Category Archives: Blog

Bonnie Honig on agency in “Antigone”

Antigone’s actions are “embedded in and enacted on behalf of forces, structures, and networks larger than the autonomous individual that modern liberals, humanists and even radical democratic theorist tend to both love … and berate” (Honig, Antigone, Interrupted, 8). “Under the name of Antigone, A,I tracks not an exemplary individual but rather a set of discourses, styles, genres, vocabularies, citations, collaborations, conspiracies, reactions, interruptions, negotiations, failed and successful communications” (piece on the Leonard/Porter panel, 330). Antigone is “a veritable swarm of figures. Not a subjectified reified figure, but a host: … all dissidents, martyrs, counter-revolutionaries, philosophers, feminists, and diasporic actors who have claimed her or been claimed by her. Indeed, Antigone seems to me to be less of a singular heroine … than a signifier overflowing with contested meanings and available for mobilization as a heroine in many particular contexts” (331). Honig insists that “the world also always passes through us, and that we are, therefore, only ever individuated, never individuals as such, always en procès” (335). “I do press for a politics that seeks out sovereignty, but not for individuals. Individual subjects are anything but sovereign. As actors in concert, however, we can set the terms of our collective life together in small and, sometimes, large ways” (piece on the Walsh panel, 571).

Revolutionary states of emergency

“Modern states of emergency follow close on the heels of modern revolutions. They are, per Agamben, ‘a creation,’ ironically, ‘of the democratic-revolutionary tradition and not the absolutist one’ [State of Exception, 5]. Though he does not himself make this point explicitly, we cold consider emergency an instrument that emerges from within the revolution to turn its most radical tendencies back. When a revolutionary government suspends its own constitution, it undermines the constituent politics – that is, the popular power to form a truly egalitarian body politic – that originally precipitated the revolution and which the constitution is supposed to enshrine. Emergency decrees are, in this regard, the counterinsurgent practice par excellence. They circumscribe constituent power withing the sovereign voice” (Ahmed, Archaeology of Babel, 2017, 189).

Marta Figlerowicz: “The Disillusionment of Post-Soviet Europe”

A review of Aftershock: A Journey into Eastern Europe’s Broken Dreams (2017) by John Feffer

Suzy Killmister: “Taking the Measure of Autonomy: A Four-Dimensional Theory of Self-Governance” (2017)

“Her view centers on the idea that there are several dimensions to autonomy, and while they are related, one may fall short in one but not the others. The result is a nuanced theory of autonomy that illuminates how the concept applies in a range of domains and to a range of agents.”

“Night School on Anarres”

Night School on Anarres is an educational experiment examining the utopian proposals of twentieth-century anarchism, drawing from Ursula K Le Guin’s seminal sci-fi novel The Dispossessed. … Part sci-fi set, part classroom, part roundhouse theatre, the Night School on Anarres installation is a site where utopic ambitions can be collectively imagined, performed and discussed.”

“Symposium on the Bicentennial of the Latin American Revolutions of Independence”

Journal of the History of Ideas, 79: 1, 2018

“October! The Soviet Centenary”

South Atlantic Quarterly 116: 4 (October 2017), Hardt & Mezzadra, eds.

For an “affirmative melancholic politics”

Advancing “the conception of an affirmative — as opposed to circuitous, nostalgic, or introspective — melancholic politics” (220), Klaus Mladek and George Edmondson (“A Politics of Melancholia,” in Strathausen, ed.: A Leftist Ontology, 2009) note that, since the early 1990s, “there has been a steady movement on the part of what might be called the poststructuralist left, represented by Derrida, Butler, and Bhabha, … toward a politics of melancholia” (210). They draw on the late Freud who believes that “the ego is constitutively melancholic, a vital defense system … said to ‘revolt’ against the extinction of objects that are unmourned and unmournable” (210). They suggest that, out of an unyielding fidelity to lost objects and values, melancholic militancy rebels against failure, refusing to allow them to sink into oblivion. Thus there may be “an affirmative, even proud dimension to the melancholic state — a dimension that recognizes doom itself as the engine of rebellion” (210).

“Think Globally, Act Historically: Teaching the French Revolution and Napoleon”

In a new textbook, The French Revolution and Napoleon: The Crucible of the Modern World, metropolitan France is still central, but the global context now plays a much more significant role, explain the authors.

“Native American Revolutions” Bibliography

Seminal works on the roles Native Americans played in the Age of the American Revolution.