Month: March 2013

“Counter-hegemony” and Left Ambivalence Toward Power

I’m reading Cihan Tuğal’s Passive Revolution: Absorbing the Islamic Challenge to Capitalism. I’m still working my way through it, but so far I’ve found it very insightful. There are so many things in the book that I’m looking forward to digging into, so I feel a little bad that I’m about to start with the one thing that I’m ambivalent about: Tuğal’s use of the term counter-hegemony. I’m not usually one to nitpick about terms—especially esoteric terms like counter-hegemony—but here I go… Dr. Tuğal did not invent the term, of course. Moreover, I suspect that because I agree so much with his descriptions and assessments (of patterns of political engagement, in the case of Islamist movements in Turkey), it stands out all the more when I do take issue with something. His book has got me thinking more specifically about what I don’t like about the term generally. To be clear, I introduce his work here as a jumping off point for this blog post, rather than as the object of my critique. Here’s my …

on the 10-year anniversary of the bombing & invasion of Iraq

I was struggling to find words to convey my sorrow on this day, the ten-year anniversary of the US bombing and invasion of Iraq. Then I saw these words from Leslie Cagan: Ten years ago this evening I was out walking the dog. I ran into the Washington Post reporter based in NYC who was writing about the pending war in Iraq and the anti-war movement in this country. He said, “Have you heard?” I hadn’t. He said, “The bombing has begun.” And then he asked how I felt about it. It was not a surprise, but it was devastating. We all knew what we were up against….the overwhelming power wielded by the U.S government…but the massive world-wide outpouring of sentiment against going to war in Iraq had given us a small measure of hope. Maybe this time it could be different. Maybe there are enough people in every corner of the planet saying no that the mad-men in Washington would be forced to take another course. Maybe we could prevent a war. Of course, …

grad school update #1 ~ UCSB

Becca (my partner) and I spent the weekend in beautiful Santa Barbara — to check out UCSB and the surrounding area. The thought of spending five or six years here is really not so terrible. Seriously, this place is a paradise. The natural beauty is definitely no small selling point. And there are a lot of fantastic professors I could see myself working with. I was able to meet with Dick Flacks, John Foran, George Lipsitz, Geoff Raymond, Verta Taylor, and Howard Winant. (I’m currently reading Dick Flacks’ must-read Making History: The American Left and the American Mind and Howard Winant and Michael Omi’s—also must-read—Racial Formation in the United States.) I was able to have rich conversations with other faculty and with a number of current PhD sociology students. I was also excited about the incoming admitted cohort. Many of them are also interested in social movements, politics, and society. All in all, UCSB is full of great folks and I think this is an excellent option for me. No decision yet though! Tomorrow I …