Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Noel-Smith, Kelly. "Harry Potter's Oedipal Issues." PSYCHONALYTIC STUDIES 3 (2001): 199-207.

By adopting a psychoanalytic perspective - and acknowledging that this is only one of many ways of approaching the question of the books’ popularity, or notoriety - it is hoped to show that the extraordinary success of the Harry Potter books is due, in part, to the universal phantasies they contain, in particular, those deriving from the Oedipal period. Freud suggested that creative writers, whose unconscious often fuels their writing, entice us to read about their creations by offering us the chance to enjoy our phantasies without self-reproach or shame (Freud 1908). It follows that, the more common the phantasy, the more popular the work of literature will be which allows us to engage with it, whether consciously or not. The author need not be aware that her works contain these phantasies: indeed, J. K. Rowling in a recent article said: “The most frequently asked question you get as an author is ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ I find this frustrating because I haven’t got the faintest idea where my ideas come from, or how my imagination works. I’m just grateful that it does, because it gives me more entertainment than it gives anyone else.” (The Sunday Times, 21 May 2000). Freud discusses phantasy in detail in his papers on creative writers and daydreaming (Freud 1908) and in his paper on the formulations of the two principles of mental functioning (Freud 1911). He suggests that phantasising is what we do when our ego, acting in accordance with the reality principle and taking into account the often frustrating external world, comes into conflict with the pleasure principle, which seeks immediate fulfilment of id demands. Phantasy represents a compromise between the two: it creates an internal world which represents the external world as we should like it to be. Hanna Segal suggests that writers, and other artists, can afford to let their phantasies run free because their art provides them with a secure link to reality (Segal 1994). Similarly, a book can provide the reader, as well as the writer, with this link to reality, this security. Alice climbing through the looking glass, the back of the wardrobe in an old house providing a doorway into Narnia, flying out of a nursery window then ‘second to the right and straight on till morning’: the reader’s link to reality is the point of entry into a world which does not really exist, from fictional reality to fictional phantasy, from a room in a house to Wonderland, Narnia or Never-Never Land. Works of fiction appease the reality principle-we know that what we are reading about is not really happening-so allow fulfilment of id phantasies, through our immersion in the book, without the danger to the ego which would arise were the phantasies acted out. . . . The rest is here:

Žižek, Slavoj. "Resistance Is Surrender." LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS November 15, 2007.

. . . The response of some critics on the postmodern Left to this predicament is to call for a new politics of resistance. Those who still insist on fighting state power, let alone seizing it, are accused of remaining stuck within the ‘old paradigm’: the task today, their critics say, is to resist state power by withdrawing from its terrain and creating new spaces outside its control. This is, of course, the obverse of accepting the triumph of capitalism. The politics of resistance is nothing but the moralising supplement to a Third Way Left. Simon Critchley’s recent book, Infinitely Demanding, is an almost perfect embodiment of this position. For Critchley, the liberal-democratic state is here to stay. Attempts to abolish the state failed miserably; consequently, the new politics has to be located at a distance from it: anti-war movements, ecological organisations, groups protesting against racist or sexist abuses, and other forms of local self-organisation. It must be a politics of resistance to the state, of bombarding the state with impossible demands, of denouncing the limitations of state mechanisms. The main argument for conducting the politics of resistance at a distance from the state hinges on the ethical dimension of the ‘infinitely demanding’ call for justice: no state can heed this call, since its ultimate goal is the ‘real-political’ one of ensuring its own reproduction (its economic growth, public safety, etc). ‘Of course,’ Critchley writes,
history is habitually written by the people with the guns and sticks and one cannot expect to defeat them with mocking satire and feather dusters. Yet, as the history of ultra-leftist active nihilism eloquently shows, one is lost the moment one picks up the guns and sticks. Anarchic political resistance should not seek to mimic and mirror the archic violent sovereignty it opposes.

So what should, say, the US Democrats do? Stop competing for state power and withdraw to the interstices of the state, leaving state power to the Republicans and start a campaign of anarchic resistance to it? And what would Critchley do if he were facing an adversary like Hitler? Surely in such a case one should ‘mimic and mirror the archic violent sovereignty’ one opposes? Shouldn’t the Left draw a distinction between the circumstances in which one would resort to violence in confronting the state, and those in which all one can and should do is use ‘mocking satire and feather dusters’? The ambiguity of Critchley’s position resides in a strange non sequitur: if the state is here to stay, if it is impossible to abolish it (or capitalism), why retreat from it? Why not act with(in) the state? Why not accept the basic premise of the Third Way? Why limit oneself to a politics which, as Critchley puts it, ‘calls the state into question and calls the established order to account, not in order to do away with the state, desirable though that might well be in some utopian sense, but in order to better it or attenuate its malicious effect’? . . .

Read the rest here:

Kucklich, Julian. "Perspectives of Computer Game Philology." GAME STUDIES 3.1 (2003).

Another example of research in the emerging field of 'game studies.' Here are the first three paragraphs of the paper:
Playing a game, like reading a novel, can be regarded as a form of semiosis, an interaction of signs. This constitutes the basic similarity between games and literature the following paper tries to explore. Taking the process of reading as a model for the process of playing might seem like an oversimplification, but this is not the fault of the critical analogy, but rather of our simplistic understanding of the interaction between reader and text. In order to understand this interaction properly, we must take into account the context, or contexts, in which the phenomenon of digital games is embedded. While it seems obvious that computer games fall into the category of games, which is notoriously hard to define, many of them transcend this category by virtue of their ability to tell a story. Therefore, games must be seen as part of the tradition of narrative literature as well as that of games. Furthermore, games can be seen as media, i.e. as devices that enable players to interact meaningfully with each other. In the following paper, I will focus on the literary context of computer games. However, this does not mean that I regard the ludic and the media context as less important. On the contrary: my interest in the study of computer games from a literary viewpoint derives from their hybrid nature, from their being neither fish, flesh nor fowl, as it were. Therefore, this attempt to locate computer games in the context of literature must not be misconstrued as an attempt to "colonize" the field of digital games. Ultimately, this approach aims at establishing computer game studies as an independent aesthetic subject, rather than a sub-discipline of literary studies. The suggestions made here should not be construed as a form of "theoretical imperialism," to use Espen Aarseth’s term, but rather as a display of what literary studies can contribute to an interdisciplinary cooperation. In the first section of this paper I will give a brief overview of attempts undertaken so far to approach the field of computer games from a literary perspective. I will then single out what appear to be the three central problems of these approaches, and try to provide solutions for them. The problematic issues I address are 1) the dichotomy of text and code, 2) interactivity and 3) narrative. Although I think that literary theory provides models to describe these phenomena, as well as a terminology that allows us to discuss them appropriately, in discussing the above-mentioned problems I rely on other theoretical concepts as well, especially from semiotics and second-order cybernetics. Thus, the approach followed here extends well beyond the field of traditional philology, while remaining firmly rooted in literary studies. . . .
Read the entire paper here:

Brown, Douglas. "Gaming DNA: On Narrative and Gameplay Gestalts." Digital Games Research Association Conference, Japan, September 24-28, 2007.

The study of digital games is a rapidly developing new area of research to which many of the methods of conventional literary criticism are being applied in fascinating ways. Here is the abstract of Brown's paper which is a great illustration of this:
This paper takes the concept of the ‘Gameplay Gestalt’ as advanced by Craig Lindley [7] as a basis for a fresh look at how games are read and designed. Disagreeing with Lindley’s assertion of gameplay over narrative, it puts forward a model of the game as a construct of authored gestalt interplay, and concentrates on the links between the physical process of playing the game and the interpretative process of ‘reading’ it. A wide variety of games are put forward as examples, and some analyses of major ‘moments’ in classic games are deconstructed. The concept of the ‘sublime’ as applicable to games is examined as is the use of gameplay and narrative to generate ‘illusory agency’, which can make a game more than the sum of its parts.
For the full paper, please go to For the other papers, please go to

"200 Ans de PHENOMENOLOGIE DE L'ESPRIT," College International de Philosophie, Universite de Paris IV-Sorbonne, December 13-15, 2007.

La Phénoménologie de l’esprit a 200 ans… Nous proposons donc à cette occasion un colloque sur cet ouvrage qui, comme nous le savons, continue d’exercer une influence considérable au sein de la philosophie contemporaine. Il nous appartiendra d’abord de situer l’œuvre dans son contexte philosophique. Rappeler l’histoire de La Phénoménologie de l’esprit, son écriture, l’élan philosophique qui le porte, le « lieu », pour ainsi dire, depuis lequel il nous est arrivé. Puis il nous faudra réfléchir et analyser l’influence philosophique qu’aura engagée cette œuvre. En France, rappelons seulement que la Phénoménologie de l’esprit a trouvé, en quelque sorte, sa terre d’accueil unique et singulière ; depuis le séminaire de 1933 à 1939 conduit par Alexandre Kojève et auquel ont assisté, entre tant d’autres, G. Bataille, J. Lacan, R. Queneau, depuis les séminaires à l’Ecole Normale Supérieure, puis au Collège de France, et la traduction (la première en langue française) accompagnée du très remarquable commentaire exhaustif de Jean Hyppolite, puis le considérable et très important travail d’interprétation, de critique, de contestation, de transmission effectué par tant de philosophes français et qui n’a cessé depuis le tout début des années 1960. Pour la philosophie française contemporaine en particulier, puis dans la pensée philosophique européenne en général, l’ouvrage de 1807 a représenté et continu de représenter un incontournable monument face auquel on ne peut pas ne pas se confronter. C’est dans cet esprit qu’il serait aujourd’hui intéressant de questionner encore « notre » rapport à l’ouvrage de Hegel et ainsi de marquer l’événement de son bicentenaire. Afin de souligner l’importance de ce livre dans l’histoire de la philosophie, mais aussi afin de marquer à quel point il continue de travailler la pensée philosophique contemporaine. Contact : Collège International de Philosophie (Tél : (33) (0)

New Issue: KENNETH BURKE JOURNAL 4.1 (2007).

The Fall 2007 issue of KB Journal features new essays by Jason Ingram ("Conflicted Possession: A Pentadic Assessment of T.E. Lawrence’s Desert Narrative") and Eric Shouse ("Suicide: or the Future of Medicine [A “Satire by Entelechy” of Biotechnology]"); Clarke Rountree introduces Burke's First Publications, including "“La Fino de la Homar’” and “Invince Harvey, Jr.” Issue 4.1 also includes review essays by Andrew Battista (Kenneth Burke on Shakespeare, edited by Scott L. Newstok) and Maura J. Smyth (“Civility as Rhetorical Enactment: The John Ashcroft ‘Debates’ and Burke’s Theory of Form,” by Christopher R. Darr). Our new Happenings Editor, Elizabeth Weiser issues a Call for Nominations: KB Society Career Awards (5-1-08) and Bryan Crable announces the Call for Papers: Kenneth Burke Society 7th Triennial Conference (2-1-08). We have now published new Premium Bibliographies (available to Kenneth Burke Society Members; sign-up now), which are introduced by Clarke Rountree also. They include Works about Burke: Theses and Dissertations by Subject Term, Works about Burke: Theses and Dissertations by Thesis Director, and Works about Burke: Theses and Dissertations by University. For further information, please visit:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Banchetti-Robino, Marina Paola, and Clevis Headley, eds. SHIFTING THE GEOGRAPHY OF REASON: GENDER, SCIENCE AND RELIGION. Cambridge Scholars, 2007.

Shifting the Geography of Reason: Gender, Science and Religion EDITED BY MARINA PAOLA BANCHETTI-ROBINO AND CLEVIS RONALD HEADLEY. 1-84718-078-7, 220 x 150 (mm), 280pp, Hardback, UK: £39.99, US: $79.99 “Shifting the Geography of Reason constitutes an event. The contributions within this text boldly and effectively confront epistemic orders that were/are predicated upon the presumptive Occidental circumscription of reason and intelligibility. This text thus challenges the misanthropic effrontery of the west to territorialize the very meaning of the ‘human.’ Through a collection of critically reflective contributions that capture the geo-spatial historicity, complexity, and diversity of Caribbean knowledge-production, from the epistemic, phenomenological, and the scientific to the aesthetic, poetic, and semiotic, this text forces a shift away from reason as totalizing to reason as possibility, as emancipatory and inclusive.” George Yancy, Duquesne University “Here stands the first of a series of important collective statements on the proverbial problem of reason that once fled those spaces in which the person of color reached for a meeting. What other resources are left for those of us who rely on ideas in a world that offers few options short of violence or, worse, apathy but to transcend the struggle for recognition into the sphere of building new intellectual homes? One must read this courageous celebration of thinking and of asserting the value of intelligence.” Lewis R. Gordon, President of the Caribbean Philosophical Association and Laura H. Carnell Professor of Philosophy at Temple University and Ongoing Visiting Professor at the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica MARINA PAOLA BANCHETTI-ROBINO is Associate Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Florida Atlantic University. Her areas of research include phenomenology, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, and zoosemiotics. CLEVIS RONALD HEADLEY is currently Associate Professor of Philosophy at Florida Atlantic University, director of the Ethnic Studies Certificate Program, as well as director of the Master’s in Liberal Studies. Professionally, he serves as the Vice-President and Treasurer of the Caribbean Philosophical Association.

CFP: "The Legacies of Simone de Beauvoir," 16th International Conference, University of Northumbria, June 13-15, 2008.

This international conference aims to re-evaluate Simone de Beauvoir's contribution to 20th century fiction, autobiography, philosophy and politics. Her influence as a major intellectual figure in the history of post-war France will be considered. The conference will assess Beauvoir's legacies in terms of her influence on subsequent generations of writers and critics, both in France and internationally. Questions of reception, dissemination and translation of Beauvoir's oeuvre will also be addressed, particularly in the light of recent publications. It is hoped that this focus on Beauvoir's legacies will be of interest not only to Beauvoir scholars but also to those working in Gender Studies, Philosophy, 20th Century French fiction and life writing. Proposals are invited for papers lasting twenty minutes in French or English. Please send abstracts, in English or French, of not more than 350 words, to the conference organisers, Dr Alison Holland ( and Dr Susan Bainbrigge (, by Monday 19th November 2007. For more information, please go to

CFP: "De Beauvoir's Philosophy," Panel Sponsored by Simone de Beauvoir Society, Annual Meeting, EPTC, University of British Columbia, June 3-5, 2008.

The philosophic relevance of Beauvoir's work has been overshadowed by her relationship with Sartre, her literary imagination, her lack of a complete coherent philosophic system and her denial of her own philosophic abilities. However, many scholars have worked diligently to make room for her in the philosophical canon as a crucial figure of existentialism and phenomenology. At her centennial, Beauvoir has been realized as a philosopher in her own right. Her ethical, political, phenomenological, and existential import can no longer be overlooked as her thinking serves to provide us with an understanding of and possible solutions for contemporary problems associated with identity, embodiment, alterity and intersubjectivity. These fundamental philosophic questions have become more and more problematic during the course of the 20th century as philosophers of all movements, but especially post-structuralists, have questioned, and sometimes even dismissed, such categories or concepts. These, however, lie at the heart of ethical and political theorizing. Their problematization or dismissal thus further makes ethics and politics difficult, if not altogether impossible. We believe that Beauvoir's existential/phenomenological approach to such fundamental concepts can help us re-think ethical and political problems that still plague us today. Analyzing how Beauvoir questioned such categories all the while reconstructing them around such more fundamental ideas as that of ambiguity can potentially lead us to a more fruitful approach to ethical and political thought. We thus think that it is very timely to re-examine Beauvoir's philosophy and that it is highly pertinent and relevant to do so today. Our panel will be a celebration of the contemporary relevance of Beauvoir's philosophy. We are planning to have 7 papers. Some papers will be by invitation but we are also welcoming paper submissions from EPTC members. French submissions welcomed! If you are interested in presenting a paper on the contemporary import of Beauvoir, please email Christine Daigle or Christy Landry as soon as possible. For further information, see the CFP here:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Conversations in Theory, Slought Foundation.

Please visit the URL below for further information on events in the Conversations in Theory series since 2002:

"Democracy and Disappointment: Alain Badiou and Simon Critchley on the Politics of Resistance," Conversations in Theory, November 15, 2007.

A public conversation took place between Alain Badiou and Simon Critchley at the Slought Foundation on November 15 as part of the Conversations in Theory series. "In disoriented times, we cannot accept the return of the old, deadly figure of religious sacrifice; but neither can we accept the complete lack of any figure, and the complete disappearance of any idea of heroism. In both cases, the consequences will be the end of any dialectical relationship between humanity and its element of inhumanity, in a creative mode. So the result will be the sad success of what Nietzsche named 'the last man.' 'The last man' is the exhausted figure of a man devoid of any figure. It is the nihilistic image of the fixed nature of the human animal, devoid of all creative possibility. Our task is: How can we find a new heroic figure, which is neither the return of the old figure of religious or national sacrifice, nor the nihilistic figure of the last man? Is there a place, in a disoriented world, for a new style of heroism?" - Alain Badiou, "The Contemporary Figure of the Soldier in Politics and Poetry" (UCLA, 2007) "The sense of something lacking or failing arises from the realization that we inhabit a violently unjust world, a world defined by the horror of war, a world where, as Dostoevsky says, blood is being spilt in the merriest way, as if it were champagne. Such an experience of disappointment is acutely tangible at the present time, with the corrosion of established political structures and an unending war on terror where the moods of Western populations are controlled through a politics of fear managed by the constant threat of external attack. This situation is far from novel and might be said to be definitional of politics from antiquity to early and considerably later modernity. My point is that if the present time is defined by a state of war, then this experience of political disappointment provokes the question of justice: what might justice be in a violently unjust world? It is this question that provokes the need for an ethics or what others might call normative principles that might enable us to face and face down the present political situation. Our main task is to respond to that need by offering a theory of ethical experience and subjectivity that will lead to an infinitely demanding ethics of commitment and politics of resistance." - Simon Critchley, Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of Resistance (Verso, 2007) More information here:

Sunday, November 25, 2007


See the following essays in particular: "Post-Continental Philosophy: its Definition, Contours, and Fundamental Sources" NELSON MALDONADO-TORRES Nelson Maldonado-Torres looks toward the boundaries of analytical and continental philosophy and augurs a post-continental philsophy that uses the arsenal of these bodies of thought to analyze and interpret problems related to colonialism, racism, and sexism in the contemporary world. Additionally, he points toward the new sciences and forms of study, such as African Diaspora Studies, Ethnic Studies and related programs, which demand a self-reflection of their own, without submitting their imperatives and unique approaches to the evaluation of analytic and continental philosophers. [pdf] "Through the Zone of Non-being: A Reading of Black Skin, White Masks in Celebration of Fanon's Eightieth Birthday" LEWIS R. GORDON In celebration of Frantz Fanon’s eightieth birth, Gordon explores Fanon’s socioigenic approach in Black Skin, White Masks and argues that through Fanon's particular engagement of human failure and 'non-beingness' that a new type of text and discourse emerges. He proposes that Fanon traverses both disciplinary and linguistic boundaries to challenge the viability of any single science providing a comprehensive analysis of human beings. [pdf] "Africana Phenomenology: its Philosophical Implications" PAGET HENRY Paget Henry explores the theoretical side of African studies through a discussion of the field of Africana phenomenology. Henry outlines its contours, problems, and theorists by attending to the works of WEB Dubois, Frantz Fanon, and Lewis Gordon. Finally, Henry argues that the emergence of African Philosophy, particularly Africana phenomenology, demands that philosophy adopt a more comparative approach. [pdf] "The Idea of Post European Science" KENNETH KNIES Kenneth Knies argues that the attempt to think beyond the imperial reach of Europe has generated new forms of systematic inquiry that signal a new epoch of Science. These new inquiries or Post-European sciences are actual disciplines, such as Africana Studies, Ethnic Studies, Latin America Studies, that point toward a radical rethinking of theory itself or what Knies calls a turning point in the life of Reason. Knies locates the significance of this turn by looking at these sciences’ relationship to transcendental phenomenology. [pdf] Read the entire issue here:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Mirza, Munira. "Is Modern Art a Left-Wing Conspiracy?" SPIKED November 22, 2007.

Is all modern art left-wing, as they suggest? To answer this, you’d have to work out what is meant by left-wing (or right-wing for that matter) which is an increasingly difficult thing to do these days. Calling someone left- or right-wing used to be a pretty good indication of where they stood on the big political issues of the day. For the 200 years between the French Revolution of 1789 and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, left and right were shorthand labels for showing ‘whose side you were on’ – whether it was at the barricades or the picket line. But today, do these terms have the same instructive value? US President George W Bush is sometimes described as the leader of a radical right-wing government, but in what sense is this true? In 2002, he controversially introduced protection tariffs on steel imports to save the skins of domestic producers – so he is not exactly a rabid proponent of the free market. Maybe, then, he is a hawk when it comes to international affairs because he believed in America’s role in effecting regime change in Iraq and Afghanistan. But then, if this is right-wing, where does that leave Bill Clinton, his predecessor, who used similar arguments to justify the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia (only he used the term ‘humanitarian intervention’)? One could go on. Is free speech a left- or right-wing principle? For all their talk of freedom and challenging orthodoxy, we know there are plenty of academics on the left who have campaigned for ‘no platform’ policies in universities. Are they more or less left-wing than Mary Whitehouse, the Christian campaigner who demanded that certain things on television were too offensive for the British public to handle and required government censorship? And what about green politics? Even trendy left-wing supporters of organic food, who are vitriolic in their hatred for Tesco, can be embarrassed to find themselves in bed with aristocrats who believe in the purity of the land and subordination of man to nature. Sustainability - the red-green slogan of choice - is about slow, manageable change. It’s hardly the credo for revolution. So, the first point to make is that we should recognise that when we use the terms left and right, we’re not really referring to political categories, so much as badges of honour that we parade around. Or else, they are terms of abuse, to dismiss someone’s arguments and avoid examining their ideas properly. Many people cling to them for emotional comfort at a time when the sea of ideology is confusing and uncertain. . . . Read the entire article here:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Lennon, Thomas M., and Shannon Dea. "Continental Rationalism." STANFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY [new entry].

The expression 'continental rationalism' refers to a set of views more or less shared by a number of philosophers active on the European continent during the latter two thirds of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth. Rationalism is most often characterized as an epistemological position. On this view, to be a rationalist requires at least one of the following: (1) a privileging of reason and intuition over sensation and experience, (2) regarding all or most ideas as innate rather than adventitious, (3) an emphasis on certain rather than merely probable knowledge as the goal of enquiry. While all of the continental rationalists meet one or more of these criteria, this is arguably the consequence of a deeper tie that binds them together — that is, a metaphysical commitment to the reality of substance, and, in particular, to substance as an underlying principle of unity. . . . Read the rest of the entry here:

CFP: "Comparative Continental Philosophy," 3rd Annual Meeting, Comparative Continental Philosophy Circle, University of Honolulu, April 10-13, 2008.

The CCPC has been meeting nationally since 2006 and locally since 1995. Please join us in our 12th year of conversations on Comparative and Continental philosophy. Presentations will be considered for publication in our new journal Per Se: Journal of Comparative and ContinentalPhilosophy. This year Eliot Deutsch is our featured speaker with a special session on the work of Graham Parkes. Registration fee is $40 ($25 for students), which includes 3 receptions with substantial pupus (Hawaiian for hord'oeuvres). Deadline for registration and proposals is February 22, 2008.Only checks, cash, or money orders can be accepted for payment and should be made out to the "Georgia Philosophy Series" and sent to David Jones at the address below. Room rates are $52.00 a night at Lincoln Hall, which is located within walking distance of our meeting site in BurnsHall on the East-West Center campus. To check out the East-West Center web site please visit<> (Housing section) where there's a photo of a studio room.For more Spartan-like accommodations, there may be some rooms available in Hale Manoa with shared baths for $27.00. These rooms are strictly on the basis of availability. East-West Center alumni receive additional discounts on accommodations at any of the three EWC housing facilities. To reserve a room, please call East-West Center Housing directly at +1 (808) 944-7805 and identify yourself as a "CCPC" or "Comparative Continental Philosophy Circle" member. If you are an East-West center alumnus or alumna, identify yourself when reserving your room to secure your special discount. You will also need to provide credit card information to reserve a room.The block of rooms will be lifted on February 10, 2008 and rooms will then be subject to availability. Longer stays at these rates are also available. Directions and travel expenses to the East-West Center and parking prices and regulations may be found at: Please note we are trying to arrange airport pickups for our participants. Contact: David Jones Comparative Continental Philosophy Circle #2206, 1000 Chastain Road Kennesaw, GA 30144 USA Phone: +1 (770) 423.6596 Email:

CFP: "Stories of the Novel: a Workshop on Ancient and Modern Narrative Fiction," University of Bristol, March 8, 2008.

Sponsored by the Classical Reception Studies Network and the Institute of Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition at the University of Bristol Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Dr Robert Carver, University of Durham One of the most persistent 'stories of the novel' tells us that the genre appeared in the eighteenth century, and is inextricably bound up with the modes of thought and social formations of European modernity. Ian Watt's account of the Rise of the Novel, which suggests that the novel emerged in response to the needs of an expanding middle class, is still broadly accepted. Watt argues that the rise of the novel represents a decisive break with classical literature, one of many oppositions by which the genre is defined. It has also been famously been theorized by Bakhtin in opposition to the epic. The stories told about the novel have thus also been stories about the difference between 'the ancient' and 'the modern'. This one-day workshop aims to rethink the modernity of the novel in all senses of that term. Through short presentations, round-table discussion, and keynote responses, we seek to open up new dialogues between ancient and modern and to create new ways of theorizing the relationship between historical context and narrative form. How do considerations of the ancient novel disturb the modernizing ambitions of arguments like Bakhtin's? Do analyses of the modern or contemporary novel shed any light on the study of the ancient novel? How can historical periodization inform or hinder the study of a genre or form?

We welcome proposals for fifteen-minute presentations in the form of 150-word abstracts to or, by 15 January 2008. Proposals from postgraduate students are welcome. Dr Ika Willis, Lecturer in Reception:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

CFP: "Art, Praxis, and Social Transformation: Radical Dreams and Visions," San Francisco State University, November 6-9, 2008.

8th Biennial Conference, Radical Philosophy Association. Art has long served as a form of critical reflection and a source of alternatives to what Herbert Marcuse and others have called 'the given.' At the same time, it has served to reinforce the status quo, whether through comics of 'happy' African slaves, the design of certain buildings and monuments, or sleek commercial and political advertisements. In the situation we confront today, what role might art play in enabling us to think, imagine, and go beyond "the given"? Does art disclose truth or distract us from it? Is it more a tool for revolution or a means of co-optation? Do popular art and popular culture entrench dominant social relations, or help us question and overthrow them? Today, as we struggle to understand and contend with various forces of social reaction, exclusion, and oppression, it seems timely to ask what role art might play in renewing critical consciousness and social transformation. Proposal Submission Instructions: We invite submissions of proposals for papers, panels, workshops, poster sessions, performances, and other types of conference contributions on all topics related to radical philosophy and praxis from philosophers and theorists who work inside and outside the academy. We encourage contributions from graduate students and from those who are often excluded from or marginalized in traditional academic disciplines and professional organizations, including people of color, gays and lesbians, persons with disabilities, and poor and working-class persons. We also encourage submissions that challenge standard conference presentation format, and that emphasize collective inquiry and interaction between participants and audience. Individual papers should be limited to 3000 words, for a 20-25 minute presentation. Some preference will be given to proposals which reflect the conference theme. In your proposal submission, include:
  1. Name, contact information, and affiliation of presenter(s);
  2. Title of presentation paper(s), panel, workshop, poster session, performance, etc.;
  3. Abstract of 250-500 words for each individual presentation paper; and/or,
  4. Description of panel, workshop, etc., including siting, audio-visual, and other requirements.
  5. Let us know if you are willing to serve as chair for a panel or workshop that needs one.

Send your proposal by March 8, 2008 to; or Peter Amato, RPA ‘08, English & Philosophy Dept., Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104. Information about accommodations at: A selection of papers from the conference will be published in Radical Philosophy Today, Vol. 6.

(Information from

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

CFP: "The Phenomenology and Existentialism of the 20th Century," Jagiellonian University of Krakow, August 17-20, 2008.

This great theme aims at elucidating how phenomenology and existentialism in tandem revived the new philosophical and cultural landscape of modernity. Further, we will attempt to show how their classic conceptions in innumerable interpretations and inspirations disseminated this spirit through the human horizon of the life-world, fertilizing the reflective ground and our living reality. We will also show how a novel and emergent spirit is primed to a NEW WAVE of inspiration. Topics and Sessions will be announced later, on our website. Proposals of contributions should be sent to Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, President, World Phenomenology Institute, 1 Ivy Pointe Way, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, United States, Fax: 802-295-5963, by January 1, 2008. For further information:

Bruns, Gerald. "Review of Asja Szafraniec's BECKETT, DERRIDA, AND THE EVENT OF LITERATURE." NDPR November 14, 2007.

Over the years there have been various efforts to engage Jacques Derrida's conception of literature. I think it is widely acknowledged now that there is (or was) no concept or theory of any sort but instead an ongoing attraction to forms of language that make certain works of writing peculiar enough to trouble the ways in which we make sense of things. Anyhow here is what I think we think we know about Derrida's thinking with respect to literature:
  1. There is no literature as such. It is, whatever else it is, the transformation of something given into something other, that is, non-identical, outside the grasp of concepts, categories, distinctions, not to mention purposes, functions, or positions in any standing order of things. This leaves us with almost nothing to say about what a work of literature is. One recalls what Adorno said about the task of art: "To make things of which we do not know what they are."
  2. Literature has a history rather than an essence. Derrida's way of addressing this issue is to characterize literature as an 'institution,' by which he appears to mean (apart from the imposing edifice of French Literature) the history of genres, conventions, forms, and movements with their assorted "isms." No doubt much of what is written belongs to this "institution," but Derrida thinks that every work is always in advance of what the "institution" of literature is able to recognize as belonging to itself. In this respect Derrida is pretty much a classic modernist keyed to experiment and innovation.
  3. Literature is thus not so much an object as an event in which each work is absolutely singular, a law unto itself, but perhaps less autonomous than antinomian, irreducible to any reading or appropriation. Literature is a work of writing (écriture) in Maurice Blanchot's sense of the term, referring particularly to the materiality of language that works on us as a kind of limit-experience, that is, an experience that takes us out of the role of cognitive agents grasping things (like texts) and construing their intelligibility. This materiality perhaps forms the meeting ground where philosophy and literature approach only to recoil from one another.
  4. How does one register this event of language? There is no 'literary hermeneutics.' Each experience of a literary work is itself singular and unrepeatable, however "iterable" the work itself may be as a construction of words. One responds to the work not by way of commentary and exegesis but by close attention to the anomalies of the text, its phonic and graphic complexity, its dissonance or antinomies, the openness of its form and the many different directions this may lead us. Such a reading, however, is less philological or critical (much less philosophical) than ludic: the idea is to play along with the text or perhaps to take off from it. Every text is in some sense a pretext, even as every reading is a supplementation or, more exactly perhaps, a kind of marginal writing or parody -- of which Derrida's Glas is perhaps the canonical example. . . .
For the complete review, please go to:

CFP: "The Science of Sensibility: Edmund Burke's PHILOSOPHICAL ENQUIRY 250 Years Later," Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, December 17-18, 2007.

For further information, please visit:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Joseph, John E. " . . . Ferdinand de Saussure, the Father of Structuralism, Owed Much to Hobbes and Mill. . . ." TIMES ONLINE November 14, 2007.

. . . None of this information has been published before. It has come to light in papers discovered in 1996, only a very few of which have made their way into print. The Writings in General Linguistics, first published by Gallimard in 2002 (English translation from Oxford University Press, 2006), consists mainly of texts already published in 1974 or earlier. The new material in Writings, including the brief fragments found in twelve envelopes marked “On the Double Essence” or “On the Eessence”, does not differ on any essential point from the previously known manuscripts. Saussure was consistent in his conception of language throughout his life. More revealing is the personal information in the papers. His claims to Englishness are surprising because he seems so archetypically Continental, standing as he does at the head of all the structuralism and poststructuralism that followed in his wake. Yet Geneva, the city of Calvin and Frankenstein (for whom Ferdinand’s great-grandfather Horace-Bénédict de Saussure may have been a model), was described in 1814 by the historian and political economist J. C. Simonde de Sismondi as “a sort of British city on the continent . . . a city where people think and feel in English, though they speak and write in French”. Saussure’s most characteristic ideas have British or American sources, including the most distinctively Saussurean idea of all: "In a language there are only differences without positive terms. Whether we take the signified or the signifier, the language contains neither ideas nor sounds that pre-exist the linguistic system, but only conceptual differences and phonic differences issuing from this system" (from the posthumous Course in General Linguistics, 1916). . . . For the late nineteenth century the locus classicus of differentiality was John Stuart Mill’s Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy (1865), a scathing attack that brought far more attention to Hamilton’s writings than their author had managed during his lifetime. Hamilton’s “relativity of human knowledge” was one of the few things Mill agreed with, summarizing it as follows: "We only know anything by knowing it as distinguished from something else; all consciousness is of difference; two objects are the smallest number required to constitute consciousness; a thing is only seen to be what it is by contrast with what it is not." . . . Saussure had come into contact with the English and Scottish philosophical traditions in his teens, reading Pictet’s survey of them in his book on aesthetics, Du Beau. That background left him receptive to the Hamilton–Mill doctrine when he was introduced to it, at the start of the 1890s, via his younger brother. . . . Read the entire article here:

Rutten, Tim. "Review of MODERNISM: THE LURE OF HERESY by Peter Gay." LOS ANGELES TIMES November 14, 2007.

Peter Gay is perhaps our leading historian of culture and ideas, and in Modernism: The Lure of Heresy: From Baudelaire to Beckett and Beyond he sets himself an interesting -- personally felt -- task. It is not, as he writes in his introduction, to give a comprehensive history of the movement. Rather, Gay undertakes a reconstruction of modernism's origins in the lives and work of various seminal artists -- Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, their supporters and friends. Then he moves through a series of essay-like chapters devoted to modernism's workings in each of the arts -- painting, sculpture, literature, music, dance, architecture and so on. Gay, who has undergone formal psychoanalytic training, is a leading, though undogmatic, practitioner of what has come to be called psychohistory -- and Sigmund Freud's shadow lies across many of these essays. He is a generally helpful presence because Gay, as his subtitle suggests, convincingly locates the modernist impulse in the talented individual's struggle against convention and orthodoxy. This focus on the protean artist makes broad descriptions difficult, since, as Gay points out, "Whatever cultural symptoms of modernism we explore, the particular threatens to overpower the general." Still, he maintains, modernism "produced a fresh way of seeing society and the artist's role in it, a fresh way of valuing works of culture and their makers. In short, what I am calling the modernist style was a climate of thought, feeling and opinion."Its defining characteristics, according to Gay, were two: "First, the lure of heresy that impelled [artists'] actions as they confronted conventional sensibilities; and, second, a commitment to a principled self-scrutiny." Read the rest of the review here:,0,203673.story?coll=la-books-headlines.

Reisch, George, and Randall Auxier. "Pop Goes Philosophy: Don’t Keep Your Philosophy Under Your (Mr.) Hat." POP MATTERS November 14, 2007.

The point of philosophy going pop is not to exalt the ivory tower and herd people inside; it’s to give philosophers a chance to leave. . . . It was a tragic mistake, Dewey believed, to frame this debate so rigidly in terms of exclusive opposites. Plagued as it is “by opposition between the idea that education is development from within and that it is formation from without,” our ideas about how education actually works (almost certainly by some combination and interaction of both external influences and internal developments) remain vague. And that’s OK, as long as education theorists admit it and (as Auxier warns, below) refrain from peddling overly simple theories that pretend these matters are overly simple. Likewise, philosophers need to accept some vagueness about the surely complex relationship between the ivory tower and the larger world outside. However much time they spend self-reflexively focused in their professional world, that is, philosophers remain people who live and think within a much larger social and cultural world¬—complete with movies, TV shows, and rock bands—in which these “stresses and strains” move life along its intellectual and historical path. Even if they choose to ignore pop culture, or fail to see how mid-period Merleau-Ponty and post-Waters Pink Floyd are possibly connected, it does not follow that philosophy is necessarily insulated from pop culture. Think about someone or something that years ago helped make you who you are now. Did you understand clearly at the time how that influence was working and what it’s result would be? More here:

Krystal, Arthur. "Age of Reason [on Jacques Barzun]." NEW YORKER October 22, 2007.

. . . At the Colloquium, books and ideas were thrown open to discussion; almost every approach was tolerated. “Cultural criticism” was Barzun and Trilling’s coinage for their lack of method, and it worked so well that, in the mid-fifties, Fred Friendly, an executive producer at CBS News, tried (and failed) to persuade the two men to offer a version of the Colloquium for television. “It was awe-inspiring,” the historian Fritz Stern, a 1946 alumnus of the Colloquium, recalled recently. “There I was, listening to two men very different, yet brilliantly attuned to each other, spinning and refining their thoughts in front of us. And when they spoke about Wordsworth, or Balzac, or Burke, it was as if they’d known him. I couldn’t imagine a better way to read the great masterpieces of modern European thought.” The class met on Wednesday evenings, and, as the decades passed and more specialized approaches to literature emerged, Barzun and Trilling remained committed to the essential messiness of culture. Neither the self-isolating pieties of the New Critics, nor the technical proficiency of the Russian Formalists, nor the class-bound shibboleths of Marxist writers held sway in their classroom. As a result, they were condemned, as Barzun recalled, “for overlooking the autonomy of the work of art and its inherent indifference to meaning; for ignoring the dialectic of history,” not to mention “the ‘rigorous’ critical methods recently opened to those who could count metaphors, analyze themes, and trace myths.” Basically, Barzun and Trilling cast themselves in the Arnoldian mold of relating culture to conduct. Matthew Arnold believed that judging books “as to the influence which they are calculated to have upon the general culture” would help realize man’s better nature and, thus, eventually improve society itself. Trilling and Barzun were less dreamy about the critic’s power, but, like Arnold, they saw no fissure between moral and aesthetic intelligence. They interpreted books liberally and wrote about them with a fluency and a precision befitting R. P. Blackmur’s definition of criticism as “the formal discourse of an amateur.” For all that, Barzun was never a 'New York intellectual.' He occasionally fraternized with the Partisan Review crowd, but he avoided the sectarian wars that seemed to fuel their lives and work; he appears only marginally in most accounts of the literary figures who rotated around the magazine. Yet, when a mid-century issue of Time came out with a lead article entitled “America and the Intellectual,” it wasn’t Edmund Wilson, or Lionel Trilling, or Sidney Hook, or Mark Van Doren whose likeness appeared on the cover (though all were mentioned inside); it was that of a man who hadn’t even been born here. . . . Read the entire article here:

CFP: "Writing Research Across Borders," University of California, Santa Barbara, February 22-24, 2008.

The 3rd International Conference on Writing Research: Recent decades have seen the growth of writing studies in many nations, focused on all levels of education, and all uses of writing in society, using the resources of many different disciplines. This increased research attention to writing reflects an increased recognition of the importance of writing in modern societies. Yet to a large extent the many emerging traditions of writing research have neither connected fully nor shared their work. This conference brings together the many writing researchers from around the world, drawing on all disciplines, and focused on all aspects of writing at all levels of development and in all segments of society. This will be an opportunity to learn from different research traditions, share our findings, seek common agendas, and lay the groundwork for future communication and alliances. Plenary Speakers:
  • Emilia Ferreiro, National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico
  • Gert Rijlaarsdam, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • David Russell, Iowa State University

Featured Panel on Reference Works:

  • Charles Bazerman, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Charles MacArthur, University of Delaware
  • Peter Smagorinsky, University of Georgia

Full Featured Speaker List with links to abstracts

Conference Sponsors: Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, University Writing Program of University of California, Davis.

For further information, please visit:

CFP: Seventh International "Crossroads in Cultural Studies," Association for Cultural Studies, University of the West Indies, Mona, July 3-7, 2008.

For information on the seventh installment of the Crossroads in Cultural Studies conference, please visit the following website:

CFP: "A Foucault for the 21st Century . . .," University of Massachusetts, Boston, April 16-17, 2008.

A Foucault for the 21st Century: Governmentality, Biopolitics and Discipline in the New Millennium. The aim of the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Social Theory Forum is to weigh in on the relevance of Foucault's ideas in the context of a new millennium, and to reassess Foucault's contributions to contemporary social theory in light of these developments. We invite papers from any disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspective, addressing the contemporary application of Foucault to contemporary social life and social theory. How relevant is Foucault's social thought to the world we inhabit today? Foucault is best remembered for his historical inquiries into the origins of 'disciplinary' society in a period extending from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Today, however, under the conditions of global modernity, the relevance of his work has been called into question. With the increasing ubiquity of markets, the break up of centralized states and the dissolution of national boundaries, the world today seems far removed from the bounded, disciplinary societies Foucault described in his most famous books. Far from disciplinary, society today is 'post panoptic,' as Nancy Fraser has argued - in a move which seems to confirm Jean Baudrillard's demand that we "forget Foucault." Yet in recent years, it has become apparent that Foucault's thoughts on modern society have not been exhausted, and, indeed, that much remains to be explored. While ripples from his initial impact on English speaking scholarship are still evident in such areas as the study of discourse, sexuality, the body and institutions, it is undeniably the case that new threads of Foucauldian influence have also become available. For example, his reflections on 'governmentality' have by now garnered a rich scholarly focus on the conditions of personal life under the economic liberalism. His work on 'biopower' has opened new terrain for political and activist discourse on globalization and population. His accounts of panopticism and surveillance have proven relevant to the study of contemporary policing practices in a post 9/11 world. Indeed, it could be argued that, in the new millennium, new threads of Foucauldian thought have emerged, enabling richer understandings of power and subjectivity under uniquely contemporary conditions. Topics might include, but are not limited to:
  • Governmentality and Neo-liberalism
  • Political Spirituality and Contemporary Religious Movements
  • Biopolitics, Globalization and Populations
  • Race, Genetics and the Politics of Life
  • Ethics, Biopower and the Politics of Consumption
  • Panopticism and Surveillance in a Post 9/11 World
  • Governmentality, Biopower and the Politics of Risk
  • Subpolitics, Life Politics and New Social Movements
  • Foucault and the Left in a Global Context
  • Foucault and the Penal-Industrial Complex
  • Ethics, Identity and Individualization
  • Genealogy
  • Feminism

Keynote Speakers Include:

  • James Bernauer (Boston College)
  • Charles Lemert (Wesleyan University)
  • Barbara Cruikshank (UMASS Amherst)
  • Margaret McLaren (Rollins College)

The conference will feature both invited and submitted papers and presentations, as well as audiovisual materials. Please send a one-page abstract or proposal as email attachment (MS Word Format) to by December 18, 2007.

Further information is here:

CFP: "African Athena: BLACK ATHENA 20 Years On," University of Warwick, November 6-8, 2008.

'African Athena' was Bernal's original title for Black Athena, his 'infamous' work that has confronted the modern academy with some of the most challenging questions it has faced over the last twenty years. This interdisciplinary conference seeks neither to demonize nor lionize Bernal's book, but to open dialogue on the issues it has posed: can a myth of Afrocentrism ever be a useful narrative in contemporary culture? How do Africanizing and classicizing cultures interface and interpenetrate in the arts and lives of Africans, Europeans, Caribbeans and Americans? Does Black Athena offer new possibilities for comparison between African and Jewish diasporas, cultures and struggles? How do we deal with the difficult collusion of essentialist and poststructuralist discourses in 'postcolonial' thought? These issues are only a point of departure.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Professors Martin Bernal, Paul Gilroy, Shelley Haley, Stephen Howe, Partha Mitter, Valentin Y. Mudimbe, Patrice Rankine and Robert J. C. Young. Send proposals of up to 500 words by March 31 2008 to Dr. Daniel Orrells, Department of Classics, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Podcasts of Hubert Dreyfus' Lectures on Heidegger's BEING AND TIME at the University of California, Berkeley.

Prof. Dreyfus is a leading authority on both Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty as well as the philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Please visit the following website to download his lectures on Heidegger's Being and Time: (This information courtesy of Farhang Erfani at

CFP: 8th Annual Meeting, Foucault Circle, Earlham College, February 15-17, 2008.

For a HTM version of the CFP, please go to: For a PDF version of the CFP, please go to:

Caribbean Research Seminar in the North, University of Central Lancashire, January 18, 2008.

An Interdisciplinary Research Seminar on the Caribbean and its Diaspora, in association with the Society for Caribbean Studies. Funded by the Joint Initiative for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean ( 12.30 Registration and Lunch 1.30 Introductions and Announcements 1.45 Peter Hulme (University of Essex) Oriental Encounters: Cuba andits Visitors 2.30 Gillian Forrester (Yale University) Art & Emancipation inJamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario And His Worlds 3.15 Tea and Coffee Break 3.30 Lee Jenkins (University College, Cork) "NewWorld/NewWord style":Kamau Brathwaite and the sycorax video-style 4.15 Tea and Coffee Break 4.30 Godfried Donkor (Artist, Ghana/London) A Retrospective Virtual Exhibition of Black Atlantic Images - including Revisioning the SableVenus (1793) with the Birth of Venus (2005) 5.30 Seminar Closes and Dinner (optional) For further information, to book a place at the seminar and for dinner at a local restaurant, please contact: Dr. Alan J. Rice National Teaching Fellow Reader in American Cultural Studies Dept. of Humanities University of Central Lancashire PrestonPR1 2HE Direct line: 01772 893024 Department: 01772 893020 Registration (including lunch) is free. A limited number of bursaries to cover the costs of travel within the UK are available for postgraduate students attending this event. To apply, please email Diana Paton ( stating your topic and giving the name and email address of your supervisor.

CFP: 32nd Annual Conference, Society for Caribbean Studies, University of Edinburgh, July 2-4, 2008.

The Society invites submissions of abstracts for research papers on the Hispanic, Francophone, Dutch and Anglophone Caribbean by Friday 11th January, 2008 for the annual international conference. Papers are welcomed from all disciplines and can address the themes outlined below. We also welcome abstracts for papers or for full panel proposals that fall outside this list of topics. Those selected for the conference will be invited to give a 20-minute presentation, and will be offered the opportunity to publish their work as part of theSociety's online series of papers. PROVISIONAL PANELS:
  • Scottish Caribbean connections
  • Commemoration and memorialisation
  • Counter-revolution in the Caribbean
  • Political leadership and democracy
  • China and the Caribbean
  • The Caribbean and Transatlantic Studies
  • Caribbean perspectives on Latin American politics
  • Sustainable development
  • Language and linguistics
  • Religion and spirituality
  • Performance, drama and theatre
  • Literature and visual cultures
  • Fashion, textiles and dress
  • Sports and game play

The Society will provide a limited number of Postgraduate Bursaries for presenters to contribute towards registration and accommodation costs. Postgraduate researchers should indicate that they are seeking a bursary when submitting their abstract, but please note that travel costs cannot be funded. Arts researchers or practitioners living and working in the Caribbean are eligible to apply for the Bridget Jones Award, the deadline for which is also Friday 11th January, 2008. To submit an abstract online, please consult the Society website:; For any further queries, or for alternative methods of abstract submission, please contact David Howard ( For more information on the Bridget Jones Award, please contact Kate Quinn ( or visit the Society website.

CFP: "Persuasive Technology," University of Aberdeen, April 1-2, 2008.

Can a web site persuade you to be politically active? Can a mobile phone motivate you to exercise? Does instant feedback on petrol use change how people drive? Do online rating systems inspire people to behave better online? This symposium will focus on how digital technology can motivate and influence people (or agents). It will bring together researchers, designers, and developers interested in computers designed to change attitudes and behaviors in positive ways. Call for papers: in a persuasive communication, a source tries to influence a receiver’s attitudes or behaviours through the use of messages. Each of these three components (the source, the receiver, and the messages) affects the effectiveness of persuasion. In addition, the type of communication (the way the message is delivered) can impact a message’s effectiveness. This symposium will bring together researchers working on all these aspects of persuasion, from persuasive argumentation to persuasive user interfaces. Persuasive technology has a great practical potential, for instance to improve health (encouraging a reduction in alcohol intake, smoking cessation, an increase in exercise, more healthy eating, and adherence to medical treatment) and to move towards sustainable living (encouraging a reduction in energy consumption, recycling, and use of public transport). There is a growing interest within the research community into persuasive technology, as shown by the emergence of the new Persuasive conference series (in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, 2006; Stanford, US, 2007; Oulu, Finland, 2008), as well as the successful series of workshops on Computational Models of Natural Argument (an area overlapping with persuasion). For further information, see:

CFP: "New Materialities: French Perspectives," European Philosophy Group, Manchester Metropolitan University, November 24, 2007.

Organised by the European Philosophy Group, Manchester European Research Institute, MMU, in association with the British Society for Phenomenology and the British Society for the History of Philosophy. Speakers: Dr. Cristina Chimisso (Philosophy, Open University): “Revisiting Bachelard” Dr. Keith Crome (Philosophy, MMU): “Foucauldian Themes” Dr. David Webb (Philosophy Staffordshire University): “Canguilhem on Life and Error” Location: Rain Bar, 80, Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester M1 5JG (by the canal, behind the Bridgewater Hall) Arrival and coffee 10.30 am; first paper 11 am; to finish at 5.30 pm; in the meeting room on the top floor; food and drink available in the downstairs bar; no charge to attend. Please contact:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pearson, Keith Ansell. Blog Entries on Nietzsche. NEW STATESMAN November 5-8, 2007.

A variety of blog entries on Nietzsche's philosophy by Keith Ansell Pearson may be found on the NEW STATESMAN blog. Follow the links on the right found here:

CFP: "The Substance of Thought: Critical and Pre-Critical," Theory Reading Group, Cornell University, April 10-12, 2008.

Keynote speakers: Simon Critchley (New School for Social Research) and Alberto Toscano (Goldsmiths College, University of London) Conference homepage: The last few decades have witnessed a struggle within continental philosophy between those thinkers who accept Immanuel Kant’s 'Copernican Revolution' and those who refuse critical philosophy in favor of a 'classical' metaphysics that, in the words of Alain Badiou, “considers the Kantian indictment of metaphysics . . . as null and void.” This conference will consider the conflict between 'critical' and 'classical' or metaphysical strains in contemporary thought. Has critical philosophy run its course, as Badiou suggests? Or has Kant’s critical turn determined the horizon of all future philosophical work? Or is there an alternative path? We are interested in analyzing the contemporary division between thinkers who prescribe a return to the pre-critical metaphysics of, for example, Spinoza, Leibniz, or Lucretius, and those who continue to take up various trajectories of Kant's critical legacy. The former camp might include Deleuze and Badiou as well as Negri and Althusser, while the latter might include Adorno, Benjamin, Heidegger, and Derrida. We particularly wish to encourage work that takes a stand on the conflict between the two camps, as well as work that considers the implications of the conflict for the arts and social sciences. The wide range of our inquiry includes interrogations of the nature of critique, the fate of aesthetics, the privilege accorded to immanence or transcendence, and the status of materialism. The deadline for submission of 250-word paper abstracts for 20-minute presentations is February 1, 2008. Please include your name, e-mailaddress, and phone number. Please email abstracts to Notices of acceptance will be sent no later than February 15, 2008. For more information about the Theory Reading Group, visit:

Feser, Edward. "We the Sheeple: Why Conspiracy Theories Persist." TCS DAILY September 20, 2006.

Still, the standard Enlightenment narrative has had a powerful influence on the way modern people understand the relationship between authority, tradition, and common sense on the one hand, and science and rationality on the other. We tend reflexively to assume that the popular or received wisdom, especially if associated with some 'official' source or long-standing institution, is always ripe for challenge, and also that if some independent thinker or writer takes an unconventional position, however extreme or counterintuitive, then there simply must be something right in it, or least worth listening to. 'Innovator' and 'iconoclast' are among our favorite terms of approbation, and 'questioning authority' and 'thinking outside the box' are applauded even by many self-described conservatives. By contrast, 'unoriginal' and 'conventional' are treated as if they were synonyms for 'unintelligent' and 'unthinking.' . . . This pretense of contempt for authority per se is by no means a mere foible. It can lead to very serious intellectual errors, as it does in the work of such apostles of the 'hermeneutics of suspicion' as Marx and Nietzsche. For the former, all moral, legal, religious, and cultural beliefs, practices, and institutions are 'really' mere expressions of the interests of the dominant economic class within a society; for the latter (and especially for such contemporary Nietzscheans as Michel Foucault), they are 'really' just expressions of a more general "will to power." As such, they are to be regarded with distrust, and indeed (on at least some interpretations of these doctrines) as having no objective validity whatsoever. Authority, tradition, and common sense come to be regarded as something to be constantly unmasked and undercut rather than consulted as necessary, though fallible, sources of wisdom. Indeed, they come to be regarded as something positively hateful and oppressive, from which we must always feel alienated. . . . Read the rest here:

Feser, Edward. "Are We All Lockeans Now?" TCS DAILY October 18, 2007.

Still, that doesn't mean that the Lockean attempt to combine the old and the new, the religious heritage of the West with modern conceptions of reason and political freedom, is unproblematic. If the president's effort to transplant the Lockean ideal in the Middle East seems to have come a cropper, there is nevertheless a sense in which in the West itself, "we are all Lockeans now," and have been for some time. Locke's conception of individual rights, government by consent, religious toleration, and scientific rationality has swept all before it in the centuries since he wrote, to such an extent that the average modern Westerner, whatever his political or religious affiliation, finds it difficult to understand that anyone ever believed anything else. And yet modern Westerners are also very deeply divided amongst themselves over questions of morality, politics, and religion - including over the appropriateness of giving politics the sort of theological foundation Locke does. This is no accident; for these tensions exist at the very core of Locke's thought, and in building the modern West upon it we have incorporated those tensions into its very foundations. Liberals and conservatives, religious believers and skeptics, can all find in Locke much to like and much to dislike; and if the debates between them often seem intractable, that is precisely because they all have an equally strong claim to the Lockean legacy. A consideration of that legacy is therefore in order if we are to make sense of the so-called "culture wars" between traditionalists and progressives, "red-staters" and "blue-staters." To understand Locke is to understand ourselves. . . .

Read the rest here:

Davidson, James. "Mad about the Boy." GUARDIAN November 20, 2007.

The secret of Greek homosexuality has only ever been a secret to those who neglected to inquire. The Greeks themselves were hardly coy about it. Their descendants under the Roman empire were amazed to read what their ancestors had written centuries earlier, drooling in public over the thighs of boys, or putting words into the mouth of Achilles in a tragic drama, as he remembered the "kisses thick and fast" he had enjoyed with his beloved Patroclus. The Romans certainly noticed what they called the "Greek custom", which they blamed on too much exercising with not enough clothes on. Christians mocked a people who worshipped gods who kidnapped handsome boys like Ganymede, or who, like Dionysus, promised a man his body in exchange for information about how to get into the underworld. Nor was it forgotten in the Middle Ages, when Greek Ganymede became a codeword for sodomitical vice. At the end of the 17th century the great classicist Richard Bentley knew well enough that the Greek word for a male "admirer", erastes, indicated a "flagitious love of boys". And in 1837, when Moritz Hermann Eduard Meier was asked to contribute a book-length article on the subject to a giant encyclopaedia of arts and sciences, he made no bones about it: "The spiritual elements of this affection were always mixed with a powerfully sensual element, the pleasure which had its origin in the physical beauty of the loved one." And yet there was always another side to the story. We hear of laws that punished men who "mixed with" or even "chatted" with boys. Xenophon, who knew Sparta better than anyone, says that the Spartan lawgiver had laid down that it was shameful even "to be seen to reach out to touch the body of a boy". Slaves called "pedagogues" - paidagogoi - were employed by Athenians to protect their sons from unwanted attention, and by Plato's time there were some people who had "the audacity to say" that homosexual sex was shameful in any circumstances. Indeed Plato himself eventually made so bold. At one time he had written that same-sex lovers were far more blessed than ordinary mortals. He even gave them a headstart in the great race to get back to heaven, their mutual love refeathering their moulted wings. Now he seemed to contradict himself. In his ideal city, he says in his last, posthumously published work known as The Laws, homosexual sex will be treated the same way as incest. It is something contrary to nature, he insists, and although there won't be laws against it, nevertheless a propaganda programme will encourage everyone to say that it is "utterly unholy, odious-to-the-gods and ugliest of ugly things". For these and other reasons there has long been debate about the true nature of this Greek custom - what the Greeks called eros, a "passionate life-churning love", or philia, "fond intimacy". Was it essentially sublime or sodomitical? A source of anxiety or a cause for celebration? Sometimes the Greeks seemed to approve of it wholeheartedly, even to suggest that it was the highest and noblest form of love. And other times they seemed to condemn it. Sometimes the ideal seems to be a spiritual, passionate but unconsummated "Platonic" love, like that much praised by Plato's Socrates. It was this notion that allowed Ganymede, ancient mascot for the vice unmentionable among Christians, to appear on the doors of St Peter's in Rome, where, amazingly, he remains, or as the emblem of "piety" in Christian picture-books. So popular were such prints of Ganymede in the Catholic Baroque that Rembrandt painted a harsh rejoinder. Instead of sublimely rising, his Ganymede is kicking and screaming, dragged off in incontinent terror. . . . Read the entire article here:,,2208343,00.html.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Rorty, Richard. Interview with Joshua Knobe. DUALIST 2 (1995): 59-71.

Int: Do you think that pragmatism itself might become a trend? Rorty: In some very large sense of pragmatism, yes. I think that culture might continue to get less and less metaphysical, and I think the influence of Kant on standard political and moral rhetoric might gradually decrease. Int: And could professional philosophers become pragmatists? Rorty: No. I think that analytic philosophy departments professionalize themselves precisely by cutting the links between philosophy and history and literature and trying to establish links with psychology, physics, stuff like that, harder disciplines. And I think that the analytic philosophers were correct in thinking that they would only have a really autonomous profession if they drifted away or cut themselves off from history and literature. I think that, just in so far as you professionalize, you have to disagree with Dewey that the problems of philosophy are historically produced, culturally produced, sort of epiphenomena of wider cultural changes. You have to think of philosophy as having a more autonomous problematic than Dewey thought it did. If all the philosophy professors became pragmatists, it's not clear what a philosophy department would look like. The impulse to say we've got a separate discipline which is neither history, nor literature would be much weaker. Int: Are you saying that philosophy departments should disappear? Rorty: I think that what's important is that people study the great dead philosophers, and they are sufficiently difficult that even if you folded us into literature departments, you'd still have to have a subdiscipline within literature departments consisting of a certain literary tradition that included Plato and Aristotle and St. Thomas and Leibniz and Kant and a lot of neat stuff like that, so you might as well just have a separate department. Int: So the importance of philosophy departments is that they teach the great dead philosophers? Rorty: Not their only importance, but if you ask why there's got to be a relatively autonomous discipline or subdiscipline, I think the ultimate answer is: because somebody's got to read these difficult books, and it takes a lot of time. . . . Read the rest of the interview here:

Rorty, Richard. Interview with Josefina Ayerza. PERFUME (1993).

JA: After reading your article "Paroxysm & Politics" I wondered whether you thought Foucault has been a negative influence on American intellectual discourse. RR: I think that. Like every other impressive intellectual figure, Foucault has had both good and bad effects. I think he's inspired a lot of very creative work, particularly at Berkeley. He's created a whole school there through other historians, through anthropologists; the literary critics are all more or less Foucaultians — that's quite a remarkable intellectual event. On the other hand, I think that there's a lot of trivialized Foucault doing the rounds in American intellectual circles, so that no matter what anybody says, there's always some silly Foucaultian statement that's in vogue: If you don't mention "power," someone says, "Ah, but you've forgotten power," that kind of thing. . . . Read the complete interview here:

Habermas, Jurgen. ". . . The Philosopher and the Language Shaper: In Memory of Richard Rorty." TELOS November 2, 3 and 5, 2007.

Dear Mary, dear Friends and Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, Given the highly personal occasion that brings us together here today, please allow me to start with a private memory. I first met Richard Rorty in 1974 at a conference on Heidegger in San Diego. At the beginning of the convention, a video was screened of an interview with the absent Herbert Marcuse, who in it described his relationship to Heidegger in the early 1930s more mildly than the sharp post-War correspondence between the two men would have suggested. Much to my annoyance, this set the tone for the entire conference, where an unpolitical veneration of Heidegger prevailed. Only Marjorie Green, who had likewise studied in Freiburg prior to 1933, passed critical comment, saying that back then at best the closer circle of Heidegger students, and Marcuse belonged to it, could have been deceived as to the real political outlook of their mentor. In this ambivalent mood I then heard a professor from Princeton, known to me until then only as the editor of a famed collection of essays on The Linguistic Turn, put forward a provocative comparison. He tried to strike harmony between the dissonant voices of three world-famous soloists in the frame of a strange concert: Dewey, the radical democrat and the most political of the pragmatists, performed in this orchestra alongside Heidegger, that embodiment of the arrogant German mandarin par excellence. And the third in this unlikely league was Wittgenstein, whose Philosophical Investigations had taught me so much; but he, too, was not completely free of the prejudices of the German ideology, with its fetishization of spirit, and cut a strange figure as a comrade of Dewey The rest may be found here (and Part 2 and Part 3).

CFP: "Justice and Gender," UK Society for Women in Philosophyt, University of Nottingham, November 22-23, 2007.

Keynote address: Professor Alison Jaggar The schedule for the conference can be found on the SWIP UK website: Registration information:To register, please send an email to and indicate: * Your affiliation (if any); * Contact details; * Whether you are a member of SWIP; * Whether you will be attending the conference dinner on Thursday; * Dietary requirements (e.g., vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc.) * Access requirements (if any) If you do not receive an acknowledgement of your email within two working days, please resend it. Registration fee is £12 (non-members), £5 (SWIP members/concessions). Please forward a cheque (made out to 'The University of Nottingham') to register for the conference to: SWIP conference, Komarine Romdenh-Romluc, Department of Philosophy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD If you are unable to send a cheque in pounds sterling, payment may be made at the conference.

Monday, November 05, 2007

CFP: "Cognitive Classics," Royal Holloway College and the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, and Open University, July 4-5, 2008.

A conference devoted to exploring interdisciplinary work between classics (and in particular: Greek literature) and cognitive science, organised by the Classical Studies Department at the Open University, the Classics Department at Royal Holloway, and the Institute of Classical Studies. The conference will be held at the Open University’s London campus (Hawley Crescent, Camden). Description: One of the most exciting developments in the humanities at the moment is the 'cognitive turn' represented in literary studies by such scholars as George Lakoff, Mark Turner and Ellen Spolsky: the growing awareness of the central relevance to traditional humanities disciplines of both empirical and theoretical research on how the human mind organises and processes information. An increasing number of classicists too are active in this area of convergence between the humanities and sciences. This conference will bring together several of them. Further details may be found here:

CFP: "Truth and Falsity: on Hegel's Systematic Thought," Department of Philosophy, Warwick University, May 29-30, 2008.

Speculative systematic philosophy is known for making a bold claim for an absolute knowledge of what there is in truth. Notoriously, however, philosophers working in the tradition of European philosophy still disagree as to the nature of this claim: Does Hegel mean that philosophy can produce a corpus of indisputable knowledge which exemplifies aspects of things, states-of-affairs or events as they are in themselves? What domain of objects or aspects of the real would this knowledge cover? What would be the ontological, epistemological or logical status of those objects or aspects of objects that are left outside of such knowledge? Even the dynamic and developmental structure of the speculative system seems to imply that a notion of absolute falsity must be operative in it, as Michael Theunissen (Sein und Schein) has already pointed out. The Warwick Hegel Conference 2008 aims to clarify and hopefully provide specific solutions to these questions and problems. . . . Further details are here:

Sunday, November 04, 2007

CFP: 38th Annual Meeting, Husserl Circle, Marquette University, June 26-29, 2008.

The 38th International Husserl Circle Conference will take place on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee on June 26-29, 2008. We also encourage you to submit a paper for a talk, either in abstract or full paper submission. We prefer electronic submissions (by email, either to Sebastian or to Pol, see email addresses below). The deadline for submissions is March 1 and speakers will be notified by April 7. Please limit your talk to 20-30 minutes and commentators have ca. 10 minutes to respond, to leave ample time for discussion. In the case of an acceptance, we will be asking you to submit your full paper ca. one month ahead of the conference to include it in the booklet that will be made available to all participants. We are expecting a good number of paper submissions; hence, in the event that we have too many submissions to include in the program, we will give preference to full papers over abstracts. We also ask you to identify yourself in your submissions, as we intend to include a significant percentage of graduate students or scholars who have not yet presented at the Husserl Circle. If you are willing to also serve as a commentator for another paper and/or chair a session, please indicate that with your application. You are also welcome to only serve as commentator or session chair; please let us know if you would be able to attend and willing to take over one of these functions. As additional feature, we are planning to have a session (3-4 papers) from undergraduate students. Hence, please pass this call for papers on to the undergraduates at your institutions who you think are qualified to give a talk. We have arranged lodging in the beautifully renovated Ambassador Hotel, which is walking distance from campus. We have negotiated a room block for the weekend of June 26-29 starting at $ 89 per night. To make reservations, please call toll free at (888) 322-3326 or visit When making a reservation, please mention the Marquette University conference rate. We will also provide student dormitory housing (multi-occupancy rooms) at a lower rate. More information on this will follow in a later letter. The Marquette campus is walking distance to downtown with its sites, museums and restaurants. Milwaukee is a city of 600,000 inhabitants located on the shore of Lake Michigan eighty miles north of Chicago. Milwaukee’s Airport, Mitchell International, is served by several airlines. Another option is to fly in to Chicago; there are several ways of traveling from Chicago to Milwaukee (buses, Amtrak). For further information on how to reach Milwaukee, please visit If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send us an email ( or For further information, go to:

CFP: "McLuhan and Beyond," 10th Annual Conference, Society for Phenomenology and Media, February 21-23, 2008.

The Society for Phenomenology and Media is accepting abstracts (200 – 400 words) for its 10th annual international conference to be held in Puebla, Mexico. The theme this year is "McLuhan and Beyond." Media and thinking about the media have evolved greatly since Marshall McLuhan introduced the global village to itself and, with his catch phrase, 'the medium is message,' directed attention to the way in which media transform our world. Television and telephoning, the radio and the movies have morphed and mutated and mixed to create numerous hybrids since the mid-1960s when McLuhan published Understanding Media: Extensions of Man. The 60s-era global village, gathered in the glow of the “tube,” has come to meet in the ether of cyberspace. The Society invites your thinking about media old and new, the way the media have changed, and the way changing media have changed (again and again) our world. We welcome your papers on specific media forms and on the concept of mediation itself. Papers need not explicitly address the work of Marshall McLuhan although thoughtful assessment of the relevance of McLuhan’s key ideas is welcome along with media studies ranging as broadly as McLuhan’s own work. The Society offers a venue for phenomenological thinking, broadly conceived, but also encourages interdisciplinary approaches (with the humanities and the social and natural sciences) and theoretical diversity (semiotics, hermeneutics, pragmatism, Marxism, critical theory, cultural studies, speech-act theory and other approaches in philosophy, contemporary and historical). Deadline for abstracts is December 1, 2007. Please send to conference host and the Society President (below). Conference host: SPM President: Alberto Carrillo-Canan; Dennis Skocz For more information, visit:

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Fuller, Timothy. "The Tension of the Perennial, Traditional and Historical in John Stuart Mill’s ON LIBERTY." EXPOSITIONS 1.1 (2007): 3-14.

Abstract: Reflection on teaching courses in the Western tradition over many years leads the author to identify some unavoidable fundamental questions, among them: What does one mean by 'tradition'? Are there perennial insights which persist through time? If there are, how are they affected by changing historical conditions? Are ideas necessarily relative to time and place? Is there progressive understanding or wisdom or is there simply change? What sorts of lessons is one to gain from studying the past? John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty is examined with respect to such questions to discern the response of one of the acknowledged masters of modern progressive thought. In turn, some concluding questions are posed to Mill’s response, seeking to extend dialogue on these matters. Read the entire article here:

Bertman, Martin A. "Kant Contra Herder: Almost Against Nature." FLORIDA PHILOSOPHICAL REVIEW 6.1 (2006): 53-63.

Abstract: Since Kant limits knowledge to phenomena and espouses a Newtonian model for science, he came into conflict with a biological or organic model of nature that animated the aesthetic attitude of romanticism. The focus of the opposition was his former pupil Herder – 'the father of German historicism' – who lived in the Weimar of Goethe and Schiller. Kant's speculations go beyond nature to the noumenal to ground ethics. He justifies this "rational faith" by assuming God has a teleological program in nature that ultimately brings progress in culture in a republican form of government that represents the noumenal ethical law. This opposes Herder’s doctrine of organic culture and political nations, each distinct in their creative determinants. The PDF may be downloaded here:

Hart, Jeffrey. "Jacques Barzun at 100." NEW CRITERION November 2007.

Barzun became one of those unusual teachers and writers who is part of a permanent conversation in my mind, and certainly in the widely disparate minds of many others. I did not actually meet Barzun until 1957, when, after almost four years in Naval Intelligence during the Korean War, I returned to Columbia as a graduate student and assistant professor. At that time Jacques Barzun and Lionel Trilling were teaching their famous graduate seminar on major works in the development of the modern mind. Admission to the Barzun-Trilling seminar, as it was known, entailed an interview with the two professors, which took place in Trilling’s Hamilton Hall office. This turned out to be genial, indeed conducted with a tone that suggested that in some sense we were equals, gentlemen and professionals, and serious about goals the three of us shared. In that first interview I gained a distinct sense that what they wanted were seminar participants who not only would teach but had it in mind to write in a serious way, and to the extent possible be engaged in focused and shaping activity: No Waste Landers; no Bartleby the Scriveners; no William Steig figures curled up in protective boxes of sensibility. The course met once a week in the evening. Each week, the two-hour session began with the consideration of an essay written by a member of the class. Clean copies had been put on reserve for the class to read. At the seminar the author received his own work back with written comments by Trilling and Barzun. Then the group discussed the essay. The pretensions of my first essay were annihilated, especially by Barzun. One result was that, as I rose from the dead, he was able to praise my second effort as publishable. There can be no doubt that other students found the intense criticism of Barzun and Trilling invaluable to their writing. After spending at least half an hour on such essays, we moved on to the discussion of a major work. These included Mill on Bentham and Coleridge with an introductory essay by F. R. Leavis, Hegel’s Philosophy of History, Nietzsche’s Will to Power, Chesterton’s Victorian Age in Literature, Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy, Bagehot’s English Constitution, Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents, essays by John Jay Chapman, whom Barzun very much admired, and, because a subject of wide interest at the time, David Riesman’s The Lonely Crowd. Barzun and Trilling provided a useful contrast, Barzun clarifying, usually trying to cut to the indispensable core of a major thinker’s work, explicating, achieving an understanding, Trilling often pushing back at the text, viewing it as a locus of problematical energy. He was engaged to the point of feeling challenged and required to respond. He often said in one way or another, “It’s complicated, very complicated.” Certainly, it would be too much to say that Barzun and Trilling were Settembrini and Naptha up there in that sanitarium on their magic mountain, or Cassirer and Heidegger in their internationally famous 1929 debate at Davos in the Alps, but the paradigms do have relevance; Barzun, though romantic in his sympathy for particular energies of art, was also in his analytical approach what could be called a rationalist, or, as Sidney Hook once remarked, as possessing “luminous common sense.” His clarifications of Trilling’s complexities sometimes were essential. . . . Read the whole article here:

Weizman, Eyal. "The Art of War [and Deleuze]." FRIEZE MAGAZINE May 2006.

The Israeli Defence Forces have been heavily influenced by contemporary philosophy, highlighting the fact that there is considerable overlap among theoretical texts deemed essential by military academies and architectural schools. . . . There is a considerable overlap among the theoretical texts considered essential by military academies and architectural schools. Indeed, the reading lists of contemporary military institutions include works from around 1968 (with a special emphasis on the writings of Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari and Guy Debord), as well as more contemporary writings on urbanism, psychology, cybernetics, post-colonial and post-Structuralist theory. If, as some writers claim, the space for criticality has withered away in late 20th-century capitalist culture, it seems now to have found a place to flourish in the military. . . . The full article is here:

Piereson, James. “'The Closing of the American Mind' at 20." NEW CRITERION November 2007.

It has now been twenty years since the late Allan Bloom published The Closing of the American Mind, his bestselling broadside against the ideas and conceptions that animate the contemporary university. The general theme of Bloom’s book is encapsulated in the subtitle: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students. Bloom’s thesis was striking precisely because it ran against the grain of conventional commentary on the academy. Following the upheavals of the 1960s, educators prided themselves on the degree to which they had reformed the American university in the direction of democracy, equality, and openness. They sought, as they said, to create an academic environment in which students might explore various ways of thinking and living in order to find their authentic selves. Those academic leaders were convinced that they had served democracy and enriched the educational experience of students by all the reforms—curricular and non-curricular—that they had engineered in response to the student revolts of that era. Now here was Bloom bluntly saying that they had actually done something quite the reverse: in the quest for “openness” and democracy, the academics had closed off genuine thought and intellectual exploration, and in so doing had compromised the case for democratic institutions. . . . Read the rest here:

Leopold, David. "Introduction." THE YOUNG KARL MARX. Cambridge: CUP, 2007.

Not everyone has been similarly beguiled by these early writings. They certainly failed to attract much attention from Marx’s own contemporaries. Several of the most important of these texts, including the Kritik and the Manuskripte, were not written for publication, and their existence was discovered only after Marx’s death. Other works were published at the time, but in radical periodicals with small and uncertain circulations. Marx’s article ‘Zur Judenfrage’, for example, was published in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, a journal of which only one (double) edition ever appeared, in a print-run of one thousand copies of which some eight hundred seem to have been seized by the authorities. At the time, none of these published works attracted either popular or critical acclaim on any scale. The only writings from the early 1840s which were subsequently reprinted during Marx’s lifetime were two pieces of his earliest journalism, which pre-date the early writings as defined here (a somewhat narrow definition elaborated below). These two articles on contemporary German conditions – a comment on the latest Prussian censorship instructions, and a report of the debate concerning freedom of the press in the Sixth Rhineland Diet (both written in 1842) – were reprinted by Hermann Becker under the seemingly inflated title Gesammelte Aufsätze von Karl Marx (1851). The rarity of this emaciated ‘collection’ would be hard to exaggerate. It appears that only a handful of copies were ever printed and that these were never distributed outside of Cologne. (Only recently has the provenance of this exceptionally scarce volume become clearer.) . . . Read the rest of the introduction here: