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Creolizing Political Theory

Reading Rousseau through Fanon

Jane Anna Gordon

Might creolization offer political theory an approach that would better reflect the heterogeneity of political life? After all, it describes mixtures that were not supposed to have emerged in the plantation societies of the Caribbean but did so through their capacity to exemplify living culture, thought, and political practice. Similar processes continue today, when people who once were strangers find themselves unequal co-occupants of new political locations they both seek to call “home.” Unlike multiculturalism, in which different cultures are thought to co-exist relatively separately, creolization describes how people reinterpret themselves through interaction with one another. While indebted to comparative political theory, Gordon offers a critique of comparison by demonstrating the generative capacity of creolizing methodologies. She does so by bringing together the eighteenth-century revolutionary Swiss thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the twentieth-century Martinican-born Algerian liberationist Frantz Fanon. While both provocatively challenged whether we can study the world in ways that do not duplicate the prejudices that sustain its inequalities, Fanon, she argues, outlined a vision of how to bring into being the democratically legitimate alternatives that Rousseau mainly imagined.

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The Creolizing Subject

Race, Reason, and the Politics of Purity

Michael J. Monahan

How does our understanding of the reality (or lack thereof ) of race as a category of being affect our understanding of racism as a social phenomenon, and vice versa? How should we envision the aims andmethods of our struggles against racism? Traditionally, the Western political and philosophical tradition held that true social justice points toward a raceless future-that racial categories are themselves inherently racist, and a sincere advocacy for social justice requires a commitment to the elimination or abolition of race altogether. This book focuses on the underlying assumptions that inform this view of race and racism, arguing that it is ultimately bound up in a politics of purity-an understanding of human agency, and reality itself, as requiring all-or-nothing categories with clear and unambiguous boundaries. Racism, being organized around a conception of whiteness as the purest manifestation of the human, thus demands a constant policing of the boundaries among racialcategories.Drawing upon a close engagement with historical treatments of the development of racial categories and identities, the book argues that races should be understood not as clear and distinct categories of being but rather as ambiguous and indeterminate (yet importantly real) processes of social negotiation. As one of its central examples, it lays out the case of the Irish in seventeenth-century Barbados, who occasionallyunited with black slaves to fight white supremacy-and did so as white people, not as nonwhites who later became white when they capitulated to white supremacy.Against the politics of purity, Monahan calls for the emergence of a creolizing subjectivitythat would place such ambiguity at the center of our understanding of race. The Creolizing Subject takes seriously the way in which racial categories, in all of their variety and ambiguity, situate and condition our identity, while emphasizing our capacity, as agents, to engage in the ongoing contestation and negotiation of the meaningand significance of those very categories.

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The Dignity Jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of South Africa

Cases and Materials, Volumes I & II

Since the Second World War, dignity has increasingly been recognized as an important moral and legal value. Although important examples of dignity-based arguments can be found in western European and North American case law and legal theory, the dignity jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of South African is widely considered to be the most sweeping in the world. In part, this is related to the unique provisions of the South African Constitution in areas such as socioeconomic rights and allowing dignity to be taken into the sphere of economic justice as well as that of human rights. This book brings together the first sixteen years of constitutional jurisprudence addressing the meaning, role, and reach of dignity in the law of South Africa as a multiracial democracy. The case law is coupled with analysis from a range of selected contributors. The book will therefore be a crucial source for anyone seeking to evaluate dignity, whether in law or in human life more broadly.

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Drawing the Line

Toward an Aesthetics of Transitional Justice

Carrol Clarkson

Drawing the Line examines the ways in which cultural, political, and legal lines are imagined, drawn, crossed, erased, and redrawn in post-apartheid South Africa through literary texts, artworks, and other forms of cultural production. Under the rubric of a philosophy of the limit and with reference to a range of signifying acts and events, this book asks what it takes to recalibrate a sociopolitical scene, shifting perceptions of what counts and what matters, of what can be seen and heard, of what can be valued or regarded as meaningful. The book thus argues for an aesthetics of transitional justice and makes an appeal for a postapartheid aesthetic inquiry, as opposed to simply a political or a legal one. Each chapter brings a South African artwork, text, speech, building, or social encounter into conversation with debates in critical theory and continental philosophy, asking: What challenge do these South African acts of signification and resignification pose to current literary-philosophical debates?

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Kantian Courage:Advancing the Enlightenment in Contemporary Political Theory

Advancing the Enlightenment in Contemporary Political Theory

Nicholas Tampio

How may progressive political theorists advance the Enlightenment after Darwin shifted the conversation about human nature in the 19th century, the Holocaust displayed barbarity at the historical center of the Enlightenment, and 9/11 showed the need to modify the ideals and strategies of the Enlightenment? Kantian Courage considers how several figures in contemporary political theory--including John Rawls, Gilles Deleuze, and Tariq Ramadan--do just this as they continue Immanuel Kant's legacy.Rather than advocate specific Kantian ideas, the book contends that political progressives should embody Kantian courage--a critical and creative disposition to invent new political theories to address the problems of the age. It illuminates Kant's legacy in contemporary intellectual debates; constructs a dialogue among Anglo-American, Continental, and Islamic political theorists; and shows how progressives may forge alliances across political and religious differences by inventing concepts such as the overlapping consensus, the rhizome, and the spaceof testimony. The book will interest students of the Enlightenment, contemporary political theorists and philosophers, and a general audience concerned about the future of the relationship between Islam and the West.

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Punishment and Inclusion

Race, Membership, and the Limits of American Liberalism

Andrew Dilts

At the start of the twenty-first century, 1 percent of the U.S. population is behind bars. An additional 3 percent is on parole or probation. In all but two states, incarcerated felons cannot vote, and in three states felon disenfranchisement is for life. Over 5 million adult Americans cannot vote because of a felony-class criminal conviction, meaning that more than 2 percent of otherwise eligible voters are stripped of their political rights. Nationally, fully a third of the disenfranchised are African American, effectively disenfranchising 13 percent of all African American men in the United States. In Alabama and Florida, one in every three adult African American men cannot vote. _x000B__x000B_Punishment and Inclusion gives a theoretical and historical account of this pernicious practice of felon disenfranchisement, drawing widely on early modern political philosophy, continental and postcolonial political thought, critical race theory, feminist philosophy, disability theory, critical legal studies, and archival research into state constitutional conventions. It demonstrates that the history of felon disenfranchisement, rooted in postslavery restrictions on suffrage and the contemporaneous emergence of the modern “American” penal system, reveals the deep connections between two political institutions often thought to be separate, showing the work of membership done by the criminal punishment system, and the work of punishment done by the electoral franchise. _x000B_Felon disenfranchisement is a symptom of the resolved tension that persists in democratic politics between membership and punishment. This book shows how this thension is managed via the persistence of white supremacy in contemporary regimes of punishment and governance._x000B_

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Sanctuary and Crime in the Middle Ages, 400-1500

Karl Shoemaker

Sanctuary and Crime rethinks the history of sanctuary protections in the Western legal tradition. Until the sixteenth century, every major medieval legal tradition afforded protections to fugitive criminals who took sanctuary in churches. Sanctuary-seeking criminals might have been required to perform penance or go into exile, but they were guaranteed, at least in principle, immunity from corporal and capital punishment. In the sixteenth century, sanctuary protections were abolished throughout Europe, uprooting an ancient tradition and raising a new set of juridical arguments about law, crime and the power to punish.Sanctuary law has not received very much scholarly attention. According to the prevailing explanation among earlier generations of legal historians, sanctuary was an impediment to effective criminal law and social control, but was made necessary by rampant violence and weak political order in the medieval world. Contrary to the conclusions of the relatively scant literature on the topic, Sanctuary and Crime argues that the practice of sanctuary was not simply an instrumental device intended as a response to weak and splintered medieval political authority. Nor can sanctuary laws be explained as simple ameliorative responses to harsh medieval punishments and the specter of uncontrolled blood-feuds. This book seeks to integrate the history of sanctuary law with the history of criminal law in medieval Europe. It does so by first situating sanctuary law within the early Christian traditions of intercession and penance as well as late-imperial Roman law. The book then traces the transmission of Romano-Christian sanctuary legislation into the feuding traditions of early medieval Europe, showing how sanctuary law was an important emblem of Christian kingship and was integrated into a broad range of social, legal, ecclesiastical and political practices. By the late twelfth-century, sanctuary had been domesticated within the procedures of royal law in England. Unmoored from its taproots in penitential and intercessory practices, sanctuary became a central feature of the emergent law of felony in the early English common law. While sanctuary was widely recognized throughout late medieval Europe, medieval English records provide rich accounts of sanctuary in everyday medieval life and the book reflects the prominence of the English sources. The book concludes by examining the legal arguments in both English and Roman-canonical legal traditions that led to the restriction and abolition of sanctuary privileges in the sixteenth-century and which ushered in a new age of criminal law grounded in deterrence and a state-centered view of punishment and social control.

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What Fanon Said

A Philosophical Introduction to His Life and Thought

Lewis R. Gordon, Foreword by Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, Afterword by Drucilla Cornell

Antiblack racism avows reason is white while emotion, and thus supposedly unreason, is black. Challenging academic adherence to this notion, Lewis R. Gordon offers a portrait of Martinican-turned-Algerian revolutionary psychiatrist and philosopher Frantz Fanon as an exemplar of “living thought” against forms of reason marked by colonialism and racism. Working from his own translations of the original French texts, Gordon critically engages everything in Fanon from dialectics, ethics, existentialism, and humanism to philosophical anthropology, phenomenology, and political theory as well as psychiatry and psychoanalysis. Gordon takes into account scholars from across the Global South to address controversies around Fanon’s writings on gender and sexuality as well as political violence and the social underclass. In doing so, he confronts the replication of a colonial and racist geography of reason, allowing theorists from the Global South to emerge as interlocutors alongside northern ones in a move that exemplifies what, Gordon argues, Fanon represented in his plea to establish newer and healthier human relationships beyond colonial paradigms.

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