Friday, September 30, 2011

Hasana Sharp, Spinoza and the Politics of Renaturalization

Now in print.

There have been many Spinozas over the centuries: atheist, romantic pantheist, great thinker of the multitude, advocate of the liberated individual, and rigorous rationalist. The common thread connecting all of these clashing perspectives is Spinoza’s naturalism, the idea that humanity is part of nature, not above it.

In this sophisticated new interpretation of Spinoza’s iconoclastic philosophy, Hasana Sharp draws on his uncompromising naturalism to rethink human agency, ethics, and political practice. Sharp uses Spinoza to outline a practical wisdom of “renaturalization,” showing how ideas, actions, and institutions are never merely products of human intention or design, but outcomes of the complex relationships among natural forces beyond our control. This lack of a metaphysical or moral division between humanity and the rest of nature, Sharp contends, can provide the basis for an ethical and political practice free from the tendency to view ourselves as either gods or beasts.

Sharp’s groundbreaking argument critically engages with important contemporary thinkers—including deep ecologists, feminists, and race and critical theorists—making Spinoza and the Politics of Renaturalization vital for a wide range of scholars.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When last we looked in on biking at McGill

... just over a year ago, there was a big public forum at which sentiment was strongly (though not unanimously) against the environment-unfriendly categorical ban on bikes on McGill's downtown campus. Associate Vice-President Jim Nicell dismissed the forum as drawing an unbalanced crowd, though without saying what drove the selection process, and though for weeks beforehand the upcoming forum had been used to tell bikers that their concerns would get a public airing.

Further dialogue and consultation was promised.

Like I said: just over a year ago.