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Latest episodes from New Books in Intellectual History

J. Christopher Edwards, "Crucified: The Christian Invention of the Jewish Executioners of Jesus" (Fortress Press, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2023 75:15

In his book Crucified: The Christian Invention of the Jewish Executioners of Jesus (Fortress Press, 2023), J. Christopher Edwards explores the early Christian teachings regarding who actually killed Jesus. Historians of early Christianity unanimously agree that Jesus was executed by Roman soldiers. This consensus extends to members of the general population who have seen a Jesus movie or an Easter play and remember Roman soldiers hammering the nails. However, for early Christians, the detail that Jesus was crucified by Roman soldiers under the direction of a Roman governor threatened their desire for a stable existence in the Roman world. Beginning with the writings found in the New Testament, early Christians sought to rewrite their history and shift the blame for Jesus's crucifixion away from Pilate and his soldiers and onto Jews. During the second century, a narrative of the crucifixion with Jewish executioners predominated. During the fourth century, this narrative functioned to encourage anti-Judaism within the newly established Christian empire. Yet, in the modern world, there exists a significant degree of ignorance regarding the pervasiveness--or sometimes even the existence!--of the claim among ancient Christians that Jesus was executed by Jews. J. Christopher Edwards is professor of religious studies at St. Francis College, Brooklyn. Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Jewish Studies at Hunter College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Visit him online at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Daniel Jütte, "Transparency: The Material History of an Idea" (Yale UP, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2023 63:03

Transparency is a mantra of our day. It is key to the Western understanding of a liberal society. We expect transparency from, for instance, political institutions, corporations, and the media. But how did it become such a powerful—and global—idea? From ancient glass to Apple's corporate headquarters, Transparency: the Material History of an Idea (Yale University Press, 2023) is the first to probe how Western people have experienced, conceptualized, and evaluated transparency. Dr. Daniel Jütte argues that the experience of transparency has been inextricably linked to one element of Western architecture: the glass window. Windows are meant to be unnoticed. Yet a historical perspective reveals the role that glass has played in shaping how we see and interpret the world. A seemingly “pure” material, glass has been endowed, throughout history, with political, social, and cultural meaning, in manifold and sometimes conflicting ways. At the same time, Jütte raises questions about the future of vitreous transparency—its costs in terms of visual privacy but also its ecological price tag in an age of accelerating climate change. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Poppy Corbett et al., "Creative Histories of Witchcraft: France, 1790–1940" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2023 61:53

How can researchers study magic without destroying its mystery? Drawing on a collaborative project between the playwright Dr. Poppy Corbett, the poet Anna Kisby Compton, and the historian Dr. William G. Pooley, Creative Histories of Witchcraft: France, 1790–1940 (Cambridge University Press, 2022) presents thirteen tools for creative-academic research into magic. These are illustrated through case studies from France (1790–1940) and examples from creative outputs: write to discover; borrow forms; use the whole page; play with footnotes; erase the sources; write short; accumulate fragments; re-enact; improvise; use dialogue; change perspective; make methods of metaphors; use props. These tools are ways to 'untell' the dominant narratives that shape stereotypes of the 'witch' which frame belief in witchcraft as ignorant and outdated. Writing differently suggests ways to think and feel differently, to stay with the magic, rather than explaining it away. The Element includes practical creative exercises to try as well as research materials from French newspaper and trial sources from the period. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Christian B. Miller, "Honesty: The Philosophy and Psychology of a Neglected Virtue" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2023 57:15

Honesty is an important virtue. Parents want to develop it in their children. Close relationships depend upon it. Employers value it in their employees. Surprisingly, however, philosophers have said very little about the virtue of honesty over the past fifty years. In Honesty: The Philosophy and Psychology of a Neglected Virtue (Oxford UP, 2021), Christian B. Miller aims to draw much greater attention to this neglected virtue. The first part of the book looks at the concept of honesty. It takes up questions such as: What does honesty involve? What are the motives of an honest person? How does practical wisdom relate to honesty? Miller explores what connects the many sides of honesty, including not lying, not stealing, not breaking promises, not misleading others, and not cheating. He argues that the honest person reliably does not intentionally distort the facts as she takes them to be. Miller then examines the empirical psychology of honesty. He takes up the question of whether most people are honest, dishonest, or somewhere in between. Drawing extensively on recent studies of cheating and lying, the model Miller articulates ultimately implies that most of us have a long way to go to reach an honest character. Honesty: The Philosophy and Psychology of a Neglected Virtue provides both a richer understanding of what our character looks like, as well as what the goal of being an honest person actually involves. Miller then leaves it up to us to decide if we want to take steps to shrink the character gap between the two. Christian B. Miller is the A. C. Reid Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University. He is currently the Director of the Honesty Project. He is the author of over 100 academic papers as well as four books, including Moral Character: An Empirical Theory (2013), Character and Moral Psychology (2014), The Character Gap: How Good Are We? (2017), and Moral Psychology (2021). He is a science contributor for Forbes, and his writings have also appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, Slate, The Conversation, Newsweek, Aeon, and Christianity Today. Miller is the editor or co-editor of Essays in the Philosophy of Religion (OUP),Character: New Directions from Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology (OUP),Moral Psychology, Volume V: Virtue and Character (MIT Press), Integrity, Honesty, and Truth Seeking (OUP), and The Continuum Companion to Ethics (Continuum Press) Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Jürgen Zimmerer, "Memory Wars: New German Historical Consciousness" (Reclam Verlag, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2023 61:32

Erinnerungskämpfe: Neues deutsches Geschichtsbewusstsein (Ditzingen: Reclam, 2023) is a new, provocative volume on German memory cultures and politics edited by Jürgen Zimmerer. What can be loosely translated as Memory Wars: New German Historical Consciousness is a collection of chapters that lay bare a mosaic of a diverse German memory landscape as well as the major debates and turning points by which it is continuously shaped. It is subdivided in five sections together encompassing 23 chapters and covers German Empire and colonialism, National Socialism and the Second World War, the Holocaust and multidirectional memory, East/West Germany and reunification, and, finally, today's Berlin Republic. This volume gains in relevance by the day and shows how the German past(s) and the way they are debated, commemorated, and weaponized today and by whom has real-life, if not existential, consequences. It is far from an exclusively German matter. Memory Wars: New German Historical Consciousness is of interest for all those who critically engage with the instrumentalization of memory in ongoing cultural wars in other national contexts as well, such as the heated debates and rightwing attacks in the United States and elsewhere surrounding fields such as Critical Race Theory, Gender or Queer Studies that emerge out of the White Supremacist backlash and the concomitant increase in racism, trans- and homophobia. Jürgen Zimmerer is Professor of Global History and the head of the research center “Hamburg's (post-)colonial legacy” at the University of Hamburg. He served as the founding president of the International Network of Genocide Scholars for twelve years until 2017 and was the Senior Editor of the Journal of Genocide from 2005 to 2011. His research interests include German Colonialism, Comparative Genocide studies, Colonialism and the Holocaust, and Environmental Violence and Genocide and, for the specific German context, his work has been crucial in revealing the deep connections between the Holocaust and German colonialism – up until that point two German histories of violence hegemonically thought of as ontologically different, if thought together at all. His publications include German Rule, African Subjects: State Aspirations and the Reality of Power in Colonial Namibia (2021) and From Windhoek to Auschwitz? Reflections on the Relationship between Colonialism and National Socialism forthcoming in English in 2024. Miriam Chorley-Schulz is an Assistant Professor and Mokin Fellow of Holocaust Studies at the University of Oregon and the co-founder of the EU-funded project We Refugees. Digital Archive on Refugeedom, Past and Present. She holds a Ph.D. in Yiddish Studies from Columbia University and is the author of Der Beginn des Untergangs: Die Zerstörung der jüdischen Gemeinden in Polen und das Vermächtnis des Wilnaer Komitees (Berlin: Metropol, 2016) which was awarded the “Hosenfeld/Szpilman Memorial Award.” Henriette Sölter is a communications and PR consultant with expertise on the interface of contemporary art and culture, international perennial formats, and strategic institutional positioning. She has worked with institutions such as documenta, Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), is a member of Bergen Assembly's executive board and is part of the New Patrons network for citizen-commissioned art. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Charles S. Maier, "The Project-State and Its Rivals: A New History of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries" (Harvard UP, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2023 50:49

We thought we knew the story of the twentieth century. For many in the West, after the two world conflicts and the long cold war, the verdict was clear: democratic values had prevailed over dictatorship. But if the twentieth century meant the triumph of liberalism, as many intellectuals proclaimed, why have the era's darker impulses—ethnic nationalism, racist violence, and populist authoritarianism—revived? The Project-State and Its Rivals: A New History of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries (Harvard University Press, 2023) by Dr. Charles S. Maier offers a radical alternative interpretation that takes us from the transforming challenges of the world wars to our own time. Instead of the traditional narrative of domestic politics and international relations, Dr. Maier looks to the political and economic impulses that propelled societies through a century when territorial states and transnational forces both claimed power, engaging sometimes as rivals and sometimes as allies. Dr. Maier focuses on recurring institutional constellations: project-states including both democracies and dictatorships that sought not just to retain power but to transform their societies; new forms of imperial domination; global networks of finance; and the international associations, foundations, and NGOs that tried to shape public life through allegedly apolitical appeals to science and ethics. In this account, which draws on the author's studies over half a century, Dr. Maier invites a rethinking of the long twentieth century. His history of state entanglements with capital, the decline of public projects, and the fragility of governance explains the fraying of our own civic culture—but also allows hope for its recovery. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Shuchen Xiang, "Chinese Cosmopolitanism: The History and Philosophy of an Idea" (Princeton UP, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2023 89:30

A provocative defense of a forgotten Chinese approach to identity and difference. Historically, the Western encounter with difference has been catastrophic: the extermination and displacement of aboriginal populations, the transatlantic slave trade, and colonialism. China, however, took a different historical path. In Chinese Cosmopolitanism: The History and Philosophy of an Idea (Princeton UP, 2023), Shuchen Xiang argues that the Chinese cultural tradition was, from its formative beginnings and throughout its imperial history, a cosmopolitan melting pot that synthesized the different cultures that came into its orbit. Unlike the West, which cast its collisions with different cultures in Manichean terms of the ontologically irreconcilable difference between civilization and barbarism, China was a dynamic identity created out of difference.  The reasons for this, Xiang argues, are philosophical: Chinese philosophy has the conceptual resources for providing alternative ways to understand pluralism. Xiang explains that "Chinese" identity is not what the West understands as a racial identity; it is not a group of people related by common descent or heredity but rather a hybrid of coalescing cultures. To use the Western discourse of race to frame the Chinese view of non-Chinese, she argues, is a category error. Xiang shows that China was both internally cosmopolitan, embracing distinct peoples into a common identity, and externally cosmopolitan, having knowledge of faraway lands without an ideological need to subjugate them. Contrasting the Chinese understanding of efficacy--described as "harmony"--with the Western understanding of order, she argues that the Chinese sought to gain influence over others by having them spontaneously accept the virtue of one's position. These ideas from Chinese philosophy, she contends, offer a new way to understand today's multipolar world and can make a valuable contribution to contemporary discussions in the critical philosophy of race. For readers interested in how GCB and the Greek philosophical justification of GCB, domination, and destruction of barbarians still inform productions and consumptions of racist ideology as embodied in The Turner Diaries, see for example, here, here, and here.  Readers interested in the Vāda project that employs Indian epistemology to evaluate contemporary political claims, see here.  Jessica Zu is an intellectual historian and a scholar of Buddhist studies. She is an assistant professor of religion at the University of Southern California. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Tony Spawforth, "What the Greeks Did for Us" (Yale UP, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 28, 2023 57:22

Our contemporary world is inescapably Greek. Whether in a word like “pandemic,” a Freudian state of mind like the “Oedipus complex,” or a replica of the Parthenon in a Chinese theme park, ancient Greek culture shapes the contours of our lives. Ever since the first Roman imitators, we have been continually falling under the Greeks' spell. But how did ancient Greece spread its influence so far and wide? And how has this influence changed us? In What the Greeks Did for Us (Yale UP, 2023), Tony Spawforth explores our classical heritage, wherever it's to be found. He reveals its legacy in everything from religion to popular culture, and unearths the darker side of Greek influence—from the Nazis' obsession with Spartan “racial purity” to the elitism of classical education. Paying attention to the huge breadth and variety of Hellenic influence, this book paints an essential portrait of the ancient world's living legacy—considering to whom it matters, and why. Tony Spawforth is emeritus professor of ancient history at Newcastle University. As well as leading cultural tours in Greece, he has presented eight documentaries for the BBC and has published thirteen books, including The Story of Greece and Rome. Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Ran Zwigenberg, "Nuclear Minds: Cold War Psychological Science and the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 27, 2023 65:36

Ran Zwigenberg's Nuclear Minds: Cold War Psychological Science and the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (U Chicago Press, 2023) explores early efforts by the American military, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social scientists to understand the effects of the atomic bombings on the minds of those who had survived. In positioning the book as “a prehistory of PTSD,” Zwigenberg draws attention to the historicity of the idea of psychological “trauma” before the concept was institutionalized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1980.  Nuclear Minds shows that the ideological temperament of Cold War science and the gendered nature of scientific knowledge production versus psychological care were among the factors that led scientists and researchers to minimize, deny, or simply not register as meaningful the suffering of survivors, but also that without the concept of “trauma” as we use it now (or even the category of “survivor”) the experience of the affected did not always cleanly conform to our contemporary expectations. Nathan Hopson is an associate professor of Japanese language and history in the University of Bergen's Department of Foreign Languages. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Roslyn Weiss, "Hasdai Crescas: Collected Writings" (Library of the Jewish People, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 27, 2023 71:50

Today I talked to Roslyn Weiss, editor of Hasdai Crescas: Collected Writings (Library of the Jewish People, 2023). Hasdai Crescas spent his life in public service - as a rabbi and community leader in desperate times in 14th-century Spain. Despite having limited time for writing, he produced several important works, which Collected Writings presents in their entirety. The first of these, Epistle to the Jews of Avignon, he wrote in the immediate aftermath of the anti-Jewish riots in Aragon in 1391, chronicling the unimaginable horrors the Jewish communities endured - mass conversions, suicides, deaths, and the loss of great Torah scholars - as well as his own personal tragedy, the murder of his only son, "a lamb without blemish."  To counter Christian efforts to convert Jews, Crescas composed two polemical works, only one of which has survived, The Refutation of the Christian Principles. Written in 1397-8, it offers reasoned arguments to challenge ten principles of Christianity. A great halakhist, Crescas penned many responsa, some of which are known because they were quoted by later halakhists. But only one extant work contains halakhic material - the Passover Sermon, dealing (in part) with the laws of Passover. Because of the urgent communal demands on his time, Crescas was unable to complete Lamp of the Lord, the two-volume work which was to be his response to Maimonides' Mishneh Torah and Guide of the Perplexed. His magisterial work, Light of the Lord, a work of intellectual rigor and deep religious sensibility, was his answer only to the Guide. In this brilliant work, completed in 1410, just before his death, Crescas rejects the purely intellectual Aristotelian God in favor of Judaism's God of love. It is a work suffused with love for God, the Torah, the rabbinic tradition, and the Jewish people. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Jennifer Maclure, "The Feeling of Letting Die: Necroeconomics and Victorian Fiction" (Ohio State UP, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2023 63:25

In The Feeling of Letting Die: Necroeconomics and Victorian Fiction (Ohio State UP, 2023), Jennifer MacLure explores how Victorian novels depict the feelings that both fuel and are produced by an economic system that lets some people die in service of the free market. MacLure argues that Victorian authors present capitalism's death function as a sticking point, a series of contradictions, and a problem to solve as characters grapple with systems that allow, demand, and cause the deaths of their less fortunate fellows. Utilizing Achille Mbembe's theorization of necropolitics, MacLure uses the term “necroeconomics,” positioning Victorian authors—even those who were deeply committed to liberal capitalism—as hyperaware of capitalism's death function. Examining both canonical and lesser-known works by Elizabeth Gaskell, Harriet Martineau, Charles Dickens, William Morris, and George Eliot, The Feeling of Letting Dieshows capitalism as not straightforwardly imposed via economic policy but instead as a system functioning through the emotions and desires of the human beings who enact it. In doing so, MacLure reveals how emotion functions as both the legitimating epistemic mode of capitalism and its most salient threat. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Jeremy Black, "A Brief History of History" (Indiana UP, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2023 29:31

In A Brief History of History (Indiana UP, 2023), acclaimed historian Jeremy Black seeks to reinvigorate and redefine our ideas about history. The stories we tell about the past are a crucial aspect of all cultures. However, while the traditional storytelling process—what we think of as "history" in the proper sense—is useful, it is also misleading, not least because it leads to the repetition of bias and misinformation. Black suggests that the conventional idea of history and historians is constructed too narrowly, as it fails to engage with the broad nature of lived experience. By focusing on a singular idea or story within the history being explored, we fail to understand the interconnectivity of the everyday experience. A Brief History of History challenges accepted norms of the historical perspective and offers a view of human history that will surprise many and (perhaps) infuriate some. But above all, it is a history of historians written for this moment in time, a time when the traditional Eurocentric approach to history now appears wholly inappropriate. Charles Coutinho, PH. D., Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House's International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Nader Kadhem, "Africanism: Blacks in the Medieval Arab Imaginary" (McGill-Queen's UP, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2023 42:41

Anti-blackness has until recently been a taboo topic within Arab society. This began to change when Nader Kadhem, a prominent Arab and Muslim thinker from Bahrain, published the first in-depth investigation of anti-black racism in the Arab world in 2004. This translation of the new and revised edition of Kadhem's influential text brings the conversation to the English-speaking world. Al-Istifraq or Africanism, a term analogous to Orientalism, refers to the discursive elements of perceiving, imagining, and representing black people as a subject of study in Arabic writings. Kadhem explores the narratives of Africanism in the Arab imaginary from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century to show how racism toward black people is ingrained in the Arab world, offering a comprehensive account of the representations of blackness and black people in Arab cultural narratives - including the Quran, the hadith, and Arabic literature, geography, and history.  Africanism: Blacks in the Medieval Arab Imaginary (McGill-Queen's UP, 2023) examines the pejorative image of black people in Arab cultural discourse through three perspectives: the controversial anthropological concept that culture defines what it means to be human; the biblical narrative of Noah cursing his son Ham's descendants - understood to be darker-skinned - with servitude; and Greco-Roman physiognomy, philosophy, medicine, and geography. Describing the shifting standards of inclusion that have positioned Arab identity in opposition to blackness, Kadhem argues that in the cultural imaginary of the Arab world, black people are widely conflated with the Other. Analyzing canonical Arabic texts through the lens of English, French, and German theory, Africanism traces the history of racism in Arab culture. Africanism digs deep into the cultural constructions of blacks in all aspects of the Arab imaginary, including language, religion, philosophy, literature, geography, and history. Author: Nader Kadhem is a professor emeritus of cultural studies at the University of Bahrain. Kadhim authored many literature and cultural criticism articles and studies published in Bahraini Arabic media. He has published 16 books that can be found here. Translator: Amir Al-Azraki is an Arab-Canadian playwright, literary translator, Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner, Associate Professor, and Coordinator of the Studies in Islamic and Arab Cultures Program, Renison University College, University of Waterloo. His research interests include Arab Theatre, Afro-Arab Cultural Heritage and Representation, and Literary Translation (Arabic-English) Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law, the occult sciences, and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at or on X @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners' feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

The Idea of "Central Europe" from Naumann to Kundera

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2023 44:05

Central Europe has long been infamous as a region beset by war, a place where empires clashed and world wars began. In The Middle Kingdoms: A New History of Central Europe (Basic Books, 2023) Martyn Rady offers the definitive history of the region, demonstrating that Central Europe has always been more than merely the fault line between West and East. Even as Central European powers warred with their neighbors, the region developed its own cohesive identity and produced tremendous accomplishments in politics, society, and culture. Central Europeans launched the Reformation and Romanticism, developed the philosophy of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and advanced some of the twentieth century's most important artistic movements. Charles Coutinho, PH. D., Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House's International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Ian Smith, "Black Shakespeare: Reading and Misreading Race" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2023 70:35

In Black Shakespeare: Reading and Misreading Race (Cambridge University Press, 2022), Ian Smith urges readers of Othello, The Merchant of Venice, and Hamlet to develop “racial literacy.” Through both wide social influences and specific professional pressures, Shakespearean critics have been taught to ignore, suppress, and explain away the racial thinking of the plays, a set of evasion strategies that inevitably have political and social ramifications in the contemporary United States. As Ian writes in the introduction, Black Shakespeare is intended to “shift the focus to conditions that shape readers, inform their epistemologies, and influence their reading practices” (3). Today's guest is Ian Smith, Professor of English at the University of Southern California. Ian is the author of the previous monograph, Race and Rhetoric in the Renaissance: Barbarian Errors (Palgrave, 2009), as well as one of the most important articles in early modern literary criticism of the last twenty years, “Othello's Black Handkerchief.” Ian is the current President of the Shakespeare Association of America. John Yargo is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities at Boston College. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His specializations are early modern literature, the environmental humanities, and critical race studies. His dissertation explores early modern representations of environmental catastrophe, including William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Aphra Behn's Oroonoko, and John Milton's Paradise Lost. He has published in Early Theatre, Studies in Philology, The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, and Shakespeare Studies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Greg Bailey, "The Brahmavaivarta Purana (Ganesa Khanda): Ancient Indian Tradition and Mythology" (Motilal Banarsidass, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2023 33:56

Greg Bailey discusses his new translation of the Gaṇeśa Khaṇḍa of the Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa, one of the few texts dedicated solely to the popular elephant-headed Indian god Gaṇeśa. About the book: The first two khaas of the Brahmavaivarta Puraa (BvP) deal with Brahma and Prakti respectively. Both introducing the theology that enables Ka to be treated as identical with the supreme Brahma, and as Viu/ Narayaa in all his forms. Ultimately everything goes back to Ka as the source of power and being even including the mother goddesses who are so prolific in the text, not just in its second khaa. The fourth and final khaa treats the mythology of Ka himself, with focus on his birth, and just before this comes the Gaapatikhaa (GKh). GKh is one of the few mahapuraas that includes a separate khaa about Gaesa, with the exceptions being the two Gaapatya Puraas the Gaesa and Mudgala Puraas-and the Vinayakamahatmya of the Skanda Puraa. When one reads the other three khaas of the Puraa, it is clearly evident that the GKh fits in perfectly with the principal themes of the entire Puraa, all associated with Ka in his various manifestations and the theology of the mother goddess, especially Radha and Durga. In addition, it continues the practice in many of its chapter of expositing the application of kavacas, dhyanas, mantras and stotras, to the extent that the text is almost a handbook of devotional ritual. What is striking about the GKh is that it is only incidentally about Gaesa. Only less than ten percent of the entire text deals directly with Gaesa. It touches tangentially on his birth, the loss of his head and the gaining of an elephant head, his status as first to be worshipped in all pujas, his loss of one of his tasks at the hands of parasurama, and his cursing of the Tulasi Plant. The second half of the GKh is essentially a version of the Parasurama myth. This begins with the intention to tell as well-known episode about Gaesa reflected in his common name Ekadanta. This certainly offers a unique interpretation of its, focusing as it does on the morality of patricide and regicide, and relations between boys and their mothers. Ka is treated in a manner that can only be called theological. Theologically it is simply stating that all power is located in Viu/ Ka, but in this khaa it is seemingly extended much more than elsewhere. In addition, he is usually depicted as located in Goloka and Vdavana, with the bucolic ka receiving most emphasis in the next. The sakti teachings in this text blend constantly with the Kaite teachings, to the point that both seem to empower each other. That ka looms large is hardly a surprise given the BvP is substantially a Kaite Puraa of 14th – 15th century Bengal and then it could not have omitted existing material on the sakti, given the importance of other goddess worship in Bengal. There have been two previous translations of the Brahmavaivarta Puraa. The present translation is a fresh translation but the translator has subsequently compared it with the earlier translations to remain transparent to the Sanskrit itself. Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Biko Mandela Gray and Ryan J. Johnson, "Phenomenology of Black Spirit" (Edinburgh UP, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2023 52:32

In Phenomenology of Black Spirit (Edinburgh UP, 2023), Ryan Johnson and Biko Mandela Gray study the relationship between Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and Black Thought from Frederick Douglass to Angela Davis. This staging of an elongated dialectical parallelism between Hegel's classic text and major 19th-20th-century Black thinkers explodes the western canon of philosophy. Johnson and Mandela Gray show that Hegel's abstract dialectic is transformed and critiqued when put into conversation with the lived dialectics of Black Thought: from Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs through to Malcolm X and Angela Davis. While Hegel articulates the dynamic logics that we see in these Black thinkers, when they are placed in parallel and considered together, the whiteness, both explicit and implicit, of Hegelianism itself is revealed. Forcing Hegelianism into the embodied history of Black Thought reveals a phenomenology of America whose spirit is Black. Adam McNeil is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Chris Cutrone, "The Death of the Millennial Left: Interventions: 2006-2022" (Sublation Media, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2023 66:07

In The Death of the Millennial Left: Interventions: 2006-2022 (Sublation Media, 2023), Chris Cutrone investigates how and why the Millennial Left did not take up the task of socialism for the their time and relegated themselves to the shadows of the GenX Left and the New Left before them. The Millennial Left, facing the War on Terror, the Great Recession, the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement, and the Black Lives Matter protests, as well as the Presidencies of Obama and Trump and the political discontents expressed by them and by Bernie Sanders, Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn, SYRIZA, et al, was tasked with the struggle for socialism in the core of global capital. It failed to even attempt this task. In the essays collected here, spanning the Millennial generation's many agonies, Chris Cutrone cuts through the accumulated legacy of failures that the Millennials inherited from the Left of the 20th century and that blocked their view of the socialist politics needed to turn the crisis of neoliberal capitalism into a struggle to overcome capitalism. A critique of the history of the recent and current Left, the book is also a lesson in politics: the politics marking the 21st century and the absence of Marxism informing the Left as much as the Right. It is essential reading for anybody interested in a socialist politics of freedom.  Chris Cutrone teaches Critical Theory at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Institute for Clinical Social Work. He completed his PhD on Adorno's Marxism at the University of Chicago, where he taught for many years in the Social Sciences Core Curriculum, and is the original lead organizer and chief pedagogue of the Platypus Affiliated Society. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Christopher Lazarski, "Lord Acton for Our Time" (Northern Illinois UP, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2023 55:26

Extracting lessons for our current age, Christopher Lazarski focuses on liberty--how Acton understood it, what he thought was its foundation and necessary ingredients, and the history of its development in Western Civilization. Acton is known as a historian, or even the historian, of liberty and as an ardent liberal, but there is confusion as to how he understood liberty and what kind of liberalism he professed. Lord Acton for Our Time (Northern Illinois University Press, 2023) provides an introduction that presents essentials about Acton's life and recovers his theory of liberalism. Lazarski analyzes Acton's type of liberalism, probing whether it can offer a solution to the crisis of liberal democracy in our own era. For Acton, liberty is the freedom to do what we ought to do, both as individuals and as citizens, and his writings contain valuable lessons for today. Christopher Lazarski is Professor of Politics and History at Lazarski University. Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Robert P. George's 'Making Men Moral': A 30th Anniversary Conference

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2023 61:16

The first book in the storied career of one of the most influential conservative legal scholars and philosophers of our day is the focus of an upcoming conference in Washington, DC. Making Men Moral (1993) is the book and Robert P. George is the man behind it—Princeton professor of jurisprudence, bioethicist and pro-life and civil liberties champion. Scheduled speakers include some of the most important thinkers on social conservatism and legal thought of the generations he has molded, plus many of his peers and George himself. This conference is our focus for today. As the founder and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University since 2000, George has provided a model for a slew of similar programs, centers and institutes throughout American academia and abroad. He is also a noted public speaker, often in partnership with his good friend the African-American scholar, Cornel West. Because of George's outsized role in public discussion of moral issues and his unique position as a stalwart Christian voice and admired scholar in the heavily secular academe of our time, rather than interview the author of a book today I will be chatting with one of the organizers of Making Men Moral: 30th Anniversary Conference. This event is co-sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Ethics & Public Policy Center, Pepperdine University School of Public Policy, and the Project on Constitutional Originalism and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition at Catholic University. And luckily for those unable to attend in person the event at AEI in Washington, DC Thursday, November 30, 2023 | 12:00 PM to 5:30 PM ET and Friday, December 1, 2023 | 9:00 AM to 5:15 PM ET, they can register to follow the proceedings live online for free. This is a welcome opportunity to learn about one of the most important books in the fields of moral philosophy, the philosophy of law, and natural law of the last 30 years. For decades, George's Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality has been the go-to text for legal scholars, political theorists, philosophers and educated readers who want to grasp what types of human vice and folly can be legitimately regulated, what the relationship is between morals legislation and freedom, what is owed by the individual to the ordering of society, and what falls under the protection of privacy or basic civil liberties legal regimes. The conference features leading lights in the conservative legal firmament such as our guest today--J. Joel Alicea an associate professor at the Columbus School of Law of the Catholic University of America, Sherif Girgis, Melissa Moschella and Professor George himself. It will also feature scholars in the fields of theology and religious learning such as Andrew T. Walker; bioethicists and legal scholars such as O. Carter Snead; luminaries in the field of natural law like Hadley Arkes; journalists such as Timothy P. Carney and Alexandra DeSanctis and notable social scientists such as Mark Regnerus and W. Bradford Wilcox. The first day of the two-day conference will feature an interview of George by his fellow public intellectual and former student, Ryan T. Anderson. Our guest today, Professor Alicea, will not only open the conference but will participate in a panel discussion entitled, “Making Men Moral and Constitutional Interpretation,” the title of which nicely encapsulates two of the many roles Robert P. George serves in the public sphere: George is both a powerful moral voice and a skillful, much loved professor at Princeton where he teaches a famous course on Constitutional Interpretation (the lectures of which were recorded and are available free online). Let's hear from Professor Alicea. Hope J. Leman is a grants researcher. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Charisse Burden-Stelly, "Black Scare/Red Scare: Theorizing Capitalist Racism in the United States" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2023 48:58

In the early twentieth century, two panics emerged in the United States. The Black Scare was rooted in white Americans' fear of Black Nationalism and dread at what social, economic, and political equality of Black people might entail. The Red Scare, sparked by communist uprisings abroad and subversion at home, established anticapitalism as a force capable of infiltrating and disrupting the American order. In Black Scare / Red Scare: Theorizing Capitalist Racism in the United States (U Chicago Press, 2023), Charisse Burden-Stelly meticulously outlines the conjoined nature of these state-sanctioned panics, revealing how they unfolded together as the United States pursued capitalist domination. Antiradical repression, she shows, is inseparable from anti-Black oppression, and vice versa. Beginning her account in 1917—the year of the Bolshevik Revolution, the East St. Louis Race Riot, and the Espionage Act—Burden-Stelly traces the long duration of these intertwined and mutually reinforcing phenomena. She theorizes two bases of the Black Scare / Red Scare: US Capitalist Racist Society, a racially hierarchical political economy built on exploitative labor relationships, and Wall Street Imperialism, the violent processes by which businesses and the US government structured domestic and foreign policies to consolidate capital and racial domination. In opposition, Radical Blackness embodied the government's fear of both Black insurrection and Red instigation. The state's actions and rhetoric therefore characterized Black anticapitalists as foreign, alien, and undesirable. This reactionary response led to an ideology that Burden-Stelly calls True Americanism, the belief that the best things about America were absolutely not Red and not Black, which were interchangeable threats. Black Scare / Red Scare illuminates the anticommunist nature of the US and its governance, but also shines a light on a misunderstood tradition of struggle for Black liberation. Burden-Stelly highlights the Black anticapitalist organizers working within and alongside the international communist movement and analyzes the ways the Black Scare/Red Scare reverberates through ongoing suppression of Black radical activism today. Drawing on a range of administrative, legal, and archival sources, Burden-Stelly incorporates emancipatory ideas from several disciplines to uncover novel insights into Black political minorities and their legacy. @amandajoycehall is a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University in the Department of African American Studies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!


Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2023 18:37

In this episode of High Theory, Neil Safier talks with us about the Plantationocene, a geological epoch that traces the effects of climate change to the historical systems of human and nonhuman environmental exploitation known as plantation agriculture. It is another name for the world we currently inhabit. In the episode, Neil describes how Donna Harraway and Anna Tsing invented the term Plantationocene in response to another recent term Anthropocene. Sources to check out include Donna Haraway's essay, “Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationcene, Chthulucene: Making Kin” Environmental Humanities 6 no. 1 (2015): 159-165. doi: 10.1215/22011919-3615934, and Paul Crutzen, “The ‘Anthropocene'” Earth Systems Science in the Anthropocene ed. Eckhart Ehlers and Thomas Krafft (Springer, 2006) pp. 13-18. He references B.F. Skinner's novel Walden Two (MacMillan, 1962) at the end of our conversation. Neil Safier is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Brown University where he currently serves as Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies of the Watson Institute for International Affairs. He studies the history of science, agriculture, and other forms of knowledge-making in the late-eighteenth-century Atlantic world, focusing on the plantation cultures of the Caribbean and Brazil. He was recently the director of the John Carter Brown Library, at Brown University, and many years ago, when he was more optimistic about the current global epoch, he managed grants for the Sierra Club Foundation in San Francisco, California. He is the author of Measuring the New World: Enlightenment Science and South America (U Chicago, 2008) and is cooking up two new projects, on the historical connections between natural science and plantation agriculture in the Amazon River basin and the global history of collecting. The image for this week comes from Neil's research on the history of plantation agriculture. This drawing of a plantation from Hispaniola (Saint-Domingue) was reproduced in José Mariano da Conceição Velozo's Fazendeiro do Brazil Tome III Part II (Lisbon, 1799), in the volume dedicated to coffee production. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Keith Cantú, "Like a Tree Universally Spread: Sri Sabhapati Swami And Śivarājayoga" (Oxford UP, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2023 41:10

Keith Cantú's Like a Tree Universally Spread: Sri Sabhapati Swami And Śivarājayoga (Oxford UP, 2023) examines the life of a nineteenth- to early twentieth-century Tamil yogin named Sri Sabhapati Swami (Śrī Sabhāpati Svāmī or Capāpati Cuvāmikaḷ, ca. 1828-1923/4) and his unique English, Tamil, Hindi, and Bengali literature on a Sanskrit-based system of yogic meditation known as the "Rājayoga for Śiva" (Tamil: civarājayōkam, Sanskrit: śivarājayoga), the full experience of which is compared to being like a "tree universally spread." Its practice was based on a unique synthesis of Tamil Vīraśaiva and Siddhar cosmologies in the colonial period, and the yogic literature in which it is found was designed to have universal appeal across boundaries of caste, gender, and sectarian affiliation. His works, all of which are here analyzed together for the first time, are an important record in the history of yoga, print culture, and art history due to his vividly-illustrated and numbered diagrams on the yogic body with its subtle physiology. This book opens with a biographical account of Sabhapati, his editor Shrish Chandra Basu, and his students as gleaned from textual sources and the author's ethnographic field work. Sabhapati's literature in various languages is then analyzed, followed by a comprehensive exposition of his Śaiva cosmology and religious theories. Sabhapati's system of Śivarājayoga and its subtle physiology is then treated in detail, followed by an analysis of Sabhapati's aesthetic integration of aural sound and visual diagrams and an evaluation of the role of "science" in the swami's literature. Sabhapati also appealed to global authors and occultists outside of South Asia, so special attention is additionally given to his encounter with the founders of the Theosophical Society and the integration of his techniques into the thelemic "Magick" of Aleister Crowley, the German translation of Bavarian theosophical novelist Franz Hartmann, and the American publication of New Thought entrepreneur William Estep. To these are appended a never-before-translated Tamil hagiography of Sabhapati's life, a lexicon in table-form that compiles some archaic variants and Roman transliterations of technical terms used in his work, and a critically-edited passage on an innovative technique of Śivarājayoga that included visualizing the yogic central channel as a lithic "pole." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Mira Balberg, "Fractured Tablets: Forgetfulness and Fallibility in Late Ancient Rabbinic Culture" (U California Press, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2023 43:42

The Rabbinic Sages of the Tannaitic era were fixated on memory and terrified of forgetfulness. In promulgating their own interpretations of Jewish law, the Tannaim not only took seriously Moses's admonitions to remember and not forget, they painstakingly constructed a system of laws thar recognized that helped create and enhance a powerful and dynamic memory form. The rabbis also knew, however, that people are fallible and they're going to forget. To try to ensure communal coherence within the embrace of the covenant in the face of the loss of a cultic center, the rabbis built a system of legal promulgation and interpretation that anticipated forgetting and devised ways for confronting, correcting, and mitigating damage from it. In her latest work, Fractured Tablets: Forgetfulness and Fallibility in Late Ancient Rabbinic Culture (U California Press, 2023), Professor Balberg explores and examines how the Tannaitic sages not only understood and approached the problem of forgetting, but how they in essence created that problem, and position themselves as the specialists who can solve it. Mira Balberg is Professor and David Goodblatt Endowed Chair in Ancient Jewish Civilization at the University of California at San Diego. She joins me today to speak about her latest work.  David Gottlieb is the Director of Jewish Studies at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago. He is the author of Second Slayings: The Binding of Isaac and the Formation of Jewish Memory (Gorgias Press, 2019). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Martin Jay, "Immanent Critiques: The Frankfurt School under Pressure" (Verso, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2023 82:23

The Frankfurt School's own legacy is best preserved by exercising an immanent critique of its premises and the conclusions to which they often led. By distinguishing between what is still and what is no longer alive in Critical Theory, Immanent Critiques: The Frankfurt School Under Pressure (Verso, 2023) seeks to demonstrate its continuing relevance in the 21st century. Fifty years after the appearance of The Dialectical Imagination, his pioneering history of the Frankfurt School, Martin Jay reflects on what may be living and dead in its legacy. Rather than treating it with filial piety as a fortress to be defended, he takes seriously its anti-systematic impulse and sensitivity to changing historical circumstances.  Honoring the Frankfurt School's practice of immanent critique, he puts critical pressure on a number of its own ideas by probing their contradictory impulses. Among them are the pathologization of political deviance through stigmatizing "authoritarian personalities," the undefended theological premises of Walter Benjamin's work, and the ambivalence of its members' analyses of anti-Semitism and Zionism. Additional questions are asked about other time-honored Marxist themes: the meaning of alienation, the alleged damages of abstraction, and the advocacy of a politics based on a singular notion of the truth. Rather, however, than allowing these questions to snowball into an unwarranted repudiation of the Frankfurt School legacy as a whole, the essay collection also acknowledges a number of its still potent arguments. They explore its neglected, but now timely analysis of "racket society," Adorno's dialectical reading of aesthetic sublimation, and the unexpected implications of Benjamin's focus on the corpse for political theory. Jay shows that it is a still evolving theoretical tradition which offers resources for the understanding of–and perhaps even practical betterment–of our increasingly troubled world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Jonathan Greenaway, "Theology, Horror and Fiction: A Reading of the Gothic Nineteenth Century" (Bloomsbury, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2023 43:17

When one thinks of your typical horror movie and it's usual imagery, a number of tropes may come forward. Graveyards behind old cathedrals, crucifixes and holy water, possessions and exorcisms. The uniting thread of all of these is that they are all tied to the religious. One might then wonder if there is some underlying thread of meaning beneath the facade. Addressing this topic directly is Jonathan Greenaway in his book Theology, Horror and Fiction: A Reading of the Gothic Nineteenth Century (Bloomsbury, 2022). Surveying a number of well known works from this period, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the Bronte sisters all the way up to Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and Bram Stoker's Dracula, Greenaway finds works filled with various references and discussions of religious scripture, imagery and themes. What's more, he's able to follow these various occasions down into deeper territory, finding a subterranean conversation in much of this literature on themes of embodiment, createdness, epistemology, political institutions and ethical transgression. What Greenaway comes away with is insight into a dialogue between these two fields that will be richly rewarding to believers of both of them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Beatriz Nascimento, "The Dialectic Is in the Sea: The Black Radical Thought of Beatriz Nascimento" (Princeton UP, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2023 48:26

Beatriz Nascimento (1942-1995) was a poet, historian, artist, and political leader in Brazil's Black movement, an innovative and creative thinker whose work offers a radical reimagining of gender, space, politics, and spirituality around the Atlantic and across the Black diaspora. Her powerful voice still resonates today, reflecting a deep commitment to political organizing, revisionist historiography, and the lived experience of Black women. The Dialectic Is in the Sea: The Black Radical Thought of Beatriz Nascimento (Princeton UP, 2023) is the first English-language collection of writings by this vitally important figure in the global tradition of Black radical thought. The Dialectic Is in the Sea traces the development of Nascimento's thought across the decades of her activism and writing, covering topics such as the Black woman, race and Brazilian society, Black freedom, and Black aesthetics and spirituality. Incisive introductory and analytical essays provide key insights into the political and historical context of Nascimento's work. This engaging collection includes an essay by Bethânia Gomes, Nascimento's only daughter, who shares illuminating and uniquely personal insights into her mother's life and career. This is an interview with Christen A. Smith, Bethânia Gomes and Archie Davies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Jennifer Burns on the Life and Lasting Influence of Milton Friedman

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 14, 2023 43:07

Jennifer Burns (Hoover Reserch Fellow and Stanford Associate Professor of History) joins the podcast to discuss her career as well as her new biography Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023). We discuss the life of Milton Friedman including his very brief time in Chile, his intellectual development before and after joining the University of Chicago economics faculty, the role of various people who contributed to the development of his ideas behind the scenes, along with the extent of his influence nearly 20 years after his death. Jon Hartley is an economics researcher with interests in international macroeconomics, finance, and labor economics and is currently an economics PhD student at Stanford University. He is also currently a Research Fellow at the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, a Senior Fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, and a research associate at the Hoover Institution. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Dalia Kandiyoti, "The Converso's Return: Conversion and Sephardi History in Contemporary Literature and Culture" (Stanford UP, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 14, 2023 96:10

Five centuries after the forced conversion of Spanish and Portuguese Jews to Catholicism, stories of these conversos' descendants uncovering long-hidden Jewish roots have come to light and taken hold of the literary and popular imagination. This seemingly remote history has inspired a wave of contemporary writing involving hidden artifacts, familial whispers and secrets, and clandestine Jewish ritual practices pointing to a past that had been presumed dead and buried. The Converso's Return: Conversion and Sephardi History in Contemporary Literature and Culture (Stanford UP, 2020) explores the cultural politics and literary impact of this reawakened interest in converso and crypto-Jewish history, ancestry, and identity, and asks what this fascination with lost-and-found heritage can tell us about how we relate to and make use of the past. Dalia Kandiyoti offers nuanced interpretations of contemporary fictional and autobiographical texts about crypto-Jews in Cuba, Mexico, New Mexico, Spain, France, the Ottoman Empire, and Turkey. These works not only imagine what might be missing from the historical archive but also suggest an alternative historical consciousness that underscores uncommon convergences of and solidarities within Sephardi, Christian, Muslim, converso, and Sabbatean histories. Steeped in diaspora, Sephardi, transamerican, Iberian, and world literature studies, The Converso's Return illuminates how the converso narrative can enrich our understanding of history, genealogy, and collective memory. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Musab Younis, "On the Scale of the World: The Formation of Black Anticolonial Thought" (U California Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 13, 2023 51:08

On the Scale of the World: The Formation of Black Anticolonial Thought (U California Press, 2022) examines the reverberations of anticolonial ideas that spread across the Atlantic between the two world wars. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Black intellectuals in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean established theories of colonialism and racism as structures that must be understood, and resisted, on a global scale. In this richly textured book, Musab Younis gathers the work of writers and poets, journalists and editors, historians and political theorists whose insights speak urgently to contemporary movements for liberation. Bringing together literary and political texts from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, France, the United States, and elsewhere, Younis excavates a vibrant and understudied tradition of international political thought. From the British and French colonial occupations of West Africa to the struggles of African Americans, the hypocrisy of French promises of 'assimilation, ' and the many-sided attacks on the sovereignties of Haiti, Liberia, and Ethiopia, On the Scale of the World shows how racialized imperialism provoked critical responses across the interwar Black Atlantic. By transcending the boundaries of any single imperial system, these counternarratives of global order enabled new ways of thinking about race, nation, and empire. Elisa Prosperetti is an Assistant Professor in International History at the National Institute of Education in Singapore. Her research focuses on the connected histories of education and development in postcolonial West Africa. Contact her at here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Emma R. Jones, "Being as Relation in Luce Irigaray" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 13, 2023 45:33

Many scholars have struggled with Irigaray's focus on sexuate difference, in particular with her claim that it is “ontological,” wondering if this implies a problematically naïve or essentialist account of sexuate difference. As a result, the ethical vision which Irigaray elaborates has not been taken up in a robust way in the fields of philosophy, feminism, or psychoanalysis. By tracing the notion of relation throughout Irigaray's work, Being as Relation in Luce Irigaray (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023) identifies a rigorous philosophical continuity between the three self-identified “phases” in Irigaray's thought (despite some critics' concerns that there is a discontinuity between these phases) and clarifies the relational ontology that underlies Irigaray's conceptualization of sexuate difference – one that always already implies an ethical project. Jones demonstrates that an understanding of Irigaray's Heideggerian inheritance – especially prominent in her later texts – is essential to grasping the sense of the idea that sexuate difference is ontological – it concerns Being, rather than beings. This book further develops potential applications of this ontological notion of a “relational limit” for the fields of philosophy, feminism, and psychotherapy. Emma R. Jones is a psychotherapist in private practice in the San Francisco East Bay Area. She was educated at the New School, the University of Oregon, where she earned her PhD in philosophy; and the California Institute of Integral studies, where she earned her clinical degree. She is the author of several articles engaging the work of Luce Irigaray as well as phenomenology, psychoanalysis, and ancient Greek philosophy. Helena Vissing, PsyD, SEP, PMH-C is a Licensed Psychologist practicing in California. She can be reached at She is the author of Somatic Maternal Healing: Psychodynamic and Somatic Treatment of Trauma in the Perinatal Period (Routledge, 2023). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

David Myer Temin, "Remapping Sovereignty: Decolonization and Self-Determination in North American Indigenous Political Thought" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 13, 2023 82:08

Accounts of decolonization routinely neglect Indigenous societies in North America and Australasia, yet Native communities have made unique contributions to anticolonial thought and activism. David Myer Temin's book Remapping Sovereignty: Decolonization and Self-Determination in North American Indigenous Political Thought (U Chicago Press, 2023) examines how twentieth-century Indigenous activists in North America debated questions of decolonization and self-determination, developing distinctive conceptual approaches that both resonate with and reformulate key strands in other civil rights and global decolonization movements. In contrast to decolonization projects that envisioned liberation through national independence, Indigenous theorists emphasized the self-determination of peoples against sovereign states and articulated a visionary politics of decolonization as care for the earth. Temin traces the interplay between anticolonial thought and practice across key indigenous thinkers. He shows how these insights broaden the political and intellectual horizons open to us today with respect to climate justice. Lachlan McNamee is a Lecturer of Politics at Monash University. His area of expertise is the comparative politics of settler colonialism, empire, and political violence with a regional focus on the Asia-Pacific. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Elizabeth Anderson, "Hijacked: How Neoliberalism Turned the Work Ethic against Workers and How Workers Can Take It Back" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 13, 2023 56:34

What is the work ethic? Does it justify policies that promote the wealth and power of the One Percent at workers' expense? Or does it advance policies that promote workers' dignity and standing? Hijacked: How Neoliberalism Turned the Work Ethic against Workers and How Workers Can Take It Back (Cambridge UP, 2023) explores how the history of political economy has been a contest between these two ideas about whom the work ethic is supposed to serve. Today's neoliberal ideology deploys the work ethic on behalf of the One Percent. However, workers and their advocates have long used the work ethic on behalf of ordinary people. By exposing the ideological roots of contemporary neoliberalism as a perversion of the seventeenth-century Protestant work ethic, Elizabeth Anderson shows how we can reclaim the original goals of the work ethic, and uplift ourselves again. Hijacked persuasively and powerfully demonstrates how ideas inspired by the work ethic informed debates among leading political economists of the past, and how these ideas can help us today.  Elizabeth Anderson is the Max Mendel Shaye Professor of Public Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at University of Michigan. She is the author of Value in Ethics and Economics (1995), The Imperative of Integration (2010), and Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don't Talk about It) (2017). She is a MacArthur Fellow and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2019, The New Yorker described her as 'a champion of the view that equality and freedom are mutually dependent [...] Anderson may be the philosopher best suited to this awkward moment in American life.' Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Natasha Wheatley, "The Life and Death of States: Central Europe and the Transformation of Modern Sovereignty" (Princeton UP, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 12, 2023 46:56

Natasha Wheatley is an Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University. Her bold and riveting debut monograph, The Life and Death of States: Central Europe and the Transformation of Modern Sovereignty (Princeton University Press, 2023), narrates the transition from empire to nation-states in the heartlands of Europe once governed by the Habsburg Empire. The book traces the modern history of sovereignty over one hundred tumultuous years, explaining how a regime of nation-states theoretically equal under international law emerged from the ashes of a dynastic empire.  The Life and Death of States reveals how Habsburg Europe was the crucible for our contemporary world order. Wheatley's aim is to theorize from Central Europe to see how sovereignty can be (re)produced in a complex world. The study uncovers how the Central European experience crystallized legal questions that would arise again in the era of global decolonization, connecting the story of the end of empire to the birth of new nations throughout the twentieth century. In this respect, the work serves not only as a history of Central Europe but also a "prehistory" of the era of decolonization. Vladislav Lilic is a doctoral candidate in Modern European History at Vanderbilt University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Aditya Balasubramanian, "Toward a Free Economy: Swatantra and Opposition Politics in Democratic India" (Princeton UP, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 11, 2023 100:04

In Toward a Free Economy: Swantantra and Opposition Politics in Democratic India (Princeton University Press, 2023), Aditya Balasubramanian charts the birth and rise of a political ideology rooted in the tenets of ‘free market' economics, and the loosely associated ideas of neoliberalism, conservatism, and libertarianism. Balasubramanian offers an altogether fresh origin story for this movement that is often framed as a Cold War North Atlantic export to the rest of the poorer, developing world championed by the International Monetary Fund backed Washington consensus. In his compellingly told and richly layered account, we are not only given one of the few comprehensive histories of the Swantantra (“Freedom”) Party and its tryst with democratic electoral politics in newly independent India, but we are also shown how the most important facets of this moment in history cannot simply rely on a narrative woven around party politics. This results in a focus on what Balasubramanian calls “economic consciousness,” and exposes us to a vast, multifarious archival base that spans print, visual, and urban cultures, economists' papers, government films, and much more that palpably reconstructs how economic ideals floated in the political arena also circulated in and were propped up by the wider public sphere in southern and western India. The Swantantra Party emerged in the late 1950s, as a response to the Indian National Congress Party's (INC) purported hegemony in independent India's constitutional democratic structure. The party encouraged Indians to break with the INC, which spearheaded the anticolonial nationalist movement and now dominated Indian democracy. Rejecting heavy-industrial developmental state and the accompanying rhetoric of socialism that was seen as emblematic of INC, Swatantra promised “free economy” through its project of opposition politics. As the “free economy” idea was disseminated across various genres and cultures, it took on meanings that varied by region and language, caste, and class, and won diverse advocates. These articulations, informed by but distinct from neoliberalism, came chiefly from relatively wealthy communities who felt threatened by the INC's economic policies as they embraced new forms of entrepreneurial activity. At their core, they connoted anticommunism, unfettered private economic activity, decentralized development, and the defense of private property. Opposition politics encompassed ideas and practice. Swatantra's leaders imagined a conservative alternative to a progressive dominant party in a two-party system. They communicated ideas and mobilized people around such issues as inflation, taxation, and property. And they made creative use of India's institutions to bring checks and balances to the political system. Democracy's persistence in India is uncommon among postcolonial societies. By excavating a perspective of how Indians made and understood their own democracy and economy, Aditya Balasubramanian broadens our picture of the free market, neoliberalism, democracy, and the postcolonial world. In the process, he helps us understand why geographically specific and culturally rooted histories from the Global South are necessary in qualifying and nuancing these ostensibly universal concepts. Archit Guha is a PhD researcher in the Duke University History Department. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Matthew J. Clavin, "Symbols of Freedom: Slavery and Resistance Before the Civil War" (NYU Press, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 7, 2023 36:59

In the early United States, anthems, flags, holidays, monuments, and memorials were powerful symbols of an American identity that helped unify a divided people. A language of freedom played a similar role in shaping the new nation. The Declaration of Independence's assertion “that all men are created equal,” Patrick Henry's cry of “Give me liberty, or give me death!,” and Francis Scott Key's “star-spangled banner” waving over “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” were anthemic celebrations of a newly free people. Resonating across the country, they encouraged the creation of a republic where the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” was universal, natural, and inalienable. For enslaved people and their allies, the language and symbols that served as national touchstones made a mockery of freedom. Deriding the ideas that infused the republic's founding, they encouraged an empty American culture that accepted the abstract notion of equality rather than the concrete idea. Yet, as award-winning author Matthew J. Clavin reveals, it was these powerful expressions of American nationalism that inspired forceful and even violent resistance to slavery. Symbols of Freedom: Slavery and Resistance Before the Civil War (NYU Press, 2023) is the surprising story of how enslaved people and their allies drew inspiration from the language and symbols of American freedom. Interpreting patriotic words, phrases, and iconography literally, they embraced a revolutionary nationalism that not only justified but generated open opposition. Mindful and proud that theirs was a nation born in blood, these disparate patriots fought to fulfill the republic's promise by waging war against slavery. In a time when the US flag, the Fourth of July, and historical sites have never been more contested, this book reminds us that symbols are living artifacts whose power is derived from the meaning with which we imbue the Matthew J. Clavin is Professor of History at the University of Houston and the author of The Battle of Negro Fort: The Rise and Fall of a Fugitive Slave Community, Aiming for Pensacola: Fugitive Slaves on the Atlantic and Southern Frontiers, and Toussaint Louverture and the American Civil War: The Promise and Peril of a Second Haitian Revolution. Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Ed Simon, "Elysium: A Visual History of Angelology" (Cernunnos, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2023 39:49

Ineffable, invisible, inscrutable--angels are enduring creatures across Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and human experiences of the divine as mediated by spiritual emissaries are an aspect of almost every religious tradition. In popular culture, angels are often reduced to the most gauzy, sentimental, and saccharine of images: fat babies with wings and guardians with robes, halos, and harps. By contrast, in scripture whenever one of the heavenly choirs appears before a prophet or patriarch, they first declare "Fear not!" for terror would be the most appropriate initial reaction to these otherworldly beings. Angels are often not what we'd expect, but it's precisely in that transcendent encounter that something of the strangeness of existence can be conveyed.  Elysium: A Visual History of Angelology (Cernunnos, 2023) is a follow-up volume to Pandemonium: A Visual History of Demonology, and like the earlier title, this book offers an account of the angelic hierarchies as they've been understood across centuries and cultures and of the individual personages, such as the archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Uriel, who have marked the mythology of the West. Ed Simon is the Executive Director of Belt Media Collaborative and the Editor-in-Chief for Belt Magazine and an emeritus staff writer at The Millions, which the New York Times has called the “indispensable literary site.” Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Austin Surls, "Making Sense of the Divine Name in the Book of Exodus: From Etymology to Literary Onomastics" (Eisenbrauns, 2017)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2023 25:32

The obvious riddles and difficulties in Exodus 3:13-15 and 6:2-8 have attracted an overwhelming amount of attention and comment. These texts make important theological statements about the divine name and the contours of the divine character. In his book Making Sense of the Divine Name in the Book of Exodus: From Etymology to Literary Onomastics (Eisenbrauns, 2017), Austin Surls attempts to move beyond atomistic readings of individual texts and etymological studies of the divine name toward a holistic reading of the book of Exodus. Join us as we speak with Austin Surls about the progressive revelation of the divine name in the book of Exodus. Dr. Austin Surls is Assistant Professor of Old Testament Studies at Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary. Michael Morales is Professor of Biblical Studies at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and the author of The Tabernacle Pre-Figured: Cosmic Mountain Ideology in Genesis and Exodus(Peeters, 2012), Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord?: A Biblical Theology of Leviticus(IVP Academic, 2015), and Exodus Old and New: A Biblical Theology of Redemption (IVP Academic, 2020). He can be reached at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Carson Bay, "Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2023 62:30

In this volume entitled Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity (Cambridge UP, 2023), Carson Bay focuses on an important but neglected work of Late Antiquity: Pseudo-Hegesippus' On the Destruction of Jerusalem (De Excidio Hierosolymitano), a Latin history of later Second Temple Judaism written during the fourth century CE. Bay explores the presence of so many Old Testament figures in a work that recounts the Roman-Jewish War (66–73 CE) and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. By applying the lens of Roman exemplarity to Pseudo-Hegesippus, he elucidates new facets of Biblical reception, history-writing, and anti-Judaism in a text from the formative first century of Christian Empire. The author also offers new insights into the Christian historiographical imagination and how Biblical heroes and Classical culture helped Christians to write anti-Jewish history. Revealing novel aspects of the influence of the Classical literary tradition on early Christian texts, this book also newly questions the age-old distinction between the Christian and the Classical (or 'pagan') in the ancient Mediterranean world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Empires, States, Corporations: A Discussion with Historians Philip J. Stern and Quinn Slobodian

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2023 65:29

Adam Smith wrote that, “Political economy belongs to no nation; it is of no country: it is the science of the rules for the production, the accumulation, the distribution, and the consumption of wealth.” However Adam Smith regarded the science of political economy, in practical terms, one is quite hard pressed to find a case where governments—be it an empire, republic, or nation—were completely left out of the picture. At least, that is how it's been historically. Questions about how people and other types of entities organize and generate capital, AND the role that governments play in all of this, fill libraries. The ramifications of the dynamics and rules surrounding money have proved so consequential—and increasingly so, in our increasingly technologized world—that it is no surprise that historians have devoted much energy to the study of political economy. Political economy, in the broadest terms, is the subject of our conversation today. Today on History Ex we put two recent books that bring important perspectives to these questions in conversation with each other. In this conversation Philip Stern and Quinn Slobodian discuss: • Empire, Incorporated. The Corporations That Built British Colonialism (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press in 2023), by Philip J. Stern. • Crack-Up Capitalism: Market Radicals and the Dream of a World Without Democracy (Metropolitan Books, 2023), by Quinn Slobodian. The periods of time being studied are centuries apart and marked by much innovation. Our authors find points of convergence as well as divergence in aims, methods, and outcomes of the people at the center of their books. Stern and Slobodian discuss methodologies and chronologies, the ideologies that animated their actors, how memory and history were mobilized in promoting various visions; they probe the historian's perennial challenges of disentangling ideologies from interest, explain how similar actions in different historical contexts can demand different interpretations; and more. Philip Stern is an associate professor of History at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. His work focuses on various aspects of the legal, political, intellectual, and business histories that shaped the British Empire. He is also the author of The Company-State: Corporate Sovereignty and the Early Modern Foundations of the British Empire in India (Oxford University Press, 2011) and many other scholarly works. Quinn Slobodian is a professor of the history at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. He is also the author of the award-winning Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism (Harvard University Press, 2018), which has been translated into six languages, and a frequent contributor to the Guardian, New Statesman, The New York, Times, Foreign Policy, Dissent and the Nation. Erika Monahan is the author of The Merchants of Siberia: Trade in Early Modern Eurasia (Cornell UP, 2016) and a 2023-2024 Alexander von Humboldt Fellow. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Daniele Lorenzini, "The Force of Truth: Critique, Genealogy, and Truth-Telling in Michel Foucault" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2023 89:07

A groundbreaking examination of Michel Foucault's history of truth. Many blame Michel Foucault for our post-truth and conspiracy-laden society. In this provocative work, Daniele Lorenzini argues that such criticism fundamentally misunderstands the philosopher's project. Foucault did not question truth itself but what Lorenzini calls “the force of truth,” or how some truth claims are given the power to govern our conduct while others are not. This interest, Lorenzini shows, drove Foucault to articulate a new ethics and politics of truth-telling precisely in order to evade the threat of relativism. The Force of Truth explores this neglected dimension of Foucault's project by putting his writings on regimes of truth and parrhesia in conversation with early analytic philosophy and by drawing out the “possibilizing” elements of Foucault's genealogies that remain vital for practicing critique today. Dr. Richard Grijalva is an ACLS Emerging Voices Postdoctoral Fellow with the Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) at the University of Texas at Austin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Paolo Sandro, "The Making of Constitutional Democracy: From Creation to Application of Law" (Bloomsbury, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2023 70:38

This book is a tour de force. In The Making of Constitutional Democracy: From Creation to Application of Law (Bloomsbury, 2022), Dr Paolo Sandro explores the assumed unproblematic tension between the creation and application of law, and the way that this guides constitutional democracy. Crossing both jurisdictional borders and legal traditions, the author draws out the intrinsic relation between law, power and politics, to reveal law's authority. Ten years in the writing, the work is truly interdisciplinary. It integrates jurisprudential methodology, history, anthropology, political science, philosophy of language and philosophy of action. It will be of use to anyone who is serious about becoming a better scholar. It compels reflection on the assumptions that scholars make in writing, in practice, in scholarship and study. All the while Sandro breaks new ground in legal theory and in the study of constitutional democracy.  Dr Paolo Sandro is a lecturer in law at The University of Leeds.  The Making of Constitutional Democracy: From Creation to Application of Law is available open access.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

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