A two week break from this blog and social media

I’m taking a break from this blog, social media and anything online for two weeks. This blog has been fairly quiet recently, except for various things about the dangers of reopening campuses in the middle of a resurgence of cases, and some book information. I’m heading to a remote farm in Wales, which has no internet and no mobile phone signal. It’s a trip I had booked in the spring, but which had to be rearranged due to restrictions in place then. Part holiday and part working. I hope the break from news and social media will do me good. I’m planning on doing some reading and writing on the next Foucault book, some more general and non-work reading, and some cycling. I’ll be back home and online just before term starts.

I can’t believe universities are about to return to face-to-face teaching when the case numbers are far higher than when campuses were first closed. But a lot can happen in two weeks – either things will start to improve, or they will be so obviously worse that a plan B is inevitable.

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Two new books on Gramsci in the Historical Materialism series

Two new books on Gramsci in the Historical Materialism series with Brill.

Franceca Antonini, Aaron Bernstein, Lorenzo Fusaro and Robert Jackson (eds.), Revisiting Gramsci’s Notebooks and Alvaro Bianchi, Gramsci’s Laboratory: Philosophy, History and Politics

Both only expensive hardback and e-book at the moment, but these books usually appear in paperback with Haymarket fairly soon after initial publication.

Revisiting Gramsci’s Notebooks offers a rich collection of historical, philosophical, and political studies addressing the thought of Antonio Gramsci, one of the most significant intellects of the twentieth century. Based on thorough analyses of Gramsci’s texts, these interdisciplinary investigations engage with ongoing debates in different fields of study. They are exciting evidence of the enduring capacity of Gramsci’s thought to generate and nurture innovative inquiries across diverse themes. 

Gathering scholars from different continents, the volume represents a global network of Gramscian thinkers from early-career researchers to experienced scholars. Combining rigorous explication of the past with a strategic analysis of the present, these studies mobilise underexplored resources from the Gramscian toolbox to confront the actuality of our ‘great and terrible’ world. 

The purpose of Gramsci’s Laboratory is to interpret the relationship between philosophy and politics in Gramsci’s Quaderni del carcere. A milestone in contemporary Brazilian Gramsci reception, the book argues that in Gramsci’s work the unity of theory and practice is unfolded theoretically through the unity of philosophy, history and politics. 

Bianchi argues that this unity was developed in the research project that Gramsci carried out in prison, and was thus a product of the ‘determination in the last instance’ of politics itself. His book demonstrates that a correct understanding of this unity requires us to recognise that history and philosophy are constitutive elements of the political field from which they claim to keep their distance.

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J.B. Harley Research Fellowships in the History of Cartography

J.B. Harley Research Fellowships in the History of Cartography – details here.

The J.B. Harley Fellowships were set up in London in 1992 in memory of Brian Harley (1932-91). Prof. Harley was a leading thinker in the history of cartography, working in a range of areas including historical geography, the history of the Ordnance Survey and mapping ideology. Together with David Woodward he founded the History of Cartography project in the early 1980s.J.B. Harley

 The Harley Fellowships, the only ones of their kind in Europe, are open to anyone pursuing advanced research in the history of cartography, irrespective of nationality, discipline or profession, who wishes to work in London and other parts of the United Kingdom.

While independent of them, the fellowships are run in association with the four institutions in the London area that, together, hold the greatest number of early maps, namely: British LibraryThe National ArchivesNational Maritime Museum, and Royal Geographical Society

A list of previous Harley fellows along with their research topics can be found here

http://www.maphistory.info/application.html provides all the necessary information and answers many frequently asked questions. Email applications should be set to: rose.mitchell@nationalarchives.gov.uk by 1 November 2020. 

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Chiara Alfano, Derrida Reads Shakespeare – Edinburgh University Press, 2020

Chiara Alfano, Derrida Reads Shakespeare – Edinburgh University Press, 2020

Looks really interesting, but shame about the prohibitive price, even for the e-book…

Explores Jacques Derrida’s distinctive approach to Shakespeare

Offers the first comprehensive and accessible account and discussion of Derrida’s engagement with Shakespeare

Challenges the way we have traditionally come to think about the interdisciplinary relationship between literature and philosophy, as well as literary genius

Contextualises Derrida’s readings of Shakespeare within his wider philosophical project and discusses in how far they relate to – or are distinct from – his engagement with other dramatic or literary works

This book brings to light Derrida’s rich and thought-provoking discussions of Shakespearean drama. Contextualising Derrida’s readings of Shakespeare’s Romeo and JulietHamletThe Merchant of Venice and King Lear within his wider philosophical project, Alfano explores what draws Derrida to Shakespeare and what makes him particularly suitable for philosophical thought. The author also makes the case for Derrida’s singular understanding of the relationship between philosophy and Shakespeare and his radical idea of what literary genius is.

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Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting (eds.), The Philosopher Queens – Unbound, September 2020

Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting (eds.), The Philosopher Queens – Unbound, September 2020

For all the young women and girls sitting in philosophy class wondering where the women are, this is the book for you. This collection of 21 chapters, each on a prominent woman in philosophy, looks at the impact that women have had on the field throughout history. From Hypatia to Angela Davis, The Philosopher Queens will be a guide to these badass women and how their amazing ideas have changed the world. 

This book is written both for newcomers to philosophy, as well as all those professors who know that they could still learn a thing or two. This book is also for those many people who have told us that there are no great women philosophers. Please pledge, read this book and then feel free to get back to us.

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Michel Serres and The Natural Contract – discussion with Christopher Watkin at Hermetix

Michel Serres and The Natural Contract – discussion with Christopher Watkin at Hermetix

Christopher Watkin is Senior Lecturer in French Studies at Monash University, he is also the author of French Philosophy Today and Michel Serres: Figures of Thought. In this episode we discuss Michel Serres’ text The Natural Contractalongside discussion on ecology, pollution, possession and nature. 

Christopher’s book on Serres can be purchased here.

Thanks to dmf for this link.

Update: the whole series is listed here – there are other discussions of Serres, and much more.

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Naomi Waltham-Smith, Shattering Biopolitics: Militant Listening and the Sound of Life – Fordham University Press, July 2021

Naomi Waltham-Smith, Shattering Biopolitics: Militant Listening and the Sound of Life – Fordham University Press, 2021

No other details as yet on the Fordham page, but good to see this book listed as forthcoming.

Naomi’s Warwick page says the following:

My second monograph, Shattering Biopolitics: Militant Listening and the Sound of Life (forthcoming with Fordham University Press for the Commonalities series), develops my interests in the role of sound and listening in the philosophical tradition from Plato to contemporary French thought. It examines how sound is imbricated in the politics of life as it is theorised in the thought of Derrida, Cixous, Agamben, and Malabou, exploring the ramifications for the politics of sound, listening, and voice today.

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Hermione Lee, ‘What is Biography?’ (British Academy)

Hermione Lee, ‘What is Biography?‘ (British Academy)

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Books received – Port-Royal, Gregory, Roussel, Dumézil, Said, Love

Jeff Love’s biography of Alexandre Kojève, Edward Said’s Beginnings – both in recompense for review work, and some second-hand books for various things, mainly in relation to the Foucault work. Foucault introduced the Port-Royal Grammaire, and the issue of Langages has an earlier version of his text. The ex-library book is Derek Gregory, Regional Transformation and Industrial Revolution: A Geography of the Yorkshire Woollen Industry it was mentioned on Twitter recently, and I realised it was the only book of his that I didn’t have a copy of.

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Department for Education guidance ‘Higher education: reopening buildings and campuses’

The Department for Education guidance ‘Higher education: reopening buildings and campuses‘ was posted very early this morning. Necessary, but deeply concerning, reading.

On this topic, see also my list of pieces from SAGE, Independent SAGE and others here and here; and a lot more on covid-19 can be found here – Geographers, sociologists, philosophers etc. on covid-19

Update 11 Sept: Universities are being forced to lie about being COVID safe (Open Democracy)

Update 12 Sept: Rachel Hall, ‘I suppose you’re stuck with these people’: the students facing an uncertain new term (The Guardian)

Jim Dickinson, Revised guidance for England on universities and Covid-19 means tiers before Christmas (WONKHE)

Sarah Kraus, Reopening Universities Isn’t Just a Threat to Staff and Students – It’s a Threat to Communities Too (NovaraMedia)

Update 13 Sept: Nervous students return to Bristol University: ‘For the sake of my studies I need to’ (The Observer)

John Wright, Coronavirus doctor’s diary: Will universities be able to avoid spreading the virus? (BBC News)

Update 14 Sept: Jonathan Peters, Coronavirus: Students return to socially-distanced university campuses (BBC News – Scotland)

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