Books received – Shakespeare, Foucault, Jessop

books 9 FebA pile of recently received books – mainly bought for the Shakespeare project, plus Foucault’s 1980 lectures About the Beginning of the Hermeneutic of the Subject and Bob Jessop’s The State: Past, Present, Future in recompense for review work. The text at the bottom is the special issue of Le Point on Foucault from 2004.

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Vilna Bashi Treitler on saying ‘no’ to academic requests and the idea of a ‘no’ committee

Vilna Bashi Treitler on saying ‘no’ to academic requests, and the idea of a ‘no committee’. Here’s a key part:

Forming a “No Committee” helped me get perspective on my limits. Let me tell you about my No Committee. On it, I have two friends who are both professors and the third person is my life partner. Their qualifications: they care about me, they know the academy well enough to know what challenges are there for me, and they keep up with me so that they know how much is too much for me to handle.

How do I use them? When an opportunity comes to me, I send them an email with the subject line “Here’s one for the No Committee” and ask them for their advice. In the email I describe the opportunity, what information I have about what it entails (and whether I can trust the information I have), and further, I normally list all my reasons for saying yes to this thing plus whatever doubts I might have, and I hit “send.” Then I wait. I think the subject line tells them enough that they each tend to answer rather quickly. It probably also helps that I always listen  to their advice. I have not yet ignored the No Committee’s vote. That is, if they say no to me, I say no to the opportunity. Seriously. As I said, these are people who care deeply about me, and care less about my ambition or my insecurities which drive me to say yes more than I should. The one time in 2015 when I didn’t ask their advice, I said yes to something I regret saying yes to! And once, I sent them information about an opportunity that I didn’t want to take, and they outvoted me and each told me that I had to do it – and can you believe they were right??? Doing that thing has paid off in ways I surely couldn’t anticipate at the time.

I wrote post last year about the challenge of saying ‘no’ that got quite a bit of attention and some good comments, building on some remarks by Rob Kitchin.

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Leading actors film new Shakespeare Solos series for the Guardian

Leading actors film new Shakespeare Solos series for The GuarScreenshot 2016-02-08 13.02.08.pngdian.

Adrian Lester as Hamlet, Roger Allum as King Lear, Eileen Atkins as Emilia, and more.

The Guardian also has a useful round-up of productions for this 400th anniversary year.

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Michael Hodges on Eyal Weizman‘s Forensic Architecture at Wired UK

21_8Michael Hodges analyses Eyal Weizman‘s Forensic Architecture research agency at Wired UK.

Thanks to Derek Gregory’s Geographical Imaginations blog for the link.


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Allen Scott on Edward Soja in Critical Planning

Critical Planning Journal, Volume 22: Cities and Regions in CrisisAllen Scott remembers his friend and colleague Edward Soja in the latest issue of Critical Planning (open access). Here’s the first paragraph:

Ed Soja died in the evening of Sunday November 1st, 2015, after an extended illness. His departure represents a huge loss to his many friends and colleagues both here in Los Angeles and all over the world. Ed was in every sense larger than life. He had an imposing physical presence and an enormous personality. He was also gifted with an extraordinarily fertile mind that took him persistently to the intellectual frontiers of geography, planning and social enquiry generally. His astonishing (one of Ed’s favorite words) verbal capacities served him well not only in his written work, but also in his more direct interaction with others, from his inspired teaching to public debate. His way with words seemed to be virtually inexhaustible and sometimes, to be frank, a bit overpowering.

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Brett Christophers – The Great Leveler: Capitalism and Competition in the Court of Law

Brett Christophers, The Great Leveler: Capitalism and Competition in the Court of Law – now published from Harvard University Press.


For all the turmoil that roiled financial markets during the Great Recession and its aftermath, Wall Street forecasts once again turned bullish and corporate profitability soared to unprecedented heights. How does capitalism consistently generate profits despite its vulnerability to destabilizing events that can plunge the global economy into chaos? The Great Leveler elucidates the crucial but underappreciated role of the law in regulating capitalism’s rhythms of accumulation and growth.

Brett Christophers argues that capitalism requires a delicate balance between competition and monopoly. When monopolistic forces become dominant, antitrust law steps in to discourage the growth of giant corporations and restore competitiveness. When competitive forces become dominant, intellectual property law steps in to protect corporate assets and encourage investment. These two sets of laws—antitrust and intellectual property—have a pincer effect on corporate profitability, ensuring that markets become neither monopolistic, which would lead to rent-seeking and stagnation, nor overly competitive, which would drive down profits.

Christophers pursues these ideas through a close study of the historical development of American and British capitalist economies from the late nineteenth century to the present, tracing the relationship between monopoly and competition in each country and the evolution of legal mechanisms for keeping these forces in check. More than an illuminating study of the economic role of law, The Great Leveler is a bold and fresh dissection of the anatomy of modern capitalism.

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Half-day Workshop on Reading Capital, 11 February 2016, London

Half-day Workshop on Reading CapitalHalf-day Workshop on Reading Capital

Thursday 11 February 2016

Time: 2.00pm – 6.00pm
Venue: Swedenborg Society, 20 Bloomsbury Way, London
Price: free

2015 was the 50th anniversary of the original publication of Reading Capital by Louis Althusser, Etienne Balibar et al, a text that was to become a landmark in the history of both French thought and international Marxism. In this half-day workshop, we celebrate this anniversary by returning to two central philosophical themes of the book: Causality: Structure and Immanence and Time: Structure and History.

Etienne Balibar
Katja Diefenbach
Peter Hallward
Peter Osborne
Stefano Pippa

Join the Centre of Research in Modern European Philosophy for a workshop on Reading Capital.

For further information about this event: Contact: Eric-John Russell

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Books received – Shakespeare and Heidegger


Some recently acquired books – various Shakespeare plays, a second-hand copy of John Julius Norwich’s Shakespeare’s Kings, and Guillaume Payen’s new biography Martin Heidegger: Catholicisme, révolution, nazisme, which I picked up in Paris.

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Books interview: David Harvey in Times Higher Education

Books interview: David Harvey in Times Higher Education – Eliot, Shakespeare, Dickens and, of course, Marx. Thanks to dmf for the link.

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10 Critical Theory books that came out in January

10 Critical Theory books that came out in January – Wahnich, Allen, Mitchell, Dean & Villadsen, Danchev, Malm, Gasche, etc.


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