Month: December 2014

Look North!

Just an off-hand reminder to my U.S. colleagues as application time comes for good undergrads: most Canadian MA programs, hem, including this one, are funded, that is, your student will get a stipend for taking classes, being a graduate assistant, etc. (I mention this because it’s a good alternative for students who might not get the best offer for a PhD right away, and since most students don’t know there’s an alternative to paying enormous amounts of tuition at a U.S. master’s program.) Plus, you can get free health insurance.

Reading Read

Jason Read (U. of Southern Maine) has two pieces up: one at the LARB on Spinoza, Marx, and the “Willing Slaves” of Capitalism, the other at his blog examining Pierre Macherey’s Le sujet des norms (2014). About Macherey, best known for his work growing out of his early relationship to Althusser as well as on Spinoza and Hegel, he writes:

Le Sujet des normes is in some sense  Macherey’s return to the series of problems and provocations that defined his entry in philosophy, the problems of theorizing the specific political and social problems of capital, a return after a long series of detours into Spinoza, Hegel, and the history of French philosophy, utopian thought, etc., and it bears the fruits of all of not only those detours (Spinoza and Hegel are used sparingly in this book, but at important junctures), but of an expansive sense of intellectual and political history that comes from years of teaching and research. Philosophers and theorists long considered opposed to the Althusserian camp, such as Lukács, Marcuse, Sartre, and Fanon, are productively drawn from.

The two psychologists at the center of the CIA torture report

Open Geography

Today’s Senate Select Committee on intelligence (SSCI) report on CIA’s use of torture in interrogation provides plenty of new details about the two psychologists at the center of the CIA program. But I suspect there is much more coverage about them to come.

But already by 2007 and 2009 there were reports by Katherine Eban (Vanity Fair) and Scott Shane (NYT) on these two PhD credentialed scholars that should give pause to academics everywhere, and raises important questions about the weaponization of knowledge.

In addition, see the discussion in James Risen’s new book Pay any Price. The role and actions of professional academic organizations (such as the APA) on the application of SERE to CIA prisoners “has never before been fully explained” he says (p. 178).

The two psychologists, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, get their own main finding in the SSCI report:

#13: Two contract psychologists devised the CIA’s…

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TNC on TNR

This week, there’s been a run of articles mourning the (likely) end of The New Republic, which many also noted happened to be the earliest “journal of ideas” that later political writers came upon in their adolescence. (Me too, but even then I recognized it for making far right opinions safe for “liberals.” It gave birth to the slate.com thing of respectable “liberals” who “speak the truth” about race and gender from the safe confines of white patriarchal privilege.) It’s exactly the magazine for that age: it was read by people who could just as well have had an Ayn Rand phase. In any case, here’s TNC on TNR’s race problem.