Guest Post: Hear Ye Plebs, a Provost Speaks!

Peter Gratton:

This is some deserved satire of an Inside Higher Ed piece comparing universities to cruise ships.

Originally posted on pan kisses kafka:

Inside Higher Ed has a recurring column called Provost Prose. Today’s is about a tropical cruise a provost took his daughter on for her sixteenth birthday (obviously), and the many important direct parallels between that cruise and the modern university customer experience.

Some of my friends did not like this post, and made this known to me. As a result, I put out a call through my high-class back channels until I located a provost of my own, who was also highly offended by this column. He found it “tonedeaf,” he says, to the “real issues provosts face–which, as we know, is the number-one issue of higher education today.” So I asked him if he’d mind writing a short guest post for me–unpaid, of course, because the prestige of appearing on this august blog should be enough. He readily agreed. So here, without further ado, is:


by T…

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Michel Foucault: a new political imagination

Originally posted on Cunning Hired Knaves:

This is a translation of an essay by Amador Fernández-Savater, originally published on the 24th June 2014, on the Interferencias blog on, the day before the thirtieth anniversary of Michel Foucault’s death.

Michel Foucault: a new political imagination


Michel Foucault

There is a scene that can help us begin this reflection on the relevance of the political thought of Michel Foucault, on the thirtieth anniversary of his death.

At the end of 1977, socialists and communists are arguing over the elaboration of a ‘common programme’ to be presented jointly in the French general elections of March 1978.

The moment has come, some are thinking, to translate the May ’68 revolt into an electoral and institutional victory, through the required ‘left unity’. It is the time for ‘politics in capital letters’ and for serious things, now that so much self-management, direct democracy and self-organisation have proven patchy as…

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CFP: Workshop on “The Ideas of Phenomenology”

Peter Gratton:

I haven’t been reposting many CFPs (I realized at some point this blog was in danger of becoming a badly run news service), but this looks of interest, not least since I’m teaching our course in phenomenology next semester and I’ve been thinking a bit on what it means more than a century after its institutional founding.

Originally posted on plastic bodies:

At the Center for Contemporary European Philosophy, Radboud University Nijmegen:

Call for Papers
International workshop and graduate student meeting on
The Ideas of Phenomenology. Contemporary Varieties of Phenomenological Research
Center for Contemporary European Philosophy & Center for the History of Philosophy and Science
Radboud University Nijmegen – Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
19-20 March 2015
Keynote speakers:
Sara Heinämaa (University of Jyväskylä, University of Helsinki)
Nicolas de Warren (University of Leuven)
A truly paradoxical and puzzling situation affects contemporary debates in phenomenology. On the one hand, over the last century phenomenology has been widely and diversely disseminated in all major fields of philosophical research and in a variety of scientific domains. In effect, a considerable number of philosophers and (neuro-)scientists make use of phenomenological or phenomenologically inspired concepts and approaches in order to address basic questions in ontology, practical philosophy, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of…

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Judith Butler reviews ‘The Death Penalty’ by Jacques Derrida, translated by Peggy Kamuf · LRB 17 July 2014

Judith Butler reviews Derrida’s death penalty lectures (1999-2000) in the LRB, generally following him through and expanding nicely on his reading of Freud and Nietzsche on cruelty, then wondering if Derrida accepts too much, simply put, Freud’s views on the death drive:

Derrida’s move to expose the way that the abolitionists are implicated in the death drive has a certain intellectual appeal, resting as it does on a dialectical inversion by which those who oppose the death penalty are implicated in its cruelty, especially when they prefer forms of imprisonment. (At one point he generalises from the case of abolitionism, remarking on ‘the hypocrisy that animates and agitates the defenders of just causes’.) Here is a rejoinder. Derrida’s position implies that the only route to an abolitionist position is through the violent suppression of the aggressive impulse, a redoubling of aggression that is now conveyed and amplified by moral instruments. 

A quibble would be that in the lectures Derrida does discuss another avenue out of the impasses of the congruence of the abolitionist and death penalty proponent positions (not just locking one into the cruel logic of aggression to fight aggression), but his emphasis on what is shared by both sides is not just in terms of cruelty but in terms of a political theology concerning the sacredness of life. It’s through a critique of the the latter that he describes a post-deconstructive abolitionism underwritten by a thinking of finitude, a point I quickly discuss in my own review and which, I think, would dovetail quite well with Butler’s own writings on precariousness.

via Judith Butler reviews ‘The Death Penalty’ by Jacques Derrida, translated by Peggy Kamuf · LRB 17 July 2014.