book launch for Canguilhem, gloknos/CRASSH, Cambridge, 20 May 3pm

Coming up next week – 20 May, 3pm book launch for Canguilhem, gloknos/CRASSH, S1, Alison Richard Building, University of Cambridge (with Inanna Hamati-Ataya and Simon Reid-Henry)

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The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare and Political Theology, Hampton Court/Garrick’s Temple, June 21-22 2019

Draft programme for the two days of The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare and Political Theology event in June. I’ll be speaking about Shakespeare and Kantorowicz on the second day.

Kingston Shakespeare Seminar


The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare and Political Theology event consists of two related events, both of which highlight current thought on political theology in Shakespeare.

The first day, held in the Jane Seymour Room at Hampton Court Palace, dovetails into two themes: Crown and Crowd. The Crown section begins at 10 am and features talks on coronation rituals and absent kings by Charles Farris, Anthony Musson and Michael Hattaway. The crowd section begins at 2 pm with talks by Sam Gilchrist Hall, Edel Lamb, Sally Barnden and Yan Brailowsky. The day also features musical interludes by ARCHIcantiores performing ‘royal’ and ‘crowd’ music as well as ballads. Ticket price includes tea, coffee and a packed lunch.

The second day at Garrick’s Temple (a short walk from Hampton Court and Hampton Station) continues the symposia on Shakespeare in philosophy with a day on the seminal political theologian Ernst Kantorowicz (1895-1963). Speakers include…

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Simon Reid-Henry, Empire of Democracy: The Remaking of the West Since the Cold War, 1971–2017 – Simon & Schuster, 2019

empire-of-democracy-9781451684964_lgSimon Reid-Henry, Empire of Democracy: The Remaking of the West Since the Cold War, 1971–2017 – Simon & Schuster, 2019

Book launch – London Review Bookshop, 24 June 2019, 7pm

The first panoramic history of the Western world from the 1970s to the present day, Empire of Democracy is the story for those asking how we got to where we are.

Half a century ago, at the height of the Cold War and amidst a world economic crisis, the Western democracies were forced to undergo a profound transformation. Against what some saw as a full-scale “crisis of democracy”— with race riots, anti-Vietnam marches and a wave of worker discontent sowing crisis from one nation to the next— a new political-economic order was devised and the postwar social contract was torn up and written anew.

In this epic narrative of the events that have shaped our own times, Simon Reid-Henry shows how liberal democracy, and western history with it, was profoundly reimagined when the postwar Golden Age ended. As the institutions of liberal rule were reinvented, a new generation of politicians emerged: Thatcher, Reagan, Mitterrand, Kohl. The late twentieth century heyday they oversaw carried the Western democracies triumphantly to victory in the Cold War and into the economic boom of the 1990s. But equally it led them into the fiasco of Iraq, to the high drama of the financial crisis in 2007/8, and ultimately to the anti-liberal surge of our own times.

The present crisis of liberalism enjoins us to revisit these as yet unscripted decades. The era we have all been living through is closing out, democracy is turning on its axis once again. As this panoramic history poignantly reminds us, the choices we make going forward require us first to come to terms with where we have been.


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How We Read: Tales, Fury, Nothing, Sound, edited by Suzanne Conklin Akbari and Kaitlin Heller- Punctum, summer 2019

how-we-read-cover-20190412How We Read: Tales, Fury, Nothing, Sound, edited by Suzanne Conklin Akbari and Kaitlin Heller- Punctum, summer 2019 – the follow-up to How We Write: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blank Page

What do we do when we read?

Reading can be an act of consumption or an act of creation. Our “work reading” overlaps with our “pleasure reading,” and yet these two modes of reading engage with different parts of the self. It is sometimes passive, sometimes active, and can even be an embodied form.

The contributors to this volume share their own histories of reading in order to reveal the shared pleasure that lies in this most solitary of acts – which is also, paradoxically, the act of most complete plenitude. Many of the contributors engage in academic writing, and several publish in other genres, including poetry and fiction; some contributors maintain an active online presence. All are engaged with reading’s capacity to stimulate and excite as well as to frustrate and confuse. The synergies and tensions of online reading and print reading animate these thirteen contributions, generating a sense of shared community. Together, the authors open their libraries to us. This is how we read.

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After Grenfell: Violence, Resistance and Response, edited by Dan Bulley, Jenny Edkins, Nadine El-Enany – Pluto 2019

9780745339580After Grenfell: Violence, Resistance and Response, edited by Dan Bulley, Jenny Edkins, Nadine El-Enany – Pluto 2019

Currently 50% off – royalties to charity

On the 14th June 2017, a fire engulfed a tower block in West London, seventy-two people lost their lives and hundreds of others were left displaced and traumatised. The Grenfell Tower fire is the epicentre of a long history of violence enacted by government and corporations. On its second anniversary activists, artists and academics come together to respond, remember and recover the disaster.

The Grenfell Tower fire illustrates Britain’s symbolic order; the continued logic of colonialism, the disposability of working class lives, the marketisation of social provision and global austerity politics, and the negligence and malfeasance of multinational contractors. Exploring these topics and more, the contributors construct critical analysis from legal, cultural, media, community and government responses to the fire, asking whether, without remedy for multifaceted power and violence, we will ever really be ‘after’ Grenfell?

With poetry by Ben Okri and Tony Walsh, and photographs by Parveen Ali, Sam Boal and Yolanthe Fawehinmi.

With contributions from Phil Scraton, Daniel Renwick, Nadine El-Enany, Sarah Keenan, Gracie Mae Bradley and The Radical Housing Network.

‘No other account names those to blame so clearly, or so convincingly uncovers the slow violence, the racist attitudes, and the legacy of empire that led to this disaster’ – Danny Dorling, author of ‘Inequality and the 1%’

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Books received – review work for University of Minnesota Press


Mainly older works by Agamben, Deleuze, Derrida, and Foucault, but also some other books, including James Tyner, Dead Labor: Towards a Political Economy of Premature Death, Michèle H. Richman, Sacred Revolutions: Durkheim and the Collège de Sociologie and Erin Felicia Labbie, Lacan’s Medievalism.

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Dilek Huseyinzadegan, Kant’s Non-Ideal Theory of Politics – Northwestern U Press, 2019

kant-s-nonideal-theory-of-politicsDilek Huseyinzadegan, Kant’s Non-Ideal Theory of Politics – Northwestern University Press, 2019

Kant’s Nonideal Theory of Politics argues that Kant’s political thought must be understood by reference to his philosophy of history, cultural anthropology, and geography. The central thesis of the book is that Kant’s assessment of the politically salient features of history, culture, and geography generates a nonideal theory of politics, which supplements his well-known ideal theory of cosmopolitanism.

This novel analysis thus challenges the common assumption that an ideal theory of cosmopolitanism constitutes Kant’s sole political legacy. Dilek Huseyinzadegan demonstrates that Kant employs a teleological worldview throughout his political writings as a means of grappling with the pressing issues of multiplicity, diversity, and plurality—issues that confront us to this day.

Kant’s Nonideal Theory of Politics is the first book-length treatment of Kant’s political thought that gives full attention to the role that history, anthropology, and geography play in his mainstream political writings. Interweaving close textual analyses of Kant’s writings with more contemporary political frameworks, this book also makes Kant accessible and responsive to fields other than philosophy. As such, it will be of interest to students and scholars working at the intersections of political theory, feminism, critical race theory, and post- and decolonial thought.


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Marx at His Limits

Andy Merrifield on Marshall Berman, Hudson Yards and David Harvey…

andy merrifield

I was in New York recently, and as per custom I like to walk its streets checking out used bookstores. Used bookstores are a species in danger of extinction in Manhattan, ever more picked off by rising rents and booming property prices. But one of my favourites, Mercer Books, along Mercer Street, smack in the heart of New York University’s ghetto, miraculously lives on. I’m always surprised, and not a little relieved, that NYU’s real estate machine hasn’t yet gobbled it up.

Piled up in one corner of the bookstore were dusty back copies of old literary and political journals, many dating from the 1960s, a treasure trove for those who cared to rummage, there at giveaway prices. Digging around I discovered a few gems: a Partisan Review from 1965, with an article by Joseph Frank on “Dostoevsky and the Socialists”; and a 1983 Antioch Review with Raymond Carver’s story…

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Professor Couze Venn: Memorial and Celebration – Goldsmiths, May 22nd 2019 6-8 pm

Professor Couze Venn: Memorial and Celebration – Goldsmiths, May 22nd 2019 6-8 pm

Professor Couze Venn

Memorial and Celebration

Please come to this event to remember and celebrate the life of Couze Venn, the pioneering cultural, social and post-colonial theorist.

Wednesday, May 22nd 2019 6-8 pm

LG01, lower atrium

Professor Stuart Hall Building

All welcome

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John Agnew & Mat Coleman (eds.), Handbook on the Geographies of Power – review in Geographical Research

9781785365638I have a review of John Agnew & Mat Coleman (eds.), Handbook on the Geographies of Power in Geographical Research. A read-only version can be accessed here; a downloadable preprint here.

I’m very positive about the content of the book, but critical of the business model and price.

The publisher’s description of the book follows:

The so-called spatial turn in the social sciences means that many researchers have become much more interested in what can be called the spatialities of power, or the ways in which power as a medium for achieving goals is related to where it takes place. Most famous authors on the subject, such as Machiavelli and Hobbes, saw power as entirely equivalent to domination exercised by some over others. Though this meaning is hardly redundant, understandings of power have become more multidimensional and nuanced as a result of the spatial turn. Much recent writing in human geography, for example, has rigorously extended use of the term power beyond its typical understanding as a resource that pools up in some hands and some places to a medium of agency that has different effects depending on how it is deployed across space and how actors cooperate, or not, to give it effect. To address this objective, the book is organized thematically into four sections that cover the main areas in which much of the contemporary work on geographies of power is concentrated: bodies, economy, environment and energy, and war.


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