Three interesting reviews at NDPR
Olivia Custer, Penelope Deutscher, and Samir Haddad (eds.), Foucault/Derrida Fifty Years Later: The Futures of Genealogy, Deconstruction, and Politics by Christopher Penfield – here
Thomas Nail, Theory of the Border by Avery Kolers – here
Martin Heidegger, Interpretation of Nietzsche’s Second Untimely Meditation by Tracy Colony – here
Hubert Dreyfus obituary by Sean Kelly at Daily Nous.
Update: The Berkeley obituary is here.
Can You Have Too Much Writing Time?
A few weeks ago, I received an email from a former student, asking for some advice about managing a summer of writing. With her permission, I am sharing her email and my reflections on our conversation.
Some good advice and discussion at the Explorations of Style blog, which continues into the comments. I shared ‘my sabbatical rules for writing‘ back in September 2015, and they worked quite well for me then. Of course, more time and less time are relative, and small amounts of time can add up to something larger. With any amount of time, the questions are what could be achieved realistically, and how could it be achieved.
The key line for me in this piece is “A generous block of writing time is an opportunity, not a solution.” Of course, it’s a great opportunity, but without some thought, planning and discipline, it may not be what you expect it to be. Much to think about here.
Todd S. Mei, Land and the Given Economy: The Hermeneutics and Phenomenology of Dwelling. Here’s the publisher description:
Alarming environmental degradation makes ever more urgent the reconciliation of political economy and sustainability. Land and the Given Economy examines how the landed basis of human existence converges with economics, and it offers a persuasive new conception of land that transcends the flawed and inadequate accounts in classical and neoclassical economics.
Todd S. Mei grounds this work in a rigorous review of problematic economic conceptions of land in the work of John Locke, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Henry George, Alfred Marshall, and Thorstein Veblen.
Mei then draws on the thought of Martin Heidegger to posit a philosophical clarification of the meaning of land—its ontological nature. He argues that central to rethinking land is recognizing its unique manner of being, described as its “givenness.” Concluding with a discussion of ground rent, Mei reflects on specific strategies for incorporating the philosophical account of land into contemporary economic policies.
Revivifying economic frameworks that fail to resolve the impasse between economic development and sustainability, Land and the Given Economy offers much of interest to scholars and readers of philosophy, environmentalism, and the full spectrum of political economy.
The book is reviewed at NDPR by Casey Rentmeester.
Simon Reid-Henry discusses the work of and influences on Arturo Escobar in The Guardian
Social Morphogenesis: Five Years of Inquiring Into Social Change
Postmodernity. Second modernity. Network Society. Late modernity. Liquid modernity. Such concepts have dominated social thought in recent decades, with a bewildering array of claims about social change and its implications. But what do we mean by ‘social change’? How do we establish that such change is taking place? What does it mean to say that it is intensifying? These are some of the questions which the Social Morphogenesis project has sought to answer in the last five years, through an inquiry orientated around the speculative notion of ‘morphogenic society’.
In this launch event, contributors to the project discuss their work over the last five years and the questions it has addressed concerning social change. The day begins with an introductory lecture by the convenor of the project, Margaret S. Archer, before a series of thematic panels presenting different stands of the project. It concludes with a closing session in which participants share three issues the project raised for them, as well as a general discussion.
At the end of the day, there will be a wine reception to which all participants are invited. There will also be an opportunity to purchase discounted copies of the books from Springer.
Margaret S. Archer
Andrea M. Maccarini
Graham Scambler (Chair)
More speakers to be confirmed.
This is some good advice on the need to, and how to, say ‘no’ to some of the requests that come your way.
Early in my career, I struggled to say no. I was asked to serve on committee after committee, to evaluate fistfuls of manuscripts and grants, and to perform dozens of other tasks, large and small. I said yes willy-nilly — often because of genuine interest, but other times out of a sense of guilt or obligation, and sometimes out of fear of reprisal if I refused. But as I advanced in my career, the requests snowballed. Agreeing to do all of them — or even half of them — became impossible. I needed to figure out when to say no, and how to do it artfully. Five principles have helped me learn what to say, and what not to say.
The article is worth reading, but the five key points, which apply in different situations are:
- Volunteer someone else — strategically
- Don’t explain
- Do explain
- Set your own policies
- Just hit ‘delete’
I’ve written on this topic before – The challenge of saying ‘no’ to academic requests There is some good advice in this post. But to pre-empt the comments on avoiding work, or transferring to others, here’s the conclusion:
Academe could not function if every scholar refused to serve on committees, evaluate manuscripts and grants, write recommendations, and perform many other uncompensated and often undervalued tasks. We need to say yes — and to do so often. Ultimately, that’s why saying no is so important. Saying no to some requests enables us to say yes to others. Each productive yes depends on many an artful no.
Research hacks #14: 15 tips on planning and writing a conference paper
Research hacks #15: Tips on delivering a conference paper
Research hacks #16: 20 tips on timekeeping and technology for your conference presentation
Research hacks #17: 15 tips on fielding questions after a conference paper
The rest of this useful series are here.
I heard the news yesterday that Hubert Dreyfus had died at the age of 87. While it was shared on social media, it took a while for an official notification. Dreyfus’s Twitter account simply said ‘Reports of my demise are not exaggerated’.
I met him only once, almost twenty years ago, at a conference at the University of Essex when I was a PhD student. I gave a talk on Heidegger and Hölderlin, which became my first journal publication (read it here). I don’t think he was in the audience for that session, but we had a talk about Heidegger, Foucault and space in one of the breaks, and he was very generous with his time. In particular he suggested that I talk more to Béatrice Han-Pile, whom I met at that conference, and to get in contact with Jeff Malpas. Both were excellent people to talk to, and I am still in touch with both, and I’m extremely grateful for that. He kindly answered some questions by email following this event. I’d hoped to speak to him when I visited Berkeley in 2015 to do work on the Foucault papers archived there, but it didn’t work out. I did spot his beautiful car parked on campus though – immortalised in the covers of the collections on Dreyfus’s work edited by Malpas and Mark Wrathall.
The interview below gives a sense of the breadth of his interests.