Image Description

Liron Mor, Conflicts: The Poetics and Politics of Palestine-Israel (New York: Fordham University Press, Forthcoming)

Liron Mor's book queries what conflict means in the context of Palestine-Israel. Conflict has long been seen as singular and primary: as an original sin that necessitates the state and underwrites politics. This book problematizes this universal notion of conflict, revealing its colonial implications and proposing that conflicts are always politically constructed after the fact and are thus to be understood in their various specific forms. 

The book explores sites of poetic and political strife in Palestine-Israel by combining a comparative study of Hebrew and Arabic literature with political and literary theory. Mor leverages an archive that ranges from the 1930s to the present, from prose and poetry to film and television, to challenge the conception of the Palestinian-Israeli context as a conflict, delineating the colonial history of this concept and showing its inadequacy to Palestine-Israel. Instead, Mor articulates locally specific modes of theorizing the antagonisms and mediations, colonial technologies, and anticolonial practices that make up the fabric of this site. In so doing, Conflicts aims to generate a historically and geographically situated mode of theory-making, which defies the separation between the conceptual and the poetic.

Sense & Singularity

Georges Van Den Abbeele, Sense and Singularity: Jean-Luc Nancy and the Interruption of Philosophy  (New York: Fordham University Press, 2023)


Philosophical thinking is interrupted by the finitude of what cannot be named, on the one hand, and that within which it is subsumed as one of multiple modes of sense-making, on the other. Sense and Singularity elaborates Jean-Luc Nancy's philosophical project as an inquiry into the limits or finitude of philosophy itself, where it is interrupted, and as a practice of critical intervention where philosophy serves to interrupt otherwise unquestioned ways of thinking. Nancy's interruption of philosophy, Van Den Abbeele argues, reveals the limits of what philosophy is and what it can do, its apocalyptic end and its endless renewal, its Sisyphean interruption between the bounds of infinitely replicating sense and the conceptual vanishing point that is singularity. 

A Region Among States

Lee Cabatingan, A Region among States: Law and Non-soveriegnty in the Caribbean (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2023)

Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork at the Caribbean Court of Justice, A Region among States explores the possibility of constituting a region on a geopolitical and ideological terrain dominated by the nation-state.

How is it that a great swath of the independent, English-speaking Caribbean continues to accept the judicial oversight of their former colonizer via the British institution of the Privy Council? And what possibilities might the CCJ‚ a judicial institution responsive to the region, not any single nation‚ offer for untangling sovereignty and regionhood, law and modernity, and postcolonial Caribbean identity?
Joining the CCJ as an intern, Lee Cabatingan studied the work of the Court up close: she attended each court hearing and numerous staff meetings, served on committees, assisted with the organization of conferences, and helped to prepare speeches and presentations for the judges. She now offers insight into not only how the Court positions itself vis-a-vis the Caribbean region and the world, but also whether the Court‚ and, perhaps, the region itself as an overarching construct‚ might ever achieve a real measure of popular success. In their quest for an accepting, eager constituency, the Court is undertaking a project of extra-judicial region-building that borrows from the toolbox of the nation-state. In each chapter, Cabatingan takes us into an analytical dimension familiar from studies of nation and state-building‚ myth, territory, people, language, and brand‚ to help us understand not only the Court and its ambitions, but also the regionalist project, beset as it is with false starts and disappointments, as a potential alternative to the sovereign state.


Shakespeare and Virtue

Julia Reinhard Lupton and Donovan Sherman '11, eds. Shakespeare and Virtue: A Handbook (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023)


This volume maps Shakespearean virtue in all its plasticity and variety. Clearly explaining key concepts in the history of ethics and in classical, theological, and global virtue traditions, the collection reveals their presence in the works of Shakespeare in interpersonal, civic, and ecological scenes of action. Paying close attention to both individual identity and social environment, chapters also consider how the virtuous horizons broached in Shakespearean drama have been tested anew by the plays' global travels and fresh encounters with different traditions. 

Wittgenstein Rehinged

Annalisa Coliva, Wittgenstein Rehinged (London: Anthem Press, 2022)

The book offers an in-depth discussion of the relevance of Wittgenstein's third masterpiece, On Certainty, for contemporary epistemology. In the second part of the book, several chapters are dedicated to Wittgenstein as a philosopher of culture. 

Being Moved

Daniel M. Gross, Being-Moved: Rhetoric as the Art of Listening (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2020)

If rhetoric is the art of speaking, who is listening? In Being-Moved, Daniel M. Gross provides an answer, showing when and where the art of speaking parted ways with the art of listening and what happens when they intersect once again. Much in the history of rhetoric must be rethought along the way. And much of this rethinking pivots around Martin Heidegger‚  early lectures on Aristotle‚ Rhetoric where his famous topic, Being, gives way to being-moved. The results, Gross goes on to show, are profound. Listening to the gods, listening to the world around us, and even listening to one another in the classroom, all of these experiences become different when rhetoric is reoriented from the voice to the ear.

Iberian Empires and Globalization

Ivonne del Valle, Anna More, Rachel Sarah O'Toole, Iberian Empires and the Roots of Globalization (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2020)

Iberian Empires and the Roots of Globalization argues that Iberian empires cannot be viewed apart from early modern globalization. From research sites throughout the early modern Spanish and Portuguese territories and from distinct disciplinary approaches, the essays collected in this volume investigate the economic mechanisms, administrative hierarchies, and art forms that linked the early modern Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Iberian Empires and the Roots of Globalization demonstrates that early globalization was structured through diverse networks and their mutual and conflictive interactions within overarching imperial projects. To this end, the essays explore how specific products, texts, and people bridged ideas and institutions to produce multiple centers with Iberian imperial geographies. Taken as a whole, the authors also argue that despite attempts to reproduce European models, early Iberian globalization depended on indigenous and African-descent agency, often undermining or changing these models. The volume thus exposes a theory of early modern globalization. Not only do the essays outline the Iberian imperial models that provided templates for future global designs but they also detail the negotiated and conflictive forms of local interactions that characterized early globalization. They thus offer essential insights into historical continuities in regions colonized by Spanish and Portuguese monarchies.



Annalisa Coliva and Maria Baghramian, Relativism (Oxford: Routledge Press, 2019)


Relativism, an ancient philosophical doctrine, is once again a topic of heated debate. In this book, Maria Baghramian and Annalisa Coliva present the recent arguments for and against various forms of relativism.

The first two chapters introduce the conceptual and historical contours of relativism. These are followed by critical investigations of relativism about truth, conceptual relativism, epistemic relativism, and moral relativism. The concluding chapter asks whether it is possible to make sense of relativism as a philosophical thesis.

Uncomfortable Situations

Daniel M. Gross, Uncomfortable Situations: Emotion between Science and the Humanities (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017)

What is a hostile environment? How exactly can feelings be mixed? What on earth might it mean when someone writes that he was “happily situated” as a slave? The answers, of course, depend upon whom you ask. Science and the humanities typically offer two different paradigms for thinking about emotion—the first rooted in brain and biology, the second in a social world. With rhetoric as a field guide, Uncomfortable Situations establishes common ground between these two paradigms, focusing on a theory of situated emotion. The book's argument is anchored in Charles Darwin, whose work on emotion has been misunderstood across the disciplines as it has been shoehorned into the perceived science-humanities divide. Then the book turns to sentimental literature as the single best domain for studying emotional situations. There's lost composure (Sterne), bearing up (Equiano), environmental hostility (Radcliffe), and feeling mixed (Austen). Rounding out the book, an epilogue written with ecological neuroscientist Stephanie Preston provides a different kind of cross-disciplinary collaboration.


Bounds LIves

Rachel Sarah O'Toole, Bound Lives: Africans, Indians, and the Making of Race in Colonial Peru (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012)

Bound Lives chronicles the lived experience of race relations in
northern coastal Peru during the colonial era. Rachel Sarah
O'Toole examines how Andeans and Africans negotiated and
employed casta and, in doing so, constructed these racial categories.
Royal and vice regal authorities separated Indians from Blacks by
defining each according to specific labor demands. Casta categories
did the work of race, yet not all casta categories were uniformly
applied since Andeans, Africans, and their descendants were bound
by their locations within colonialism and slavery.

The secular colonial legal system clearly favored indigenous populations.
Andeans were afforded greater protections as native vassals,
whereas Africans were often subject to the judgments of local slaveholding
authorities. Africans claimed new kinships to protect themselves
in disputes with their captors and countered slaveholders‚
claims on their time and labor by invoking customary practices.

Bound Lives highlights the tenuous interactions of colonial authorities,
indigenous communities, and enslaved populations and shows
how the interplay between colonial law and daily practice shaped the
nature of colonialism and slavery.

Africans to Spanish America

Sherwin Bryant, Rachel Sarah O'Toole, Ben Vinson III. Africans to Spanish America: Expanding the Diaspora (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2012)

 Africans to Spanish America expands the Diaspora framework that has shaped much of the recent scholarship on Africans in the Americas to include Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and Cuba, exploring the connections and disjunctures between colonial Latin America and the African Diaspora in the Spanish empires. While a majority of the research on the colonial Diaspora focuses on the Caribbean and Brazil, analysis of the regions of Mexico and the Andes opens up new questions of community formation that incorporated Spanish legal strategies in secular and ecclesiastical institutions as well as articulations of multiple African identities. Editors Sherwin K. Bryant, Rachel Sarah O'Toole, and Ben Vinson III arrange the volume around three themes: identity construction in the Americas; the struggle by enslaved and free people to present themselves as civilized, Christian, and resistant to slavery; and issues of cultural exclusion and inclusion. Across these broad themes, contributors offer probing and detailed studies of the place and roles of people of African descent in the complex realities of colonial Spanish America.

Constructing Human Rights

Kavita Philip, Mahmood Monshipouri, Neil Englehart and Andrew J. Nathan, editors. Constructing Human Rights in the Age of Globalization. (M.E. Sharpe, 2003).

Both human rights and globalization are powerful ideas and processes, capable of transforming the world in profound ways. Notwithstanding their universal claims, however, the processes are constructed, and they draw their power from the specific cultural and political contexts in which they are constructed. Far from bringing about a harmonious cosmopolitan order, they have stimulated conflict and opposition. In the context of globalization, as the idea of human rights has become universal, its meaning has become one more terrain of struggle among groups with their own interests and goals.

Part I of this volume looks at political and cultural struggles to control the human rights regime -- that is, the power to construct the universal claims that will prevail in a territory -- with respect to property, the state, the environment, and women. Part II examines the dynamics and counterdynamics of transnational networks in their interactions with local actors in Iran, China, and Hong Kong. Part III looks at the prospects for fruitful human rights dialogiue between "competing universalisms" that by definition are intolerant of conradiction and averse to compromise.


Étienne Balibar. Politics and the Other Scene. Translated by Daniel Hahn. (London: Verso Books, 2002).

In Politics and the Other Scene Balibar deepens and extends the work he first developed with Immanuel Wallerstein in Race, Nation, Class. Exploring the theme of universalism and difference, he addresses questions such as “European racism,” the notion of the border, whether a European citizenship is possible or desirable, violence and politics, identity and emancipation.

Dialectics of the Will

John H. Smith. Dialectics of the Will: Freedom, Power, and Understanding in Modern French and German Thought. (Wayne State University Press, 2000).

John H. Smith looks at the act of willing as existing in a domain of contradictions, such as freedom and determinism and unity and fragmentation, to explain how we can be considered free beings. Dialectics of the Will develops a new model of human agency by analyzing modern and postmodern theory in Germany and France. The dialectical model of the will that Smith posits contributes to ongoing discussions of freedom, power, and understanding in Western thought. After examining a range of historical debates about the will and the possibilities and limitations essential to this concept, he examines the works of Kant, Nietzsche, and Heidegger and their reception by Adorno, Lacan, Habermas, Foucault, Gadamer, and Derrida. By engaging conflicting theoretical positions of contemporary French and German thinkers, Smith demonstrates how theorists rely upon and can benefit from a dialectical conception of willing.

Blackness & Value

Lindon Barrett. Blackness and Value: Seeing Double. (London: Cambridge University Press, 1999).

Blackness and Value investigates the principles by which "value" operates, and asks if it is useful to imagine that the concepts of racial blackness and whiteness in the United States operate in terms of these principles. Testing these concepts by exploring various theoretical approaches and their shortcomings, Lindon Barrett finds that the gulf between "the street" (where race is acknowledged as a powerful enigma) and the literary academy (where until recently it has not been) can be understood as a symptom of racial violence. While commonly approaches to race and value are examined historically or sociologically, this intriguing study provides a new critical approach that speaks to theorists of race as well as gender and queer studies.

Spinoza & Politics

Étienne Balibar. Spinoza and Politics. Translated by Peter Snowden. (London: Verso Books, 1998).

With Hobbes and Locke, Spinoza is arguably one of the most important political philosophers of the modern era, a premier theoretician of democracy and mass politics. In this English translation of his 1985 classic, Spinoza et la Politique, Étienne Balibar presents a synoptic account of Spinoza's major works, admirably demonstrating relevance to his contemporary political life.

Balibar carefully situates Spinoza's major treatises in the period in which they were written. In successive chapters, he examines the political situation in the United Provinces during Spinoza's lifetime, Spinoza's own religious and ideological associations, the concept of democracy developed in the Theologico-Political Treatise, the theory of the state advanced in the Political Treatise and the anthropological basis for politics established in the Ethics.




“Culture ” and the Problem of the Disciplines. Edited by John Carlos Rowe. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.

What is the university's role in the production of cultural ideals? With increasingly interdisciplinary approaches being employed in scholarship, can we speak of discrete fields of study?

The results of a collaborative research project by the Critical Theory Institute at the University of California, Irvine, this collection explores the role that scholars and universities play in shaping and defining culture, and how teaching and research institutions are changing in response to international movements and social forces. Investigating the way "high" culture (literature, liberal education) and popular culture (fashion, film) are dealt with in the classroom, these essays show that the "culture wars" of the 1980s and '90s are by no means over; they have simply warped into new, less visible struggles for control of educational funding, curricula, academic "standards," and pedagogical authority.

The essays in this volume range widely. Sacvan Bercovitch defends the literary ideal of culture through his examination of Faulkner's Light in August; Linda Williams explores visual culture through Hitchcock's Psycho; and Leslie Rabine considers the intersections of fashion, race, and gender. J. Hillis Miller details how "cultural studies" might positively change the structure of the university, and Mark Poster challenges historians to develop methods of representing history that are adequate to the complexity of lived experience.

Otherness in Literary Langauge

Gabriele Schwab. The Mirror and the Killer-Queen: Otherness in Literary Language. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996).

Gabriele Schwab revitalizes debates about literature’s cultural function by exploring literary experience as an encounter with otherness. Drawing on literary theory, anthropology, and psychoanalysis, Schwab contends that literature facilitates contact with cultures that may seem foreign to us. At the same time, literature can render the familiar strange, and foreground what a culture tends to repress. At its best, literature challenges the very boundaries of the culture from which it emerges.

Schwab’s readings of writers such as Hawthorne, Faulkner, Joyce, Lewis Carroll, Djuna Barnes, Marguerite Duras, and John Cage demonstrate the centrality of aesthetics and the literary to studies of otherness and cultural contact.


Alexander Gelley, editor. Unruly Examples: On the Rhetoric of Exemplarity. (Stanford University Press, 1995).

This collection of twelve essays aims to demonstrate that while example has a rich genealogy in the rhetorical tradition, it also involves issues that are central to current theories of meaning and ethics in literature and philosophy. Whatever is designated as example functions as a nexus of converging articulations: What is it an example of? To whom is the example directed? What makes it 'exemplary', that is, what elevates the singular instance to authoritative status? Is the example merely one - a singular, an accident - or the One, a paradigm or paragon? In this volume, the dimensions of these and other questions for literary theory and philosophy are explored in texts ranging across the Western tradition, from the Bible onwards.



Politics, Theory and Contemporary Culture. Edited by Mark Poster. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.

The contributors to this study confront both recent, startling upheavals in international politics and the reorganization of foundations in the humanities and social sciences in order to re-examine Western political thought.




The Aims of Representation: Subject/Text/History. Edited byMurray Krieger. New York: Columbia UP, 1987. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1993.

“One of the more important and original collections of theoretical essays in the field. . . . The issues it addresses are no less pertinent now than they were in 1987; they seem, indeed, to be of perennial importance.”—Anton Kaes, University of California, Berkeley



The States of "Theory": History, Art, and Critical Discourse. Edited by David Carroll. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.

At a time when it is becoming increasingly fashionable to be `against theory' this collection constitutes a critical investigation and rethinking of the grounds and possibilities of theory and the place that critical function theory can serve within various disciplines, notably history and aesthetics.