Welcome to the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (SPEP)’s first virtual meeting! Although I will miss seeing everyone in person, Zoom is a vast improvement on cancellation, and this meeting is a tribute to everyone who came together to make it happen.
As always, I love to have the opportunity to talk about philosophy and Columbia University Press’s new titles. You probably know our list best for critical theory —and we always have new books to tell you about in this area —but we are also making a commitment to publishing titles that straddle political theory and activism. Some books do the work of both. Selected Writings on Media, Propaganda, and Political Communication by Siegfried Kracauer introduces English speakers to Kracauer’s writings on propaganda and politics, which presciently anticipate conditions in the world today from the rise of new forms of fascism and the relationship between new media technologies and authoritarianism.
Another excellent example is Santiago Castro-Gómez’s Critique of Latin American Reason, also newly available in English. It is one of the most important twentieth-century philosophical works from the Global South and one of the first to expose the colonial underpinnings of the region’s political thinking.
An outstanding contribution to Black political thought, We Testify with Our Lives by Terrence Johnson, reveals the unacknowledged ethical forces motivating Black radical politics from the civil rights era to today.
And America’s Public Philosopher is a curated collection of John Dewey’s most influential essays on democracy, social justice, education, and politics that are more relevant and more radical today than when they were written.
Congratulations as well to Todd McGowan (Emancipation After Hegel: Achieving a Contradictory Revolution), Fred Evans (Public Art and the Fragility of Democracy: An Essay in Political Aesthetics), and Noëlle McAfee (Fear of Breakdown: Politics and Psychoanalysis), whose books will be discussed at dedicated panels, and to all our authors who are presenting papers at SPEP and its allied conferences.
Please don’t forget to check our website daily for special posts: a quiz based on Hans-Georg Moeller’s and Paul J. D’Ambrosio’s You and Your Profile, which marks the shift from authenticity to social-media profile, and a blog from Sonam Kachru, author of Other Lives, a brilliant engagement with the late fourth-century CE Buddhist thinker Vasubandhu, the first in any tradition to propose an enactivist account of mind, in the context of world philosophy. And don’t forget to check out an excerpt from Luce Irigaray’s new book, A New Culture of Energy: Beyond East and West.