Recent deeds

I have singularly failed to keep this blog updated with recent work. This might give the impression that I’ve been dwelling in a bunker, riding out the pandemic surrounded by tins of chopped tomatoes and piles of the London Review of Books.

That wouldn’t be such a bad thing. But instead it’s been a whirlwind of different things: putting out the new Spinoza book, writing quite a few articles and essays, some yet to be published, some inevitably to be rejected. I co-organised a Spinoza conference which was a real pleasure. I’ve given talks on Gateshead, the A13 and climate anxiety and have been exploring disinformation. I’ve been a busy, attentive Dad and partner – the deeds that matter. I’ve hopefully been a reliable colleague. I’ve been a bad and inattentive friend. Sleep deprivation is now a regular state. Over the last six months I’ve also got healthier and stronger, taking up a lot of exercise, and have gently shifted my outlook on things.

I won’t give a longer account of any of that. Instead here are details of recentish work:

  1. Spinoza and the Politics of Freedom book
    I pushed the publication date of this back into January for the REF. It is still a very expensive hardback. It will come out as a paperback next year, I’m not sure when. Please email me if you are interested in a copy. I am not aware of any reviews yet. One friend has told me they really liked it, but then friends are good like that aren’t they!

2. The Machine Stops… short piece on E.M. Forster and life under lockdown for The Conversation.

3. “The Disuniting Kingdom? Looking at the Meaning of the Nation in a Climactic Year” – a critical piece on the ongoing, never-ending state-of-the-nation debates for LSE History. This piece emerged out of conversations with a great colleague at the OU. Hopefully more work will follow. It obviously builds on Island Story.

4. Talk on the A13. Because why not. Here’s a version below:

5. Talk on Climate Anxiety – I gave versions of this twice, to different audiences. Here’s a version of one to colleagues. This material on climate anxiety will be turned into a published essay. Download below:

You can also watch a recording of me giving an earlier version of the paper here (that’s not me but the great Kate Schapira, below):

6. Talk on Gateshead, austerity and its impact on caregivers. Also gave this one twice to different kinds of audiences. Here’s the version to some colleagues. Both this topic, and the A13, are the basis of two chapters in the next book. Download below:

7. Fake News – I wrote material on fake news for a new Open University short course with colleagues, “Media, Politics and Society”, in association with the BFI. That should go live later this year.

8. Discussion on Mark Fisher, Spinoza and psychedelic reason with Matt Colquhoun:

Now, onto Spinoza…

9. Review of Tony Negri’s Spinoza: Then and Now for the BJHP – one of his better ones

10. Review of Étienne Balibar, Spinoza, The Transindividual – good book, but this important but imperfect concept needs less adulatory secondary scholarship

11. The World of Spinoza’s TTP – introductory short essay for the Edinburgh University Press blog

12. Spinoza and Democracy in Peril – another short piece for EUP

13. A very introductory video to Spinoza for Faculti – very simplified. I also work for OU Politics, not Philosophy…

14. Spinoza’s TTP: Politics, Power and the Imagination – I co-organised this 2.5 day conference with Marie Wuth (Aberdeen) a fortnight ago. The quality of speakers and discussion was brilliant. There’s more on the conference website here. In about a month or so, it will be updated again with video recordings of some of the presentations, and some related free OpenLearn essays I will write, probably in the vein of 10 and 11 above.

On the horizon…

I spent over a month on an ambitious essay on mentalities of climate catastrophe which will be published. Beyond the Spinoza book, it’s probably the only other thing I’ve worked on in the last couple of years that really has my voice in it.

There’ll be another essay out at some point on climate anxiety. And another, on affinities between Spinoza and Hannah Arendt on the work of early 1970s French theorists Guery and Deleule (total unknowns, but worth a look). And, as works in progress, long articles on Malcolm X and prison study, on a new theoretical approach to anger and collective activity, on Spinoza and slavery, on George Eliot’s Spinoza and human fragility, and more I won’t list now. And a talk on the wonderful Jane Addams at the BSHP Conference on women philosophers in two weeks. If you have never heard of it or Addams before, take a look at Addams’ Democracy and Social Ethics and find out more about this wonderful figure.


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