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Literary Experience in the Era of Emancipations
This book argues that we can no longer envision a political system that might practically displace democracy or, more accurately, global democratic state capitalism. Democracy has become fundamental: It extends deeper and deeper into everyday life; it grounds and limits our political thought and values. That is the sense in which we do indeed live at history's end. But this end is not a happy one, because the system that we now have does not satisfy tests that we can legitimately put to it. In this situation, it is important to come to new terms with the fact that literature, at least until about 1945, was predominantly hostile to political democracy. Literature's deep-seated conservative, counterdemocratic tendencies, along with its capacity to make important distinctions among political, cultural, and experiential democracies and its capacity to uncover hidden, nonpolitical democracies in everyday life, is now a resource not just for cultural conservatives but for all those who take a critical attitude toward the current political, cultural, and economic structures. Literature, and certain novelists in particular, helps us not so much to imagine social possibilities beyond democracy as to understand how life might be lived both in and outside democratic state capitalism. Drawing on political theory, intellectual history, and the techniques of close reading, Against Democracy offers new accounts of the ethos of refusing democracy, of literary criticism's contribution to that ethos, and of the history of conservatism, as well as innovative interpretations of a range of writers, including Tocqueville, Disraeli, George Eliot, E. M. Forster, and Saul Bellow.
Ethics, Biopolitics, and Saving the Natural World
Against Ecological Sovereignty is a passionate defense of radical ecology that speaks directly to current debates concerning the nature, and dangers, of sovereign power. Engaging the work of Bataille, Arendt, Levinas, Nancy, and Agamben, among others, Mick Smith reconnects the political critique of sovereign power with ecological considerations, arguing that ethical and political responsibilities for the consequences of our actions do not end with those defined as human.
Against Ecological Sovereignty is the first book to turn Agamben’s analysis of sovereignty and biopolitics toward an investigation of ecological concerns. In doing so it exposes limits to that thought, maintaining that the increasingly widespread biopolitical management of human populations has an unrecognized ecological analogue—reducing nature to a “resource” for human projects. Smith contends that a radical ecological politics must resist both the depoliticizing exercise of sovereign power and the pervasive spread of biopolitics in order to reveal new possibilities for creating healthy human and nonhuman communities.
Presenting a stinging critique of human claims to sovereignty over the natural world, Smith proposes an alternative way to conceive of posthumanist ecological communities—one that recognizes the utter singularity of the beings in them.
A History of Zimbabwe Project
1978: In Rhodesia, the Internal Settlement led to the creation of a coalition government. Smith had, however, neither capitulated nor abandoned his belief in white superiority, and thousands of people fled across the countryís borders.In England, a group of missionaries, supported by the Catholic Institute for International Relations, formed a steering group that was to become the Zimbabwe Project. Originally an educational fund to support exiled young Zimbabweans, it shifted focus toward humanitarian assistance to refugees in the region.1981: The Zimbabwe Project Trust, a child of the war, came home, and its director, Judith Todd, started mapping the route that it would follow for the next thirty years.ZimPro ñ as it came to be known ñ began its work with ex-combatants, assisting with their education, skills training and co-operative development, and producing a news bulletin. In terms of funding, courage, and creative programming, it became a giant in the countryís development landscape, but it has had to negotiate many political, financial and philosophical minefields on the way. Against The Odds offers a rare insight into workings of an NGO on the frontline. With a cast of larger-than-life characters, it also offers a drama of Zimbabweís first thirty years and provides insights and lessons which will benefit everyone concerned with development, and provide historians with another important lens through which to view the past.
Household Structure, Opportunities, and Outcomes among White and Minority Youth
Hill, Holzer, and Chen examine the effects of household structure on youth and young adults and how these effects might have contributed to the negative trends in outcomes observed for young minorities over time.
As William Nester asserts in The Age of Jackson, it takes quite a leader to personify an age. A political titan for thirty-three years (1815-1848), Andrew Jackson possessed character, beliefs, and acts that dominated American politics. Although Jackson returned to his Tennessee plantation in March 1837 after serving eight years as president, he continued to overshadow American politics. Two of his proteges, Martin "the Magician" van Buren and James "Young Hickory" Polk, followed him to the White House and pursued his agenda.
Jackson provoked firestorms of political passions throughout his era. Far more people loved than hated him, but the fervor was just as pitched either way. Although the passions have subsided, the debate lingers. Historians are split over Jackson's legacy. Some extol him as among America's greatest presidents, citing his championing of the common man, holding the country together during the nullification crisis, and eliminating the national debt. Others excoriate him as a mean-spirited despot who shredded the Constitution and damaged the nation's development by destroying the Second Bank of the United States, defying the Supreme Court, and grossly worsening political corruption through his spoils system. Still others condemn his forcibly expelling more than forty thousand Native Americans from their homes and along the Trail of Tears, which led far west of the Mississippi River, with thousands perishing along the way.
In his clear-eyed assessment of one of the most divisive leaders in American history, Nester provides new insight into the age-old debate about the very nature of power itself.
The Politics of Military Intervention
Why does political conflict seem to consistently interfere with attempts to provide aid, end ethnic discord, or restore democracy? To answer this question, Agency and Ethics examines how the norms that originally motivate an intervention often create conflict between the intervening powers, outside powers, and the political agents who are the victims of the intervention. Three case studies are drawn upon to illustrate this phenomena: the British and American intervention in Bolshevik Russia in 1918; the British and French intervention in Egypt in 1956; and the American and United Nations intervention in Somalia in 1993. Although rarely categorized together, these three interventions shared at least one strong commonality: all failed to achieve their professed goals, with the troops being ignominiously recalled in each example. Lang concludes by addressing the dilemma of how to resolve complex humanitarian emergencies in the twenty-first century without the necessity of resorting to military intervention.
Gender Violence and Reproductive Rights
In the mid-1990s, when the United Nations adopted positions affirming a woman's right to be free from bodily harm and to control her own reproductive health, it was both a coup for the international women's rights movement and an instructive moment for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) seeking to influence UN decision making. Prior to the UN General Assembly's 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence against Women and the 1994 decision by the UN's Conference on Population and Development to vault women's reproductive rights and health to the forefront of its global population growth management program, there was little consensus among governments as to what constituted violence against women and how much control a woman should have over reproduction. Jutta Joachim tells the story of how, in the years leading up to these decisions, women's organizations got savvy—framing the issues strategically, seizing political opportunities in the international environment, and taking advantage of mobilizing structures—and overcame the cultural opposition of many UN-member states to broadly define the two issues and ultimately cement women's rights as an international cause. Joachim's deft examination of the documents, proceedings, and actions of the UN and women's advocacy NGOs—supplemented by interviews with key players from concerned parties, and her own participant-observation—reveals flaws in state-centered international relations theories as applied to UN policy, details the tactics and methods that NGOs can employ in order to push rights issues onto the UN agenda, and offers insights into the factors that affect NGO influence. In so doing, Agenda Setting, the UN, and NGOs departs from conventional international relations theory by drawing on social movement literature to illustrate how rights groups can motivate change at the international level.
Ideologies and Strategies in African American Politics
Though the activities of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) were unified in their common idea of resistance to oppression, these groups fought their battles on multiple fronts. The NAACP filed lawsuits and aggressively lobbied Congress and state legislatures, while Martin Luther King Jr. and SCLC challenged the racial status quo through nonviolent mass action, and the SNCC focused on community empowerment activities. In Agitations, Kevin Anderson studies these various activities in order to trace the ideological foundations of these groups and to understand how diversity among African Americans created multiple political strategies. Agitations goes beyond the traditionally acknowledged divide between integrationist and accommodationist wings of African American politics to explore the diverse fundamental ideologies and strategic outcomes among African American activists that still define, influence, and complicate political life today.