Going Through the Motions: Ceaseless Work and the Reduction of Publicity to Emergency:
“I am interested in thinking about things and their role in politics and public life. This interest is occasioned by the contemporary neoliberal impulse to privatize everything and the difficulty, in such a context, of preserving public things and of articulating the importance of public things to democratic life.
Where so many democratic theorists focus on the importance of the demos to democracy, theorizing the terms of inclusion, identity, or nation, I am drawn more to the idea of the importance of objects to democracy. AS we know from D.W. Winnicott, subjectivity itself postulates objects, it emerges in relation to objects which enable the transition from one developmental stage to another, from private to public and from self to other. What if democracy is rooted in common love for, and contestation of, shared objects?
Hannah Arendt’s famous essay, “The Jew as Pariah” offers four pariah figures as models of various kinds of para-politics that occur when people are deprived of access to public things. Using Arendt’s essay as a template, these lectures will focus on three of her four pariah figures – Heine, Kafka’s K., and Chaplin –each of whom is a kind of anti-hero, a remnant of a more heroic or meaningful life, or a witness to its impossibility, in modern times. Each invites further rumination on the Importance to democratic politics of public things.”
more info and earlier lectures @ http://www.uws.edu.au/philosophy/philosophy@uws/events/thinking_out_loud/2013

Originally posted on Sarah Kendzior:

Months of research and interviews went into my latest for Politico Magazine, which is on the sustainability of the Ferguson protest movement, the participants of which are struggling to survive:

Ferguson began as a movement led by the people who had lost. Protesters took to the streets not only to rail against racism and police brutality, but also to decry decades of deeper divides: in housing, education, jobs, and the court system. But as the months wore on, the media frenzy built up, and the money rolled in, Ferguson turned into something else. A struggling suburb without a prominent industry suddenly had one: Ferguson Inc., a national protest movement.

In St. Louis, money is in the air—or, at least, talk of money. In the months since Michael Brown’s death, following all of the street violence, tear gas, and press conferences, national money flooded into Ferguson. The problem is no one…

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Originally posted on Society and space:

The following photo essay is a supplement to Leslie Kern’s article, “From toxic wreck to crunchy chic: environmental gentrification through the body”, that appears in issue 1 of the 2015 volume of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. As in the paper, here she draws on her research on Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood to consider how a polluted past can be mobilized as an asset for neighbourhood rebranding and gentrification. The paper will be open access until April 27, 2015. 

Gentrification is a global phenomenon that transforms cities, neighbourhoods, and everyday lives. Cities like Toronto, Canada have seen a variety of neighbourhoods – working class, commercial, ethnic – remade by an influx of wealthier residents and new retail enterprises. But what if your neighbourhood is better known for abattoirs, toxic chemicals, and diesel trains than Victorian housing stock, ethnic restaurants, or historical significance? For over ten years, (2000-2010) I lived…

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“Trygve Throntveit’s new book William James and the Quest for an Ethical Republic (Palgrave, 2014) is a persuasive and innovative look at the Jamesian social and political legacy, especially as played out in the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. Dr. Throntveit leverages the archives of the James family, including novelist Henry James, Jr. and William and Henry’s father, Swedenborgian theologian Henry James, Sr., to show how Henry Sr.’s ambitious but unfocused educational program affected William James’ vocation and intellectual commitments. In committing to a pragmatic ethic that could accommodate varieties of religious experience, James envisioned how a democratic society should regard the individual. Throntveit reads James in light of James’ personal development in relationship to other public intellectuals with whom he corresponded and was personally acquainted. The author keeps a steady eye on how William James developed as a person and as a scholar through his relationships. Throntveit’s innovation lies in tracing the ways in which others applied, and sometimes modified, Jamesian ideas during the Progressive Era of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Social critic WEB DuBois, philosopher of public life John Dewey, urban theorist and reformer Jane Addams, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandies, Theodore Roosevelt, and others directly responded to William James’ pragmatism via their policymaking clout. In turn, these public intellectuals had the attention of Woodrow Wilson. The ideals of democracy—the ethical republic—were set in motion for the trials ahead in the Great War and beyond.”


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