New Books in the Arts & Sciences:
Celebrating Recent Work by Bernard Harcourt
Critique and Praxis
By: Bernard Harcourt
Critical philosophy has always challenged the division between theory and practice. At its best, it aims to turn contemplation into emancipation, seeking to transform society in pursuit of equality, autonomy, and human flourishing. Yet today’s critical theory often seems to engage only in critique. These times of crisis demand more. Bernard E. Harcourt challenges us to move beyond decades of philosophical detours and to harness critical thought to the need for action. In a time of increasing awareness of economic and social inequality, Harcourt calls on us to make society more equal and just. Only critical theory can guide us toward a more self-reflexive pursuit of justice. Charting a vision for political action and social transformation, Harcourt argues that instead of posing the question, “What is to be done?” we must now turn it back onto ourselves and ask, and answer, “What more am I to do?”
Critique and Praxis advocates for a new path forward that constantly challenges each and every one of us to ask what more we can do to realize a society based on equality and justice. Joining his decades of activism, social-justice litigation, and political engagement with his years of critical theory and philosophical work, Harcourt has written a magnum opus.
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About the Author:
Bernard Harcourt is Isidore and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. He is the founding director of the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought and has been recently awarded the New York City Bar Association Norman J. Redlich Capital Defense Distinguished Service Award. His most recent book is Critique and Praxis.
About the Speakers:
Martin Saar is Professor of Social Philosophy at the Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main. His published works include Die Immanenz der Macht. Politische Theorie nach Spinoza and Genealogie als Kritik. Geschichte und Theorie des Subjekts nach Nietzsche und Foucault.
Karuna Mantena is Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. She is the author of Alibis of Empire: Henry Maine and the Ends of Liberal Imperialism, among other published works. She is currently working on a book tentatively titled "Gandhi’s Realism: Means and Ends in Politics."
Michael Taussig is Class of 1933 Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. He is the author of Palma Africana, The Corn Wolf, and What Color is the Sacred? among other published works.
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (recorded response) is University Professor and a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. Her most recent publications include the 2016 fortieth-anniversary edition of Jacques Derrida’s Of Grammatology, Readings (2014), and An Aesthetic Education in the Age of Globalization (2012).
Lydia Liu is Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University and Director of Columbia University's Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. Her published works include The Freudian Robot: Digital Media and the Future of the Unconscious, and The Clash of Empires: The Invention of China in Modern World Making. More recently, her co-edited book The Birth of Chinese Feminism with Rebecca Karl and Dorothy Ko is on the New York Public Library’s list of Essential Reads on Feminism.