Month: August 2013

Is there an Italian Difference?: Introducing Roberto Esposito’s Living Thought: The Origins and Actuality of Italian Philosophy | An und für sich

Anthony Paul Smith starts off the An und für sich on Roberto Esposito’s Living Thought: The Origins and Actuality of Italian Philosophy:

Is there an Italian Difference?: Introducing Roberto Esposito’s Living Thought: The Origins and Actuality of Italian Philosophy | An und für sich.

Philosophy, Corporate “Totalitarianism” and New Universities

Adam Kotsko has a new post up on the new graduate school based in Denver that’s been going around on Facebook and twitter. He’s skeptical. But his point about the hard work of people keeping his institution going is important. (A point made more clear that the graduate school advertised before its web site was done, before it had done fundraising, before setting up a curriculum online and so on and so on–you know, the move from potentiality to actuality…) I raise that because I want to push back against this line of thinking:

But should philosophy fold so easily to this prosaic corporate totalitarianism that has subverted all non-corporate methods of thinking and practice? …The illness of philosophy today is all too evident when viewed as a discipline that is wholly enslaved to the corporatized academy.  That is, the academy has become an extension of the corporate workforce precisely because the latter has determined not only what subjects are taught but also how those subjects are taught.  In other words, the corporate world has literally redefined the learning and discovery process thus undermining new and creative ways of thinking and living that would provide us with a healthier peaceful future….The fact that philosophy remains indefinable to the bane of many gives us hope that this revolution is already afoot and that is taking place concretely by the opening of a independent graduate and post-graduate school, The Global Center for Advanced Studies.  

No, it has not. “Fold so easily”–well, that’s a nice sentiment, but one not supportive enough to those who are taking up the fight within any number of institutions. Yes, we can see more than hints even today of how philosophy has to “market” itself, but one wonders what one is doing when “fundraising,” which is easily the bane of academic existence today: universities bending over backward to donors, who then have a hand in all sorts of things unimaginable decades ago. Are the lessons of a whole host of thinkers that no institution is innocent, outside a given system, no matter its potential? But more to the point: I work at Memorial University, which has its neo-liberal aspects, no doubt, and is the cheapest university in Canada and by extension all universities north of the Mexican border. But is philosophy done there? Does it serve its community? Yes. Are all aspects of the discipline “enslaved”? No. That doesn’t mean I’m a tool, but actually because I see how we’re all implicated and the struggles people take in light of that, both inside and outside institutions. The future is not to live off fundraising–Rousseau’s great lines in the Second Discourse about pity and debt are worth recalling–but to continue the arduous work that makes the university funded by and a part of “civic culture” broadly understood. That should be the goal.

African Philosophy–Special Issue on Reconciliation in Postcolonial Africa

No 7 2013.

This is the fourth issue that comes after a 10 year hiatus since 2003.

The leading article of the issue is by Dennis Masaka. The article
looks at conflict and consensus in Zimbabwe’s government. It is
followed by Pascah Mungwini’s article on indigenous peoples and
question of reconciliation. Next is Munamato Chemhuru’s philosophical
reflections on the indigenous method of peace. From politics and
reconciliation, Collis Garikai Machoko delves into celibacy in African
traditional religion with spirits,
possessions, and sex. After that thrilling read, Gaius Anonaba Umahi
takes us to Nigeria for a closer look at the religious conflicts in
Nigeria between Muslims and Christians and the emergence of Boko
Haram. We end the issue with Charles Peterson film review on Boyamba
Belgique aptly titled “you took everything from us, so it’s obvious
that something needed to stay.”

Paid subscription is required to read JAP, available for individuals
and institutions. If your institution is a paid subscriber of Africa
Knowledge Project, you can access the issue. Support the work of JAP
by purchasing a paid subscription to the journal and putting a request
with your librarian to get a paid subscription to the journal.