New from Social Text Authors

 

Democracy, States, and the Struggle for Global Justice

Edited by Heather D. Gautney, Neil Smith, Omar Dahbour, Ashley Dawson. Routledge, 2009.

Democracy, States, and the Struggle for Global Justice draws on the fields of geography, political theory, and cultural studies to analyze experiments with novel forms of democracy, highlighting the critical issue of the changing nature of the state and citizenship in the contemporary political landscape as they are buffeted by countervailing forces of corporate globalization and participatory politics.

Using interesting case studies, the book explores these 3 main themes:

  • the meaning of radical democracy in light of recent developments in democratic theory
  • new spatial arrangements or scales of democracy – from local to global, from streets protests to the development of transnational networks
  • the character and role of states in the development of new forms of democracy

The book asks and answers: are participatory models of democracy viable alternatives in their own right or are they best understood as supplemental to traditional representative democracy? What are the conditions that give rise to the development of such models and are they equally effective at every scale; i.e., do they only realize their radical potential in particular, local places?

A useful text in a broad range of advanced undergraduate courses including social movements, political sociology or geography, political philosophy.

Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity

José Esteban Muñoz
. New York University Press, 2009.

The LGBT agenda for too long has been dominated by pragmatic issues like same-sex marriage and gays in the military. It has been stifled by this myopic focus on the present, which is short-sighted and assimilationist.

Cruising Utopia seeks to break the present stagnancy by cruising ahead. Drawing on the work of Ernst Bloch, José Esteban Muñoz recalls the queer past for guidance in presaging its future. He considers the work of seminal artists and writers such as Andy Warhol, LeRoi Jones, Frank O’Hara, Ray Johnson, Fred Herko, Samuel Delany, and Elizabeth Bishop, alongside contemporary performance and visual artists like Dynasty Handbag, My Barbarian, Luke Dowd, Tony Just, and Kevin McCarty in order to decipher the anticipatory illumination of art and its uncanny ability to open windows to the future.

In a startling repudiation of what the LGBT movement has held dear, Muñoz contends that queerness is instead a futurity bound phenomenon, a “not yet here” that critically engages pragmatic presentism. Part manifesto, part love-letter to the past and the future, Cruising Utopia argues that the here and now are not enough and issues an urgent call for the revivification of the queer political imagination.

The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory

Tavia Nyong’o. University of Minnesota Press, 2009.

The Amalgamation Waltz is a genealogy of racial and cultural mixture in America, with an emphasis on antebellum anticipations of a hybrid future and their consequence for art, politics and culture, up to the present. Looking at cultures of theater, music, reform, and art-making, “The Amalgamation Waltz” revises historical accounts that emphasize the repressive function of miscegenation discourse by revealing other ways that the discourse of race mixture expressed an ostensibly positive account of the nation’s destiny. It is not only the prohibition upon miscegenation, but its disavowed uses, to which critics must now attend.

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