Wed 4.01.15 | Agamben on State Power and "Bare Life"

Adam Kotsko, “How to Read Agamben” Los Angeles Review of Books

Adam Kotsko, Why We Love Sociopaths: A Guide To Late Capitalist Television Zer0 Books, 2012

Kotsko's blog

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How foundational are violence and coercion to Western sovereign authority? According to Giorgio Agamben, states of emergency have become not the exception but the rule, and the individual has been reduced by state power to "bare life" to an alarming degree. Adam Kotsko explains and interprets the Italian theorist's influential ideas.

Tues 3.31.15 | Linebaugh on Paine

Peter Linebaugh, Stop, Thief! The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance PM Press, 2014

Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man and Common Sense (with an introduction by Peter Linebaugh) Verso, 2009

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Peter Linebaugh, best known for tracing the history of the commons and of commoning practices, calls Thomas Paine "a planetary revolutionary.” He has found in Paine's lesser-known works radical critiques of inequality and authoritarianism and even the system of money wages. Many lessons for our time, Linebaugh argues, can be drawn from Paine's writings and his extraordinary life.

Mon 3.30.15 | Aggression, War, and Sex

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Are men from Mars, and women from Venus, as the cliché goes? Did half of us evolve to start wars and dominate the rest of us? Could humans ever live together without warring? Biological anthropologist Agustín Fuentes separates the myths from the facts about aggression, cooperation, and human nature, arguing that we are not hardwired for war. He also takes apart conventional wisdom about the differences between men and women, suggesting that there is a yawning gap between what scientists know and what is reported in the media.

Wed 3.25.15 | The End of Cheap Nature?

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As a trip to the supermarket will bear out, food prices are on the rise. We know the implications of higher food costs for ourselves and especially for the poor, but what about for capitalism itself? In part two of an extended interview, radical scholar Jason W. Moore argues that capitalism is running out of cheap nature -- including food and labor -- to exploit, with serious consequences for the system itself.

Tues 3.24.15 | A. Philip Randolph, Black Socialist

Eric Arnesen

Kersten and Lang, eds., Reframing Randolph: Labor, Black Freedom, and the Legacies of A. Philip Randolph NYU Press, 2015

Eric Arnesen, Brotherhoods of Color Harvard U. Press, 2001

Eric Arnesen, The Black Worker U. of Illinois Press, 2007

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A. Philip Randolph famously led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, but he did much more than that. Eric Arnesen traces Randolph's emergence as a militant socialist at a time when few Blacks were attracted to the Socialist Party and its emphasis on class. Arnesen also discusses Randolph's relationship with Eugene Debs and W. E. B. Du Bois.

Mon 3.23.15 | Age of Humans or Age of Capital?

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The effects of human-generated climate change have become ever visible, from droughts to raging wildfires to floods and superstorms. So are we now living in a new geological epoch? Jason W. Moore argues against the notion of the Anthropocene -- or the age of humans -- in understanding global warming. He posits that we should instead see climate change as the product of the Capitalocene, or age of capital.

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