Political Science

Althusser’s 100th Birthday

Today is the 100th birthday of Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser, whose thought has been greatly influential to many Duke University Press scholars. We’re pleased to share a selection of scholarship connected to his work.

978-0-8223-7024-6In Althusser, The Infinite Farewell, Emilio de Ípola contends that Althusser’s oeuvre is divided between two fundamentally different and at times contradictory projects. Reading For Marx and Reading Capital alongside Althusser’s lesser-known writings, de Ípola reveals a subterranean current of thought that flows throughout Althusser’s classic formulations, which leads Althusser to move toward an aleatory materialism, or a materialism of the encounter. De Ípola revitalizes classic debates concerning major theoretico-political topics, including the relationship between Marxism, structuralism, and psychoanalysis; the difference between ideology, philosophy, and science; and the role of contingency and subjectivity in political encounters and social transformation.

978-0-8223-6907-3The publication of Reading Capital—by Louis Althusser, Étienne Balibar, Roger Establet, Pierre Macherey, and Jacques Rancière—in 1965 marked a key intervention in Marxist philosophy and critical theory, bringing forth a stunning array of concepts that continue to inspire philosophical reflection of the highest magnitude. The contributors to The Concept in Crisis—who include Alain Badiou, Étienne Balibar, and Fernanda Navarro—reconsider the volumes reading of Marx, interrogating Althussers’s contributions in particular, and renew its call for a critique of capitalism and culture for the twenty-first century. Retrieving the inspiration that drove Althusser’s reinterpretation of Marx, The Concept in Crisis explains why Reading Capital’s revolutionary inflection retains its critical appeal, prompting readers to reconsider Marx’s relevance in an era of neoliberal capitalism.

978-0-8223-6296-8Although Haitian revolutionaries were not the intended audience for the Declaration of the Rights of Man, they heeded its call, demanding rights that were not meant for them. This failure of the French state to address only its desired subjects is an example of the phenomenon James R. Martel labels “misinterpellation.” Complicating Althusser’s famous theory, Martel explores the ways that such failures hold the potential for radical and anarchist action. The Misinterpellated Subject reveals how calls by authority are inherently vulnerable to radical possibilities, thereby suggesting that all people at all times are filled with revolutionary potential.

978-0-8223-5400-0Based on meticulous study of Althusser’s posthumous publications, as well as his unpublished manuscripts, lecture notes, letters, and marginalia, in Althusser and His Contemporaries Warren Montag provides a thoroughgoing reevaluation of Althusser’s philosophical project. Montag shows that the theorist was intensely engaged with the work of his contemporaries, particularly Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, and Lacan. Examining Althusser’s philosophy as a series of encounters with his peers’ thought, Montag sheds new light on structuralism, poststructuralism, and the extraordinary moment of French thought in the 1960s and 1970s.

DIF_26_3_prMost readers of Althusser first enter his work through his writings on ideology. In an essay published in a special issue of differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, Étienne Balibar offers an original reading of Althusser’s idea of ideology, drawing on both recently published posthumous writing and Althusser’s work on the Piccolo Teatro di Milano. Balibar’s essay uncovers the intricate workings of interpellation through Althusser’s essays on the theater. The issue includes commentaries on Balibar’s essay from five influential scholars who engage critically with Althusser’s philosophy: Judith Butler, Banu Bargu, Adi Ophir, Warren Montag, and Bruce Robbins. Read Balibar’s essay, made freely available.

Health Politics and Policy Articles for your Fall Syllabus

coverimageAs the school year commences, we’re excited to share a sample syllabus with articles from the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. JHPPL focuses on the initiation, formulation, and implementation of health policy and analyzes the relations between government and health, past, present, and future.

We’ve identified a few articles that you might find especially useful as you prepare your fall semester syllabi:

The articles are all freely available for the next year.

Critical Crossroads: Erdogan and the Transformation of Turkey

med_29_3_coverThe most recent issue of Mediterranean Quarterly, “Critical Crossroads: Erdogan and the Transformation of Turkey,” edited by Kumru F. Toktamış and Isabel David, is now available.

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already established his place in history books, but the nature and the meaning of his legacy will be determined by researchers, intellectuals, scholars, and activists, people who observe, record, and study his leadership. In this issue, noteworthy scholars document and analyze the decline of a twenty-first century, democratically elected government into a domestically punitive and regionally aggressive authoritarian regime.

Browse the table-of-contents and read the introduction to the issue, made freely available.

Health Reform after the 2016 Election

ddjhppl_43_4_coverThe most recent issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, “Health Reform after the 2016 Election,” edited by Eric M. Patashnik, is now available.

Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the 2016 election ushered in a period of uncertainty for U.S. heath policy. In this special issue, the nation’s leading scholars of the welfare state, inequality and public policy place the ACA’s near death experience in historical and institutional perspective by examining the implications of growing populism and rising polarization for the future trajectory of health reform in the United States.

Topics include health policy and white nationalism, reversing course on Obamacare, and dismantling social programs.

Read the introduction, made freely available.

An Interview with Jessica Loudis, editor of World Policy Journal

Jessica Loudis recently became editor of World Policy Journal (WPJ), the flagship publication of the World Policy Institute. We sat down with her to discuss the new editorship, the direction of the journal, and upcoming issue themes.

m_ddwpj_35_1_coverWhat are your plans for the journal during your tenure as editor?
I want to cover policy in unexpected ways, and to draw in readers who don’t yet know they’re interested in the subject. Part of this involves taking a more multidisciplinary approach. For instance, our current issue has a piece about Dubai’s efforts to send a manned mission to Mars, and another about how Britain’s public space laws were shaped by music festivals in the 80s and 90s. Basically, WPJ will be the place to read the kinds of pieces you wouldn’t initially expect to find in a policy magazine.

How do you see the journal developing in the next few years?
I’m interested in discovering new, talented writers from all over the world, and in giving them the opportunity to tell stories that wouldn’t work for other magazines. We want to cultivate a sensibility that is incisive, offbeat, and multidisciplinary, and to do so by putting journalists and scholars and thinkers in conversation with one another. Ultimately, I want to create an intellectual community around the magazine, and to start meaningful conversations that have a broader impact.

How have you selected issue topics for the journal?
I’m interested in topics that are open-ended and allow for different avenues of access. For instance, the theme of our summer issue is “Megalomania,” and it will include a piece on a rising female fascist politician in Italy, another on a failed attempt to abolish time zones, and one on former London Mayor Boris Johnson’s overambitious architectural initiatives. I like topics that can speak to people in different ways, and which allow for a bit of fun.

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Oh, on a related note, we’ve also brought on a cocktail historian, Eben Klemm, to create original cocktails based on our themes. For “Megalomania,” Eben has designed a cocktail that is a combination of Mussolini and Saddam Hussein’s favorite drinks, with an Idi Amin flourish thrown in for good measure.

Are there certain topics or fields you’re interested in focusing on?
I come from a literary background, and I’m very interested in having people from literature and the arts think about policy and politics in new ways. I’m also interested in anthropology and sociology, and I’ve really enjoyed working with specialists in those fields. In general, I want to surprise readers by drawing connections they hadn’t previously considered.

Can you tell us more about upcoming issues?
Our upcoming issues are “Megalomania,” “The Limits of Big Data,” and “Tourism.”

I already told you a little about megalomania, and for “The Limits of Big Data,” we have a piece I’m excited about on facial recognition software and programmable empathy. Another piece I’m looking forward to is  on the Vatican’s big data initiative. As for the rest, you’ll have to wait and see…

For the tourism issue, we’re looking at a lot of different kinds of tourism: medical, adoption, dental, retail, to name a few.

WPJ34_3One of the interesting things about the journal is its work recruiting journalists from around the world, can you shed more light on how you find new voices and stories?
I was fortunate to work at Al Jazeera and Bookforum before WPJ, which allowed me to cultivate an international network of writers and critics. Beyond that, I just read constantly, and try to do so as widely as possible. I follow the book publishing catalogs (especially Duke’s, which is consistently excellent), I read magazines, I pay attention to what’s happening in journalism, and I do a bit of Twitter stalking to see who the people I respect are reading and talking to. Finally, I’ll often ask colleagues or friends in my field for recommendations or advice on particular topics.

Tell us more about any other World Policy programs you’d like us to know about.
World Policy Journal and World Policy Institute are about to launch a very cool new program called “Renegotiating the Social Contract.” There will be a few parts to this, including conferences, publications, and multimedia projects. The idea is that the classic social contract as we’ve known it has broken down, and in a lot of ways, changed. While keeping in mind how the social contract used to be structured between citizens and the government, we’re looking how it’s currently structured, and what’s been lost or gained.

New in Surveillance Studies

Our list in security studies has been growing lately, with a particular emphasis on the study of government surveillance. Take a look at some of our newest scholarship in this essential field:

ddthe_48_1_coverMass surveillance has turned into one of the twenty-first century’s darkest, if most predictable, realities. The networks we depend on now seem far larger, more totalizing, and less private than previously imagined. “Spectatorship in an Age of Surveillance,” a special issue of Theater, explores the ways in surveillance—from governments’ mass spying to all-seeing networks—and the fields of theater and performance inform each other: What forms of surveillance have found their way into our lives online and off? How might theater and performance help us to see them?

Much of the issue takes Live Arts Bard’s 2017 performance biennial We’re Watching as a point of departure while other contents venture into poetry, visual art, and cinema. Among the performances featured in the issue, choreographer Will Rawls and poet Claudia Rankine contemplated blackness and (in)visibility in What Remains; Big Art Group staged the interplay of intimacy and impenetrability in Opacity using computer code and probability; and Alexandro Segade’s queer dystopic drama Future Street proposed a Blade Runner for the post-Snowden era. The issue gathers scripts and photographs from these productions alongside essays, interviews, and reviews that help us to understand surveillance, not only as an anonymous system of digital control but more incisively, as a human behavior enacted by the individual self. Read the introduction, made freely available.

978-0-8223-7081-9As Katherine Verdery observes, “There’s nothing like reading your secret police file to make you wonder who you really are.” In 1973 Verdery, an anthropologist, began her doctoral fieldwork in communist Romania. She returned several times over the next twenty-five years, during which time the secret police compiled a 2,781-page surveillance file on her. Part memoir, part detective story, part anthropological analysis, My Life as a Spy offers a personal account of how government surveillance worked during the Cold War and how Verdery experienced living under it.

From the first vistas provided by flight in balloons in the eighteenth century to the most recent sensing operations performed by military drones, the history of aerial imagery has marked the transformation of how people perceived their world, better understood their past, and imagined their future. In Aerial Aftermaths Caren Kaplan traces this cultural history, showing how aerial views operate as a form of world-making tied to the times and places of war.

978-0-8223-6973-8Life in the Age of Drone Warfare, a collection edited by Lisa Parks and Caren Kaplan, offers a new critical language through which to explore and assess the historical, juridical, geopolitical, and cultural dimensions of drone technology and warfare. Contributors show how drones generate particular ways of visualizing the spaces and targets of war while acting as tools to exercise state power.

Ten years on, Jasbir K. Puar’s pathbreaking Terrorist Assemblages remains one of the most influential queer theory texts and continues to reverberate across multiple political landscapes, activist projects, and scholarly pursuits. Puar argues that configurations of sexuality, race, gender, nation, class, and ethnicity are realigning in relation to contemporary forces of securitization, counterterrorism, and nationalism. The Tenth Anniversary Expanded Edition features a new foreword by Tavia Nyong’o and a postscript by Puar entitled “Homonationalism in Trump Times.”

978-0-8223-6898-4In Saving the Security State Inderpal Grewal traces the changing relations between the US state and its citizens in an era she calls advanced neoliberalism. Marked by the decline of US geopolitical power, endless war, and increasing surveillance, advanced neoliberalism militarizes everyday life while producing “exceptional citizens”—primarily white Christian men who reinforce the security state as they claim responsibility for protecting the country from racialized others.

During the Second World War, an FBI program called the Special Intelligence Service (SIS) assigned 700 agents to combat Nazi influence internationally. The mission, however, extended beyond countries with significant German populations or Nazi spy rings. In The FBI in Latin America, Marc Becker interrogates a trove of FBI documents from its Ecuador mission to uncover the history and purpose of the SIS’s intervention in Latin America and for the light they shed on leftist organizing efforts in Latin America.

The Fiftieth Anniversary of May ’68

ddfhs_41_2_coverThe most recent special issue of French Historical Studies, “May ’68: New Approaches, New Perspectives,” edited by Donald Matthew Reid and Daniel J. Sherman, is now available.

This issue presents new directions in the study of the civil unrest in France during May 1968 on its fiftieth anniversary. Authors from France and the United States emphasize the nature and experience of the political upheaval in May 1968, the long-term cultural impacts of events in Paris, and the ways in which these events figure into a global context. Contributors offer new ways of understanding and interpreting the discord by focusing on the emotional and cultural resonance of the events of May 1968 in activism and popular culture. Other essays explore the relation of student activism in former French colonies to events in France, place the events of May 1968 in a global context by considering diplomatic and radical networks between Europe and the United States, and examine the cultural relationship between France and Germany.

Browse the table-of-contents and read the introduction, made freely available.

Also commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of 1968 is Susana Draper’s book 1968 Mexico: Constellations of Freedom and Democracy, forthcoming in August. Draper gives voice to de-emphasized contributors to the protest movement in Mexico—Marxist philosophers, political prisoners, and women—illustrating how many diverse voices inspired alternative forms of political participation.

New Books in April

 April brings a fresh crop of great new books. Check out what we’re releasing this month.

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In Biblical Porn Jessica Johnson draws on a decade of fieldwork at Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church in Seattle to show how congregants became entangled in a process of religious conviction through which they embodied Driscoll’s teaching on gender and sexuality in ways that supported the church’s growth.

In Abject Performances Leticia Alvarado explores how Latino artists and cultural producers have developed and deployed an irreverent aesthetics of abjection to resist assimilation and disrupt respectability politics.

Matthew Vitz’s A City on a Lake outlines the environmental history and politics of Mexico City as it transformed its original forested, water-rich environment into a smog-infested megacity, showing how the scientific and political disputes over water policy, housing, forestry, and sanitary engineering led to the city’s unequal urbanization and environmental decline.

In Domesticating Democracy Susan Helen Ellison offers an ethnography of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) organizations in El Alto, Bolivia, showing that by helping residents cope with their interpersonal disputes and economic troubles how they change the ways Bolivians interact with the state and global capitalism, making them into self-reliant citizens.

978-0-8223-7081-9.jpgKatherine Verdery’s My Life as a Spy analyzes the 2,781 page surveillance file the Romanian secret police compiled on her during her research trips to Transylvania in the 1970s and 1980s. Reading it led her to question her identity and also revealed how deeply the secret police was embedded in everyday life.

 In Edges of Exposure, following Senegalese toxicologists as they struggle to keep equipment, labs, and projects operating, Noémi Tousignant explores the impact of insufficient investments in scientific capacity in postcolonial Africa.

 

Examining human rights discourse from the French Revolution to the present, in Human Rights and the Care of the Self Alexandre Lefebvre turns common assumptions about human rights—that its main purpose is to enable, protect, and care for those in need—on their heads, showing how the value of human rights lies in its support of ethical self-care.

Gay PrioriLibby Adler’s Gay Priori offers a comprehensive critique of the mainstream LGBT legal agenda in the United States, showing how LGBT equal rights discourse drives legal advocates toward a narrow array of reform objectives that do little to help the lives of the most marginalized members of the LGBT community.

In From the Tricontinental to the Global South Anne Garland Mahler traces the history and intellectual legacy of the understudied global justice movement called the Tricontinental and calls for a revival of the Tricontinental’s politics as a means to strengthen racial justice and anti-neoliberal struggles in the twenty-first-century.

Aimee Bahng’s Migrant Futures traces the cultural production of futurity by juxtaposing the practices of speculative finance against those of speculative fiction, showing how speculative novels, films, and narratives create alternative futures that envision the potential for new political economies, social structures, and subjectivities that exceed the framework of capitalism.

A Primer for Teaching Environmental History, by Emily Wakild and Michelle K. Berry, is a guide for college and high school teachers who are teaching environmental history for the first time, for experienced teachers who want to reinvigorate their courses, for those who are training future teachers to prepare their own syllabi, and for teachers who want to incorporate environmental history into their world history courses. The book is part of a new series, Design Principles for Teaching History.

Never miss a new book! Sign up for Subject Matters, our e-mail newsletter, and get notifications of new titles in your preferred disciplines as well as discounts and other news.

Colonialism, Imperialism, and War

MEW-logoAs part of our month-long series highlighting the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, we’re excited to share a “Colonialism, Imperialism, and War” mock syllabus from the JMEWS, curated by the editors. JMEWS is the official journal of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies. This interdisciplinary journal advances the fields of Middle East gender, sexuality, and women’s studies through the contributions of academics, artists, and activists from around the globe working in the interpretive social sciences and humanities.

Colonialism, Imperialism, and War

 

New article looks at the rise and fall of Medicare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board

ddjhppl_42_3“Technocratic Dreams, Political Realities: The Rise and Demise of Medicare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board,” an article by Jonathan Oberlander and Steven B. Spivack in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law (volume 43, issue 3), offers a groundbreaking, in-depth look at the troubled history of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), enacted as part of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and repealed in February 2018 when President Donald Trump signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

This article addresses technocracy and healthcare through IPAB, a board of healthcare experts hailed for its innovation and designed to formulate Medicare policy recommendations based on evidence and reason rather than politics. Authors Oberlander and Spivack explore why Congress initially enacted IPAB, how we understand its broad appeal to the health policy community, and why IPAB failed to live up to its original hype and remained in political purgatory, paralyzed by controversy and partisanship.

Most health policy experts supported IPAB. The board was an ambitious way to combat the influence of interest groups and the health care industry on Medicare policy. It was also seen as an antidote to legislative inertia and Congress’s inability to manage Medicare. Experts, as well as some members of Congress, agreed that lawmakers could not make difficult decisions about Medicare and envisioned the board as an instrument of health services research and congressional self control. After the board’s establishment, industry groups attacked it, while many Republicans and some Democrats criticized IPAB and supported its repeal. Instead of realizing its aspirations, the board was mired in irrelevance. Prior to its repeal, IPAB existed as a shell under a presidential administration opposed to its existence.

“IPAB’s brief, troubled history offers a cautionary tale about the role of evidence, expertise, and independent panels in US health policy making,” Oberlander and Spivack write. “IPAB’s establishment reflected good intentions: to restructure Medicare governance so that program policy making was driven more by evidence and less by interest group pressures; to compel policy makers to consider and ultimately make difficult choices in Medicare reform; to prevent Congress from micromanaging and mismanaging Medicare; to ensure that, if Congress did not act, steps were still taken to restrain Medicare spending; and to create safeguards against excessive spending. Yet the aspirations to rationalize Medicare through IPAB have floundered against political realities.”

For more information regarding the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, please visit dukeupress.edu/jhppl.

Read the full article here.