Saturday, March 08, 2008

Reading List
Newly released:

Bringing the Passions Back In: The Emotions in Political Philosophy
. Professor Kingston will be our next guest at the Montreal Political Theory Workshop on March 28. Two chapters here from my colleagues Christina Tarnopolsky and Arash Abizadeh, both of whom do important work on the passions in political theory. I've read a couple of the chapters in this book; it'll be a worthwhile buy.


Foreword: Politics and Passion
Charles Taylor

Introduction: The Emotions and the History of Political Thought
Leonard Ferry and Rebecca Kingston

1 Explaining Emotions
Amélie Oksenberg Rorty

2 Plato on Shame and Frank Speech in Democratic Athens
Christina Tarnopolsky

3 The Passions of the Wise: Phronesis, Rhetoric, and Aristotle’s Passionate Practical Deliberation
Arash Abizadeh

4 Troubling Business: The Emotions in Aquinas’ Philosophical Psychology
Leonard Ferry

5 The Political Relevance of the Emotions from Descartes to Smith
Rebecca Kingston

6 Passion, Power, and Impartiality in Hume
Sharon Krause

7 Pity, Pride, and Prejudice: Rousseau on the Passions
Ingrid Makus

8 Feelings in the Political Philosophy of J.S. Mill
Marlene K. Sokolon

9 Emotions, Reasons, and Judgments
Leah Bradshaw

10 The Politics of Emotion
Robert C. Solomon

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

International Journal of Transitional Justice Fellows Programme Application

The International Journal of Transitional Justice (IJTJ) is pleased to announce the introduction of a Journal Fellows Programme aimed at increasing the publication and dissemination of pieces from south-based transitional justice practitioners and scholars. The Programme will provide the opportunity for five applicants to develop their writing, analytical and comparative content skills through a short training workshop followed by a one year e-mentorship by leading scholars and practitioners in the field globally as well as the IJTJ Editorial team.

Fellows will be invited to attend the first IJTJ Board Conference, to be held from May 28 – 30, 2008 in South Africa. During the conference, Fellows will be involved in all discussions and debates on the development of the field and strategic direction of the Journal, and will be provided a unique opportunity to network with key figures in the field of transitional justice. Fellows will then remain on for a further 2 day training workshop on writing, content and analysis.

Prior to the workshop, Fellows will be paired with a mentor from the IJTJ Board who will remain in contact with them over the course of the year and serve as a source of information, critical feedback and support as Fellows develop a minimum of one piece of sufficient quality to be considered for publication in the journal.

It is hoped that the programme will contribute to growing the existing pool of South-based voices in the field of transitional justice. We are therefore looking for academics, activists and practitioners from the global South who fulfil the following criteria:
• Have a background in either transitional justice practice or scholarship;
• Have direct experience of conflict or repression in their home context;
• Are interested in making a contribution to the field of transitional justice;
• Are fluent in English;
• Have prior writing experience;
• Are currently in, or will be returning to, a position in an institution in the field of transitional justice, human rights or related areas;
• Are prepared to commit themselves to the production of a minimum of one article over the course of the year.

Interested applicants should fill out the application form (available by request from and submit it along with a covering letter, and a sample of writing to no later than March 15, 2008.

Please mark all correspondence with the line ‘IJTJ Fellowship Programme application’ in the subject line.

Applicants who are short listed will be asked to provide two letters of recommendation as well as a brief essay on a transitional justice-related topic.

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Race, privilege, and humor

On the one hand, there's something kind of precious (in the bad way) about the self-conscious, self-congratulatory way that members of a privileged group can enjoy humor at their own expense: think Eddie Murphy's "White Like Me," or Martin Mull's book- and video-series "A History of White People in America Today, or the newcomer to the genre, the "Stuff White People Like" blog. Being able to chuckle at that kind of thing seems to show some self-awareness about one's privileged position ("it sure is telling how much comedy value there is in racializing whiteness!") but it also confirms it.

On the other hand, well, all three of those examples are pretty funny; and it's probably better to have that bit of self-consciousness about privilege than not to have it, right? And, after all, the #1 thing the blog says white people like is hardly something I can argue about.

(It's not quite clear to me whether "Stuff White People Like" was ever really being written primarily for an Asian audience's amusement, but by now, I think it's pretty clearly being written to prompt self-bemusement from a white audience.)

Compare also: any humor for a mostly-straight audience about straight men's poor fashion sense and inability to dance (Queer Eye undoubtedly counts), or for that matter any humor for a mostly-white audience about white people's inability to dance. For that matter, I kind of think that the classic sitcom bumbling paterfamilias is an example. Of course, the genre is old-- the class-inversion humor of the servant who's more clever than the master was a staple of the commedia dell'arte tradition as well as Shakespeare, and was meant in large part to amuse the masters who could afford to laugh at themselves.

Update: Ah. Not sure where I'd gotten the impression that SWPL's author was Asian-American, but he's not-- he's white. The site is self-conscious self-mockery a la Martin Mull.