Cover of Philosophy and Global Affairs
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opening poem
1. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Jorge Ovando Haiku
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essays
2. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Roxanne L. Euben “Comparative Political Theory” and the Displacement of Politics
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Over the course of the past few decades, comparative political theory has acquired a measure of institutional legitimacy and intellectual recognition as part of the ongoing, interdisciplinary challenge to prevailing academic categories, coordinates, and borders. This arrival has been accompanied by a conspicuous focus on methodology both by those who claim the mantle of comparative political theory and those who reject it. The following reflections read this focus symptomatically, as revealing intellectual, institutional, and professional exigencies rather than as distinct to any particular scholar, argument, or publication. Neither a “state of the field” nor a proprietary defense of what comparative political theory is or should be, these observations toggle back and forth between reflections on my own engagement and disengagement with the topic of comparative political theory on the one hand and, on the other, concerns about how this preoccupation with method simultaneously expresses and exacerbates the displacement of politics in the very field that aims to understand it. Among the questions I raise are: What might be driving this disproportionate focus on methodological arguments in and about comparative political theory? What are the stakes of such a focus, particularly for younger scholars in political science departments decreasingly hospitable to political theory? Finally, what does this augur for the future of the study of politics broadly understood within disciplines dedicated to the scientific study of human behavior?
3. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Sayan Dey Pedagogy of Performative Silence
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Usually, during any form of communication in an institutional classroom and beyond, the phenomenon of “silence” is regarded as a form of epistemological and ontological absence. To elaborate further, the act of remaining silent is usually equated with incapability and nothingness. The authenticity and relevance of building and sharing knowledge with one another are mostly judged on the basis of one’s capability to verbally express. But silence as a form of communication and knowledge dissemination has been an integral part of several native indigenous communities across the planet. It was with the emergence of European colonization, that such silent systems of knowledge production were disbanded as mysterious and invalid. The exercise of disbanding the phenomenon of silence continues to take place through the colonial/modern vocal-centric pedagogical practices in the contemporary era. With respect to these arguments, this essay attempts to explore the possible ways through which silence, along with vocal pedagogical practices, can be performed in an intersectional manner as a habitual pedagogical practice in educational institutions today. To justify the possibilities contextually, the author shares pedagogical instances mostly from India. This essay is the third part of the three-part pedagogy series. The other two essays are “Pedagogy of the Stupid” and “Pedagogy of Common Sense.”
in memoriam
4. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Kevin B. Anderson Louis Dupré, Dialectical Humanist
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Louis Dupré’s death marks the passing of a philosopher who made a profound contribution to the study of Marx, Hegel, and the wider tradition, and who needs to be reread today. This memoriam acknowledges his importance through placing him in conversation with the great Marxist humanist Raya Dunayevskaya.
articles
5. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Deng Yinghao Counter-revolutionary in Revolutionary Times?: Reading He-Yin Zhen’s Anarcho-Feminism against Chinese Historical Memory of Revolution
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This article addresses two related questions: how do we read He-Yin Zhen’s political writing in relation to her broader political life and how should her political ideas be introduced to the English-speaking academy? I first concur with recent translators of He-Yin, Lydia Liu, Dorothy Ko, and Rebecca Karl, that He-Yin’s anarcho-feminism marks a significant moment in the modern Chinese history of political ideas and can potentially contribute to transnational feminist theories. Following this, I revisit and reconstruct He-Yin and her life partner Liu Shipei’s (刘师培) life trajectories as documented in Chinese sources by at least two generations of Chinese historians of the late Qing dynasty revolution. I argue that, when introducing her to English-speaking audiences as part of “the birth of Chinese feminism,” her translators have provided a diluted picture of He-Yin’s political world that could easily give rise to a reductionistically heroic reading of her politics. He-Yin’s political participation includes but is by no means limited to her one-year career as the prolific anarcho-feminist theorist for the journal (Tianyi Bao, 天义报).
6. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Tracy Llanera Pragmatism, Language Games, and the Philippine Drug War
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This article explores the claim that how we talk can inspire how we reason and act. Contemporary research suggests that the words militant Christian leaders in the Philippines use shape how they rationalize President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. Describing drug users as “sinners,” a trope in religious language, is particularly lethal. Using work on pragmatism and philosophy of language by Richard Rorty, Robert Brandom, and Lynne Tirrell, the author examines how the term “sinner” generates pernicious claims in the drug war. It explores how the use of the term inspires hermeneutic uptake, redirects discursive focus, and engenders certain social and political actions in the Philippines.
forum on ali shariati
7. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Arash Davari, Siavash Saffari Mystical Solidarities: Ali Shariati and the Act of Translation
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This introduction frames the special issue titled “Mystical Solidarities: Ali Shariati and the Act of Translation.” Drawing from insights across the collection’s essays, it foregrounds a notion of translation as a transformative act, anchored in Shariati’s mystical ontology, that fosters and sustains anticolonial solidarities. To illustrate, we explore differences and affinities between Shariati and Frantz Fanon with regard to truth-telling, translation, alienation, and subjectivity. The comparison reveals a generative distinction in Shariati’s thought between cultural and existential alienation, “translated intellectuals” and the act of translation. The distinction creates grounds for a vision of anticolonial solidarity responsive to circumstances in postrevolutionary Iran, a vision that reaches beyond the postcolonial state
8. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Arash Davari, Siavash Saffari Thought/Translation and the Situations of Decolonization
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Known as a revolutionary ideologue and a religious reformer, Ali Shariati’s activities as a translator have not garnered substantial scholarly attention. We reconstruct a history of Shariati’s translations, situating these endeavors at the center of his intellectual project. Shariati’s thought itself, we show, is a form of translation in the service of decolonization. This history reveals a nascent theory of decolonization as open-ended and indeterminate. We advance this claim by staging a conversation between Shariati’s reflections on decolonization and Morad Farhadpour’s evolving concept of thought/translation, a dissident theory of translation influential in contemporary Iran that bears resemblance to Shariati’s performative works. More than an abstruse debate in Iranian intellectual history, these continuities raise questions of pressing concern for postcolonial states, in particular the specificity of local situations as they relate to ongoing global hierarchies.
9. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Seema Golestaneh “To be Transformed into Thought Itself”: Mystical and Political Becomings within Ali Shariati
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Ali Shariati is typically understood as a theorist of “political Islam.” Yet his theological innovations within what is called “mystical thought” are also worthy of attention. Shariati does not consider mystical thought as an escapist, transcendent paradigm, but as a means to interpret and navigate the socio-political world. Of particular relevance to Shariati is an idea ubiquitous across Islamic mysticism: the transformation of the self. Within Islamic mysticism, there are various iterations of the idea that to become closer to God, one must enact a radical transfiguration of the self, one that occurs simultaneously at the divine and existential registers. For Shariati, this transformation of the self is tied not only to one’s relationship with God, but also to the desire to alter the social realm. This is an ethos that, for Shariati, should infiltrate all aspects of life, material and immaterial, cerebral and social. If one wishes to overturn the status quo, one must cultivate not only a revolutionary subjectivity but a mystically-oriented subjectivity as well, or one that is characterized by constant change and growth.
10. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Naveed Mansoori Students of Revolution: An Essay on Ali Shariati’s Counter-Pedagogy
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Though Ali Shariati is well-known as the “ideologue” of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, this essay considers Shariati conversely as a student of revolution. It begins by posing a distinction between the apprentice and the autodidact through reference to Ibn Tufayl’s Hayy ibn Yaqzan and introduces a third term, the collaborator, that is crucial to Shariati’s account of counter-pedagogy. The essay then reconstructs Shariati’s critique of the pedagogical state. There, he recalls resisting interpellation by learning from other pasts, refusing instruction, and learning from others. Finally, I show changes in how Shariati conceptualized self-transformation, from an autodidactic process of soul-searching to a collaborative process that gives soul to a collective. On becoming immersed in the sounds of his compatriots grieving the martyrs of struggle, Shariati attests to being a student of history: the curriculum of a people becoming, the history of struggle, and its instructors, those who modeled it, pivoted around a refusal to be instructed. Overall, this essay develops an account of media environments as informal pedagogical spaces.
11. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Leili Adibfar Aesthetics, Alienation, and Idealism: An Inquiry into Ali Shariati’s Account of Art
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Critical investigations of Ali Shariati (1933–1977) reveal a body of work formed upon a contradictory synthesis of Islamic and modern Western thought. This combination reflects the historical milieu to which Shariati belonged, interpretation of which requires mapping his work onto iterations of global thought that respond to the conditions of modernity. The present inquiry examines Shariati’s understanding of art as an idealistic effort to appease human alienation vis-à-vis the question of human existence, which, I argue, elucidates his interpretations of Islamic and Western terrains of modern thought.
12. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Atefeh Akbari Returning Comparative Literature to Itself: Shariati Reads Dante
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At the time of his premature death at the age of forty-three, the written output of Ali Shariati was remarkable. He wrote in a variety of styles and forms and read extensively from vastly distinct literary traditions. While in recent years, Anglophone scholarship on his work has situated him rightfully among critical anticolonial thinkers such as Frantz Fanon, his contribution to a worldly reimagining of comparative literature has not received the same attention. This essay offers a framing of his work within the field of comparative literature, with a particular focus on his adaptation of Dante’s Divine Comedy. By studying his mode of engagement with this canonical text, this essay provides an introductory analysis to the comparative literary practice of a towering Iranian intellectual. It can also serve as a model for a comparative literature practicum that privileges the work of a writer from the Global South.
13. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi Shariati, Anti-Capitalism, and the Promise of the “Third World”
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This essay engages with Ali Shariati’s lecture “Some of the Vanguard of the Return to Self in the Third World” to explore his conception of the “Third World” as a cultural, psychic, and politico-economic project of which Iran would be an integral part, and his relationship to the intellectual contributions of Frantz Fanon, whose translation and critical reception proved to be of considerable importance to the ideological development of a popular-nationalist and avowedly religious section of Iran’s anti-Pahlavi opposition during the 1960s and 1970s. The essay explores several elements of Shariati’s anti-capitalism in the context of his advocacy of a Third World politico-economic bloc and some of the potential difficulties, tensions, and contradictions this vision would, and ultimately, did encounter. Finally, the essay concludes by examining how Shariati’s prescriptions for breaking the chains of “dependency” might have been further developed and complicated, given the immense obstacles the promise of Third World solidarity has historically faced.
book reviews
14. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Kevin Duong Resolutely Black: Conversations with Françoise Vergès and Kafka’s Monkey and Other Phantoms of Africa
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15. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Greg A. Graham Political Life in the Wake of the Plantation: Sovereignty, Witnessing, Repair
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16. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Andrés Fabián Henao Castro Modernity and “Whiteness”
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17. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Desireé R. Melonas What’s the Use?: On the Uses of Use
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18. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Tacuma Peters The Haitian Revolution: Capitalism, Slavery, and Counter-Modernity
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19. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Jeong Eun Annabel We Queer Times, Black Futures
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opening poem
20. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Paul E. Nelson 911. Postcards from the Pandemic (As You Say It)
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