Today, politicians and intellectuals warn that we face a crisis of civility and a veritable war of words polluting our public sphere. In liberal democracies committed to tolerating diversity as well as active, often heated disagreement, the loss of this conversational virtue appears critical. But is civility really a virtue? Or is it, as critics claim, a covert demand for conformity that silences dissent? Mere Civility sheds light on our predicament and the impasse between ?civilitarians? and their opponents by examining early modern debates about religious toleration. As concerns about uncivil disagreement achieved new prominence after the Reformation, seventeenth-century figures as different as Roger Williams, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke could agree that some restraint on the war of words would be necessary. But they recognized that the prosecution of incivility was often difficult to distinguish from persecution. In their efforts to reconcile diversity with disagreement, they developed competing conceptions of civility as the social bond of tolerant societies that still resonate. Most modern appeals to civility follow either Hobbes or Locke by proposing to suppress disagreement or exclude persons and positions deemed ?uncivil? for the sake of social concord. Compared with his contemporaries' more robust ideals, Williams's unabashedly mere civility?a minimal, occasionally contemptuous adherence to culturally contingent rules of respectful behavior?is easily overlooked. Yet Teresa Bejan argues that Williams offers a promising path forward in confronting our own crisis of civility, one that fundamentally challenges our assumptions about what a tolerant?and civil?society should look like.
African American Directors and Hollywood Blockbuster Budgets -- March 2, 2021
Virtual Talk with Dr. Keith Corson
African American Directors and Blockbuster Productions
Malcom X to Black Panther : Evolution of African Americans Access to Blockbuster Budgets
From 1972 to 1976, Hollywood made an unprecedented number of films targeted at black audiences. But following this era known as "blaxploitation," the momentum suddenly reversed for black filmmakers, and a large void separates the end of blaxploitation from the black film explosion that followed the arrival of Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It in 1986. Illuminating an overlooked era in African American film history, Trying to Get Over is the first in-depth study of black directors working during the decade between 1977 and 1986. Keith Corson provides a fresh definition of blaxploitation, lays out a concrete reason for its end, and explains the major gap in African American representation during the years that followed. He focuses primarily on the work of eight directors--Michael Schultz, Sidney Poitier, Jamaa Fanaka, Fred Williamson, Gilbert Moses, Stan Lathan, Richard Pryor, and Prince--who were the only black directors making commercially distributed films in the decade following the blaxploitation cycle. Using the careers of each director and the twenty-four films they produced during this time to tell a larger story about Hollywood and the shifting dialogue about race, power, and access, Corson shows how these directors are a key part of the continuum of African American cinema and how they have shaped popular culture over the past quarter century.
J. Harry Cotton Lecture in Philosophy -- March 15, 2021
Speaker: Dr. Jason Read
Working for a Living : Alienation and Identity in Wage Labor
The Politics of Transindividuality re-examines social relations and subjectivity through the concept of transindividuality. Transindividuality is understood as the mutual constitution of individuality and collectivity, and as such it intersects with politics and economics, philosophical speculation and political practice. While the term transindividuality is drawn from the work of Gilbert Simondon, this book views it broadly, examining such canonical figures as Spinoza, Hegel, and Marx, as well as contemporary debates involving Etienne Balibar, Bernard Stiegler, and Paolo Virno. Through these intersecting aspects and interpretations of transindividuality the book proposes to examine anew the intersection of politics and economics through their mutual constitution of affects, imagination, and subjectivity.
Re-reads Marx in light of the contemporary critical interrogation of subjectivity. What is the relation between the economy, or the mode of production, and culture, beliefs, and desires? How is it possible to think of these relations without reducing one to the other, or effacing one for the sake of the other? To answer these questions. The Micro-Politics of Capital re-reads Marx in light of the contemporary critical interrogations of subjectivity in the works of Althusser, Deleuze, Guattari, Foucault, and Negri. Jason Read suggests that what characterizes contemporary capitalism is the intimate intersection of the production of commodities with the production of desire, beliefs, and knowledge.