From politics of culture to politics of justice
Nepal promulgated its constitution on 20 September—the first after ending the monarchy, and one replacing the interim constitution in place since 2007. That interim constitution had been put in place to mark the peace agreement with the Nepali Maoists, mainstreaming them into democratic politics and unarming them under the UN mediation. While there were other obstacles in finalizing the constitution, the hardest nut to crack has been the issue of federalism because it involved finding a way to work Nepal’s multiple ethnic and regional identities into the mono-ethnic nationalism institutionalized by the state thus far.
This interview with Susan Buck-Morss took place at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center on May 12 2015. Buck-Morss is Distinguished Professor of Political Philosophy at the Graduate Center and has been a towering figure in continental theory since her publication of The Origin of Negative Dialectics in 1977. Her books include Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History (2009), Thinking Past Terror: Islamism and Critical Theory on the Left (2003), Dreamworld and Catastrophe: The Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West (2000), and The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (1991). In this interview with Zoltán Glück for FocaalBlog, Professor Buck-Morss talks about her formative years of political radicalization, the difficulties of teaching the radical tradition, and the political significance of crowds.
I spent the last weeks of August and the first days of September in Hungary, close to the European Union’s border with Serbia. Never before had a routine field trip catapulted me into an engagement with issues dominating daily headlines, both in Hungary and elsewhere. What light can social anthropology throw on the current “migrant crisis”?
On Tuesday, September 8, the City University of New York (CUNY) Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies is hosting a free panel discussion and presentation based on the recent FocaalBlog post “Puerto Rico Is NOT Greece: Notes on the Role of Debt in US Colonialism.”
Where: The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
Room 9100: Skylight Room
When: September 8, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Contact Info: 212-817-8434
The blog authors Ismael García-Colón, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the College of Staten Island and the CUNY Graduate Center, and Harry Franqui-Rivera, Research Associate at Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies, will participate in the discussion.
For more details, please visit the event page here.
The conference “Elections in central and southern Africa, dynamics of exclusion and participation,” at SOAS on 26 June 2015, prompts me to some personal reflections. Elections in central and southern Africa are marked by a paradoxical dynamic of participation and exclusion. Ostensible rituals of mass participation and of legitimation by civil power, electoral processes in the countries of the region have often made recourse to forms of exclusionary violence during campaigns. This is not, of course, unique—elections in Africa should not be seen as sui generis events. This exclusionary dynamic is well understood as a regional variant on a wider theme.