In The Fragility of Things, eminent theorist William E. Connolly focuses on several self-organizing ecologies that help to constitute our world. These interacting geological, biological, and climate systems, some of which harbor creative capacities, are depreciated by that brand of neoliberalism that confines self-organization to economic markets and equates the latter with impersonal rationality. Neoliberal practice thus fails to address the fragilities it exacerbates. Engaging a diverse range of thinkers, from Friedrich Hayek, Michel Foucault, Hesiod, and Immanuel Kant to Voltaire, Terrence Deacon, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Alfred North Whitehead, Connolly brings the sense of fragility alive as he rethinks the idea of freedom. Urging the Left not to abandon the state but to reclaim it, he also explores scales of politics below and beyond the state. The contemporary response to fragility requires a militant pluralist assemblage composed of those sharing affinities of spirituality across differences of creed, class, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.
Until very recently, American universities were led mainly by their faculties, which viewed intellectual production and pedagogy as the core missions of higher education. Today, as Benjamin Ginsberg warns in this eye-opening, controversial book, “deanlets”–administrators and staffers often without serious academic backgrounds or experience–are setting the educational agenda.
The Fall of the Faculty examines the fallout of rampant administrative blight that now plagues the nation’s universities. In the past decade, universities have added layers of administrators and staffers to their payrolls every year even while laying off full-time faculty in increasing numbers–ostensibly because of budget cuts. In a further irony, many of the newly minted–and non-academic–administrators are career managers who downplay the importance of teaching and research, as evidenced by their tireless advocacy for a banal “life skills” curriculum. Consequently, students are denied a more enriching educational experience–one defined by intellectual rigor. Ginsberg also reveals how the legitimate grievances of minority groups and liberal activists, which were traditionally championed by faculty members, have, in the hands of administrators, been reduced to chess pieces in a game of power politics. By embracing initiatives such as affirmative action, the administration gained favor with these groups and legitimized a thinly cloaked gambit to bolster their power over the faculty.
As troubling as this trend has become, there are ways to reverse it. The Fall of the Faculty outlines how we can revamp the system so that real educators can regain their voice in curriculum policy.
Unlike many national constitutions, which contain explicit positive rights to such things as education, a living wage, and a healthful environment, the U.S. Bill of Rights appears to contain only a long list of prohibitions on government. American constitutional rights, we are often told, protect people only from an overbearing government, but give no explicit guarantees of governmental help. Looking for Rights in All the Wrong Places argues that we have fundamentally misunderstood the American rights tradition. The United States actually has a long history of enshrining positive rights in its constitutional law, but these rights have been overlooked simply because they are not in the federal Constitution.
Emily Zackin shows how they instead have been included in America’s state constitutions, in large part because state governments, not the federal government, have long been primarily responsible for crafting American social policy. Although state constitutions, seemingly mired in trivial detail, can look like pale imitations of their federal counterpart, they have been sites of serious debate, reflect national concerns, and enshrine choices about fundamental values. Zackin looks in depth at the history of education, labor, and environmental reform, explaining why America’s activists targeted state constitutions in their struggles for government protection from the hazards of life under capitalism.
Shedding much-needed light on the variety of reasons that activists pursued the creation of new state-level rights, Looking for Rights in All the Wrong Places challenges us to rethink our most basic assumptions about the American constitutional tradition.
One of the most common assumptions about World War II is that the Jews did not actively or effectively resist their own extermination at the hands of the Nazis. In this powerful book, Benjamin Ginsberg convincingly argues that the Jews not only resisted the Germans but actually played a major role in the defeat of Nazi Germany. The question, he contends, is not whether the Jews fought but where and by what means. True, many Jews were poorly armed, outnumbered, and without resources, but Ginsberg shows persuasively that this myth of passivity is solely that—a myth.
The author describes how Jews resisted Nazism strongly in four major venues. First, they served as members of the Soviet military and as engineers who designed and built many pivotal Soviet weapons, including the T-34 tank. Second, a number were soldiers in the U.S. armed forces, and many also played key roles in discrediting American isolationism, in providing the Roosevelt administration with the support it needed for preparing for war, and in building the atomic bomb. Third, they made vital contributions to the Allies—the Soviet Union, the United States, and Britain—in espionage and intelligence (especially cryptanalysis), and fourth, they assumed important roles in several European anti-Nazi resistance movements that often disrupted Germany’s fragile military supply lines. In this compelling, cogent history, we discover that the Jews were an important factor in Hitler’s defeat.
Why did colonial subjects mobilize for national independence from the French empire? This question has rarely been posed because the answer appears obvious: in the modern era, nationalism was bound to confront colonialism. This book argues against taking nationalist mobilization for granted. Contrary to conventional accounts, it shows that nationalism was not the only or even the primary form of anti-colonialism. Drawing on archival sources, comparative historical analysis, and case studies, Lawrence examines the movements for political equality that emerged in the French empire during the first half of the twentieth century. Within twenty years, they had been replaced by movements for national independence in the majority of French colonies, protectorates, and mandates. Lawrence shows that elites in the colonies shifted from demands for egalitarian reforms to calls for independent statehood only where the French refused to grant political rights to colonial subjects. Where rights were granted, colonial subjects opted for further integration and reform. Nationalist discourses became dominant as a consequence of the failure to reform. Mass protests then erupted in full force when French rule was disrupted by war or decolonization.
We the People is the best text for showing students that politics is relevant to their lives and that political participation matters—especially in the digital age. Based on the full-length text, this low-priced, very brief text offers authoritative coverage of the core topics in American politics. New co-author Caroline Tolbert brings expertise in political behavior to deep revisions of key chapters, and new Digital Citizens boxes highlight the role of new media in politics.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Nicolas Jabko suggests, the character of European integration altered radically, from slow growth to what he terms a “quiet revolution.” In Playing the Market, he traces the political strategy that underlay the move from the Single Market of 1986 through the official creation of the European Union in 1992 to the coming of the euro in 1999. The official, shared language of the political forces behind this revolution was that of market reforms—yet, as Jabko notes, this was a very strange “market” revolution, one that saw the building of massive new public institutions designed to regulate economic activity, such as the Economic and Monetary Union, and deeper liberalization in economic areas unaffected by external pressure than in truly internationalized sectors of the European economy.
What held together this remarkably diverse reform movement? Precisely because “the market” wasn’t a single standard, the agenda of market reforms gained the support of a vast and heterogeneous coalition. The “market” was in fact a broad palette of ideas to which different actors could appeal under different circumstances. It variously stood for a constraint on government regulations, a norm by which economic activities were (or should be) governed, a space for the active pursuit of economic growth, an excuse to discipline government policies, and a beacon for new public powers and rule-making. In chapters on financial reform, the provision of collective services, regional development and social policy, and economic and monetary union, Jabko traces how a coalition of strange bedfellows mobilized a variety of market ideas to integrate Europe.
International Relations have rarely been considered a synthesis of humanistic and social sciences approaches to understand the complex connections of a global, and globalizing, world. One of the few scholars to have accomplished this creative blend was Hayward R. Alker.
Alker and IR presents a set of visionary and original essays from scholars who have been profoundly influenced by Alker’s approach to global studies. They build on the foundation he laid, demonstrating the practicality and usefulness of ethically grounded, theoretically informed and interdisciplinary research for producing knowledge. They show how substantive boundaries can be crossed and methodological rules rewritten in the search for a deeper, more contextualized approach to global politics.
This book will be of interest to researchers and students of international relations and global politics.
In lively prose, Professors Ackerman and Ginsberg explain the origins of each constitutional provision, assess the ways in which each has been used and interpreted over time, and examine the controversies that continue to surround key constitutional principles such as the president’s powers to regulate interstate commerce. The authors also address a number of long-standing American political principles and practices that are not discussed in the Constitution, though many Americans think they are. A selection of related documents is included, as well as a list of recommended online resources for further reading and research. The Second Edition includes expanded headnotes, coverage of recent Supreme Court decisions, and other important updates.