Michael Saward, Democratic Design – Oxford University Press, February 2021

Michael Saward, Democratic Design – Oxford University Press, 2021

Democracy faces stern tests around the world in the twenty-first century. Democratic Designargues that to respond effectively and creatively, democrats need to work with a versatile new toolkit of concepts and institutions. The book assembles this toolkit — the democratic design framework — through an original blend of design thinking and democratic theory and practice. It shows how to use the framework to renew and enliven our ideas of democracy across a range of contexts.

The book explores a wide range of institutions, from the familiar (such as parliamentary procedures) to the innovative (such as citizens’ assemblies). It underlines the importance of systemic and contextual design, and the practical enactment of democratic values such as equality, freedom and participation.

Democratic Design shows how a comprehensive approach to rethinking the present and future of democratic governance is possible, indeed essential. It draws together, and moves beyond, the best of existing theories and models by devising a new framework that is both practical and theoretically robust.

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Reece Jones, White Borders: The History of Race and Immigration in the United States from Chinese Exclusion to the Border Wall – Beacon 2021

Reece Jones, White Borders: The History of Race and Immigration in the United States from Chinese Exclusion to the Border Wall – Beacon, September 2021

The first book to show that racial exclusion was behind all of the United States’ immigration laws–from Chinese Exclusion through the Trump presidency.

While many Americans believe there have always been rules about who could enter the country, the reality is that the first national immigration law was not passed until 1875, ninety-nine years after the Declaration of Independence. As the first non-white Chinese immigrants arrived, Congress passed laws to ban them. In each era that followed, the fear of “the great replacement” of whites with non-white immigrations drove the push for more restrictions. Although the US is often mythologized as a nation of immigrants, the mainstreaming of anti-immigrant politics by Trump in 2016 was a reversion to the ugly norm of the past.

In White Borders, Jones reveals that since the arrival of the first slave ship in 1619, the English Colonies that became the US were based on the dual foundation of open immigration for whites from Northern Europe and racial exclusion of slaves from Africa, Native Americans, and, eventually, immigrants from other parts of the world. He exposes the connections between the Chinese Exclusion laws of the 1880s, the “Keep America American” nativism of the 1920s, and the “Build the Wall” chants of the 2010s. Along the way, we meet a bizarre cast of characters such as John Tanton, Cordelia Scaife May, and Stephen Miller who have moved fringe ideas about “white genocide” and “race suicide” into mainstream political discourse. This exposé proves that while immigration crackdowns are justified as protecting American jobs and workers, they have always been about saving the fleeting idea of a white America.

White Borders is a searing indictment of the US immigration restrictions from Chinese Exclusion through the Trump presidency. This powerful and meticulously argued book reveals that while immigration crackdowns are justified as protecting jobs and workers, they’ve always been about saving and protecting the racist idea of a white America.”
—Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist

“With eloquent prose and masterful storytelling, Reece Jones narrates the hard history of immigration policies of the US settler colonial state that was founded and rooted in white supremacy, from Chinese exclusion to the border wall.”
—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

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Carl Schmitt’s Early Legal-Theoretical Writings – Cambridge University Press, May 2021

Carl Schmitt’s Early Legal-Theoretical Writings: Statute and Judgment and the Value of the State and the Significance of the Individual, edited and translated by Lars Vine and Samuel Garrett Zeitlin – Cambridge University Press, May 2021

Many of Carl Schmitt’s major works have by now been translated, with two notable exceptions: Schmitt’s two early monographs Statute and Judgment (first published in 1912) and The Value of the State and the Significance of the Individual (first published in 1914). In these two works Schmitt presents a theory of adjudication as well as an account of the state’s role in the realization of the rule of law, which together form the theoretical basis on which Schmitt later developed his political and constitutional theory. This new book makes these two key texts available in English translation for the first time, together with an introduction that relates the texts to their historical context, to Schmitt’s other works, and to contemporary discussions in legal and constitutional theory.

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Paul A. Bové, Love’s Shadow – Harvard University Press, January 2021

Paul A. Bové, Love’s Shadow – Harvard University Press, January 2021

A case for literary critics and other humanists to stop wallowing in their aestheticized helplessness and instead turn to poetry, comedy, and love.

Literary criticism is an agent of despair, and its poster child is Walter Benjamin. Critics have spent decades stewing in his melancholy. What if, instead, we dared to love poetry, to choose comedy over Hamlet’s tragedy, or to pursue romance over Benjamin’s suicide on the edge of France, of Europe, and of civilization itself?

Paul A. Bové challenges young lit critters to throw away their shades and let the sun shine in. Love’s Shadow is his three-step manifesto for a new literary criticism that risks sentimentality and melodrama and eschews self-consciousness. The first step is to choose poetry. There has been since the time of Plato a battle between philosophy and poetry. Philosophy has championed misogyny, while poetry has championed women, like Shakespeare’s Rosalind. Philosophy is ever so stringent; try instead the sober cheerfulness of Wallace Stevens. Bové’s second step is to choose the essay. He praises Benjamin’s great friend and sometime antagonist Theodor Adorno, who gloried in writing essays, not dissertations and treatises. The third step is to choose love. If you want a Baroque hero, make that hero Rembrandt, who brought lovers to life in his paintings.

Putting aside passivity and cynicism would amount to a revolution in literary studies. Bové seeks nothing less, and he has a program for achieving it.

“An intellectual feast of the highest order. Bové’s monumental work is both magisterial and personal. He holds himself and others to the highest standards of poetic and critical excellence. And he writes with a strong sense of righteous indignation about the failures of the academy, the deterioration of intellectual integrity, and the decay of the life of the mind in our market-driven time.”—Cornel West

“A bracing journey into the mind’s powers, this book is a dynamic invitation to think thought through and to imagine otherwise, an uncompromising feat of inquiry, especially necessary in these sodden times. For anyone who believes close reading or literary criticism is dead, Bové’s pages—especially his heady retrieval of poetic making in ‘The Auroras of Autumn’—bear witness to their indelible presence.”—Colin Dayan, author of In the Belly of Her Ghost and Animal Quintet

“Modern criticism, Paul A. Bové suggests, has fallen in love with the ruins of meaning. We all are tempted by this perspective; who could entirely resist the sorrowful vision of Walter Benjamin’s angel, history piling up as mere debris? But there are alternatives, and this book explores in subtle detail the work of those—notably Rembrandt, Shakespeare, Stevens, and Adorno—who can teach us what some alternatives are.”—Michael Wood, author of On Empson and Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much

“Bové’s thinking has brought him to a fundamental insight about poetry and poetics: reality and its pressures cannot constrain humans’ ability to imagine the criteria required to meet their dreams. At once responsive and inventive, Bové’s book makes the case for the creativity and power of imagination that delights in movement of thought. I have not felt as elated by an intellectual experience since first reading Nietzsche’s On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense.”—Donald E. Pease, author of The New American Exceptionalism

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Nathalie Sowa, ‘Ten Things I’ve Learned Designing for a University Press’, University of Chicago Press, Blog

Nathalie Sowa, ‘Ten Things I’ve Learned Designing for a University Press‘, University of Chicago Press, Blog

We’re often introduced to a book through its cover. Catching our eye on a bookstore display, in a social media post, or shared by a favorite reviewer, covers give us a glimpse into what each book holds. But how does a cover come into existence? What goes into the process and how do designers dream them up? We checked in with Natalie Sowa, one of our very own in-house designers, to hear about working in book design. In turn, she offers the ten things she’s learned while designing covers for a university press.

Some very interesting reflections on cover design, a crucial part of book production but where authors have little insight (and often little involvement). I’ve been very pleased with the covers of my University of Chicago Press books, and those with Polity, but really unhappy with some of the ones earlier in my career.

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Richard Phillips and Helen Kara, Creative Writing for Social Research: A Practical Guide – Policy Press, 2021

Richard Phillips and Helen Kara, Creative Writing for Social Research: A Practical Guide – Policy Press, 2021

This groundbreaking book brings creative writing to social research. Its innovative format includes creatively written contributions by researchers from a range of disciplines, modelling the techniques outlined by the authors. The book is user-friendly and shows readers: 

• how to write creatively as a social researcher; 

• how creative writing can help researchers to work with participants and generate data; 

• how researchers can use creative writing to analyse data and communicate findings.

Inviting beginners and more experienced researchers to explore new ways of writing, this book introduces readers to creatively written research in a variety of formats including plays and poems, videos and comics. It not only gives social researchers permission to write creatively but also shows them how to do so.

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Minor revisions – new podcast from editors of Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space

Minor revisions – new podcast from editors of Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space

introduction from Eugene McCann here; Episode 1: Luiza Bialasiewicz & Sabrina Stallone, ‘Focalizing new-Fascism’ here

Minor Revisions is a podcast that demystifies the process of writing for academic journals, from the editors   of EPC: Politics & Space. Each episode of Minor Revisions features the authors of a published article unpacking their publication and revealing some secrets behind it. They tell stories of how their article came about, how they collaborated with editors and reviewers to write it, what decisions they made about literatures to draw upon, and what challenges they overcame along the way. We hope it will help you publish your research … with only minor revisions!

Minor Revisions is introduced by, and interviews are conducted by Eugene McCannPolitics & Space Managing Editor and professor of Geography at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. The podcast is made possible with the support of Simon Fraser University’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Our theme music   is by Konrad Urbaniak and our graphic designer is Samantha Thompson.

Please subscribe to Minor Revisions wherever you find your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts. Write a review, share with your friends and colleagues, and consider assigning episodes to your students.

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Fanny Söderbäck, Revolutionary Time: On Time and Difference in Kristeva and Irigaray – SUNY Press, 2019

Fanny Söderbäck, Revolutionary Time: On Time and Difference in Kristeva and Irigaray – SUNY Press, 2019

Examines the relationship between time and sexual difference in the work of French feminists Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray.

This book is the first to examine the relationship between time and sexual difference in the work of Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray. Because of their association with reproduction, embodiment, and the survival of the species, women have been confined to the cyclical time of nature—a temporal model that is said to merely repeat itself. Men, on the other hand, have been seen as bearers of linear time and as capable of change and progress. Fanny Söderbäck argues that both these temporal models make change impossible because they either repeat or repress the past. The model of time developed here—revolutionary time—aims at returning to and revitalizing the past so as to make possible a dynamic-embodied present and a future pregnant with change. Söderbäck stages an unprecedented conversation between Kristeva and Irigaray on issues of both time and difference, and engages thinkers such as Simone de Beauvoir, Jacques Derrida, Sigmund Freud, Judith Butler, Hannah Arendt, and Plato along the way.

“This provocative, unique examination of these two philosophers’ understandings of time provides a thought-provoking look at how time continues to be used in sexual differencing. Revolutionary Time will be an excellent resource for those interested in the philosophy of time, feminism, race studies, and the politics of power … Highly recommended.” — CHOICE

Revolutionary Time makes a distinctive contribution to contemporary feminist and continental philosophical thought. By engaging Kristeva and Irigaray in depth alongside one another, and making time the guiding thread for reading their work, the author generates insights that are not to be found elsewhere in the existing literature. Through its development of the concept of revolutionary time, the book offers rich resources for thinking about temporalization in its existential, ontological, and political dimensions, in ways that are particularly valuable for feminist projects of change and political transformation.” — Rachel Jones, author of Irigaray: Towards a Sexuate Philosophy

There is a discussion at New Books Networks with Sarah Tyson. Thanks to dmf for the link.

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Claude Lévi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology Zero – Polity, July 2021

Claude Lévi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology Zero – Polity, July 2021, translated by Ninon Vinsonneau and Jonathan Magidoff

The original French edition of these texts was published by Seuil in 2019 as Anthropologie structurale zéro.

This volume of Lévi-Strauss’s writings from 1941 to 1947 bears witness to a period of his work which is often overlooked but which was the crucible for the structural anthropology that he would go on to develop in the years that followed.

Like many European Jewish intellectuals, Lévi-Strauss had sought refuge in New York while the Nazis overran and occupied much of Europe.  He had already been introduced to Jakobson and structural linguistics but he had not yet laid out an agenda for structuralism, which he would do in the 1950s and 60s.  At the same time, these American years were the time when Lévi-Strauss would learn of some of the world’s most devastating historical catastrophes – the genocide of the indigenous American peoples and of European Jews.  From the beginning of the 1950s, Lévi-Strauss’s anthropology tacitly bears the heavy weight of the memory and possibility of the Shoah. To speak of ‘structural anthropology zero’ is therefore to refer to the source of a way of thinking which turned our conception of the human on its head. But this prequel to Structural Anthropology also underlines the sense of a tabula rasa which animated its author at the end of the war as well as the project – shared with others – of a civilizational rebirth on novel grounds.

Published here in English for the first time, this volume of Lévi-Strauss’s texts from the 1940s will be of great interest to students and scholars in anthropology, sociology and the social sciences generally.

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Marcello Musto, The Last Years of Karl Marx: An Intellectual Biography – Stanford University Press, July 2020

Marcello Musto, The Last Years of Karl Marx: An Intellectual Biography – Stanford University Press, July 2020

An innovative reassessment of the last writings and final years of Karl Marx.

In the last years of his life, Karl Marx expanded his research in new directions—studying recent anthropological discoveries, analyzing communal forms of ownership in precapitalist societies, supporting the populist movement in Russia, and expressing critiques of colonial oppression in India, Ireland, Algeria, and Egypt. Between 1881 and 1883, he also traveled beyond Europe for the first and only time. Focusing on these last years of Marx’s life, this book dispels two key misrepresentations of his work: that Marx ceased to write late in life, and that he was a Eurocentric and economic thinker fixated on class conflict alone.

With The Last Years of Karl Marx, Marcello Musto claims a renewed relevance for the late work of Marx, highlighting unpublished or previously neglected writings, many of which remain unavailable in English. Readers are invited to reconsider Marx’s critique of European colonialism, his ideas on non-Western societies, and his theories on the possibility of revolution in noncapitalist countries. From Marx’s late manuscripts, notebooks, and letters emerge an author markedly different from the one represented by many of his contemporary critics and followers alike. As Marx currently experiences a significant rediscovery, this volume fills a gap in the popularly accepted biography and suggests an innovative reassessment of some of his key concepts.

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