There’s a Riot Going on: From Haiti to Tunisia
by R.A. Judy
“The true scandal is not in the proposition of analogy between the Haitian and Tunisian revolutions, but in this epistemological failure, which perpetuates the refusal to recognize that they are not derivative analogues of the French Revolution or the European Spring of Revolution, but are distinctive events of social transformation, which while in part stimulated by a certain set of Enlightenment concepts and institutions, have taken a course that cannot be charted according to the dominate mapping of our common modernity…” Read more
June Fourth at 25: Forget Tiananmen, You Don’t Want to Hurt the Chinese People’s Feelings – and Miss Out on the Business of the New “New China”! by Arif Dirlik
“The Tiananmen democracy movement brought to a head the contradictions of “reform and opening” that had acquired increasing sharpness during the decade of the 1980s. The successful turn to global capitalism in the aftermath of the suppression has been at least as important as the censorship of memories in the “forgetting” of Tiananmen among the PRC population. In historical perspective, Tiananmen appears as one of a series of popular uprisings around the globe that have accompanied the globalization of neo-liberal capitalism. The discussion throughout stresses foreign complicity – including that of foreign China scholars and educational institutions – in covering up this open sore on so-called ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’.” Read more
On The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age
“Take a moment to think through the wide range of devices you would have to turn off and services you would have to avoid to succeed in such a challenge. While a single day without going online may not represent too outlandish an ordeal such an endeavor would still require some social and economic gymnastics. From the way we communicate with friends to the way we order food to the way we turn in assignments for school or complete tasks in our jobs – our lives have become thoroughly entangled with the Internet. Whether its power and control are overt or subtle the Internet has come to wield an impressive amount of influence over our lives. All of which should serve to raise a discomforting question – so, who is in control of the Internet?” Continue Reading.
~a review by Zachary Loeb
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On Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot
“Given Gessen’s record of critiquing Putinist repression of civil society, particularly surrounding questions of gender and sexuality, the book adds to the conversation on resistance to authoritarian regimes. Words Will Break Cement will likely appeal to a mixed audience: general readers curious about the formation and motivations of this guerrilla-style punk rock art collective, as well as scholars interested in unmasking the theory underlying Pussy Riot’s attempts to deconstruct both epistemological and political systems of power.” Continue Reading.
~a review by Alice E.M. Underwood
A Political Companion to Herman Melville
“Current scholars, including those anthologized in Jason Frank’s A Political Companion to Herman Melville (2013), cannot resist pursuing Melville’s oeuvre in ways that make Melville and the political questions raised by his texts present for readers today. But, what comes of these endeavors? One only has to consider Andrew Delbanco’s Melville: His World and Work (2005) to find an answer.” Continue Reading.
~a review by Trisha Brady
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Anti-Zionism as Antisemitism: The Case of Italy
an intervention by John Champagne
“In several recent essays and articles on the relationship between Italian Jews in the diaspora and contemporary Israeli political and military actions toward the Palestinians, an interesting series of contradictions emerge. In some instances, critique of the military policies of the state of Israel is equated with antisemitism, even when that critique is proffered by Italian Jews. The argument, presented, for example, by Ugo Volli in his “Zionism: a Word that not Everyone Understands,” is that there is a connection between military and political attacks on Israel…” Continue Reading.
Inviting comment on Last Fall’s conference, “Legacies of the Future: The Life and Work of Edward Said.” Here is Nuruddin Farah, reading and commenting on his novels Corssbones and Maps, from boundary 2‘s Video Lectures. Coverage of the Spring conference, “The Social Life of Poetic Language,” to come.