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1. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Elva Orozco Mendoza On Hearing the Daughters’ Call: Feminicide, Freedom, and Maternal Collective Action in Northern Mexico
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This article offers an interpretation of anti-feminicide maternal activism as political in northern Mexico by analyzing it alongside Hannah Arendt’s concepts of freedom, natality, and the child in The Human Condition. While feminist theorists often debate whether maternalism strengthens or undermines women’s political participation, the author offers an unconventional interpretation of Arendt’s categories to illustrate that the meaning and practice of maternalism radically changes through the public performance of motherhood. While Arendt does not seem the best candidate to navigate this debate, her concepts of freedom and the child provide a productive perspective to rethink the relationship between maternalism and citizenship. In making this claim, this article challenges feminist political theories that depict motherhood as the chief source of women’s subordination. In the case of northern Mexico, anti-feminicide maternal activism illustrates how the political is also a personal endeavor, thereby complementing the famous feminist motto.
2. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Jaspal Kaur Singh Uncomfortable Truths
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As a postcolonial scholar and professor from more than one postcolony, the author knows the British colonizers’ “Divide and Rule” policies and their use of colonial binaries disseminated through the English education system continue to haunt the postcolonies and the diaspora even today. Therefore, awareness that decolonization has been successful only to an extent, as we continue to have internalized racism and oppression, and knowing that pandemics, like the COVID-19, will continue to decimate humanity while the former colonizers, in the form of globalism, will continue to exploit and destroy humans, nonhumans and the earth, the author argues that we need to redefine knowledge so we may learn to speak in altered ways to create change. She shares her stories of struggles and attempts at resistance to colonialism, ideas of modernity, and globalism to speak to generations to come, so that humanity may become interconnected and compassionate in our love for each other and work together toward justice for all through new decolonial epistemologies and ontologies.
3. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Julio E. Vezub, Alejandro J. De Oto, Aurora Santiago-Ortiz Armed with Cameras and Guns: A Decolonial Reading of Patagonia, Ethnological Archives, and Nation in the First Peronismo
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Vezub and De Oto parse out the double discourses present in anthropological photography in twentieth-century Argentine nationhood. Ethnography thus becomes a powerful tool to create the national archive, reaffirming the coloniality of power, by way of representation and through the placement of indigenous bodies in relation to ethnographers who, engaged in processes of internal colonialism, behaved like earlier colonial explorers. This article presents a rupture in the dominant narrative as it interrupts myths of nationhood and integration of the Tehuelches people with a counternarrative that presents decolonial possibilities within the photographic archive. Maintaining the ambiguity in the discourse of Peronism itself, the authors emphasize that, while financing these ethnographic campaigns, Peronist leaders also supported emancipatory policies for the racialized working class. Los descamisados, a shirtless working-class and subaltern figure, emerges with Peronism, as a positive alternative to suit-wearing oligarchs in discourses of nationhood and nation-building.
4. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Nobuo Kazashi Thaumazein at the Nuclear Anthropocene: The Life and Thought of Jinzaburo Takagi as a Citizen Scientist
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This reflective essay brings to light the career and thought of nuclear chemist Jinzaburo Takagi (1938–2000), who devoted his whole career to the critique of nuclear power generation and the promotion of citizen-centered science. Looking at his life history, one recognizes some clear turning points. However, Takagi’s true engagement with the nuclear question began when he came face-to-face with the ubiquitous contamination of the earth by human-made radiation. It was a deep, revelatory astonishment that shook Takagi into radical questioning of his vocation as a scientist. It was, so to speak, an experience of “thaumazein at the nuclear anthropocene,” involving his whole person as a human being. In 1975 Takagi co-founded Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center in Tokyo, and he became a catalytic “citizen scientist” in the anti-nuclear power movements through his nation-wide and international activities spanning over a quarter-century. Takagi was a prolific and engaged writer, and he was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1997. Soon after, however, he was diagnosed with a variety of last-stage cancers. He penned books entitled To Live as a Citizen-Scientist, Liberation from Nuclear Power: Nine Spells that Would Annihilate Japan, and Why Are Nuclear Accidents Repeated? These books would be read widely, though quite belatedly and with deep regret, after the Fukushima disaster in 2011. This essay is a look at the warning messages Takagi emphasized in the books he left as his testaments not to repeat the disaster.
5. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, Lewis R. Gordon To Undiscipline Knowledge: Toward a New Geography of Reason
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The social sciences were founded at the height of the Euromodern era when the belief in infinite expansion coexisted with the willingness to enclose, categorize, and lock up a large part of humanity. The invention of the social sciences was closely linked to this enterprise of disciplinarization of spaces and of populations which accompanied the expansion of capitalism and colonial conquest. Stigmatized, dominated, and colonized groups were constituted as objects by social scientists who considered themselves as pure subjects, and concealed the conditions under which they undertook their research and prohibited the colonized from expressing their own subjectivity. Colonization also imposed a binary cartography of the world and a geography of reason with obligatory references and strict disciplinary divisions. There are many ways to decolonize knowledge, but they remain marginal in a world where white male supremacy is also epistemological. The rejection of disciplinary decadence implies not only a critical but a metacritical gesture, and the refusal of the imperative of objectivation and non-engagement.
6. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Sayan Dey Pedagogy of the Stupid
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This article elaborates, through decolonial phenomenological analysis, the author’s concept of pedagogy of the stupid, a metacritical idea that offers a critique of the colonial practice of constructing colonized people as intellectually, politically, and ethically incapable of self-governance, cultural growth, and epistemic pursuits.  Drawing upon the author’s experiences and concepts from the constellation of countries and people that constitute postcolonial India and the country of Bhutan, the author issues a critique of colonial constructions of knowledge through which the aim of producing colonized subjects depended on miseducation.  The article concludes with a discussion of Bhutan’s “Green School System” of education as an effort to cultivate a form of decolonial practice and a phenomenology of the precolonial traditions of pedagogy in India.
7. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Thomas Meagher The Decolonial Reduction and the Transcendental-Phenomenological Reduction
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This paper offers a philosophical exploration of Nelson Maldonado-Torres’s formulation of the “decolonial reduction” as an instrument of phenomenology and ideological critique. Comparing the decolonial reduction to Edmund Husserl’s notion of the transcendental-phenomenological reduction or epoché, I argue that working through the demands of rigor for either mode of reduction points to areas of overlap: the work of transcendental phenomenology is incomplete without the performance of the decolonial reduction and vice versa. I then assess Maldonado-Torres’s anchoring of the decolonial reduction in the spirit of the “decolonial attitude” and criticism of the Husserlian theoretical attitude. I conclude that foreclosing the theoretical attitude as a framework from which to perform the decolonial reduction implies significant limitations and pitfalls for the decolonial project.
8. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Barnaby B. Barratt Reassessing Wilhelm Reich’s Mass Psychology: Libidinality, Authoritarianism and the Rise of Fascism
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Explanations for the contemporary rise of fascistic attitudes and activism solely in terms of historical, political, and socioeconomic determinants, because they tend to assume the individual is a “rational actor,” are often limited in their capacity to account for the significance of individual enchantment with, and passion for, authoritarian movements. The article argues for the urgent need for greater understanding of the psychodynamic allure of fascist and authoritarian politics. In this context, Wilhelm Reich’s 1933 essay, “The Mass Psychology of Fascism,” is reassessed. It is suggested that he presents a valid and profoundly significant thesis when he points to the connections among the attraction and ardor for fascism, societal oppression of sexuality, and the individual’s libidinal inhibitions, conflicts, and frustrations. But his essay needs substantial correction and modification in three respects: (1) His ideas about “natural sexuality”; (2) his assumptions about matriarchal bliss; and (3) his pervasive heteronormativity or homophobia. The critique of these three aspects is primarily theoretical but also touches on Reich’s life history to the extent that it contextualizes his blind spots. Finally, it is suggested that, in subsequent psychoanalytic writings on the dynamics of authoritarianism and the rise of fascism (from Theodor Adorno and Erich Fromm, to Christina Wieland and Jonathan Sklar), far too little attention has been paid to the libidinal underpinnings of these phenomena, to which Reich’s thesis should draw our attention.
9. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Ipek S. Burnett “A Nation That Isn’t Broken but Simply Unfinished”: Poetics of Humility and Radical Hope for a Democracy in the United States
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On January 20, 2021 during the U.S. presidential inauguration, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman read a poem in which she referenced the insurrection that took place two weeks before, when right-wing rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol Building to interrupt the confirmation of the new United States president. Gorman avowed “while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.” This suggestion that a democracy can be periodically delayed prompts important questions regarding democracy in the United States. The idea that democracy is a work-in-progress challenges the United States’ self-image as a realized democratic state. Furthermore, it calls into question the United States’ self-acclaimed role as an advocate and missionary spreading democracy around the world. Seeing through these dominant self-narratives offers an opportunity for critical reflection to consider the undemocratic foundations on which the United States has been built. In this spirit, Gorman’s poem urges the nation to face its history, ask difficult questions, and acknowledge the gaps between the ideal and reality to heal divisions and create a legacy of resilience and justice. It counters the nationalistic rhetoric of pride and power with a firm stance of humility and, ultimately, radical hope.
10. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
John C. Carney Deciphering Crypto-fascism
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Fascism is a virulent historical social pathology that presents itself as a political ideology or a component of general ideology. It is historical in a double sense. It is actualized at specific times and places. It is also, a recurring feature of history itself. Crypto-fascism is the manipulation of the ambiguity of language for the purpose of fascistic actualization. Crypto-fascism is often an early “tell” or warning of the presence of more widespread fascism. There have been several powerful and deep studies of fascism and its co-optation of the ambiguity of language. Two of these approaches are of particular importance. In both instances fascism is addressed as a potentiality or susceptibility tied to the human condition per se. The first is Freudian and the second is existential. These approaches both meet the historical criteria noted above. In this essay I follow the work of Erich Fromm and Jean-Paul Sartre to understand the ground of fascism and its crypto variant. Camouflage is the hallmark of crypto-fascism, and it is exactly this that Fromm’s analysis and that of Sartre discloses.
11. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Richard Schmitt Votes and Virtues: What Democracy Requires
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Anglophone political theorists regard democracy as an electoral system. The moral character of citizens in a democracy is of no interest to them. But electoral systems that disregard the virtue of citizens yield racist governmental systems and major injustices. Democracy requires citizens distinguished by virtues.
12. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Xiong Min What is an Intellectual and What Can an Intellectual Do at Present?: Keep Rosa Luxemburg in Mind
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This essay considers the definition and role of intellectuals based on the inspiration of Rosa Luxemburg and the author’s personal experience. According to the author, an intellectual should not be defined by their occupation but by whether he or she is open-minded, tolerant, and does not give up thinking. The author further reflects on the relationship between individuals and groups, steps through which intellectuals participate in reality, and the difficulty of find-ing all the facts instead of being guided by selected facts. Based on the author’s self-analysis of herself during the COVID-19 pandemic, it could be concluded that intellectuals should never walk into the ranks of blindly cheering for victory and everyone needs to be heard and seen.
13. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Lewis R. Gordon A Forum on Creolizing Social and Political Theory
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The author discusses Jane Anna Gordon’s proposal, in the 2006 international meeting of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, of creolizing theory. He summarizes the research it generated, including Gordon’s monograph on creolizing political theory, and the set of articles in this forum on creolizing social and political identities and theory.
14. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Juliet Hooker Creolizing Theory in Conversation with Theorizing Race in the Americas
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This review essay situates Jane Anna Gordon’s in light of methodological debates about the nature and role of “comparison.” Gordon repurposes the concept of “creolization” as a means for political theory to grapple with heterogeneity and mixture, not as discrete sets of thinkers and traditions, but as co-constituting. Gordon’s use of creolizing is then read alongside Hooker’s concept of juxtaposition as an alternative to comparison.
15. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Anuja Bose The Creolized Political Thought of Frantz Fanon
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Frantz Fanon has offered us a corpus of writing that seamlessly weaves together philosophical, historical, autobiographical, poetic, and journalistic writing. Drawing on Jane Anna Gordon’s Creolizing Political Theory: Reading Rousseau through Fanon, this article argues that we make sense of Fanon’s irreverence to discipline and genre as not merely attempts at bricolage or formal invention. Rather, we should approach Fanon’s efforts as a way of understanding the world on new terms. Reading Rousseau and Fanon together, Gordon demonstrates this point by showing how Fanon’s creolization of the concept of the general will ultimately realizes its world-transforming possibilities. I conclude by showing how political solidarity is another creolized concept in Fanon’s corpus, which we should pay attention to.
16. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Angélica María Bernal Creolizing Foundings: World-Making Beyond Pure Origins
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This article engages with a creolized approach to the problem and paradoxes of founding. At the heart of the paradox is the issue of political legitimacy: where do a people get the legitimacy to found or refound a new political order? I argue that Gordon’s creolized reading of Rousseau’s problem of the general will—via Fanon—offers us a novel approach to this question: one that neither resorts to an outside lawgiver or projects the solution for a people to solve in the future. Bringing together this solution with my own political reading of the problem of foundings, I contend that Gordon’s creolized general will offers not only a “third way” beyond traditional Rousseauian and Habermasian solutions to the problem, but also a solution that is importantly informed by and can continue to inform real world processes of founding and refounding in colonial and post-colonial contexts.
17. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Oscar Guardiola-Rivera The Archive Is Also a Place of Dreams: On Creolization as Method
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This piece engages creolization as an approach to the history of philosophy and the sense of justice. Building on ancient philosophical and anthropological accounts of the institutional rituals as well as creolizing analyses by writers of the Black Diaspora, it focuses on the approach outlined by J. A. Gordon’s pathbreaking political theory. Creolization is advanced as an invitation to intensify possibilities lying dormant in the archive of our collective histories and lived experiences. An imaginary or even visual site, first, and only then as a concept, or a discursive practice.
18. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Keisha Lindsay Jane Gordon and the Creolization of Political Theory—a Gendered Reasoning
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This essay illuminates and expands upon Gordon’s pathbreaking understanding of creolization as a normatively and geographically fluid process. I begin by highlighting Gordon’s understanding of “progressive” creolization as that which occurs when marginalized groups syncretize distinct, sometimes antagonistic, practices and representations in ways that foster anti-colonial resistance. I use the remainder of the essay to detail how my own research, on self-defined black ladies in Jamaica and the United States, builds upon Gordon’s crucial insight that some forms of creolization are better than others. I do so by demonstrating that gendered hierarchies of power inform how and why creolization is a simultaneously local and transnational phenomenon that engenders anti-racist as well as patriarchal politics.
19. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Monika Brodnicka Creolizing the Creolized Through Amadou Hampaté Bâ’s Living Tradition
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Through the theory of creolization, Jane Anna Gordon offers a platform to revisit a wide variety of scholarship from a decolonial lens. This contribution answers her call and examines Amadou Hampâté Bâ’s work as simultaneously creolize-able, creolizing, and even inviting further creolization of the original theory. While painfully understudied, Bâ offers a methodology of the Living Tradition that informs and complements the theory of creolization. Sourced from the local knowledge of Fulani and Bamana metaphysics and based on three archetypes, the World, the Word, and the Person, the Living Tradition offers mystical insight into the connection between material and spiritual realities within the universe. Through the mystical paradigm, the Living Tradition informs and develops creolization in two specific ways: through a mystical understanding of human mixture and a critique of rationality.
20. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
T. D. Harper-Shipman Creolizing Development in Postcolonial Africa
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This paper outlines a cursory argument for creolizing development studies in postcolonial Africa and why Gordon’s call to creolize the human sciences should go as far as this. I argue that a concept like creolization offers a crucial analysis of the implied heterogeneity and static notion of “Africaness” and a supposed fluidity in what it means to “develop.” When, in fact, it is the inverse that rings true: “Africaness” is the product of various cultural symbols and historical experiences, which are in constant flux; while development, in its current hegemonic state, does not allow for genuine dynamism and variation.