Georges Dumézil, Mitra-Varuna: An Essay on Two Indo-European Representations of Sovereignty, trans. Derek Coltman, ed. Stuart Elden – HAU books, June 2023

Georges Dumézil, Mitra-Varuna: An Essay on Two Indo-European Representations of Sovereignty, trans. Derek Coltman, ed. Stuart Elden – HAU books, June 2023.

Pre-order details at the University of Chicago Press site, who distribute HAU books.

A classic text that develops one prong of Dumézil’s tripartite hypothesis of Indo-European tribes: the sacred sovereign.
Georges Dumézil’s fascination with the myths and histories of India, Rome, Scandinavia, and the Celts yielded an idea that became his most influential scholarly legacy: the tripartite hypothesis, which divides Indo-European societal functions into three classes: the sacred sovereign, the warrior, and the producer. Mitra-Varuna, originally published in 1940, concentrates on the first function, that of sovereignty. Dumézil identifies two types of rulers, the first judicial and worldly, the second divine and supernatural. These figures, both priestly, are oppositional but complementary. The title nods to these roles, referring to the gods Mitra, a rational mediator, and Varuna, an awesome religious figure. 
Stuart Elden’s critical edition, based on the 1988 English translation by Derek Coltman, identifies variations between the first and second French editions and completes—and in places corrects—Dumézil’s references. The editor’s detailed introduction situates Mitra-Varuna within Dumézil’s career, outlines how his treatment of its themes developed over time, and relates the book to the political controversy around his ideas. Two new appendices contain passages that did not appear in the second French edition.

I’ve discussed something of the editing work here, and this is the first output of my new research project on Indo-European thought in twentieth-century France. This project is funded by a Leverhulme major research fellowship, to run for three years from 1 October 2022. I also have a chapter on Foucault’s use of Dumézil’s ideas on sovereignty forthcoming in the Handbook on Governmentality.

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Books received – Sevilla-Buitrago, Saberi, TCS, Polity, Gaston,

Two excellent books I read in manuscript – Álvaro Sevilla-Buitrago, Against the Commons: A Radical History of Planning and Parastou Saberi, Fearing the Immigrant: Racialization and Urban Policy in Toronto, the new special issue of Theory, Culture & Society, Richard Polt, Time and Trauma: Thinking through Heidegger in the Thirties, Sean Gaston, Jacques Derrida and the Challenge of History, Ulrich Johannes Schneider, Foucault im Hörsaal: Über das mündliche Philosophieren 

University of Minnesota Press sent Álvaro and Parastou’s books; the Rowman ones were recompense for review work, and Ulrich generously sent a copy of his book.

Posted in Jacques Derrida, Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault, Theory, Culture and Society, urban/urbanisation | Leave a comment

Pierre Nora : “Figure de la vie intellectuelle française, historien et éditeur”, Paris, 27 September 2022

Pierre Nora : “Figure de la vie intellectuelle française, historien et éditeur”, mk2 Bibliothèque, Paris, 27 September 2022

Free, but registration required.

Après Jeunesse (Gallimard) paru en 2021, l’historien Pierre Nora présente le second volet de ses Mémoires : Une étrange obstination (Gallimard). En revenant sur son parcours, mêlant portraits, anecdotes savoureuses et genèse de ses travaux d’historien, il évoque avec passion ses années Gallimard et son compagnonnage avec différentes figures marquantes, parmi lesquelles Michel Foucault, Georges Dumézil, ou encore Claude Lévi-Strauss.

Un entretien modéré par Jean Birnbaum, directeur du Monde des Livres. Il est l’auteur de nombreux essais dont récemment La Religion des faibles (2018, Seuil) et Le Courage de la nuance (2021, Seuil) qui ont rencontré un vif succès.

Update: The Gallimard page for Mémoires and Jeunesse is now in the cheaper Folio series.

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The Political Economy of Land: Rent, Financialization and Resistance, edited By Mika Hyötyläinen, Robert Beauregard – Routledge, November 2022

The Political Economy of Land: Rent, Financialization and Resistance, edited By Mika Hyötyläinen, Robert Beauregard – Routledge, November 2022

Looks interesting, but that price is terrible, especially given the topic…

Recent years have seen a gathering interest in the importance of real estate development to the growth and development of cities. This has included theoretical work on such topics as land rent and property rights as well as empirical studies on property investments, assetization, securitization, and the effects of changing property values on economic growth and the global status of cities. In the field of urban political economy, attention has turned particularly to the financialization of land and the built environment and to the globalization of property ownership, real estate development, and architectural design. This edited volume brings together a collection of original investigations of the current thinking on three broad themes: the assetization of land and buildings, the relationship of land rent to valuation and speculation in the markets for private and public properties, and the different ways in which land functions as a social relation. In order to ground the discussion, each chapter combines a theoretical perspective with empirical evidence. And, to convey a sense of the global nature of these phenomena, the book includes cases from Finland, India, Spain, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, China, and the United States. 

Although its prime goal is to solidify and extend the political economy of land, the book is also a celebration of the Finnish scholar Anne Haila who was a major contributor to this literature and, specifically, to the work of the book’s authors. Prior to her sudden death in 2019, she was a key figure in the discussions that are at the core of the political economy of land: the book, in part, is a public acknowledgement of her contributions.

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Workshop on Foucault’s Historical Method – Brisbane, Australia (2022)

A Workshop on Foucault’s Historical Method, Brisbane, Tuesday 27 September 2022

Foucault News

A Workshop on Foucault’s Historical Method

Tuesday 27 September 2022

To be held from 1.00 to 5.00 p.m. in the Level 6 Seminar Room, Forgan-Smith Tower, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities

Foucault’s historical method is often understood to have had two overlapping phases or alternating modalities: an archaeological one and a genealogical one. His accounts of historical “biopower,” of scholarly “ascesis” and of “history of the present” have all stimulated new historical forms of inquiry in several disciplines in the twenty-first century.

We propose to delve beneath the widespread influence of Foucault in historical inquiry to ask what it means to engage with history in a Foucauldian manner.

For example, the notion of a genealogical method is now in widespread use among historians. While Nietzsche often serves in that regard as a philosophical predecessor, that does not in itself provide a circumstantiated account…

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Pierre Hadot, Don’t Forget to Live: Goethe and the Tradition of Spiritual Exercises – University of Chicago Press, March 2023

Pierre Hadot, Don’t Forget to Live: Goethe and the Tradition of Spiritual Exercises – University of Chicago Press, March 2023, translated by Michael Chase, with a Foreword by Arnold I. Davidson and Daniele Lorenzini

In his final book, renowned philosopher Pierre Hadot explores Goethe’s relationship with spiritual exercises—transformative acts of intellect, imagination, or will. Goethe sought both an intense experience of a single moment as well as a kind of cosmic consciousness through practices that alternatively concentrated on or distanced himself from his present life. These practices, in Hadot’s reading of the poem “Urworte,” shaped Goethe’s audacious hope against mortality’s Momento mori (don’t forget to die)—the demonic, chance, love, and necessity that condition human life. Ultimately, Hadot reveals how Goethe cultivated a deep love for life around a new commandment: don’t forget to live.

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Harvey J. Kaye, The British Marxist Historians – Zer0, September 2022

Harvey J. Kaye, The British Marxist Historians – John Hunt/Zer0 – reissue, September 2022

The British Marxist Historians remains the first and most complete study of the founders of one of the most influential contemporary academic traditions in history and social theory. In this classic text, Kaye looks at Maurice Dobb and the debate on the transition to capitalism; Rodney Hilton on feudalism and the English peasantry; Christopher Hill on the English Revolution; Eric Hobsbawm on workers, peasants and world history; and E.P. Thompson on the making of the English working class. Kaye compares their perspective on history with other approaches, such as that of the French Annales school, and concludes with a discussion of the British Marxist historians’ contribution to the formation of a democratic historical consciousness. The British Marxist Historians is an indispensable book for anyone interested in the intellectual history of the late twentieth century.

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Special Issue: Genealogy, The Monist (2022)

special issue of The Monist on Genealogy edited by Daniele Lorenzini

Foucault News

Genealogy. Advisory Editor: Daniele Lorenzini
The Monist, Volume 105, Issue 4, October 2022


Genealogy, Evaluation, and Engineering
Matthieu Queloz
Genealogy as Meditation and Adaptation with the Han Feizi
Lee Wilson
Dripping with Blood and Dirt from Head to Toe: Marx’s Genealogy of Capitalism in Capital, Volume 1
Amy Allen
Psychology, Physiology, Medicine: The Perspectivist Interpretation of Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morality
Daniel R. Rodrıguez-Navas
Is Heidegger’s History of Being a Genealogy?
Sacha Golob
On Moral Unintelligibility: Beauvoir’s Genealogy of Morality in the Second Sex
Sabina Vaccarino Bremner
Reason Versus Power: Genealogy, Critique, and Epistemic Injustice
Daniele Lorenzini
Vindicating Reasons
Guy Longworth

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David Harvey, A Companion to Marx’s Grundrisse – Verso, February 2023

David Harvey, A Companion to Marx’s Grundrisse – Verso, February 2023

When leading scholar of Marx, Roman Rosdolsky, first encountered the virtually unknown text of Marx’s Grundrisse – his preparatory work for his masterpiece Das Capital – in the 1950s in New York Public Library, he recognized it as “a work of fundamental importance,” but declared “its unusual form” and “obscure manner of expression, made it far from suitable for reaching a wide circle of readers.”

David Harvey’s Companion to Marx’s Grundrisse builds upon his widely acclaimed companions to the first and second volumes of Capital in a way that will reach as wide an audience as possible. Marx’s stated ambition for this text – where he was thinking aloud about some of possible metamorphoses of capitalism – is to reveal “the exact development of the concept of capital as the fundamental concept of modern economics, just as capital itself is the foundation of bourgeois society.” While respecting Marx’s desire to “bring out all the contradictions of bourgeois production, as well as the boundary where it drives beyond itself,” David Harvey also pithily illustrates the relevance of Marx’s text to understanding the troubled state of contemporary capitalism.

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Jeff Malpas, In the Brightness of Place: Topological Thinking In and After Heidegger – SUNY Press, September 2022

Jeff Malpas, In the Brightness of Place: Topological Thinking In and After Heidegger – SUNY Press, September 2022

The work of Jeff Malpas is well-known for its contribution to contemporary thinking about place and space. In the Brightness of Place takes that contribution further, as Malpas develops it in new ways and in relation to new topics. At the same time, the volume also develops Malpas’ distinctively topological approach to the work of Martin Heidegger. Not limited simply to a reading of the topological in Heidegger, In the Brightness of Place also takes up the idea of topology after Heidegger, showing how topological thinking provides a way of rethinking Heidegger’s own work and of rethinking our own being in the world.

“Malpas has long been the leading figure in debates about Heidegger, philosophy and place. Building on that pioneering work, In the Brightness of Place represents an important contribution to several fields, most obviously around place, geography and landscape, but also to literature. The opening chapter on Heidegger’s notorious ‘Black Notebooks’ is particularly impressive. It treats them seriously—philosophically, politically, biographically—and shows how they can shed light on important issues in the reading and assessment of Heidegger.” — Stuart Elden, author of The Early Foucault

“In this magisterial book, Jeff Malpas lucidly sets forth the full span of Heidegger’s later thought. He draws the curtain on a broader vista than one might ever have imagined, ranging from meditations on the “other beginning” and the ‘turning’ to rethinking emotion and reason. He shows how what might otherwise appear to be a scattered multiplicity of topics gravitates around place understood as a deeply coherent core of Heidegger’s mature work. He demonstrates not just the plausibility of this core but just how unrefusable it is when taken seriously. The result is a triumph not only in Heidegger scholarship but in building a case for ‘the essentially placed character of being.’ The author’s luminous prose—which draws on many sources, not only philosophical (ranging from Hume and Kant to Arendt and Benjamin) but poetic and historical—conveys to us a profound truth of the human condition: to be is to be in place.” — Edward S. Casey, author of The World on Edge and Turning Emotion Inside Out

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