Open Access (free)
Self-examining White Privilege and the Myth of America
Keely Shinners

James Baldwin, in his landmark essay “My Dungeon Shook,” says that white Americans are “still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it.” This open letter explores this history on a personal level. Taking notes from Baldwin’s indictments of whiteness in Another Country and The Fire Next Time, this essay explores how white people, despite claims of deniability, become culpable, complicit, and ensnared in their racial privilege. By reading Baldwin’s work through a personal lens, it implores fellow white readers and scholars of Baldwin to begin examining the myths of America by first examining themselves.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
James Baldwin’s Pragmatist Aesthetics
Rohan Ghatage

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
Robert J. Corber

The author reviews Raoul Peck’s 2016 film, I Am Not Your Negro, finding it a remarkable achievement as a documentary that breaks with cinematic conventions and emphasizes the importance of listening as much as looking. The director has singled out Baldwin as the writer whose work spoke most directly to his own identity and experience during his peripatetic childhood in Haiti and Africa, and in I Am Not Your Negro, Peck aims to ensure that Baldwin’s words will have a similar effect on audiences. However, even as it succeeds in reanimating Baldwin’s voice for a new political era, I Am Not Your Negro inadvertently exposes the difficulty of fully capturing or honoring the writer’s complex legacy. As scholars have long noted, interest in Baldwin’s life and work tends to divide along racial and sexual lines, and Peck’s documentary is no exception. The filmmaker privileges Baldwin’s blackness over his queerness by overlooking the parts of The Devil Finds Work and No Name in the Street in which the writer’s queerness figures prominently.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design
Mark Duffield

privileging of the design principle over the need for, or even the possibility of, political change. Design Not Politics The computational turn and societal dependence on digital technologies has changed the way the world is understood and the status of humans within it ( Chandler, 2018 ). The privileging of the design principle is central to this change. Besides the spatial shift from circulation to connectivity, an ontological, epistemological and methodological translation has also taken place ( Duffield, 2018 ). While anticipating late-modernity, the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editors’ Introduction
Tanja R. Müller and Gemma Sou

, they maintain that linguistic exchange should be conceptualised, not merely as transactional, but through an ethic of exchange that is equipped to acknowledge the inherent asymmetry between those who require and those who provide assistance during a crisis. Relatedly, they argue that language and barriers to understanding can reproduce the epistemic privileges inherent to humanitarian aid, and so they call for translation processes that practise epistemic humility. Sandvik interrogates the private sector

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Matthew Hunt, Sharon O’Brien, Patrick Cadwell and Dónal P. O’Mathúna

crisis. In humanitarian aid, an epistemic privilege is associated with the principal language(s) in which aid is coordinated and administered. In practice, this is often English but might be other languages in other contexts. Language barriers within the humanitarian response, especially where effective translation is not available, can lead to significant limitations in how people participate in knowledge pooling and might devalue the knowledge held

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector
Kevin O’Sullivan and Réiseal Ní Chéilleachair

on the process of decision-making. They tend to know what decision was made but rarely why that route was taken or what alternative options (if any) were available. This can lead to an underappreciation both of humanitarianism’s nuances and of what we have forgotten, ignored or not measured. It also privileges presentism. As Jeff Crisp rather pithily observed, over the course of any emergency, the sector ‘can be guaranteed to describe it as an “unprecedented crisis

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Interpreting Violence on Healthcare in the Early Stage of the South Sudanese Civil War
Xavier Crombé and Joanna Kuper

‘traitors’. That places of healthcare, like other institutions deemed sanctuaries, such as mosques and churches, have the potential to facilitate selective violence in conflict is a reality that medical humanitarian actors still seem reluctant to acknowledge. Such a phenomenon, observable in very different conflict settings, has led Adia Benton and Sayed Atshan to wonder ‘if privileging health care sites is even a laudable goal, when the space of the clinic can operate as an

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
From the Global to the Local
Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh

, 20 January 2018. 18 On the Provident Fund, see UNRWA (2017a) . 19 Anonymous interview, 28 January 2018. 20 Anonymous interview, 2 February 2018. 21 At the end of September 2018, two interviewees informed me that Palestinian employees over the age of forty were being ‘invited’ by UNRWA to request voluntary early retirement; their positions would not be filled through new appointments. 22 Anonymous interview, 14 February 2018. As noted by one of the article’s anonymous reviewers, technology can reinforce privilege and forms of exclusion, rather than

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Visions of episcopacy in seventeenth-century France

This book explores how conceptions of episcopacy (government of a church by bishops) shaped the identity of the bishops of France in the wake of the reforming Council of Trent (1545–63). It demonstrates how the episcopate, initially demoralised by the Wars of Religion, developed a powerful ideology of privilege, leadership and pastorate that enabled it to become a flourishing participant in the religious, political and social life of the ancien regime. The book analyses the attitudes of Tridentine bishops towards their office by considering the French episcopate as a recognisable caste, possessing a variety of theological and political principles that allowed it to dominate the French church.