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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H. Glenn Penny, In Humboldt’s Shadow: A Tragic History of German Ethnology – Princeton University Press, 2021

H. Glenn Penny, In Humboldt’s Shadow: A Tragic History of German Ethnology – Princeton University Press, 2021

The Berlin Ethnological Museum is one of the world’s largest and most important anthropological museums, housing more than a half million objects collected from around the globe. In Humboldt’s Shadow tells the story of the German scientists and adventurers who, inspired by Alexander von Humboldt’s inclusive vision of the world, traveled the earth in pursuit of a total history of humanity. It also details the fate of their museum, which they hoped would be a scientists’ workshop, a place where a unitary history of humanity might emerge.

H. Glenn Penny shows how these early German ethnologists assembled vast ethnographic collections to facilitate their study of the multiplicity of humanity, not to confirm emerging racist theories of human difference. He traces how Adolf Bastian filled the Berlin museum in an effort to preserve the records of human diversity, yet how he and his supporters were swept up by the imperialist currents of the day and struck a series of Faustian bargains to ensure the growth of their collections. Penny describes how influential administrators such as Wilhelm von Bode demanded that the museum be transformed into a hall for public displays, and how Humboldt’s inspiring ideals were ultimately betrayed by politics and personal ambition.

In Humboldt’s Shadow calls on museums to embrace anew Bastian’s vision while deepening their engagement with indigenous peoples concerning the provenance and stewardship of these collections.

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Ben Jacobsen and David Beer, Social Media and the Automatic Production of Memory: Classification, Ranking and the Sorting of the Past – Bristol University Press, April 2021

Ben Jacobsen and David Beer, Social Media and the Automatic Production of Memory: Classification, Ranking and the Sorting of the Past – Bristol University Press, April 2021 

Social media platforms hold vast amounts of biographical data about our lives. They repackage our past content as ‘memories’ and deliver them back to us. But how does that change the way we remember? 

Drawing on original qualitative research as well as industry documents and reports, this book critically explores the process behind this new form of memory making. In asking how social media are beginning to change the way we remember, it will be essential reading for scholars and students who are interested in understanding the algorithmically defined spaces of our lives.

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