Woodrow Wilson

Department of Politics

Political Theory Colloquium 2018

Robert Gooding-Williams

Presentation Title: Propaganda, Beauty, and the Moral Psychology of White Supremacy: On the Political Aesthetics of W.E.B. Du Bois

Organization: Columbia University

Discussant: Dan Henry, Dept. of Politics, University of Virginia

Start Date: 10-26-2018

Start Time: 2:00

End Time: 3:30

Location: 296 Gibson Hall

Details: Robert Gooding-Williams is the M. Moran Weston/Black Alumni Council Professor of African-American Studies and Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. He is the author of Zarathustra’s Dionysian Modernism (Stanford, 2001), Look, A Negro!: Philosophical Essays on Race, Culture, and Politics (Routledge, 2005), and In The Shadow of Du Bois: Afro-Modern Political Thought in America (Harvard, 2009).

 Speaker Website

 

Linda Zerilli

Presentation Title: Rethinking Critique as a Political Practice of Freedom with Arendt and Foucault

Organization: University of Chicago

Discussant: Brittany Leach, Dept. of Politics, University of Virginia

Start Date: 10-05-2018

Start Time: 2:00

End Time: 3:30

Location: 296 Gibson Hall

Details: Linda Zerilli is Charles E. Merriam Professor of Political Science and Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Signifying Woman: Culture and Chaos in Rousseau, Burke, and Mill (Cornell 1994), Feminism and the Abyss of Freedom (Chicago, 2005), and A Democratic Theory of Judgment (Chicago 2016).

 

Andrew Gates

Presentation Title: Idle No More and the Settler-Colonial State

Organization: University of Virginia

Discussant: Rachel Wahl, Dept. of Leadership, Foundations and Policy, Curry School, University of Virginia

Start Date: 09-14-2018

Start Time: 2:00

End Time: 3:30

Location: 296 Gibson Hall

Details: Andrew Gates, PhD Candidate in Political Theory at the University of Virginia, will be presenting a chapter from his dissertation, entitled “Reclaiming Rights: Human Rights in Legal Marginalization in Contemporary Liberal Democracies,” which examines the ways in which contemporary social movements led by historically marginalized minority communities in Western democracies have taken up and creatively re-articulated fundamental categories of liberal political thought in order to challenge longstanding structures of domination embedded not only in material and institutional relations, but in mainstream conceptions of polity, demos, and citizenship, as well.  The chapter he will be presenting—“Idle No More and the Settler-Colonial State”—traces the ways in which contemporary Indigenous resurgence in Canada has, under the auspices of the Idle No More movement, invoked both treaty law and human rights to indict the continuation of colonial policies in Canadian society and to overturn the political erasure of First Nations under the prevailing multicultural paradigm in contemporary Canadian political culture and federal law.\

 

Elizabeth Anderson

Presentation Title: Epistemic Bubbles and Authoritarian Politics

Organization: Philosophy, University of Michigan

Start Date: 04-20-2018

Start Time: 10:00

End Time: 12:00

Location: Gibson 296

Abstract
Contemporary U.S. political discourse is structured by “epistemic bubbles.”  In social epistemology, an epistemic bubble is a self-segregated network for the circulation of ideas, resistant to correction of false beliefs.  Dominant models of epistemic bubbles explain some of their features, but fail to account for their recent spread, increasing extremity, and asymmetrical distribution across political groups.  The rise of populist authoritarian politics explains these recent changes.  I propose three models of how populism creates epistemic bubbles or their functional equivalents:  (1) by activating cognitive biases in ethnocentric and authoritarian partisans; (2) by promulgating biased group norms of information processing; and (3) by replacing empirically-oriented policy discourse with an identity-expressive discourse of group status competition.  Each model recommends different strategies for popping epistemic bubbles.  My analysis suggests that social epistemology needs to get more social, by modeling cognitive biases not as operating inside individuals’ heads, but as operating collectively and externally, via group norms for framing the meanings of political events, processing information, and discussing politics.

Bio
Elizabeth Anderson is John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she has taught since 1987.  She is the author of Value in Ethics and Economics (Harvard UP, 1993), The Imperative of Integration (Princeton UP, 2010), Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk About It) (Princeton UP, 2017) and numerous, widely reprinted articles in journals of philosophy, law, and economics.  She has written extensively on egalitarianism, affirmative action, racial integration, the ethical limits of the market, values in social science research, democratic theory, social epistemology, and pragmatism.  She has won fellowships from the ACLS and Guggenheim Foundations, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and served as President of the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association.  Professor Anderson designed and was the founding director of University of Michigan’s Philosophy, Politics, and Economics program.

Photo by David Paterson

 

Elizabeth Anderson

Presentation Title: How Our Bosses Rule Us and What We Can Do About It

Organization: University of Michigan

Start Date: 04-19-2018

Start Time: 4:30

End Time: 6:30

Location: Gibson Room, Cocke Hall (Philosophy Library)

Details: Egger Lecture

Bio 
Elizabeth Anderson is John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she has taught since 1987.  She is the author of Value in Ethics and Economics (Harvard UP, 1993), The Imperative of Integration (Princeton UP, 2010), Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk About It) (Princeton UP, 2017) and numerous, widely reprinted articles in journals of philosophy, law, and economics.  She has written extensively on egalitarianism, affirmative action, racial integration, the ethical limits of the market, values in social science research, democratic theory, social epistemology, and pragmatism.  She has won fellowships from the ACLS and Guggenheim Foundations, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and served as President of the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association.  Professor Anderson designed and was the founding director of University of Michigan’s Philosophy, Politics, and Economics program.

Photo by David Paterson

 

Inés Valdez

Presentation Title: A Critique of Violence in the Immigration Regime: VAWA, DACA, History, and Labor

Organization: Ohio State University / Princeton UCHV

Discussant: Daniel Henry (PhD Candidate in Politics)

Start Date: 03-16-2018

Start Time: 2:00

End Time: 3:30

Location: Gibson 296

Details: Co-sponsored with the Race, Ethnicity, and Gender Working Group

Abstract
In this paper, I theorize the question of violence and humanitarianism within the political theory of migration as developed in Latino political thought. Through an engagement with Walter Benjamin’s “Critique of Violence” and “Theses on the Philosophy of History” I examine how violence and its regulation illuminate how law and history figure in the sustenance of racial systems of labor exploitation. In particular, I rely on Eyal Weizman’s work on the humanitarian present to analyze how a favored strategy by portions of the left to extend humanitarian protection toward battered immigrant women and immigrants who arrived in the country as children is intimately entwined with violence. The logic of humanitarianism complements and authorizes the violent regime of enforcement, rather than countering it. In contrast, I argue that labor activism by farm workers brings to the fore the historical grounding of American capitalism on the lawful exploitation of brown and black workers. I analyze the actions of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and argue that the CIW contests the violence against black and brown bodies in the fields and in so doing attacks the lawful exclusion of farm work from labor rights and protections. Moreover, CIW’s activism sidesteps the question of migration, thus centering the question of labor and revealing the ultimate goal of immigration laws; to reinforce other legal processes that make the fields spaces of sanctioned violence.

Bio
Inés Valdez is assistant professor of political science at the Ohio State University and Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Princeton University Center for Human Values (2017-2018). Her research is on the political theory of migration, on the one hand, and that of cosmopolitanism, on the other hand, although she cannot always keep those separate. She is currently working on a book-length manuscript that critically engages Kant’s cosmopolitanism through a notion of transnational cosmopolitanism extracted from the post-World War I writings of W. E. B. Du Bois. Her ongoing work on migration explores the political economy of violence in the contemporary US regime of immigration enforcement. Her work has appeared in the American Political Science ReviewPolitical Research Quarterly, and Political Studies, among other outlets.

 

W. James Booth

 

Presentation Title: Can the Dead Be Subjects of Justice?

Organization: Vanderbilt University

Discussant: Nadim Khoury (University of Tromsø)

Start Date: 02-16-2018

Start Time: 2:00

End Time: 3:30

Location: Gibson 296

Details: Much of the contemporary literature on historic injustice considers it from the vantage point of present and future agents, their community and their needs. In the study of which this paper is a part, I begin to set the foundation for a different approach. I ask whether we can and ought to do justice to the past, not to the latter’s present effects or in the hope of garnering whatever lessons for the future that it might provide, but to that past in all its remoteness and in full recognition of its historical character. Without that orientation, phrases such as “addressing the past,” “answering historic injustice” and so on are a mere façon de parler, misnomers for conceptions and practices of doing justice that take their bearings four-square from the present and future.

In this paper, I develop the theme that one of the defining and perplexing features of doing justice to the past is the fact of absence. That absence can take a number of forms: a degradation of material evidence, the loss of eye witnesses, a fading of the urgency of answering the crime, a selectivity born of present prejudice, or the decentering of the victim from the core of legal justice. I will focus first on the distance that time and death create, and on the undermining of the absent victim’s status as an enduring subject of justice, a claimant on our doing justice, and a subject who can be harmed by our failure to answer her call for justice. I conclude by suggesting ways in which the dead remain claimants on justice.