From the latest issue of Continent, Graham Harman (AUC): Meillassoux’s Virtual Future; Michael O'Rourke (IC-Dublin): The Afterlives of Queer Theory; and Gregory Kirk Murray (GPC): Covering Giorgio Agamben's Nudities. From Social Text, a series of articles on thinking through violence. Concluding their three-part exchange for Mute, artist Alfredo Jaar and philosopher Simon Critchley contemplate how to keep on, artistically and politically, in the face of the spectacular violence that washed-up liberal democracy meets with daily indifference; in two recent books — Web Aesthetics and Interface Criticism — new media critics rescue the sensuality of digital aesthetics from the gnostic grip of communications theory; and in the elegant and obscure Letters Journal, an anonymous collective traverses the black hole of nihilism to elude capitalism's all-encompassing ability to swallow resistance. From Ceasefire magazine, an A-Z of theory continues with profiles of Arjun Appadurai and Samir Amin (and part 2). Signs and wonder: The narrow focus of "profane" media studies on semiotics and consumption ignores the extent to which culture is rooted in our deep yearning for the sacred. A review of Foucault, Psychology and the Analytics of Power by Derek Hook. From The Rumpus, Nicholas Rombes on Julia Kristeva’s face. From Jacobin, Jason Schulman writes in defense of grand narratives. Thinking anew, every time: An encounter with Judith Butler. Radical, like in the eighties: A review of Dialectical Passions: Negation in Postwar Art Theory by Gail Day. A review of The Persistence of the Negative: A Critique of Contemporary Continental Theory by Benjamin Noys. A review of Democracy in What State? by Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Daniel Bensaid, Wendy Brown, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Ranciere, Kristin Ross and Slavoj Zizek (and more).
A new issue of the Journal of Conflictology is out. David Sirota on the ridiculous third party rallying cry: Bloomberg and Friedman pretend partisan fighting is ruining our country — the real problem is too much consensus. The Centrist Cop-Out: Placing blame equally on Democrats and Republicans for the stalemate over the debt crisis only encourages more bad behavior. Norman Ornstein on the public approval consequences of the debt ceiling debate. Sexy doesn't always sell: When do beautiful models help? From Social Ecology, Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero on North and South, ecology and justice (and part 2 and part 3). Is a sane president bad for the country? In A First-Rate Madness, Nassir Ghaemi argues that George W. Bush’s presidency was a failure because he was too mentally healthy. Occultural Studies 3.0: Demonology is not simply the study of demons, but of noise's assault on signal — a media theory avant la lettre. Moody's Blues: Everyone hates the credit rating agencies, but will fixing them just make things worse? For a special anniversary issue, This magazine profiles individuals and organizations who are doing the most exciting, creative, and important work in politics, activism, art, and more. When is profligate government spending not a crime against the American public? When it's done in a GOP freshman's district. Why fiction is good for you: Forget moral edification — psychological research shows literature’s mind-altering effects. Wired goes inside Darpa’s secret Afghan spy machine. When an upstate imam named Yassin Aref was convicted on a suspect terrorism charge, he was sent to a secretive prison denounced by civil libertarians as a Muslim quarantine. Alana Lentin and Gavan Titley on their book The Crises of Multiculturalism: Racism in a Neoliberal Age. Why is a touch on the arm so persuasive?
Maree Kimberley (QUT): Neuroscience and Young Adult Fiction: A Recipe for Trouble? A review of Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives by Dean Buonomano. Has the Internet become an external hard drive for the brain? According to a new paper, reading a short article which argues that free will is an illusion causes measurable changes in brain function. The first chapter from The Recursive Mind: The Origins of Human Language, Thought, and Civilization by Michael Corballis. The neurobiology of bliss: Sex in the brain, and what it reveals about the neuroscience of deep pleasure. A review of How Intelligence Happens by John Duncan. Top ten myths about the brain: When it comes to this complex, mysterious, fascinating organ, what do — and don’t — we know? A review of The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good by David Linden. R.U. Sirius on questioning the authority of your brain. The limits of intelligence: The laws of physics may well prevent the human brain from evolving into an ever more powerful thinking machine. Simon Baron-Cohen reviews The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human by V. S. Ramachandran. Sean Carroll on how free will is as real as baseball. Sam Harris on free will (and why you still don't have it). The design of the brain: Evan Lerner on the design of something that wasn’t designed at all. A review of How the Mind Uses the Brain: To Move the Body and Image the Universe by Ralph Ellis and Natika Newton. A review of What Should We Do with Our Brain? by Catherine Malabou. We often think of mathematics as a language, but does our brain process mathematical structures in the same way as it processes language?
Frederic R. Kellogg (GWU): Comparing Natural and Normative Inquiry: The "Real" and the "Right" as Ordering Concepts. David A. Reidy (Tennessee): The Right and the Good. Youngjae Lee (Fordham): Deontology, Political Morality and the State. Eyal Benvenisti (Tel Aviv): Sovereigns as Trustees of Humanity: The Minimal Other-Regarding Obligations. Suzy Killmister (Massey): Why Group Membership Matters: A Critical Typology. Gianluigi Palombella (Parma): The (Re-) Constitution of the Public. An interview with Gerald Gaus, author of The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom and Morality in a Diverse and Bound World (and more). Pierre Manent (CESPRA): The Greatness and Misery of Liberalism. A review of Liberal Loyalty: Freedom, Obligation, and the State by Anna Stilz. A review of Modus Vivendi Liberalism: Theory and Practice by David McCabe. From The Art of Theory, an interview with Danielle Allen on political philosophy; and Paul Kahn on his book Political Theology: Four New Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty. An excerpt from Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach by Martha Nussbaum (and Nussbaum on the capabilities approach to human development). A review of Measuring Justice: Primary Goods and Capabilities, ed. Harry Brighouse and Ingrid Robeyns. Michael Sandel on justice and the moral side of murder. Justice goes global: Harvard University political philosopher Michael Sandel sure is popular — just look at how he’s received in Asia. After Hegel: An interview with Robert Pippin (and a review of Pippin’s Nietzsche, Psychology and First Philosophy). Would we want to live in Plato’s ideal society? Plato’s vision of a harmonious state would scandalize liberals and conservatives alike — but some of his advice might be worth taking.
Fredrick E. Vars (Alabama): Rethinking the Indefinite Detention of Sex Offenders. Bridges and the bottom line: Adam J. White on why infrastructure must always be a matter of politics. The end of the consumer society: Do people want less stuff and are thus willing to work less? A look at 5 crazy street performers (who happened to be geniuses). Ezra Klein interviews Larry Summers: "I think Keynes mistitled his book". Fortunately, there are a few reasons to feel not-so-bad about the existence of cigarettes. Don't be the worst: How to approach a girl on the Internet. Breivik and his enablers: Anti-immigrant Islamophobia is an ideology rampant on both sides of the Atlantic. Stop blaming Wall Street: It isn't the reason our economy is in shambles. From Obit, a review of Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age by Susan Jacoby; there's nothing "valiant" or "courageous" about dying from a terrible disease; and from Defending Your Life to Meet Joe Black, the death you see on screen will not be the death you have. Why does a mass strike matter? Kevin Best looks at why socialists argue for mass strikes. EPA bashers aren’t protecting "jobs", they’re protecting polluters. How old school is old school? Minority Rules: Scientists discover the tipping point for the spread of ideas. Lube job: Should Google associate Rick Santorum's name with anal sex? Why having more options makes us more critical of ourselves and more politically passive. Was there a foreign government behind the 9/11 attacks? An excerpt from The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan. Can’t go back to Constantinople: Istanbul’s history deserves preservation, but at what cost to development? Yes, some conservatives actually think we’d be better off without a debt ceiling deal.
A new issue of Surveillance and Society is out. Alexander Volokh (Emory): Prison Vouchers. Sharon Dolovich (UCLA): Strategic Segregation in the Modern Prison. Mary Sigler (ASU): The Political Morality of the Eighth Amendment. If you think flogging is too cruel to even consider, what would you do if given the choice between five years in prison and 10 brutal lashes? From Yes!, a special issue on prisons: How to stop wasting lives and money. "Long prison terms are wasteful government spending": Criminologist Mark Kleiman on replacing severity with swiftness and certainty. Prison overcrowding and Brown v. Plata: It’s going to take a lot more than a Supreme Court decision to reform our appalling prisons. A review of Interrupted Life: Experiences of Incarcerated Women in the United States; Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women by Victoria Law; The War Before: The True Life Story of Becoming a Black Panther, Keeping the Faith in Prison and Fighting for Those Left Behind by Safiya Bukhari; and The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. Imagine a jail where dangerous inmates awaiting trial live 24 to a room and fight each other under a violent gladiatorial code — this is life inside Miami's mega-jail. Do prisoners really spend all their time lifting weights? No, but they can watch all the yoga videos they want. The problem with being a prisoner is that you have to wade through a river of bullshit: An interview with Wilbert Rideau, editor of the prison magazine, The Angolite. Why writers belong behind bars: From a strictly literary point of view, prison was the best thing that ever happened to the Marquis de Sade — other writers should be so lucky. Michelle Phelps on the dangerous trade-off between education and incarceration.
From the Journal of Democracy, Tarek Masoud (Harvard): The Upheavals in Egypt and Tunisia: The Road to (and from) Liberation Square. Why women in politics matter: The Arab Spring created hope for democracy in which women would at least have a voice — but we're still waiting. Faced with the new sweeping “Arab Spring” anxious governments and conservative Muslim clerics are advancing outlandish religious views and edicts by utilizing the voice and views of Muslim conservative women. Seyla Benhabib on the Arab Spring: Religion, revolution and the public sphere. Rawls visits the pyramids: Egypt had a true Rawlsian moment where anything was possible, but a springtime of freedom has devolved into a summer of selfish politicians and bareknuckled brawls. Five months after the president's resignation in February, Egypt struggles to turn the page on the Mubarak era. From Telos, Bassam Tibi on Islamism in the Arab Spring. Could the ultraconservative Salafis be the biggest beneficiary of the February revolution? Yasmine El Rashidi on Egypt and the victorious Islamists. Here’s what democracy, economically, looks like: The global media spotlight may be gone, but Egypt’s revolutionaries are still making history, with a spirited campaign for a "maximum wage". A 21st-century Marshall Plan: We must support the Arab Spring with huge sums of money — it is in our own interests. As Arab political horizons expand, the space for the US to pursue its interests in the Middle East may well contract. A review of Steven Kull's Feeling Betrayed: The Roots of Muslim Anger at America. Juan Cole on 10 ways Arab democracies can avoid American mistakes. Changing course: The Arab Spring has changed how we teach Middle East politics forever.
A new issue of Cultural Survival Quarterly is out. The CIA's Secret Sites in Somalia: Renditions, an underground prison and a new CIA base are elements of an intensifying US war, according to a Nation investigation in Mogadishu. From Skeptical Inquirer, a review of The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson; and Heaven’s stenographer: Joe Nickell on the "guided" hand of Vassula Ryden. Jonathan Soroff explains why some gays are against same-sex marriage. The battle beneath the battle: Do gay people exist? Excusing the inexcusable: The "greywashing" of the crimes of Nazi Germany continues. Social contagions debunked: Reports of infectious obesity and divorce were grossly overstated. 23 ways your car is better than your Dad's: It's a good thing they don't make cars the way they used to. A review of G.K. Chesterton: A Biography by Ian Ker. Boring conversation? Accessories that decipher emotional cues could save your social life — or reveal that you're a jerk. From Edge, intuitions sometimes feel like we have ESP, but it isn't magical, it's really a consequence of the experience we've built up. Buried in Obamacare is a secret weapon to contain Medicare costs — meet the group of House Democrats who want to destroy it. Tony Corn on the Atlantic alliance and the Sino-Islamic nexus: From the Hindu Kush to the shores of Tripoli. A look at how we stand on the shoulders of cultural giants. From U.S. Intellectual History, Andrew Hartman on children’s literature as intellectual history. Washington is out of touch, but how about Wall Street? Chip Berlet on Anders Behring Breivik as a soldier in the Christian Right culture wars and on how the Breivik 2011 manifesto echoes Republican operative Paul Weyrich's 1999 manifesto.
From The New Yorker, Dana Goodyear on Robert Jobson’s last tour as royal editor of News of the World; Anthony Lane on Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid culture; and if the scandal caused journalists to reflect upon their own power, and their capacity to abuse that power, it would be a good thing. David Carr on how the phone hacking scandal could threaten Rupert Murdoch’s plans of succession and his family’s control over News Corporation. A review of The Deal from Hell: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers by James O'Shea (and more). The kingdom and the paywall: Some people thought that on Arthur Sulzberger Jr.’s watch, the New York Times could actually become extinct — they might need to issue a correction. From The Economist, does the Internet make journalism better or worse? From World Policy Journal, student reporters from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism investigate the role of the Internet and digital technology in journalism in Russia and Asia, Latin America and Middle East. From Neiman Reports, a special issue on Community and the Links that Bind Us. The reporter next door: America's 8,000 weekly newspapers, chronicling local events, are no less essential than their big-city counterparts. Is it too late in the game to call hyperlocal efforts a complete waste of time and resources? Paul Lashmar on the future of investigative journalism: reasons to be cheerful. Who watches the watchdogs? Easy — they watch, snarl and bite at each other, ruthlessly. A panel on What Is Happening to News: The Information Explosion and the Crisis in Journalism by Jack Fuller. Written words and the words of the future: An interview with Conrad Black. An interview with Calvin Trillin: “I think journalists make a mistake writing about more than one person at a time”.
Sarah Beresford (Lancaster): Seeking Secularism: Resisting Religiosity in Marriage and Divorce — A Comparative Study of England and America. Brian K. Pinaire (Lehigh): Who Let the Dog Out? On the British Roots of American Bounty Hunting. Why do some Americanisms irritate people? British people are used to the stream of Americanisms entering the language. The Anglo-American alliance remains the world’s most powerful bilateral partnership — what lies in store for the special relationship? Suckered by America: Conrad Black reviews Doing the Continental: A New Canadian-American Relationship by David Dyment. What would it take for America and Canada to fight? More than a hockey game. Changing luck and North America’s wars: As the continent emerges from its luckiest geopolitical century, it will have to adjust, in culture and capabilities, to a far more difficult next hundred years. What's the point of preventing American education theorist William Ayers from entering Canada? From Inside Story, a review of The Australian Pub by Diane Kirkby, Tanja Luckins and Chris McConville and Community: Building Modern Australia; and has ANZUS passed its use-by date? My Summer at an Indian Call Center: Lessons learned — Americans are hotheads, Australians are drunks, and never say where you're calling from. Anthony Fowler (Harvard): Turnout Matters: Evidence from Compulsory Voting in Australia. Rebecca Gill (UNLV): Consensus or Ambivalence? Why Court Traditions Matter. Adrian Vermeule (Harvard): The Atrophy of Constitutional Powers. Razib Khan on Anglosphere comparisons. Locke, Darwin, and America’s future: Peter Augustine Lawler on rights, nature, and progress (and a review of Modern and American Dignity: Who We Are as Persons, and What That Means for Our Future).