Category Archives: Blog

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.

“The Bolsheviks’ rise to power, one hundred years ago”

essays & reviews

4 books on the Commons

Herbert Reid & Betsy Taylor: Recovering the Commons: Democracy, Place, and Global Justice (2010)

Pierre Dardot & Christian Laval: Commun. Essai sur la révolution au XXIe siècle (2014)

David Bollier and Silke Helfrich, eds.: Patterns of Commoning (2015)

Mary Delenbaugh, Markus Kip et al., eds.: Urban Commons: Moving Beyond Market and State (2015).


Panagiotis Sotiris: “Rethinking Dual Power” (2017)

“Instead of limiting it to the particular conjuncture of a revolutionary situation, it is better to think of a permanent dual power as an integral aspect of any potentially revolutionary strategy, or as a permanent trait of any politics of emancipation.

“The first comprehensive political history of the communist party”

A. James McAdams: Vanguard of the Revolution: The Global Idea of the Communist Party (Princeton 2017) “from the drafting of The Communist Manifesto in the 1840s to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s”.

Jonathan Smele: “Russian Revolution Reading List”

5 books, with descriptions

“How do people excluded from political life achieve political agency?”

Martin Breaugh:  The Plebeian Experience: A Discontinuous History of Political Freedom (Columbia, 2013) “identifies fleeting yet decisive instances of emancipation in which people took it upon themselves to become political subjects.”

Murray Bookchin: “The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy”

A collection of essays (Verso 2015, attached).