Foucault's lectures are really great - very accessible, he plays with ideas and explores them, often retracing his steps or qualifying previous assert...moreFoucault's lectures are really great - very accessible, he plays with ideas and explores them, often retracing his steps or qualifying previous assertions. This collection is his main reflection on politics, and he makes some fairly provocative claims regarding race war as historico-political discourse, as an anti-sovereignty discourse, in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. This is the seminar in which Foucault built his arguments around biopolitics - which, incidentally, came prior to his concept of biopower.(less)
Whatever you think of Eco's semiotics, he weaves an awesome tale about Renaissance Europe. But his general erudition and his overall sophistication in...moreWhatever you think of Eco's semiotics, he weaves an awesome tale about Renaissance Europe. But his general erudition and his overall sophistication in matters of meaning and sense really makes the book worth it. I don't know whether or not it would measure up in comparison to Paracelsius, but you really get the sense that Eco has spent lots of time pondering the thinking of the middle ages. Smart Fiction!(less)
One of Dick's masterpieces. I know you've all seen bladerunner but the reflection in the prose is excellent. A dystopic vision of a kind of anti-Marx...moreOne of Dick's masterpieces. I know you've all seen bladerunner but the reflection in the prose is excellent. A dystopic vision of a kind of anti-Marx where the technological apocalypse breeds only dead labor, Dick ponders the nature of living in perpetual struggle with technology. A history of sexuality runs through it, with overtones of Huxley, and Dick never resorts to sentimentality or absolution.(less)
DJ Waldie's poetic take on the original American suburb - Lakewood, California - is beautiful and precise. He grew up there, later returning to live,...moreDJ Waldie's poetic take on the original American suburb - Lakewood, California - is beautiful and precise. He grew up there, later returning to live, raise a family, and eventually work for years on the city council as the town turned to what most 40 year old suburbs do. Spotted with photos of the modernist grid, and reflection on the ironies of efficiency and the human imagination, the book is a mediation on the forms of living possible within those infinitely replicable spaces.
The beauty of the book is its sparse intimacy. Growing up there offers one angle of this intimacy, but so too does his role as an official. Some of the memoir's best moments take up the kinds of stories most can only imagine as permeating the lives of people that live there.
Waldie tells about a man who has filled his yard with junk, quite in spite of city ordinances, and constructed around these piles of junk a wall of old refrigerators. "In the suburbs, a manageable life depends on a compact among neighbors. The unspoken agreement is an honest hypocrisy. Pages of ordinances in the municipal code are never enforced. They are, in fact, unenforceable. You do not need a law to keep your neighbor from walling his yard with used refrigerators. When he does, what law would have restrained him?" (p. 20). (less)
Derrida is at his best in this slim book from the early 1990s. What is exemplified in the volume is not his signature ability to tweak meaning and str...moreDerrida is at his best in this slim book from the early 1990s. What is exemplified in the volume is not his signature ability to tweak meaning and structure but rather, putting those styles of thought to work, a remarkably dynamic examination of phenomenological political thought in the protestant tradition. Starting with an examination of Czech philosopher Patocka's political writings of the 1970s, D. makes his way through the ecstatic elements of phenomenology and early existentialism (Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard) to dwell at length on Abraham's displaced sacrifice of his son, significant across religions.
Like some of Derrida's work on sovereignty (in Given Time ), the logic of the gift offers not a meditation on Foucauldian conditions of possibility but on the necessity and impossibility of death in Christian and modern ethics. Claiming the ecstatic as the sublimation and incorporation of pagan ethics, he asserts this is a history of sexuality, forcing a conversation with Foucault in which the gift of death threatens and extends toward the gift of life offered by the biopolitical.(less)