Monthly Archives: April 2006

Review: Derluguian, Bourdieu’s Secret Admirer in the Caucasus

April 25, 2006
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Review: Derluguian, Bourdieu’s Secret Admirer in the Caucasus

The New Left Review recently published a lengthy review of Georgi M. Derluguian’s Bourdieu’s Secret Admirer in the Caucasus: A World-System Biography. From the review by David Laitin: "Derluguian’s method of elaborating class formations, their reformations and historical alliances through the technique of ethnography is an ingenious juxtaposition, making for a text that is both sociologically revealing and narratively gripping. His is a new form of class analysis, based on observation of the micro-sociological details of everyday life; but it also projects the political implications of those ground-level class alliances, and helps to reveal the processes that turn susceptibility to violent breakdown into actuality…. Bourdieu’s Secret Admirer in the Caucasus gives direction to future work on the perils of authoritarian decline." Bourdieu’s Secret Admirer in the Caucasus is a gripping account of the developmental dynamics involved in the collapse of Soviet socialism. Fusing a narrative of human agency to his critical discussion of structural forces, Georgi M. Derluguian reconstructs from firsthand accounts the life story of Musa Shanib—who from a small town in the Caucasus grew to be a prominent leader in the Chechen revolution. In his examination of Shanib and his keen interest in the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, . . .

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Review: Allen, Talking to Strangers

April 25, 2006
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Review: Allen, Talking to Strangers

The Boston Review recently reviewed Danielle Allen’s Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education. From the review by Nick Bromell: "Allen understands that democracy originates in the subjective dimension of everyday life, and she focuses on what she calls our ‘habit of citizenship’—the ways we often unconsciously regard and interact with fellow citizens…. focus on race is entirely appropriate." "Don’t talk to strangers" is the advice long given to children by parents of all classes and races. Today it has blossomed into a fundamental precept of civic education, reflecting interracial distrust, personal and political alienation, and a profound suspicion of others. In Talking to Strangers, a powerful and eloquent essay, Danielle Allen, a 2002 MacArthur Fellow, takes this maxim back to Little Rock, rooting out the seeds of distrust to replace them with "a citizenship of political friendship." Read an excerpt and interview with the author. . . .

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Press release: Brown, Richard Hofstadter

April 25, 2006
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Press release: Brown, Richard Hofstadter

The author of The American Political Tradition and the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, Richard Hofstadter was one of the most celebrated and respected historians of twentieth-century America—and certainly one of its most influential public intellectuals. His championing of the liberal politics that came out of the New Deal, his fierce opposition to McCarthyism and then the acolytes of Barry Goldwater, and the many ideas that he introduced to our nation’s political conversation shaped not only the way we think of the historian’s role in civic life, but steered the direction of American politics as well. Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography explores Hofstadter’s remarkable life story in the context of the rise and fall of American liberalism.… Read the press release. Read an excerpt. . . .

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Oceans and Sustainability

April 21, 2006
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Oceans and Sustainability

An essay for International Earth Day by Dorrik Stow, professor of ocean and earth science at the University of Southampton, UK, and the author of Oceans: An Illustrated Reference. Sustainability is neither a fashionable trend that will go away once its media exposure has played out, nor is it an option we can lightly dismiss. Sustainability is every bit as essential to the future of human existence as are the food and water we consume and the air we breathe. April 22 has been designated International Earth Day, a time to focus across the world on planet Earth—her natural resources, environment and future. Despite being endowed with enormous richness and diversity of natural resources, the United States can only sustain itself at present rates of consumption for about six months of each year. For the remaining half year it is totally reliant on imports. Furthermore, if the global population consumed at the same rate as the American people, the world would require more than five times the total global resource base to survive. The sums simply do not add up. But we are no better here in the UK, so I am not simply pointing an accusing finger from across . . .

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The Will to Act on the Environment

April 20, 2006
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The Will to Act on the Environment

An essay for International Earth Day by R. Bruce Hull, author of Infinite Nature. As the saying goes: We live in interesting times. Globalization and fundamentalism seem locked in a death struggle to control world economies and cultures. The biosphere, the thin skin of life that blankets Earth, is now dominated by the products of human creativity. Environmental alarmists look at this domination and see biodiversity loss, a destabilized climate, eroding soils, over-fished oceans, and collapsing ecological systems. Even most skeptical environmentalists—who typically highlight the reliable and abundant supply of food, energy, and other resources—acknowledge serious challenges to meeting exponentially growing demands. Meanwhile, the traditional methods of environmental management are faltering. Rational, centralized environmental planning is an admitted failure in most professional circles, and the science wars have diminished the credibility of all expertise. Environmental issues infrequently find space on the national agenda, and critics say environmentalism’s method and focus must change. These conflicting environmental currents and eddies flow within the larger river of postmodern angst, causing us to rethink answers to our ultimate questions: What does it mean to be human? What is the essence of the natural and supernatural world we live in? How should we relate to . . .

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Zizek lecture at the University of Chicago

April 19, 2006
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Zizek lecture at the University of Chicago

On April 19 at 4:00 p.m., Slavoj Zizek, documentary film star, Critical Inquiry visiting professor, and co-author of The Neighbor: Three Inquiries in Political Theology, will present another lecture at the University of Chicago. This week’s lecture, "The Uses and Misuses of Violence," will take place at the Max Palevsky Cinema (1212 E. 59th Street). The event is free and open to the public. In The Neighbor, three of the most significant intellectuals working in psychoanalysis and critical theory collaborate to show how the problem of neighbor-love opens questions that are fundamental to ethical inquiry and that suggest a new theological configuration of political theory. Their three extended essays explore today’s central historical problem: the persistence of the theological in the political. In "Towards a Political Theology of the Neighbor," Kenneth Reinhard supplements Carl Schmitt’s political theology of the enemy and friend with a political theology of the neighbor based in psychoanalysis. In "Miracles Happen," Eric L. Santner extends the book’s exploration of neighbor-love through a bracing reassessment of Benjamin and Rosenzweig. And in an impassioned plea for ethical violence, Slavoj Zizek’s "Neighbors and Other Monsters" reconsiders the idea of excess to rehabilitate a positive sense of the inhuman and . . .

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Getting in before they closed the door

April 17, 2006
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Getting in before they closed the door

When did restrictions on immigration into the U.S. begin? The first comprehensive legislation to control immigration was enacted in the 1920s. But, as this excerpt from American Immigration by Maldwyn Allen Jones explains, the movement to restrict immigration began decades earlier: The dedication ceremonies for the Statue of Liberty in October 1886 took place, ironically enough, at precisely the time that Americans were beginning seriously to doubt the wisdom of unrestricted immigration. In the prevailing atmosphere, Emma Lazarus’ poetic welcome to the Old World’s “huddled masses” struck an almost discordant note. Already the first barriers had been erected against the entry of undesirables. In response to public pressure Congress had suspended Chinese immigration and had taken the first tentative steps to regulate the European influx. Organized nativism, moreover, was just reviving after a lapse of a quarter of a century and would shortly be demanding restrictions of a more drastic and general nature. This renewed agitation was no passing phase. It marked, on the contrary, the opening of a prolonged debate which was not to culminate until the 1920’s, when the enactment of a restrictive code brought the era of mass immigration to a close. Of all this there was . . .

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Review: Valelly: The Two Reconstructions

April 17, 2006
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Review: Valelly: The Two Reconstructions

The American Prospect has praised Richard M. Valelly’s The Two Reconstructions: The Struggle for Black Enfranchisement. In the review, Robert Kuttner said, "Richard M. Valelly’s magisterial work The Two Reconstructions will stand for a long time as the definitive political analysis of racial suppression and redemption in American democracy." The Reconstruction era marked a huge political leap for African Americans, who rapidly went from the status of slaves to voters and officeholders. Yet this hard-won progress lasted only a few decades. Ultimately a "second reconstruction"—associated with the civil rights movement and the Voting Rights Act—became necessary. How did the first reconstruction fail so utterly, setting the stage for the complete disenfranchisement of Southern black voters, and why did the second succeed? These are among the questions Richard M. Valelly answers in this fascinating history. Read an op-ed by the author. . . .

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Review: Morus, When Physics Became King

April 14, 2006
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Review: Morus, When Physics Became King

The April issue of Physics Today features a glowing review of Iwan Rhys Morus’s When Physics Became King. Reviewer Robert M. Brain wrote: "Excellent.… A few good histories of physics during that remarkable age exist—but none as readable or comprehensive as Morus’s superb book." When Physics Became King traces the emergence of this revolutionary science, demonstrating how a discipline that barely existed in 1800 came to be regarded a century later as the ultimate key to unlocking nature’s secrets. A cultural history designed to provide a big-picture view, the book ably ties advances in the field to the efforts of physicists who worked to win social acceptance for their research. . . .

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Press authors receive Guggenheim fellowships

April 14, 2006
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Press authors receive Guggenheim fellowships

We are pleased to note that several Press authors have been awarded Guggenheim fellowships for 2006. The Guggenheim Foundation supports "the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions and irrespective of race, color, or creed." Recipients include: Douglas Biow, author of Doctors, Ambassadors, Secretaries: Humanism and Professions in Renaissance Italy Julia V. Douthwaite, author of The Wild Girl, Natural Man, and the Monster: Dangerous Experiments in the Age of Enlightenment David Garland, author of The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society and Punishment and Modern Society: A Study in Social Theory Arthur Goldhammer, translator of several Press titles Mark Halliday, author of Jab and Selfwolf Joseph Leo Koerner, author of The Reformation of the Image and The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Art Donald S. Lopez Jr., author and editor of several Press titles. Deidre Shauna Lynch, author of The Economy of Character: Novels, Market Culture, and the Business of Inner Meaning Carlo Rotella, author of Cut Time: An Education at the Fights John David Skrentny, author of Color Lines: Affirmative Action, Immigration, . . .

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