Tues 9.02.14 | Agamben on State Power and "Bare Life"

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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.

Mon 9.01.14 | Human Trafficking

Flores-González et al., eds., Immigrant Women Workers in the Neoliberal Age U. of Illinois Press, 2013

Grace Chang, Disposable Domestics: Immigrant Women Workers in the Global Economy South End Press, 2000

Banteay Srei

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A landmark federal law prohibits human trafficking, but Grace Chang asserts that the US sponsors human trafficking. She also contests both the federal antitrafficking regime's emphasis on sex trafficking as well as claims, sometimes made by feminists, that prostitution is inherently coercive. (Encore presentation.)

Wed 8.27.14 | Engaging the State, Stopping Global Warming

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Does the radical left need to stop worrying and learn to love the state? Marxist writer Christian Parenti argues that, if global warming is to be halted, it will only be through activism directed at shaping government policy. He also discusses what Alexander Hamilton -- the first Treasury Secretary of the United States -- might be able to teach us about the predicament we're in.

Tues 8.26.14 | We Are All Criminals

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People with criminal records are, too often, written off by society. Is that fair, asks Emily Baxter, given that we've all violated the law at one time or another? Baxter's project collects and disseminates the stories of crimes people got away with, often because of their class or race privilege.

 

Mon 8.25.14 | The Rise and Fall of Socialist Humanism

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Socialist humanist ideas were broadly championed by key thinkers in the mid-20th century, like E.P. Thompson, Fanon, Marcuse, and Fromm, but have now disappeared seemingly without a trace. Barbara Epstein and Kevin Anderson explore socialist humanism's rise and fall, in part as postmodernism took center stage as an ideological current. They argue that the left is not better off without it.

Wed 8.20.14 | Boycotting Israel, Defending Academic Freedom

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Israel's attack on Gaza, which has killed over two thousand people, has left many wondering what sort of action they can take to register their outrage and put pressure on Israel. David Palumbo-Liu argues in favor of the strategy of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, or BDS, against Israel. He also discusses the case of Steven Salaita, a US academic who lost his position after making statements critical of Israel on Twitter.

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