what a crew

What do  Montesquieu, Tocqueville, Dewey, Niebuhr, Arendt, Shklar, Rorty, Benhabib and Ursula K. Le Guin have in common?

They all figure in the final section of my thesis which is now – finally – drafted (with a few thorough revisions ahead of it). Rawls and Camus are scheduled for guest spots in the conclusion.


~ by staticandme on March 16, 2009.

2 Responses to “what a crew”

  1. Hi – came across your posting on thegradcafe w/s and moseyed over to see what you were thinking/talking about
    I’m curious about the topic of your thesis, considering your crew above – and it’s fascinating to me, although not really surprising in some ways, that you’re able to include LeGuin in the group

  2. The topic, in short, is what sort of challenge “political evil” – that is, systematic injustices and atrocities – creates for liberal theories of governance. It compares a pessimistic view (Shklar, Niebuhr) and a utopian view (Rorty, Benhabib), ending by pushing a synthesis rooted in “critical engagement” which ends up being a theory of participatory politics outlined as a countermeasure to complicity and bureaucratization (draws on Montesquieu, Tocqueville, Dewey, Camus, Arendt). Le Guin’s contribution is a re-imagining of utopia as a less rationalist project… I cite part of “The Dispossessed” in formulating one critique of Niebuhr and Shklar, but draw more extensively on her essay “A Non-Euclidean View of California as a Cold Place to Be.”

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