Political Concepts

9780823276684: Hardback
Release Date: 2nd January 2018

9780823276691: Paperback
Release Date: 2nd January 2018

Dimensions: 152.4 x 228.6

Number of Pages: 288

Series Idiom: Inventing Writing Theory

Fordham University Press

Political Concepts

A Critical Lexicon

Essays by major contemporary figures in political philosophy, anthropology, and cultural studies presenting an original reflection on the question what is a particular concept (classic concepts in politics as well as newly politicized concepts) and asking what sort of work a rethinking of that concept can do for us now.
Hardback / £103.00
Paperback / £27.99

Deciding what is and what is not political is a fraught, perhaps intractably opaque matter. Just who decides the question; on what grounds; to what ends—these seem like properly political questions themselves. Deciding what is political and what is not can serve to contain and restrain struggles, make existing power relations at once self-evident and opaque, and blur the possibility of reimagining them differently. Political Concepts seeks to revive our common political vocabulary—both everyday and academic—and to do so critically. Its entries take the form of essays in which each contributor presents her or his own original reflection on a concept posed in the traditional Socratic question format “What is X?” and asks what sort of work a rethinking of that concept can do for us now.

The explicitness of a radical questioning of this kind gives authors both the freedom and the authority to engage, intervene in, critique, and transform the conceptual terrain they have inherited. Each entry, either implicitly or explicitly, attempts to re-open the question “What is political thinking?” Each is an effort to reinvent political writing. In this setting the political as such may be understood as a property, a field of interest, a dimension of human existence, a set of practices, or a kind of event. Political Concepts does not stand upon a decided concept of the political but returns in practice and in concern to the question “What is the political?” by submitting the question to a field of plural contention.

The concepts collected in Political Concepts are “Arche” (Stathis Gourgouris), “Blood” (Gil Anidjar), “Colony” (Ann Laura Stoler), “Concept” (Adi Ophir), “Constituent Power” (Andreas Kalyvas), “Development” (Gayatri Spivak), “Exploitation” (Étienne Balibar), “Federation” (Jean Cohen), “Identity” (Akeel Bilgrami), “Rule of Law” (J. M. Bernstein), “Sexual Difference” (Joan Copjec), and “Translation” (Jacques Lezra)

Adi Ophir is Professor Emeritus at Tel Aviv University and a Visiting Professor at the Cogut Center for the Humanities and the Program for Middle East Studies at Brown University.

Ann Laura Stoler is Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies at The New School for Social Research where she directs the Institute for Critical Social Inquiry. Her most recent book is Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times (Duke, 2016).
Stathis Gourgouris is Professor of Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. His most recent book is The Perils of the One (Columbia, 2019).

Gil Anidjar is Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Religion at Columbia
University. He is the author of: Semites: Race, Religion, Literature (2008); The Jew, the Arab: A History of the Enemy (2003); and Our Place in al-Andalus’: Kabbalah, Philosophy, Literature in Arab Jewish Letters (2002)..

Étienne Balibar is Professor Emeritus of Moral and Political Philosophy at Université de Paris X–Nanterre; Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine; and Visiting Professor of French at Columbia University. His many books include Citizen Subject (Fordham, 2016); Equaliberty (Duke, 2014); We, the People of Europe? (Princeton, 2003); The Philosophy of Marx (Verso, new ed. 2017); and two important coauthored books, Race, Nation, Class (with Immanuel Wallerstein, Verso, 1988) and Reading Capital (with Louis Althusser and others, Verso, new ed. 2016).
J. M. Bernstein is University Distinguished Professor in Philosophy at The New School for Social Research in New York City.
Jacques Lezra is Professor and Chair of Hispanic Studies at the University of California—Riverside. His most recent book is On the Nature of Marx’s Things: Translation as Necrophilology (Fordham, 2018).