Showing posts from January, 2016

New from Theory & Event: "The Polis Artist"

I'm very pleased to announce the publication of my article on Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis and the politics of literature in Theory & Event . Here is the abstract: Recent work on literature and political theory has focused on reading literature as a reflection of the damaged conditions of contemporary political life. Examining Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis, this essay develops an alternative approach to the politics of literature that attends to the style and form of the novel. The form and style of Cosmopolis emphasize the novel’s own dissonance with the world it criticizes; they moreover suggest a politics of poetic world-making intent on eliciting collective agency over the commonness of language. As a “polis artist,” DeLillo does not determine a particular politics but shapes the conditions and spaces of political life with an eye toward alternative futures. If you would like a PDF of the final version, send me an email. While the Herodotus project has continued to percol

Spring 2016 Courses

The semester approaches and I have drafted new versions of my "Modern Political Philosophy" course as well as a democratic theory course entitled "The Power of the People." I'm also supervising eight outstanding thesis writers in the Political Science department, so it will be a busy winter and spring! In "Modern Political Philosophy" ( draft syllabus here ) I'm teaching Adam Smith for the first time as well as devoting a few weeks to colonialism, multiculturalism, and the politics of recognition with readings from Frantz Fanon, Nancy Fraser, Axel Honneth, Audra Simpson, and Glen Coulthard. When I taught a course on capitalism at Deep Springs a few years ago I first recognized the proximity of Smith and Marx; teaching them in succession leads students to see how much the latter emerges from the former and thus how communism can really follow from capitalism. My addition of readings around questions of recognition also stems from the last time I t

Further reflections on the fall

Reflecting on the two courses I taught during fall 2015, I've come to realize the importance of another part of my teaching: the book club that I helped to organize and facilitate in a Philadelphia prison. Every Friday I and two of my colleagues along with seven or eight of our students from Bryn Mawr's "Arts of Resistance" 360 Cluster ( website ) traveled to northeast Philadelphia to a women's prison where we read and discussed books together for ninety minutes. We read Claudia Rankine's "Citizen," the Seamus Heaney translation of Antigone ("The Burial at Thebes"), John Edgar Wideman's "Brothers and Keepers," and some other short pieces. The books constituted our curriculum: students took turns preparing "lessons," which usually consisted in questions and activities to stimulate discussion; we left a great deal of space for the conversation to emerge and develop in the most organic way possible. ("Organic"