EssaysThe LeftTheory & Practice

On the Academic Calls to Boycott Israel, Part II

The Jewish Question and the debate over the Israeli academy

After summarizing Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip and dispossession of Palestinians from land and livelihood, the pro-boycott petition’s signatories declare: “As employees in institutions of higher learning, we have a particular responsibility to oppose Israel’s widespread and systematic violations of the right to higher education of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line.” Pointing out the ways in which Israeli authorities, including institutions …

READ MORE →
EssaysThe LeftTheory & Practice

On the Academic Calls to Boycott Israel, Part I

The Jewish Question and the debate over the Israeli academy

This post is the first part in a three-part series, which will be posted over the remainder of the week.

If Israel is a contentious topic of conversation in mainstream and alternative news media, in everyday exchanges at the grocery store or the dinner table, it comes with at least as much vitriol when discussed in academia. Recent calls by members of professional associations such as …

READ MORE →
EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionMedia/Publics

Diagnosing American Politics

What the rise of Trump says about American democracy

I have a morbid fascination with Carl Schmitt. Morbid, because he manages to condense, in his political theory and philosophy of law, pretty much everything I find repulsive about the radical right. His pessimism about “human nature” is raw and simplistic and, unlike Hobbes, whom he superficially resembles, he is uninterested in clamping down on sin-infected humanity by way of a social contract that invests all sovereignty in an …

READ MORE →
EssaysSex & Gender

Affirmative Consent and Neoliberal Bodies

The individual yes vs. the social no

I am writing this with great relief as the “crisis” of sexual assaults on college campuses in New York State has finally been addressed through affirmative consent, or “yes means yes” legislation from Governor Cuomo. Having worked for years as the director of a college-based women’s center, having helped write a university policy to address sexual assault on campus, and having counseled many students who were victims and at times …

READ MORE →
EssaysRaceThe Left

And Yet It is Round!

Untimely thoughts on Europe, Migration, and the State

Untimely thoughts on Europe, Migration, and the State

As I do every year, I have spent most of this summer on the Italian coast, in the region around the Gulf of Poets. This summer, as soon as I put my head underwater, I am struck by the beauty of the sea: the water is so blue that, at times, it turns violet; there are fish everywhere, sea urchins, sea stars, and seaweeds of such amazing sparkling colors as I have never seen in the region. People around me speak of a “tropicalization of the Mediterranean.” …

READ MORE →
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Real Friends of Brazil

The democratic promise of the movement for impeachment

An army revolt against vanishing communist forces brought back Constitutional order, halting the march toward totalitarianism, and was celebrated in Brazilian streets like a football victory. “Brazil,” The New York Times believed in 1964, “is a desperately sick country. The present struggle is simply to see who is going to get possession of the unhappy patient. Whoever the victors, a long period of economic and political convalescence is in order.” The truth, however, was very different.

Brazil was then a rapidly …

READ MORE →