Humanity co-editors Nils Gilman and Miriam Ticktin spoke with James Ferguson on May 31, 2013, at Stanford University. This week their conversation will appear here in three installments, starting with today's.
Agier offers an assessment of contemporary humanitarianism and appeals to humanity that juxtaposes a survey of camps with ethnographic reportage. According to Agier, contemporary humanitarianism must be understood as a new and unprecedented form of government that nevertheless leaves room for unsuspected political action.
Issue 4.1, featuring the work of photographer Murtada Bulbul and a dossier on transitions and reconciliation, is now live!
<< Against political imagination I would also like to briefly defend The Body in Pain, a splendid, subtle book that I think offers a way around many of the snares that Moyn identifies in post-ideological politics generally, and in Rorty’s disaster-aversion project in particular. Scarry’s book has two parts. The first is about torture and war: means of “unmaking” the world. The second part, composed as a response to the first, is about human creativity: the way we make, as the case may be, “remake,” the world. Continue reading →
When I was 18 years old, about to head off for college, a friend’s father gifted me a copy of Richard Rorty’s Philosophy and Social Hope. His explanation was cryptic.
The movement for global health is an increasingly prominent rationale for action across a range of organizations, including philanthropic foundations, development agencies, and biomedical research institutes.
A new piece in this week's issue of The Nation considers Elaine Scarry and, through her criticism, the how and why torture has become so appalling.
Let me conclude. In case I haven’t been clear, the political approach isn’t at all meant to undermine the enterprise or institution. True, it is analytically neutral (more so, certainly, than its three rivals). But if Judith Shklar was right, it could also provide the sole plausible and necessarily instrumental justification for the ICC, for it inquires into whether and how the institution makes the world more decent, especially insofar as it intersects other political agendas in interstate order and disorder.
A final approach is available that tends to postpone the difficult calculus of political judgment, and I’ll call it preservation. People who recognize the severe limitations of promoting and professionalizing nevertheless strategically defer, during an initial period of institution-building, what political analysis is supposed to be about: critical distance for the sake of judgment of outcomes in context. On the preservative view, the ICC is a fledgling cause that needs to be sheltered from the ordinary conditions of inquiry.
In the face of all this complexity, interim political judgment about what the goals are and whether they are being served is obviously as difficult as it is necessary. But along with promotion, there are two other ways of talking about the ICC I promised to cover. Trailing promotion, the other main form of discourse about our new institution is the professional or professionalizing approach, which follows from the work the ICC gives lawyers as vocational experience, from summer internships to careers in the system.