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Philosophy and Global Affairs

Volume 1, Issue 2, 2021
Special Forum on Creolizing Social and Political Theory

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opening poem
1. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Paul E. Nelson 911. Postcards from the Pandemic (As You Say It)
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essays
2. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Barnaby B. Barratt Reassessing Wilhelm Reich’s Mass Psychology: Libidinality, Authoritarianism and the Rise of Fascism
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Explanations for the contemporary rise of fascistic attitudes and activism solely in terms of historical, political, and socioeconomic determinants, because they tend to assume the individual is a “rational actor,” are often limited in their capacity to account for the significance of individual enchantment with, and passion for, authoritarian movements. The article argues for the urgent need for greater understanding of the psychodynamic allure of fascist and authoritarian politics. In this context, Wilhelm Reich’s 1933 essay, “The Mass Psychology of Fascism,” is reassessed. It is suggested that he presents a valid and profoundly significant thesis when he points to the connections among the attraction and ardor for fascism, societal oppression of sexuality, and the individual’s libidinal inhibitions, conflicts, and frustrations. But his essay needs substantial correction and modification in three respects: (1) His ideas about “natural sexuality”; (2) his assumptions about matriarchal bliss; and (3) his pervasive heteronormativity or homophobia. The critique of these three aspects is primarily theoretical but also touches on Reich’s life history to the extent that it contextualizes his blind spots. Finally, it is suggested that, in subsequent psychoanalytic writings on the dynamics of authoritarianism and the rise of fascism (from Theodor Adorno and Erich Fromm, to Christina Wieland and Jonathan Sklar), far too little attention has been paid to the libidinal underpinnings of these phenomena, to which Reich’s thesis should draw our attention.
3. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
John C. Carney Deciphering Crypto-fascism
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Fascism is a virulent historical social pathology that presents itself as a political ideology or a component of general ideology. It is historical in a double sense. It is actualized at specific times and places. It is also, a recurring feature of history itself. Crypto-fascism is the manipulation of the ambiguity of language for the purpose of fascistic actualization. Crypto-fascism is often an early “tell” or warning of the presence of more widespread fascism. There have been several powerful and deep studies of fascism and its co-optation of the ambiguity of language. Two of these approaches are of particular importance. In both instances fascism is addressed as a potentiality or susceptibility tied to the human condition per se. The first is Freudian and the second is existential. These approaches both meet the historical criteria noted above. In this essay I follow the work of Erich Fromm and Jean-Paul Sartre to understand the ground of fascism and its crypto variant. Camouflage is the hallmark of crypto-fascism, and it is exactly this that Fromm’s analysis and that of Sartre discloses.
4. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Ipek S. Burnett “A Nation That Isn’t Broken but Simply Unfinished”: Poetics of Humility and Radical Hope for a Democracy in the United States
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On January 20, 2021 during the U.S. presidential inauguration, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman read a poem in which she referenced the insurrection that took place two weeks before, when right-wing rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol Building to interrupt the confirmation of the new United States president. Gorman avowed “while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.” This suggestion that a democracy can be periodically delayed prompts important questions regarding democracy in the United States. The idea that democracy is a work-in-progress challenges the United States’ self-image as a realized democratic state. Furthermore, it calls into question the United States’ self-acclaimed role as an advocate and missionary spreading democracy around the world. Seeing through these dominant self-narratives offers an opportunity for critical reflection to consider the undemocratic foundations on which the United States has been built. In this spirit, Gorman’s poem urges the nation to face its history, ask difficult questions, and acknowledge the gaps between the ideal and reality to heal divisions and create a legacy of resilience and justice. It counters the nationalistic rhetoric of pride and power with a firm stance of humility and, ultimately, radical hope.
5. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Richard Schmitt Votes and Virtues: What Democracy Requires
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Anglophone political theorists regard democracy as an electoral system. The moral character of citizens in a democracy is of no interest to them. But electoral systems that disregard the virtue of citizens yield racist governmental systems and major injustices. Democracy requires citizens distinguished by virtues.
6. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Xiong Min Orcid-ID What is an Intellectual and What Can an Intellectual Do at Present?: Keep Rosa Luxemburg in Mind
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This essay considers the definition and role of intellectuals based on the inspiration of Rosa Luxemburg and the author’s personal experience. According to the author, an intellectual should not be defined by their occupation but by whether he or she is open-minded, tolerant, and does not give up thinking. The author further reflects on the relationship between individuals and groups, steps through which intellectuals participate in reality, and the difficulty of find-ing all the facts instead of being guided by selected facts. Based on the author’s self-analysis of herself during the COVID-19 pandemic, it could be concluded that intellectuals should never walk into the ranks of blindly cheering for victory and everyone needs to be heard and seen.
articles
7. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Lewis R. Gordon A Forum on Creolizing Social and Political Theory
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The author discusses Jane Anna Gordon’s proposal, in the 2006 international meeting of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, of creolizing theory. He summarizes the research it generated, including Gordon’s monograph on creolizing political theory, and the set of articles in this forum on creolizing social and political identities and theory.
8. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Juliet Hooker Creolizing Theory in Conversation with Theorizing Race in the Americas
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This review essay situates Jane Anna Gordon’s in light of methodological debates about the nature and role of “comparison.” Gordon repurposes the concept of “creolization” as a means for political theory to grapple with heterogeneity and mixture, not as discrete sets of thinkers and traditions, but as co-constituting. Gordon’s use of creolizing is then read alongside Hooker’s concept of juxtaposition as an alternative to comparison.
9. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Inés Valdez Cosmopolitanism Without National Consciousness is not Radical: Creolizing Gordon’s Fanon Through Du Bois
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In this essay, I engage with the methodological contributions and original readings of Fanon and Rousseau contained in Jane Anna Gordon’s Creolizing Political Theory. I build upon one insight in particular––Gordon’s illuminating joint reading of Rousseau’s general will and Fanon’s national consciousness—in order to reflect on Fanon’s ambivalence about Pan-Africanism. In this task, I engage with W.E.B. Du Bois’s transnational thinking in order to parse out the tensions as well as the reciprocal relation between national consciousness and transnational or cosmopolitan engagements.
10. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Anuja Bose The Creolized Political Thought of Frantz Fanon
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Frantz Fanon has offered us a corpus of writing that seamlessly weaves together philosophical, historical, autobiographical, poetic, and journalistic writing. Drawing on Jane Anna Gordon’s Creolizing Political Theory: Reading Rousseau through Fanon, this article argues that we make sense of Fanon’s irreverence to discipline and genre as not merely attempts at bricolage or formal invention. Rather, we should approach Fanon’s efforts as a way of understanding the world on new terms. Reading Rousseau and Fanon together, Gordon demonstrates this point by showing how Fanon’s creolization of the concept of the general will ultimately realizes its world-transforming possibilities. I conclude by showing how political solidarity is another creolized concept in Fanon’s corpus, which we should pay attention to.
11. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Angélica María Bernal Creolizing Foundings: World-Making Beyond Pure Origins
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This article engages with a creolized approach to the problem and paradoxes of founding. At the heart of the paradox is the issue of political legitimacy: where do a people get the legitimacy to found or refound a new political order? I argue that Gordon’s creolized reading of Rousseau’s problem of the general will—via Fanon—offers us a novel approach to this question: one that neither resorts to an outside lawgiver or projects the solution for a people to solve in the future. Bringing together this solution with my own political reading of the problem of foundings, I contend that Gordon’s creolized general will offers not only a “third way” beyond traditional Rousseauian and Habermasian solutions to the problem, but also a solution that is importantly informed by and can continue to inform real world processes of founding and refounding in colonial and post-colonial contexts.
12. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Oscar Guardiola-Rivera The Archive Is Also a Place of Dreams: On Creolization as Method
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This piece engages creolization as an approach to the history of philosophy and the sense of justice. Building on ancient philosophical and anthropological accounts of the institutional rituals as well as creolizing analyses by writers of the Black Diaspora, it focuses on the approach outlined by J. A. Gordon’s pathbreaking political theory. Creolization is advanced as an invitation to intensify possibilities lying dormant in the archive of our collective histories and lived experiences. An imaginary or even visual site, first, and only then as a concept, or a discursive practice.
13. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Keisha Lindsay Jane Gordon and the Creolization of Political Theory—a Gendered Reasoning
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This essay illuminates and expands upon Gordon’s pathbreaking understanding of creolization as a normatively and geographically fluid process. I begin by highlighting Gordon’s understanding of “progressive” creolization as that which occurs when marginalized groups syncretize distinct, sometimes antagonistic, practices and representations in ways that foster anti-colonial resistance. I use the remainder of the essay to detail how my own research, on self-defined black ladies in Jamaica and the United States, builds upon Gordon’s crucial insight that some forms of creolization are better than others. I do so by demonstrating that gendered hierarchies of power inform how and why creolization is a simultaneously local and transnational phenomenon that engenders anti-racist as well as patriarchal politics.
14. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Gamal Abdel-Shehid Reading Davis and Fanon: A Creolizing Approach to Race, Gender and Sexuality
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The paper uses insights from Jane Anna Gordon’s Creolizing Political Theory to come up with a different way to read the work of Frantz Fanon in general and his discussion of gender and sexuality in particular. The paper argues against a hermetic reading of Fanon, one which reads him outside of context and influences. Instead of this close, or primary reading of Fanon, I offer a “conversation” between Fanon and the early work of Angela Y. Davis. The paper shows that reading these two texts together allows us to see that the “perverse desire” of the neurotic, as illustrated by Fanon, is in fact heavily informed by the gendered traumas of slavery as outlined in Davis’s Women, Race, and Class.
15. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
T. D. Harper-Shipman Creolizing Development in Postcolonial Africa
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This paper outlines a cursory argument for creolizing development studies in postcolonial Africa and why Gordon’s call to creolize the human sciences should go as far as this. I argue that a concept like creolization offers a crucial analysis of the implied heterogeneity and static notion of “Africaness” and a supposed fluidity in what it means to “develop.” When, in fact, it is the inverse that rings true: “Africaness” is the product of various cultural symbols and historical experiences, which are in constant flux; while development, in its current hegemonic state, does not allow for genuine dynamism and variation.
16. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Monika Brodnicka Creolizing the Creolized Through Amadou Hampaté Bâ’s Living Tradition
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Through the theory of creolization, Jane Anna Gordon offers a platform to revisit a wide variety of scholarship from a decolonial lens. This contribution answers her call and examines Amadou Hampâté Bâ’s work as simultaneously creolize-able, creolizing, and even inviting further creolization of the original theory. While painfully understudied, Bâ offers a methodology of the Living Tradition that informs and complements the theory of creolization. Sourced from the local knowledge of Fulani and Bamana metaphysics and based on three archetypes, the World, the Word, and the Person, the Living Tradition offers mystical insight into the connection between material and spiritual realities within the universe. Through the mystical paradigm, the Living Tradition informs and develops creolization in two specific ways: through a mystical understanding of human mixture and a critique of rationality.
17. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Jane Anna Gordon Creolizing as a Method, Creolizing as a Politics, and the Relationship Between the Two
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Using Juliet Hooker’s explicit criticisms as a frame, this essay first explores creolizing as a method and then creolizing as a politics, drawing on the contributions of Bernal, Bose, Lindsay, and Valdez to address questions including whether creolizing offers any advances for non-European and non-canonical figures whose worlds and thought are already understood and embraced as creolized; whether creolizing methods are of any use in the project of epistemic decolonization; and whether we can assume a prori that political or philosophical projects defined by an open orientation to mixture are necessarily normatively superior to others. It concludes by considering how Monika Brodnicka and T.D. Harper-Shipman’s essays focused on Africa put the methodological and political questions into productive relationship with one another.
book reviews
18. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Alena Wolflink Theft is Property!: Dispossession and Critical Theory
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19. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Stephen Del Visco Campaigns of Knowledge: U.S. Pedagogies of Colonialism and Occupation in the Philippines and Japan
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20. Philosophy and Global Affairs: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
T. D. Harper-Shipman Naming a Transnational Black Feminist Framework: Writing in Darkness
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