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Lessons in Secular Criticism Cover

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Lessons in Secular Criticism

Stathis Gourgouris is Professor of Classics, English, and Comparative Literature and Director of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University He is the author of Dream Nation: Enlightenment, Colonization and the Institution

Secular criticism is a term invented by Edward Said to denote not a theory but a practice that counters the tendency of much modern thinking to reach for a transcendentalist comfort zone, the very space philosophy wrested away from religion in the name of modernity. Using this notion as a compass, this book reconfigures recent secularism debates on an entirely different basis, by showing (1) how the secular imagination is closely linked to society’s radical poiesis, its capacity to imagine and create unprecedented forms of worldly existence; and (2) how the space of the secular animates the desire for a radical democratic politics that overturns inherited modes of subjugation, whether religious or secularist. Gourgouris’s point is to disrupt the co-dependent relation between the religious and the secular—hence, his rejection of fashionable languages of postsecularism—in order to engage in a double critique of heteronomous politics of all kinds. For him, secular criticism is a form of political being: critical, antifoundational, disobedient, anarchic, yet not negative for negation’s sake but creative of new forms of collective reflection, interrogation, and action that alter not only the current terrain of dominant politics but also the very self-conceptualization of what it means to be human. Written in a free and combative style and given both to close readings of texts and to gazing off into the broad horizon, these essays cover a range of issues—historical and philosophical, archaic and contemporary, literary and political—that ultimately converge in the significance of contemporary radical politics: the assembly movements we have seen in various parts of the world in recent years. The secular imagination demands a radical pedagogy and unlearning a great many established thought patterns. Its most important dimension is not battling religion per se but dismantling theological politics of sovereignty in favor of radical conditions for social autonomy.

Liberal Faith Cover

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Liberal Faith

Essays in Honor of Philip Quinn

Edited by Paul J. Weithman

Philip Quinn, John A. O’Brien Professor at the University of Notre Dame from 1985 until his death in 2004, was well known for his work in the philosophy of religion, political philosophy, and core areas of analytic philosophy. Although the breadth of his interests was so great that it would be virtually impossible to identify any subset of them as representative, the contributors to this volume provide an excellent introduction to, and advance the discussion of, some of the questions of central importance to Quinn in the last years of his working life. Paul J. Weithman argues in his introduction that Quinn’s interest and analyses in many areas grew out of a distinctive and underlying sensibility that we might call “liberal faith.” It included belief in the value of a liberal education and in rigorous intellectual inquiry, the acceptance of enduring religious, cultural, and political pluralism, along with a keen awareness of problems posed by pluralism, and a deeply held but non-utopian faith in liberal democratic politics. These provocative essays, at the cutting edge of epistemology, the philosophy of religion, philosophical theology, and political philosophy, explore the tenets of liberal faith and invite continuing engagement with the philosophical issues.

Love and Politics Cover

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Love and Politics

Re-interpreting Hegel

Alice Ormiston’s Love and Politics argues that modern politics is rooted not merely in the pursuit of power, but that it is essentially underpinned by the experience of love. Hegel understood love as a principle that unites reason and emotion, and self and other, and that provides the foundation for a deep sense of connectedness to the world and for genuine acts of autonomy. Through an original and highly accessible interpretation of Hegel’s works, Ormiston shows how the modern commitment to individual rights and freedoms can only be adequately understood by reference to the experience of love that lies at the foundation of the modern subject and its political expression in acts of conscience. Hegel’s thought thus joins forces with feminist arguments for an embodied theory of the subject and for a focus on empathy in political reasoning, with republican concerns about democracy and civic education, and with postmodern concerns about the otherness of certain experiences and forms of knowledge. Ormiston’s book offers a developed concept of the subject that can serve as a foundation for resistance to problems of our time, including atomism and instrumental rationality, the ills of an unfettered capitalism, and the reality of a radical evil.

Love's Body, Reissue of 1966 edition Cover

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Love's Body, Reissue of 1966 edition

Norman O. Brown

Originally published in 1966 and now recognized as a classic, Norman O. Brown's meditation on the condition of humanity and its long fall from the grace of a natural, instinctual innocence is available once more for a new generation of readers. Love's Body is a continuation of the explorations begun in Brown's famous Life Against Death. Rounding out the trilogy is Brown's brilliant Apocalypse and/or Metamorphosis.

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Market and Thought

Meditations on the Political and Biopolitical

Brett Levinson

In this ambitious book, Brett Levinson explores the possibilities for a genuinely radical critique of globalized culture and politics-at a time when intellectuals and nonintellectuals alike struggle to understand the configuration of the contemporary world. Levinson seeks to unsettle a naturalized and commonsensical assumption: that democracy and the economic market must be viewed as either united or at odds. Against both neoliberalists and cultural pluralists, he argues that the state is not yielding to the market, but that the universe now turns on a duopolybetween statist and global forms, one that generates not only economic and cultural sites but also ways of knowing, a postdemocratic episteme.Touching upon current issues such as terrorism, human rights, the attack on the World Trade Center, and the notion of the people,delving into the idea of bio politics, and investigating the essential relation between language and political praxis, Levinson engages with the work of Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Rancire, Etienne Balibar, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, Michel Foucault, and others.Levinson offers no solutions, but his work will be an important voice for readers looking for conceptual tools to grasp what political and intellectual possibilities might exist in the postcommunist world and how this world has come to be shaped in our time.

Messiahs and Machiavellians Cover

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Messiahs and Machiavellians

Depicting Evil in the Modern Theatre

Paul Corey

Messiahs and Machiavellians is an innovative exploration of “modern evil” in works of early- and late-modern theatre, raising issues about ethics, politics, religion, and aesthetics that speak to our present condition. Paul Corey examines how theatre—which expressed a key political dynamic both in the Renaissance and the twentieth century—lays open the impulses that instigated modernity and, ultimately, unparalleled levels of violence and destruction. Starting with Albert Camus’ Caligula and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, then turning to Machiavelli’s Mandragola and Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, Corey traces the emergence of two dominant, intertwining features of modern evil: an unrestrained pursuit of power and the utopian desire for perfection. Corey’s imaginative and convincing readings of these plays, based on detailed textual analysis, move beyond the accounts usually offered by literary critics. Drawing on political, theological, and philosophical sources—a combination as fertile as it is unusual—Corey’s methodology allows him to make keen and subtle arguments about the eschatological nature of modern politics.

Micro-Politics of Capital, The Cover

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Micro-Politics of Capital, The

Marx and the Prehistory of the Present

What is the relation between the economy, or the mode of production, and culture, beliefs, and desires? How is it possible to think of these relations without reducing one to the other, or effacing one for the sake of the other? To answer these questions, The Micro-Politics of Capital re-reads Marx in light of the contemporary critical interrogations of subjectivity in the works of Althusser, Deleuze, Guattari, Foucault, and Negri. Jason Read suggests that what characterizes contemporary capitalism is the intimate intersection of the production of commodities with the production of desire, beliefs, and knowledge.

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Modernité en transit - Modernity in Transit

Richard Dub

En 1979, Jean-François Lyotard a articulé la condition postmoderne, annonçant la fin de la modernité. Mais la modernité nous tient encore et se réinvente dans des nouvelles périodisations. Il nous incombe de reprendre la réflexion sur ce paradigme à la fois historique, culturel et social, et ceci, à partir de notre condition de « puînés » de la modernité. Tel est le programme de réflexion de cet ouvrage collectif qui privilégie une approche interdisciplinaire et internationale. -- In 1979, Jean-François Lyotard sketched out the postmodern condition, announcing the demise of modernity. However, modernity perseveres, reinventing itself within shifting temporal contexts. As such, it is particularly relevant for us, as ‘latecomers’, to reflect on this historical, cultural and social paradigm. This is the task undertaken by this interdisciplinary and international volume.

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The Monarchia Controversy

an historical study with accompanying translations of Dante Alighieri's Monarchia, Guido Vernani's Refutation of the Monarchia composed by Dante and Pope John XXII's bull, Si fratrum

Anthony K. Cassell

The Monarchia Controversy provides both the background to the imperial and ecclesiastical machinations that drove Dante Alighieri to begin penning the Monarchia in 1318 and also the subsequent history of the efforts by papal authorities to ban the book after the writer's death

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Moral Universalism and Pluralism

NOMOS XLIX

Henry Richardson, Melissa Williams

Moral universalism, or the idea that some system of ethics applies to all people regardless of race, color, nationality, religion, or culture, must have a plurality over which to range — a plurality of diverse persons, nations, jurisdictions, or localities over which morality asserts a universal authority. The contributors to Moral Universalism and Pluralism, the latest volume in the NOMOS series, investigate the idea that, far from denying the existence of such pluralities, moral universalism presupposes it. At the same time, the search for universally valid principles of morality is deeply challenged by diversity. The fact of pluralism presses us to explore how universalist principles interact with ethical, political, and social particularisms. These important essays refuse the answer that particularisms should simply be made to conform to universal principles, as if morality were a mold into which the diverse matter of human society and culture could be pressed. Rather, the authors bring philosophical, legal and political perspectives to bear on the core questions: Which forms of pluralism are conceptually compatible with moral universalism, and which ones can be accommodated in a politically stable way? Can pluralism generate innovations in understandings of moral duty? How is convergence on the validity of legal and moral authority possible in circumstances of pluralism? As the contributors to the book demonstrate in a wide variety of ways, these normative, conceptual, and political questions deeply intertwine.

Contributors: Kenneth Baynes, William A. Galston, Barbara Herman, F. M. Kamm, Benedict Kingsbury, Frank I. Michelman, William E. Scheuerman, Gopal Sreenivasan, Daniel Weinstock, and Robin West.

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