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James Baldwin’s Pragmatist Aesthetics

This essay establishes a philosophical connection between James Baldwin and the philosopher William James by investigating how the pragmatist protocol against “vicious intellectualism” offers Baldwin a key resource for thinking through how anti-black racism might be dismantled. While Richard Wright had earlier denounced pragmatism for privileging experience over knowledge, and thereby offering the black subject no means for redressing America’s constitutive hierarchies, uncovering the current of Jamesian thought that runs through Baldwin’s essays brings into view his attempt to move beyond epistemology as the primary framework for inaugurating a future unburdened by the problem of the color line. Although Baldwin indicts contemporaneous arrangements of knowledge for producing the most dehumanizing forms of racism, he does not simply attempt to rewrite the enervating meanings to which black subjects are given. Articulating a pragmatist sensibility at various stages of his career, Baldwin repeatedly suggests that the imagining and creation of a better world is predicated upon rethinking the normative value accorded to knowledge in the practice of politics. The provocative challenge that Baldwin issues for his reader is to cease the well-established privileging of knowledge, and to instead stage the struggle for freedom within an aesthetic, rather than epistemological, paradigm.

James Baldwin Review

This paper questions the extent to which the (arguable) end of the liberal humanitarian order is something to be mourned. Suggesting that current laments for the decline of humanitarianism reflect a Eurocentric worldview, it calls for a fundamental revision of the assumptions informing humanitarian scholarship. Decoloniality and anti-colonialism should be taken seriously so as to not reproduce the same by a different name after the end of the liberal order.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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James Baldwin and the "Closeted-ness" of American Power

This article reads the work of James Baldwin in dialogue with that of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. Taking its cue from Baldwin’s claim that Americans “live […] with something in [their] closet” that they “pretend […] is not there,” it explores his depiction of a United States characterized by the “closeted-ness” of its racial discourse. In doing so, the article draws on Sedgwick’s work concerning how the containment of discourses pertaining to sexuality hinges on the closeting of non-heteronormative sexual practices. Reconceptualizing Sedgwick’s ideas in the context of a black, queer writer like Baldwin, however, problematizes her own insistence on the “historical gay specificity” of the epistemology she traces. To this end, this article does not simply posit a racial counterpart to the homosexual closet. Rather, reflecting Baldwin’s insistence that “the sexual question and the racial question have always been entwined,” I highlight here the interpretive possibilities opened up by intersectional analyses that view race, sexuality, and national identity as coextensive, reciprocal epistemologies.  

James Baldwin Review
Gender, sexual difference and knowledge in Bacon’s New Atlantis

sexualised and gendered metaphors in a more complex way than critical history allows. Was he really the ‘founding father’7 of a binary epistemology that linked reason, masculinity and knowledge in contradistinction to feeling, femininity and matter? The metaphors of chaste marriages and legitimate children certainly invoke the discourse of seventeenth-century patriarchy, but it is noticeable that the description of marriage is one of mutuality and equity (‘nature to be commanded must be obeyed’). Bacon’s utopian text, the New Atlantis, is both a literal representation and

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis

that I  think serves well to capture the ongoing dynamics around authority in a cross-​cutting, regionally based ‘umbrella’ policy field such as the Arctic. This concept  –​civic epistemology  –​is first introduced in the coming section. Authority in global governance Rapid globalisation at the end of the Cold War increased and rendered highly visible the multitude of non-​state actors and social movements shaping a growing number of transnational policy fields. In coming to grips with this new quantity and visibility, IR scholars working in global governance first

in Arctic governance
Kant

who wish to question the perception of Kant’s enterprise as merely an exercise in legitimating the natural sciences, and on the other to those who see the need to extend the scope of epistemology if it is not to founder on the problems that become apparent in the first two Critiques. Dieter Henrich regards the crux of Kant’s epistemology as the justification of ‘forms of cognition from the form and nature of self-consciousness’ (Henrich 1982 p. 176). The philosophical problem is therefore how the form and nature of self-consciousness are to be described. Descartes had

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
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Henry David Thoreau

implications for thinking about, among other things, economy, epistemology and language. Or to put these categories in terms of the present participles Thoreau preferred (with the grammatical implication, thereby, of action, immediacy and, perhaps most importantly, continuation), Thoreau’s enthusiasm has radical things to teach us about ‘circulating’, ‘knowing’ and ‘deriving’. First, though, ‘enthusing’ – with what justice is Thoreau called an enthusiast? Enthusing Thoreau counts himself an enthusiast, or at least as someone who has enthusiasm, in the opening chapter of

in Enthusiast!

’s copious Asia in the Making of Europe , and to the pioneering work of Margaret Hodgen on early modern ethnology, 69 Rubies focuses on the question of how travel literature structured moral and political thought, and so contributed to the transition from the theological epistemology of medieval European culture to the historical and philosophical concerns of the nascent Enlightenment. It was not merely that this literature

in The other empire
Community–university research partnerships in global perspectives

This book is based on a three-year international comparative study on poverty reduction and sustainability strategies . It provides evidence from twenty case studies around the world on the power and potential of community and higher education based scholars and activists working together in the co-creation of transformative knowledge. Opening with a theoretical overview of knowledge, democracy and action, the book is followed by analytical chapters providing lessons learned and capacity building, and on the theory and practice of community university research partnerships. It also includes lessons on models of evaluation, approaches to measuring the impact and an agenda for future research and policy recommendations. The book overviews the concept of engaged scholarship and then moves to focus on community-university research partnerships. It is based on a global empirical study of the role of community-university research partnerships within the context of poverty alleviation, the creation of sustainable societies and, broadly speaking, the Millennium Development Goals. The book frames the contribution of community-university research partnerships within a larger knowledge democracy framework, linking this practice to other spaces of knowledge democracy. These include the open access movement, new acceptance of the methods of community-based and participatory research and the call for cognitive justice or the need for epistemologies of the Global South. It takes a particular look at the variety of structures that have been created in the various universities and civil society research organizations to facilitate and enhance research partnerships.

Open Access (free)

could be loosely called ‘classical’ epistemology, that is, the world (reality, the object of knowledge), the person, (the knowing subject) and language (or science). In broad terms, these three zones are understood to be ontologically distinct, or distinct as objects in themselves, thus positing the existence of a division far beyond the simply observed difference between words and things. For such epistemologies, the gulf drawn between the knowing subject and the object of knowledge is mediated in various ways, well or badly, by language and its methodological

in Human rights and the borders of suffering