.
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Alternative America
Henry George, Edward Bellamy, Henry Demarest Lloyd and the Adversary Tradition
John L. Thomas
Harvard University Press, 1983

Through vivid and searching portraits of these three redoubtable journalists, prize-winning historian John L. Thomas traces for the first time the evolving ideologies of the most significant reformers of their age.

Henry George’s Progress and Poverty, Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, and Henry Lloyd’s Wealth against Commonwealth each in its turn became an international bestseller, championing a course of national policy and social reform that owed allegiance neither to the large-scale capitalist model then emerging, nor to the bureaucratic socialism espoused on the left. Also common to the vast writings of all three were a deep distrust of partisan machine politics and a mounting sense of social crisis which neither spoilsmanship nor materialism seemed able to address.

Seeking instead diversity and cooperation within society, small economic units, and simplicity in government, the authors of these works were moved to defend strikes during the heyday of industrial capitalism. They spoke out for international peace when imperialism was rampant. They called for the preservation of community values in the face of urban sprawl. And they urged the goals of brotherhood and interdependence in an age when survival of the fittest was seen as holy writ.

They failed magnificently as apostles of a radical culture based on the ideal of a community, yet their intellectual legacy was not lost: their heirs include the broad movement that took the name Progressive, the New Deal, and the hopeful crusades of the 1960s. This magnificent book is their memorial and their history.

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Althusser, The Infinite Farewell
Emilio de Ipola
Duke University Press, 2018
In Althusser, The Infinite Farewell—originally published in Spanish and appearing here in English for the first time—Emilio de Ípola contends that Althusser’s oeuvre is divided between two fundamentally different and at times contradictory projects. The first is the familiar Althusser, that of For Marx and Reading Capital. Symptomatically reading these canonical texts alongside Althusser’s lesser-known writings, de Ípola reveals a second, subterranean current of thought that flows throughout Althusser’s classic formulations and which only gains explicit expression in his later works. This subterranean current leads Althusser to move toward an aleatory materialism, or a materialism of the encounter. By explicating this key aspect of Althusser’s theoretical practice, de Ípola revitalizes classic debates concerning major theoretico-political topics, including the relationship between Marxism, structuralism, and psychoanalysis; the difference between ideology, philosophy, and science; and the role of contingency and subjectivity in political encounters and social transformation. In so doing, he underscores Althusser’s continuing importance to political theory and Marxist and post-Marxist thought.
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The Ambivalence of Power in the Twenty-First Century Economy
Cases from Russia and Beyond
Edited by Vadim Radaev and Zoya Kotelnikova
University College London, 2022
An interdisciplinary perspective on the use and abuse of power in political economy.

This book explores the ambivalent nature of power as wielded in economic practices from an empirical perspective. It offers a collection of country-based cases and critically assesses the existing conceptions of power from a cross-disciplinary perspective. Analyzing power at the macro, meso, and micro levels allows the volume to highlight the complexity of political economy in the twenty-first century. Each chapter addresses key elements of a given political economy (from the ambivalence of the cases of former communist countries that do not conform with the grand narratives about democracy and markets to the dual utility of new technologies such as face-recognition), thus providing mounting evidence for the centrality of understanding ambivalence in the analysis of power.
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American Catastrophe
Fundamentalism, Climate Change, Gun Rights, and the Rhetoric of Donald J. Trump
Luke Winslow
The Ohio State University Press, 2020
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.
 
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American Commander in Spain
Robert Hale Merriman and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
Marion Merriman
University of Nevada Press, 1986
The Spanish Civil War (1936—1939) was a confrontation between supporters of Spain's democratically elected Republic—including peasants, communists, union workers, and anarchists—and an alliance of nationalist Army rebels and upper-class forces, including the Catholic Church and landlords, led by General Francisco Franco. In the political climate of the time, this civil war became the focus of foreign interests advocating conflicting ideas of democracy and fascism. Spain became a training ground where Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy tested military techniques intended for use in a yet to be declared wider world war. Although most Western nations embraced a neutrality pact, individual volunteers from around the world, including the United States, made their way to Spain to support the Republican cause.

Among the Americans was Robert Hale Merriman, a scholar who had been studying international economics in Europe. He and his wife, Marion, joined volunteers from fifty-four countries in International Brigades. Merriman became the first commander of the Americans; Abraham Lincoln Battalion and a leader among the International Brigades. Now available in a new paperback edition, American Commander in Spain is based on Merriman and Marion's diaries and personal correspondence, Marion's own service at his side in Spain, as well as Warren Lerude's extensive research and interviews with people who knew Merriman and Marion, government records, and contemporary news reports. This critically acclaimed work is both the biography of a remarkable man who combined his idealism with life-risking action to fight fascism threatening Europe and Marion's vivid first-hand account of life in Spain during the civil war that became a prologue to the Second World War.
 
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American Community
Radical Experiments in Intentional Living
Mark S. Ferrara
Rutgers University Press, 2020
Mainstream notions of the “American Dream” usually revolve around the ownership of private property, a house of one’s own. Yet for the past 400 years, a large number of Americans have dared to dream bigger and bolder, choosing to live in intentional communities that pooled resources, and they worked to ensure the well-being of all their members. 
 
American Community takes us inside forty of the most interesting intentional communities in the nation’s history, from the colonial era to the present day. You will learn about such little-known experiments in cooperative living as the Icarian communities, which took the utopian ideas expounded in a 1840 French novel and put them into practice, ultimately spreading to five states over fifty years. Plus, it covers more recent communities such as Arizona’s Arcosanti, designed by architect Paolo Soleri as a model for ecologically sustainable living.
 
In this provocative and engaging book, Mark Ferrara guides readers through an array of intentional communities that boldly challenged capitalist economic arrangements in order to attain ideals of harmony, equality, and social justice. By shining a light on these forgotten histories, it shows that far from being foreign concepts, communitarianism and socialism have always been vital parts of the American experience.
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The American Dream Is Not Dead
(But Populism Could Kill It)
Michael R. Strain
Templeton Press, 2020

Populists on both sides of the political aisle routinely announce that the American Dream is dead. According to them, the game has been rigged by elites, workers can’t get ahead, wages have been stagnant for decades, and the middle class is dying. 

Michael R. Strain, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, disputes this rhetoric as wrong and dangerous. In this succinctly argued volume, he shows that, on measures of economic opportunity and quality of life, there has never been a better time to be alive in America. He backs his argument with overwhelming—and underreported—data to show how the facts favor realistic optimism.

He warns, however, that the false prophets of populism pose a serious danger to our current and future prosperity. Their policies would leave workers worse off. And their erroneous claim that the American Dream is dead could discourage people from taking advantage of real opportunities to better their lives. If enough people start to believe the Dream is dead, they could, in effect, kill it. To prevent this self-fulfilling prophecy, Strain’s book is urgent reading for anyone feeling the pull of the populists. 

E. J. Dionne and Henry Olsen provide spirited responses to Strain’s argument.

[more]

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American Evangelicals and the 1960s
Edited by Axel R. Schäfer
University of Wisconsin Press, 2013
In the late 1970s, the New Christian Right emerged as a formidable political force, boldly announcing itself as a unified movement representing the views of a "moral majority." But that movement did not spring fully formed from its predecessors. American Evangelicals and the 1960s refutes the thesis that evangelical politics were a purely inflammatory backlash against the cultural and political upheaval of the decade.
            Bringing together fresh research and innovative interpretations, this book demonstrates that evangelicals actually participated in broader American developments during "the long 1960s," that the evangelical constituency was more diverse than often noted, and that the notion of right-wing evangelical politics as a backlash was a later creation serving the interests of both Republican-conservative alliances and their critics. Evangelicalism's involvement with—rather than its reaction against—the main social movements, public policy initiatives, and cultural transformations of the 1960s proved significant in its 1970s political ascendance. Twelve essays that range thematically from the oil industry to prison ministry and from American counterculture to the Second Vatican Council depict modern evangelicalism both as a religious movement with its own internal dynamics and as one fully integrated into general American history.
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American Exceptionalism
A New History of an Old Idea
Ian Tyrrell
University of Chicago Press, 2021
A powerful dissection of a core American myth.
 
The idea that the United States is unlike every other country in world history is a surprisingly resilient one. Throughout his distinguished career, Ian Tyrrell has been one of the most influential historians of the idea of American exceptionalism, but he has never written a book focused solely on it until now. The notion that American identity might be exceptional emerged, Tyrrell shows, from the belief that the nascent early republic was not simply a postcolonial state but a genuinely new experiment in an imperialist world dominated by Britain. Prior to the Civil War, American exceptionalism fostered declarations of cultural, economic, and spatial independence. As the country grew in population and size, becoming a major player in the global order, its exceptionalist beliefs came more and more into focus—and into question. Over time, a political divide emerged: those who believed that America’s exceptionalism was the basis of its virtue and those who saw America as either a long way from perfect or actually fully unexceptional, and thus subject to universal demands for justice. Tyrrell masterfully articulates the many forces that made American exceptionalism such a divisive and definitional concept. Today, he notes, the demands that people acknowledge America’s exceptionalism have grown ever more strident, even as the material and moral evidence for that exceptionalism—to the extent that there ever was any—has withered away.
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American Mass Incarceration and Post-Network Quality Television
Captivating Aspirations
Lee Flamand
Amsterdam University Press, 2022
Far more than a building of brick and mortar, the prison relies upon gruesome stories circulated as commercial media to legitimize its institutional reproduction. Perhaps no medium has done more in recent years to both produce and intervene in such stories than television. This unapologetically interdisciplinary work presents a series of investigations into some of the most influential and innovative treatments of American mass incarceration to hit our screens in recent decades. Looking beyond celebratory accolades, Lee A. Flamand argues that we cannot understand the eagerness of influential programs such as OZ, The Wire, Orange Is the New Black, 13th, and Queen Sugar to integrate the sensibilities of prison ethnography, urban sociology, identity politics activism, and even Black feminist theory into their narrative structures without understanding how such critical postures relate to the cultural aspirations and commercial goals of a quickly evolving TV industry and the most deeply ingrained continuities of American storytelling practices.
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American Oligarchy
The Permanent Political Class
Ron Formisano
University of Illinois Press, 2017
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.
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The American Political Landscape
Byron E. Shafer and Richard H. Spady
Harvard University Press, 2014

Social scientists and campaign strategists approach voting behavior from opposite poles. Reconciling these rival camps through a merger of precise statistics and hard-won election experience, The American Political Landscape presents a full-scale analysis of U.S. electoral politics over the past quarter-century. Byron Shafer and Richard Spady explain how factors not usually considered hard data, such as latent attitudes and personal preferences, interact to produce an indisputably solid result: the final tally of votes.

Pundits and pollsters usually boil down U.S. elections to a stark choice between Democrat and Republican. Shafer and Spady explore the significance of a third possibility: not voting at all. Voters can and do form coalitions based on specific issues, so that simple party identification does not determine voter turnout or ballot choices. Deploying a new method that quantifiably maps the distribution of political attitudes in the voting population, the authors describe an American electoral landscape in flux during the period from 1984 to 2008. The old order, organized by economic values, ceded ground to a new one in which cultural and economic values enjoy equal prominence.

This realignment yielded election outcomes that contradicted the prevailing wisdom about the importance of ideological centrism. Moderates have fared badly in recent contests as Republican and Democratic blocs have drifted further apart. Shafer and Spady find that persisting links between social backgrounds and political values tend to empty the ideological center while increasing the clout of the ideologically committed.

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America’s New Racial Battle Lines
Protect versus Repair
Rogers M. Smith and Desmond King
University of Chicago Press, 2024

A sobering portrait of the United States’s divided racial politics.

For nearly two decades, Rogers M. Smith and Desmond King have charted the shifting racial policy alliances that have shaped American politics across different eras. In America’s New Racial Battle Lines, they show that US racial policy debates are undergoing fundamental change. Disputes over colorblind versus race-conscious policies have given way to new lines of conflict. Today’s conservatives promise to protect traditionalist, predominantly white, Christian Americans against what they call the “radical” Left. Meanwhile, today’s progressives seek not just to integrate American institutions but to more fully transform and “repair” pervasive systemic racism.

Drawing on interviews with activists, surveys, social network analyses, and comprehensive reviews of federal, state, and local policies and advocacy groups, Smith and King map the memberships and goals of two rival racial policy alliances and delineate the contrasting stories each side tells. They also show that these increasingly polarized racial policy alliances are substantially funded on both the Left and Right.

Placing today’s conflicts in theoretical and historical perspectives, Smith and King analyze where these intensifying clashes may take the nation in the years ahead. They highlight the great potential for mounting violence, as well as the remaining possibilities for finding common ground.

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Anarchism & The Mexican Working Class, 1860-1931
By John M. Hart
University of Texas Press, 1978

The anarchist movement had a crucial impact upon the Mexican working class between 1860 and 1931. John M. Hart destroys some old myths and brings new information to light as he explores anarchism's effect on the development of the Mexican urban working-class and agrarian movements.

Hart shows how the ideas of European anarchist thinkers took root in Mexico, how they influenced revolutionary tendencies there, and why anarchism was ultimately unsuccessful in producing real social change in Mexico. He explains the role of the working classes during the Mexican Revolution, the conflict between urban revolutionary groups and peasants, and the ensuing confrontation between the new revolutionary elite and the urban working class.

The anarchist tradition traced in this study is extremely complex. It involves various social classes, including intellectuals, artisans, and ordinary workers; changing social conditions; and political and revolutionary events which reshaped ideologies. During the nineteenth century the anarchists could be distinguished from their various working- class socialist and trade unionist counterparts by their singular opposition to government. In the twentieth century the lines became even clearer because of hardening anarchosyndicalist, anarchistcommunist, trade unionist, and Marxist doctrines. In charting the rise and fall of anarchism, Hart gives full credit to the roles of other forms of socialism and Marxism in Mexican working-class history.

Mexican anarchists whose contributions are examined here include nineteenth-century leaders Plotino Rhodakanaty, Santiago Villanueva, Francisco Zalacosta, and José María Gonzales; the twentieth-century revolutionary precursor Ricardo Flores Magón; the Casa del Obrero founders Amadeo Ferrés, Juan Francisco Moncaleano, and Rafael Quintero; and the majority of the Centro Sindicalista Ubertario, leaders of the General Confederation of Workers.

This work is based largely on primary sources, and the bibliography contains a definitive listing of anarchist and radical working-class newspapers for the period.

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Anarchist Immigrants in Spain and Argentina
James A. Baer
University of Illinois Press, 2015
From 1868 through 1939, anarchists' migrations from Spain to Argentina and back again created a transnational ideology and influenced the movement's growth in each country.
 
James A. Baer follows the lives, careers, and travels of Diego Abad de Santillán, Manuel Villar, and other migrating anarchists to highlight the ideological and interpersonal relationships that defined a vital era in anarchist history. Drawing on extensive interviews with Abad de Santillán, José Grunfeld, and Jacobo Maguid, along withunusual access to anarchist records and networks, Baer uncovers the ways anarchist migrants in pursuit of jobs and political goals formed a critical nucleus of militants, binding the two countries in an ideological relationship that profoundly affected the history of both. He also considers the impact of reverse migration and discusses political decisions that had a hitherto unknown influence on the course of the Spanish Civil War.
 
Personal in perspective and transnational in scope, Anarchist Immigrants in Spain and Argentina offers an enlightening history of a movement and an era.
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Anarchist Modernity
Cooperatism and Japanese-Russian Intellectual Relations in Modern Japan
Sho Konishi
Harvard University Press, 2013

Mid-nineteenth century Russian radicals who witnessed the Meiji Restoration saw it as the most sweeping revolution in recent history and the impetus for future global progress. Acting outside imperial encounters, they initiated underground transnational networks with Japan. Prominent intellectuals and cultural figures, from Peter Kropotkin and Lev Tolstoy to Saigo Takamori and Tokutomi Roka, pursued these unofficial relationships through correspondence, travel, and networking, despite diplomatic and military conflicts between their respective nations.

Tracing these non-state networks, Anarchist Modernity uncovers a major current in Japanese intellectual and cultural life between 1860 and 1930 that might be described as “cooperatist anarchist modernity”—a commitment to realizing a modern society through mutual aid and voluntary activity, without the intervention of state governance. These efforts later crystallized into such movements as the Nonwar Movement, Esperantism, and the popularization of the natural sciences.

Examining cooperatist anarchism as an intellectual foundation of modern Japan, Sho Konishi offers a new approach to Japanese history that fundamentally challenges the “logic” of Western modernity. It looks beyond this foundational construct of modern history writing to understand people, practices, and cultural expressions that have been forgotten or dismissed as products of anti-modern nativist counter urges against the West.

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The Anarchist Roots of Geography
Toward Spatial Emancipation
Simon Springer
University of Minnesota Press, 2016

The Anarchist Roots of Geography sets the stage for a radical politics of possibility and freedom through a discussion of the insurrectionary geographies that suffuse our daily experiences. By embracing anarchist geographies as kaleidoscopic spatialities that allow for nonhierarchical connections between autonomous entities, Simon Springer configures a new political imagination.

Experimentation in and through space is the story of humanity’s place on the planet, and the stasis and control that now supersede ongoing organizing experiments are an affront to our survival. Singular ontological modes that favor one particular way of doing things disavow geography by failing to understand the spatial as a mutable assemblage intimately bound to temporality. Even worse, such stagnant ideas often align to the parochial interests of an elite minority and thereby threaten to be our collective undoing. What is needed is the development of new relationships with our world and, crucially, with each other. 

By infusing our geographies with anarchism we unleash a spirit of rebellion that foregoes a politics of waiting for change to come at the behest of elected leaders and instead engages new possibilities of mutual aid through direct action now. We can no longer accept the decaying, archaic geographies of hierarchy that chain us to statism, capitalism, gender domination, racial oppression, and imperialism. We must reorient geographical thinking towards anarchist horizons of possibility. Geography must become beautiful, wherein the entirety of its embrace is aligned to emancipation.

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The Anarchist Turn
Edited by Jacob Blumenfeld, Chiara Bottici, and Simon Critchley
Pluto Press, 2013

The concept of anarchy is often presented as a recipe for pure disorder. The Anarchist Turn brings together innovative and fresh perspectives on anarchism to argue that in fact it represents a form of collective, truly democratic social organisation.

The book shows how in the last decade the negative caricature of anarchy has begun to crack. Globalisation and the social movements it spawned have proved what anarchists have long been advocating: an anarchical order is not just desirable, but also feasible.

The contributors, including leading anarchist and critical theorists, argue that with the failure of both free markets and state socialism the time has come for an 'anarchist turn' in political philosophy. In doing so they relate the anarchist hypothesis to a range of other disciplines such as politics, anthropology, economics, history and sociology.

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Anarchists and Communists in Brazil, 1900-1935
By John Dulles
University of Texas Press, 1973

In providing a detailed account of the leftist opposition and its bloody repression in Brazil during the Old Republic and the early years of the Vargas regime, John W. F. Dulles gives considerable attention to the labor movement, generally neglected by historians. This study focuses on the formation and activities of anarchists and Communists, the two most important radical groups working within Brazilian labor. Relying on a wide variety of sources, including interviews and personal papers, Dulles supplies information that for the most part is unavailable in English and not easily accessible in Portuguese.

The struggles of Brazilian workers—usually against an alliance of company owners, state and federal troops, and state and federal governments—suffered reverses in 1920 and 1921. These setbacks were cited by Astrogildo Pereira and other admirers of Bolshevism as reasons for the proletariat to forsake anarchism and adhere to the Communist Party, Brazilian Section of the Communist International.

Anarchists and Communists, struggling against each other in the labor unions in the mid 1920’s, joined opposition journalists and politicians in supporting military rebels in a romantic uprising marked by adventure and suffering, jailbreaks and long marches, and death in the backlands.

Slowly, Brazilian Communism gained strength during the latter part of the 1920’s, but 1930 brought the beginnings of failure. Worse for the Party than the government crackdown and the Trotskyite dissidence was the growing attraction of the Aliança Liberal, the oppositionist political movement that brought Getúlio Vargas to power. While workers and Party members flocked to the Aliança in defiance of Party orders, sectarian edicts from Moscow resulted in the expulsion or demotion of the Party’s former leaders and in the condemnation of intellectuals.

Luís Carlos Prestes, “the Cavalier of Hope” who had led the military rebels in the mid-1920’s, turned to Communism—only to find himself not welcome in the Party. Taken to Russia by the Communist International in 1931, he was finally accepted into the Brazilian Party in absentia in 1934. Later that year, misled in Moscow by optimistic reports brought by Brazilian Communists, he agreed to lead a rebellion in Brazil. That decision and its consequences in 1935 were disastrous to Brazilian Communism.

The struggles among anarchists, Stalinists, and Trotskyites in Brazil were reflections of a worldwide struggle. This study discloses and assesses the effects of Moscow policy changes on Communism in Brazil and contributes to an understanding of Moscow’s policies throughout Latin America during this period.

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Anarchy—In a Manner of Speaking
Conversations with Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, Nika Dubrovsky, and Assia Turquier-Zauberman
David Graeber
Diaphanes, 2020
David Graeber was not only one of today’s most important living thinkers, but also one of the most influential. He was also one of the very few engaged intellectuals who has a proven track record of effective militancy on a world scale, and his impact on the international left cannot be overstated.

Graeber has offered up perhaps the most credible path for exiting capitalism—as much through his writing about debt, bureaucracy, or “bullshit jobs” as through his crucial involvement in the Occupy Wall Street movement, which led to his more-or-less involuntary exile from the American academy. In short, Anarchy—In a Manner of Speaking presents a series of interviews with a first-rate intellectual, a veritable modern hero on the order of Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Linus Torvald, Aaron Swartz, and Elon Musk.

Interviewers Mehdi Belhaj Kacem and Assia Turquier-Zauberman asked Graeber not only about the history of anarchy, but also about its contemporary relevance and future. Their conversation also explores the ties between anthropology and anarchism, and the traces of its DNA in the Occupy Wall Street and Yellow Vest movements. Finally, Graeber discussed the meaning of anarchist ethics—not only in the political realm, but also in terms of art, love, sexuality, and more. With astonishing humor, verve, and erudition, this book redefines the contours of what could be (in the words of Peter Kropotkin) “anarchist morality” today. 
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An Anatomy of Chinese
Perry Link
Harvard University Press, 2013

During the Cultural Revolution, Mao exhorted the Chinese people to “smash the four olds”: old customs, old culture, old habits, and old ideas. Yet when the Red Guards in Tiananmen Square chanted “We want to see Chairman Mao,” they unknowingly used a classical rhythm that dates back to the Han period and is the very embodiment of the four olds. An Anatomy of Chinese reveals how rhythms, conceptual metaphors, and political language convey time-honored meanings of which Chinese speakers themselves may not be consciously aware, and contributes to the ongoing debate over whether language shapes thought, or vice versa.

Perry Link’s inquiry into the workings of Chinese reveals convergences and divergences with English, most strikingly in the area of conceptual metaphor. Different spatial metaphors for consciousness, for instance, mean that English speakers wake up while speakers of Chinese wake across. Other underlying metaphors in the two languages are similar, lending support to theories that locate the origins of language in the brain. The distinction between daily-life language and official language has been unusually significant in contemporary China, and Link explores how ordinary citizens learn to play language games, artfully wielding officialese to advance their interests or defend themselves from others.

Particularly provocative is Link’s consideration of how Indo-European languages, with their preference for abstract nouns, generate philosophical puzzles that Chinese, with its preference for verbs, avoids. The mind-body problem that has plagued Western culture may be fundamentally less problematic for speakers of Chinese.

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The ANC Youth League
Clive Glaser
Ohio University Press, 2012

This brilliant little book tells the story of the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League from its origins in the 1940s to the present and the controversies over Julius Malema and his influence in contemporary youth politics. Glaser analyzes the ideology and tactics of its founders, some of whom (notably Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo) later became iconic figures in South African history as well as inspirational figures such as A. P. Mda (father of author Zakes Mda) and Anton Lembede. It shows how the early Youth League gave birth not only to the modern ANC but also to its rival, the Pan Africanist Congress. Dormant for many years, the Youth League reemerged in the transition era under the leadership of Peter Mokaba—infused with the tradition of the militant youth politics of the 1980s. Throughout its history the Youth League has tried to “dynamize” and criticize the ANC from within, while remaining devoted to the mother body and struggling to find a balance between loyalty and rebellion.

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Animals under the Swastika
J. W. Mohnhaupt, translated by John R. J. Eyck
University of Wisconsin Press, 2022
Never before or since have animals played as significant a role in German history as they did during the Third Reich. Potato beetles and silkworms were used as weapons of war, pigs were used in propaganda, and dog breeding served the Nazis as a model for their racial theories. Paradoxically, some animals were put under special protection while some humans were simultaneously declared unworthy of living. Ultimately, the ways in which Nazis conceptualized and used animals—both literally and symbolically—reveals much about their racist and bigoted attitudes toward other humans.
 
Drawing from diaries, journals, school textbooks, and printed propaganda, J.W. Mohnhaupt tells these animals’ stories vividly and with an eye for everyday detail, focusing each chapter on a different facet of Nazism by way of a specific animal species: red deer, horses, cats, and more. Animals under the Swastika illustrates the complicated, thought-provoking relationship between Nazis and animals.
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Another World Was Possible
A Century of Movements, Volume 2005
Duane J. Corpis and Ian Christopher Fletcher, eds.
Duke University Press
Another World Was Possible modifies the slogan of the World Social Forum—an annual meeting formed as an alternative to the more elite World Economic Forum—“Another world is possible!” The change from present to past tense in the phrase acknowledges the importance of social movements from the past century that have worked for alternative visions of justice and freedom leading up to and continuing to influence current movements. This special issue of Radical History Review highlights the global and transnational dimensions of radical history that are less visible in other historical accounts whose horizons are national or local or that are oriented toward either “centers” or “peripheries.” By emphasizing social movements and political contention, this issue offers a globalized radical history that enriches the wider field of world history.

The collection argues that radical movements offer an intriguing counternarrative to the more familiar history of imperialism and globalization in the twentieth century. One essay illuminates the radical anticolonial and diasporic South Asian Ghadar movement, which worked to free India from British rule. Another delves into the global politics of South African radicalism between antifascism and apartheid in the 1940s and 1950s. A third essay explores the encounter between U.S. black activists and Cuban revolutionaries in the 1960s. In an interview, a Latina activist illustrates the transnational scope of contemporary social movements by describing her organizing work among immigrants in Atlanta, Georgia.

Contributors. Adina Black, Mansour Bonakdarian, Duane J. Corpis, Ian Christopher Fletcher, Yael Simpson Fletcher, Robert Gregg, Bob Hannigan, Chia Yin Hsu, Madhavi Kale, R. J. Lambrose, Christopher Joon-Hai Lee, Teresa Meade, Adelina Nicholls, Enrique C. Ochoa, Susan D. Pennybacker, Maia Ramnath, Besenia Rodriguez

Another World Was Possible is the companion issue to Two, Three, Many Worlds (Radical History Review, #91).

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The Anthrobscene
Jussi Parikka
University of Minnesota Press, 2014
Smartphones, laptops, tablets, and e-readers all at one time held the promise of a more environmentally healthy world not dependent on paper and deforestation. The result of our ubiquitous digital lives is, as we see in The Anthrobscene, actually quite the opposite: not ecological health but an environmental wasteland, where media never die. Jussi Parikka critiques corporate and human desires as a geophysical force, analyzing the material side of the earth as essential for the existence of media and introducing the notion of an alternative deep time in which media live on in the layer of toxic waste we will leave behind as our geological legacy. 

Forerunners: Ideas First is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital publications. 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.
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An Anti-Bolshevik Alternative
The White Movement and the Civil War in the Russian North
Liudmila Novikova, Translated by Seth Bernstein
University of Wisconsin Press, 2018
The traditional narrative of the Russian Civil War is one of revolution against counterrevolution, Bolshevik Reds against Tsarist Whites. Liudmila Novikova convincingly demonstrates, however, that the struggle was not between a Communist future and a Tsarist past; instead, it was a bloody fight among diverse factions of a modernizing postrevolutionary state. Focusing on the sparsely populated Arkhangelsk region in Northern Russia, she shows that the anti-Bolshevik government there, which held out from 1918 to early 1920, was a revolutionary alternative bolstered by broad popular support.

Novikova draws on declassified archives and sources in both Russia and the West to reveal the White movement in the North as a complex social and political phenomenon with a distinct regional context. She documents the politics of the Northern Government and its relations with the British and American forces who had occupied the ports of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk at the end of World War I. As the civil war continued, the increasing involvement of the local population transformed the conflict into a ferocious "people's war" until remaining White forces under General Evgenii Miller evacuated the region in February 1920.
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The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion
Tansy E.
Pluto Press, 2022

The award-winning classic on why we must revolutionise the fashion industry

*Selected by Emma Watson for her Ultimate Book List*

Fashion is political. From the red carpets of the Met Gala to online fast fashion, clothes tell a story of inequality, racism, and climate crisis. In The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion, Tansy E. Hoskins unpicks the threads of capitalist industry to reveal the truth about our clothes.

Fashion brands entice us to consume more by manipulating us to feel ugly, poor and worthless, sentiments that line the pockets of billionaires exploiting colonial supply chains. Garment workers on poverty pay risk their lives in dangerous factories, animals are tortured, fossil fuels extracted and toxic chemicals spread just to keep this season's collections fresh.

We can do better than this. Moving between Karl Lagerfeld and Karl Marx, The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion goes beyond ethical fashion and consumer responsibility showing that if we want to feel comfortable in our clothes, we need to reshape the system and ensure this is not our last season.

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The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles
David Harvey
Pluto Press, 2020

Amidst waves of economic crises, health crises, class struggle and neo-fascist reaction, few possess the clarity and foresight of world-renowned theorist, David Harvey. Since the publication of his bestselling A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Harvey has been tracking the evolution of the capitalist system as well as tides of radical opposition rising against it. In The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles, Harvey introduces new ways of understanding the crisis of global capitalism and the struggles for a better world.


While accounting for violence and disaster, Harvey also chronicles hope and possibility. By way of conversations about neoliberalism, capitalism, globalization, the environment, technology, social movements and crises like COVID-19, he outlines, with characteristic brilliance, how socialist alternatives are being imagined under very difficult circumstances.


In understanding the economic, political and social dimensions of the crisis, Harvey’s analysis in The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles will be of strategic importance to anyone wanting to both understand and change the world.

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Apocalypse Man
The Death Drive and the Rhetoric of White Masculine Victimhood
Casey Ryan Kelly
The Ohio State University Press, 2020
A 2021 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title
Exemplified by President Donald J. Trump’s slogan “Make American Great Again,” white masculinity has become increasingly organized around melancholic attachments to an imagined past when white men were still atop the social hierarchy. How and why are white men increasingly identifying as victims of social, economic, and political change? Casey Ryan Kelly’s Apocalypse Man seeks to answer this question by examining textual and performative examples of white male rhetoric—as found among online misogynist and incel communities, survivalists and “doomsday preppers,” gender-motivated mass shooters, gun activists, and political demagogues. Using sources ranging from reality television and Reddit manifestos to gun culture and political rallies, Kelly ultimately argues that death, victimhood, and fatalism have come to underwrite the constitution of contemporary white masculinity.
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Apostles and Agitators
Richard Drake
Harvard University Press, 2003

One of the most controversial questions in Italy today concerns the origins of the political terror that ravaged the country from 1969 to 1984, when the Red Brigades, a Marxist revolutionary organization, intimidated, maimed, and murdered on a wide scale.

In this timely study of the ways in which an ideology of terror becomes rooted in society, Richard Drake explains the historical character of the revolutionary tradition to which so many ordinary Italians professed allegiance, examining its origins and internal tensions, the men who shaped it, and its impact and legacy in Italy. He illuminates the defining figures who grounded the revolutionary tradition, including Carlo Cafiero, Antonio Labriola, Benito Mussolini, and Antonio Gramsci, and explores the connections between the social disasters of Italy, particularly in the south, and the country's intellectual politics; the brand of "anarchist communism" that surfaced; and the role of violence in the ideology. Though arising from a legitimate sense of moral outrage at desperate conditions, the ideology failed to find the political institutions and ethical values that would end inequalities created by capitalism.

In a chilling coda, Drake recounts the recent murders of the economists Massimo D'Antona and Marco Biagi by the new Red Brigades, whose Internet justification for the killings is steeped in the Marxist revolutionary tradition.

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Archiving Sovereignty
Law, History, Violence
Stewart Motha
University of Michigan Press, 2018
Archiving Sovereignty shows how courts use fiction in their treatment of sovereign violence. Law's complicity with imperial and neocolonial practices occurs when courts inscribe and repeat the fabulous tales that provide an alibi for archaic sovereign acts that persist in the present. The United Kingdom's depopulation of islands in the Indian Ocean to serve the United States' neoimperial interests, Australia's exile and abandonment of refugees on remote islands, the failure to acknowledge genocidal acts or colonial dispossession, and the memorial work of the South African Constitution after apartheid are all sustained by historical fictions. This history-work of law constitutes an archive where sovereign violence is mediated, dissimulated, and sustained. Stewart Motha extends the concept of the "archive," as site of origin and source of authority, to signifying what law does in preserving and disavowing the past at the same time.

Sovereignty is often cast as a limit-concept, constituent force, determining the boundary of law. Archiving Sovereignty reverses this to explain how judicial pronouncements inscribe and sustain extravagant claims to exceptionality and sovereign solitude. This wide-ranging, critical work distinguishes between myths that sustain neocolonial orders and fictions that generate new forms of political and ethical life.
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Arguing the Just War in Islam
John Kelsay
Harvard University Press, 2007

Jihad, with its many terrifying associations, is a term widely used today, though its meaning is poorly grasped. Few people understand the circumstances requiring a jihad, or "holy" war, or how Islamic militants justify their violent actions within the framework of the religious tradition of Islam. How Islam, with more than one billion followers, interprets jihad and establishes its precepts has become a critical issue for both the Muslim and the non-Muslim world.

John Kelsay's timely and important work focuses on jihad of the sword in Islamic thought, history, and culture. Making use of original sources, Kelsay delves into the tradition of shari'a--Islamic jurisprudence and reasoning--and shows how it defines jihad as the Islamic analogue of the Western "just" war. He traces the arguments of thinkers over the centuries who have debated the legitimacy of war through appeals to shari'a reasoning. He brings us up to the present and demonstrates how contemporary Muslims across the political spectrum continue this quest for a realistic ethics of war within the Islamic tradition.

Arguing the Just War in Islam provides a systematic account of how Islam's central texts interpret jihad, guiding us through the historical precedents and Qur'anic sources upon which today's claims to doctrinal truth and legitimate authority are made. In illuminating the broad spectrum of Islam's moral considerations of the just war, Kelsay helps Muslims and non-Muslims alike make sense of the possibilities for future war and peace.

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Art & Outrage
Provocation, Controversy and the Visual Arts
John A. Walker
Pluto Press, 1998

When art hits the headlines, it is usually because it has caused offence or is perceived by the media to have shock-value. Over the last fifty years many artists have been censored, vilified, accused of blasphemy and obscenity, threatened with violence, prosecuted and even imprisoned. Their work has been trashed by the media and physically attacked by the public.

In Art & Outrage, John A. Walker covers the period from the late 1940s to the 1990s to provide the first detailed survey of the most prominent cases of art that has scandalised. The work of some of Britain’s leading, and less well known, painters and sculptors of the postwar period is considered, such as Richard Hamilton, Bryan Organ, Rachel Whiteread, Reg Butler, Damien Hirst, Jamie Wagg, Barry Flanagan and Antony Gormley. Included are works made famous by the media, such as Carl Andre’s Tate Gallery installation of 120 bricks, Rick Gibson’s foetus earrings, Anthony-Noel Kelly’s cast body-parts sculptures and Marcus Harvey’s portrait of Myra Hindley. Walker describes how each incident emerged, considers the arguments for and against, and examines how each was concluded. While broadly sympathetic to radical contemporary art, Walker has some residual sympathy for the layperson’s bafflement and antagonism. This is a scholarly yet accessible study of the interface between art, society and mass media which offers an alternative history of postwar British art and attitudes.

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Art and Postcapitalism
Aesthetic Labour, Automation and Value Production
Dave Beech
Pluto Press, 2019
Artistic labour was exemplary for Utopian Socialist theories of 'attractive labour', and Marxist theories of 'nonalienated labour', but the rise of the anti-work movement and current theories of 'fully automated luxury communism' have seen art topple from its privileged place within the left's political imaginary as the artist has been reconceived as a prototype of the precarious 24/7 worker. Art and Postcapitalism argues that art remains essential for thinking about the intersection of labour, capitalism and postcapitalism not insofar as it merges work and pleasure but as an example of noncapitalist production. Reassessing the contemporary politics of work by revisiting debates about art, technology and in the nineteenth and twentieth century, Dave Beech challenges the aesthetics of labour in John Ruskin, William Morris and Oscar Wilde with a value theory of the supersession of capitalism that sheds light on the anti-work theory by Silvia Federici, Andre Gorz, Kathi Weeks and Maurizio Lazzarato, as well as the technological Cockayne of Srnicek and Williams and Paul Mason. Formulating a critique of contemporary postcapitalism, and developing a new understanding of art and labour within the political project of the supersession of value production, this book is essential for activists, scholars and anyone interested in the real and imagined escape routes from capitalism.
[more]

front cover of Art and Postcapitalism
Art and Postcapitalism
Aesthetic Labour, Automation and Value Production
Dave Beech
Pluto Press, 2019
Artistic labour was exemplary for Utopian Socialist theories of 'attractive labour', and Marxist theories of 'nonalienated labour', but the rise of the anti-work movement and current theories of 'fully automated luxury communism' have seen art topple from its privileged place within the left's political imaginary as the artist has been reconceived as a prototype of the precarious 24/7 worker. Art and Postcapitalism argues that art remains essential for thinking about the intersection of labour, capitalism and postcapitalism not insofar as it merges work and pleasure but as an example of noncapitalist production. Reassessing the contemporary politics of work by revisiting debates about art, technology and in the nineteenth and twentieth century, Dave Beech challenges the aesthetics of labour in John Ruskin, William Morris and Oscar Wilde with a value theory of the supersession of capitalism that sheds light on the anti-work theory by Silvia Federici, Andre Gorz, Kathi Weeks and Maurizio Lazzarato, as well as the technological Cockayne of Srnicek and Williams and Paul Mason. Formulating a critique of contemporary postcapitalism, and developing a new understanding of art and labour within the political project of the supersession of value production, this book is essential for activists, scholars and anyone interested in the real and imagined escape routes from capitalism.
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The Arts of Democratization
Styling Political Sensibilities in Postwar West Germany
Jennifer M. Kapczynski and Caroline A. Kita, Editors
University of Michigan Press, 2022
Scholars of democracy long looked to the Federal Republic of Germany as a notable “success story,” a model for how to transition from a violent, authoritarian regime to a peaceable nation of rights. Although this account has been contested since its inception, the narrative has proved resilient—and it is no surprise that the current moment of crisis that Western democracies are experiencing has provoked new interest in how democracies come to be. The Arts of Democratization: Styling Political Sensibilities in Postwar West Germany casts a fresh look at the early years of this fledgling democracy and draws attention to the broad range of ways democracy and the democratic subject were conceived and rendered at this time.

These essays highlight the contradictory and competing impulses that ran through the project to democratize postwar society and cast a critical eye toward the internal biases that shaped the model of Western democracy. In so doing, the contributions probe critical questions that we continue to grapple with today. How did postwar thinkers understand what it meant to be democratic? Did they conceive of democratic subjectivity in terms of acts of participation, a set of beliefs or principles, or perhaps in terms of particular feelings or emotions? How did the work to define democracy and its subjects deploy notions of nation, race, and gender or sexuality? As this book demonstrates, the case of West Germany offers compelling ways to think more broadly about the emergence of democracy. The Arts of Democratization offers lessons that resonate with the current moment as we consider what interventions may be necessary to resuscitate democracy today.

 
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As Cruel as Anyone Else
Italians, Colonies and Empire
Angelo Del Boca
Seagull Books, 2024
Reveals a dark chapter in the Italian government’s colonial history that has been largely hidden from view.
 
Between the end of the nineteenth century and over the first half of the twentieth, Italy invaded and occupied the Horn of Africa, Libya, and several other territories. Yet recognition of this history of colonial destruction, racist violence, and genocidal aerial and chemical warfare—carried out not only during the Fascist dictatorship but also under preceding liberal governments—has been consistently repressed beneath the myth that the Italians never truly practiced colonialism.
 
The late journalist, historian, novelist, campaigner, and former Resistance fighter Angelo Del Boca dismantles this myth. He expertly narrates episodes of state violence committed by Italians both abroad—from Ethiopia to Slovenia, from China to Libya—and “at home” during the civil war following Unification in the 1860s or when the anti-Fascist Resistance faced off against the Republic of Salò after 1943. Attentive to the losses and pain suffered by all sides in war, Del Boca deftly demonstrates how such violence was not only a tool of domination but has also been central to creating and shaping an Italian “people.”
 
Drawing on a lifetime of interviews as a special correspondent, decades of work in private and state archives, and his own experiences during the Second World War, Del Boca’s popular and influential work has contributed to overturning views of Italian history. Presenting many historical episodes in English for the first time, As Cruel as Anyone Else provides a key to reading contemporary Italy, its place in international politics, and the disturbing permanence of the far-right within mainstream Italian politics.
 
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Aspirational Fascism
The Struggle for Multifaceted Democracy under Trumpism
William E. Connolly
University of Minnesota Press, 2017

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.
 

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Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination
Stefan Ihrig
Harvard University Press, 2014

Early in his career, Adolf Hitler took inspiration from Benito Mussolini, his senior colleague in fascism—this fact is widely known. But an equally important role model for Hitler and the Nazis has been almost entirely neglected: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. Stefan Ihrig’s compelling presentation of this untold story promises to rewrite our understanding of the roots of Nazi ideology and strategy.

Hitler was deeply interested in Turkish affairs after 1919. He not only admired but also sought to imitate Atatürk’s radical construction of a new nation from the ashes of defeat in World War I. Hitler and the Nazis watched closely as Atatürk defied the Western powers to seize government, and they modeled the Munich Putsch to a large degree on Atatürk’s rebellion in Ankara. Hitler later remarked that in the political aftermath of the Great War, Atatürk was his master, he and Mussolini his students.

This was no fading fascination. As the Nazis struggled through the 1920s, Atatürk remained Hitler’s “star in the darkness,” his inspiration for remaking Germany along nationalist, secular, totalitarian, and ethnically exclusive lines. Nor did it escape Hitler’s notice how ruthlessly Turkish governments had dealt with Armenian and Greek minorities, whom influential Nazis directly compared with German Jews. The New Turkey, or at least those aspects of it that the Nazis chose to see, became a model for Hitler’s plans and dreams in the years leading up to the invasion of Poland.

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The August Trials
The Holocaust and Postwar Justice in Poland
Andrew Kornbluth
Harvard University Press, 2021

The first account of the August Trials, in which postwar Poland confronted the betrayal of Jewish citizens under Nazi rule but ended up fashioning an alibi for the past.

When six years of ferocious resistance to Nazi occupation came to an end in 1945, a devastated Poland could agree with its new Soviet rulers on little else beyond the need to punish German war criminals and their collaborators. Determined to root out the “many Cains among us,” as a Poznań newspaper editorial put it, Poland’s judicial reckoning spawned 32,000 trials and spanned more than a decade before being largely forgotten.

Andrew Kornbluth reconstructs the story of the August Trials, long dismissed as a Stalinist travesty, and discovers that they were in fact a scrupulous search for the truth. But as the process of retribution began to unearth evidence of enthusiastic local participation in the Holocaust, the hated government, traumatized populace, and fiercely independent judiciary all struggled to salvage a purely heroic vision of the past that could unify a nation recovering from massive upheaval. The trials became the crucible in which the Communist state and an unyielding society forged a foundational myth of modern Poland but left a lasting open wound in Polish-Jewish relations.

The August Trials draws striking parallels with incomplete postwar reckonings on both sides of the Iron Curtain, suggesting the extent to which ethnic cleansing and its abortive judicial accounting are part of a common European heritage. From Paris and The Hague to Warsaw and Kyiv, the law was made to serve many different purposes, even as it failed to secure the goal with which it is most closely associated: justice.

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Authoritarianism
Three Inquiries in Critical Theory
Wendy Brown, Peter E. Gordon, and Max Pensky
University of Chicago Press, 2018
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.
 
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front cover of Autocrats Can't Always Get What They Want
Autocrats Can't Always Get What They Want
State Institutions and Autonomy under Authoritarianism
Nathan J. Brown, Steven D. Schaaf, Samer Anabtawi, and Julian G. Waller
University of Michigan Press, 2024
Authoritarianism seems to be everywhere in the political world—even the definition of authoritarianism as any form of non-democratic governance has grown very broad. Attempts to explain authoritarian rule as a function of the interests or needs of the ruler or regime can be misleading. Autocrats Can’t Always Get What They Want argues that to understand how authoritarian systems work we need to look not only at the interests and intentions of those at the top, but also at the inner workings of the various parts of the state. Courts, elections, security force structure, and intelligence gathering are seen as structured and geared toward helping maintain the regime. Yet authoritarian regimes do not all operate the same way in the day-to-day and year-to-year tumble of politics.

In Autocrats Can’t Always Get What They Want, the authors find that when state bodies form strong institutional patterns and forge links with key allies both inside the state and outside of it, they can define interests and missions that are different from those at the top of the regime. By focusing on three such structures (parliaments, constitutional courts, and official religious institutions), the book shows that the degree of autonomy realized by a particular part of the state rests on how thoroughly it is institutionalized and how strong its links are with constituencies. Instead of viewing authoritarian governance as something that reduces politics to rulers’ whims and opposition movements, the authors show how it operates—and how much what we call “authoritarianism” varies.
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Awakening to Race
Individualism and Social Consciousness in America
Jack Turner
University of Chicago Press, 2012
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.
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front cover of The Ayatollahs and Democracy in Iraq
The Ayatollahs and Democracy in Iraq
Juan R.I. Cole
Amsterdam University Press, 2006
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.
  
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