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'Obviously It's Worth It'

The Value of Being a Canadian Student Athlete in the U.S.A.

Meghan Gilgunn

Each year, young, elite Canadian athletes travel south to attend American colleges and universities, funded in part by athletic scholarships. These 'student athletes' leave their home country to pursue opportunities they believe are only available in the U.S. The demands made on their time, finances, and personal wellbeing can be staggering. Yet for those who become student athletes, the value of the experience tends to be unquestionably identified as being 'worth it'. In this paper, I explore how this exhortation, repeated so readily by the individuals I interviewed during fieldwork in the U.S., reflects a complicated set of beliefs. This deceptively simple statement provides an entry point for understanding what Canadian student athletes find valuable about their experience and how they believe it affords them a degree of personal distinction that would have been impossible had they stayed in Canada.

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Paul Fawcett

Distrust towards politicians is often identified as a key factor behind the current “crisis of democracy.” If there is a crisis, it only seems natural that at least some responsibility must rest with the political elite. This article locates this distrust in the context of broader debates about “antipolitics” and depoliticization. It examines how these debates have been informed by the putatively new set of challenges presented by the shift to governance and changing notions of legitimacy. The article concludes that politicians remain a necessity, not a choice. Politicians might be part of the problem, but they are certainly not the only problem. It ends by calling for a re-articulation of the relationship between government and citizens and leadership and democracy.

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Interview

Propaganda’s Role in Liberal Democratic Societies

Jason Stanley and John B. Min

Stanley and Min discuss how propaganda works in liberal democratic societies. Stanley observes that the inability to address the crisis of liberal democracies can be partially explained by contemporary political philosophy’s penchant for idealized theorizing about norms of justice over transitions from injustice to justice. Whereas ancient and modern political philosophers took seriously propaganda and demagoguery of the elites and populists, contemporary political philosophers have tended to theorize about the idealized structures of justice. This leads to a lack of theoretical constructs and explanatory tools by which we can theorize about real-life political problems, such as mass incarceration. Starting with this premise, Stanley provides an explanation of how propaganda works and the mechanisms that enable propaganda. Stanley further theorizes the pernicious effects that elitism, populism, authoritarianism, and “post-truth” have on democratic politics.

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The Taming of the Tigress

Fāṭima Rushdī and the First Performance of Shrew in Arabic

David C. Moberly

Few scholars have addressed Arabic adaptations of The Taming of the Shrew, though it remains among the most popular Shakespearean comedies in the Arab world. The first Arabic performance of Shrew in Egypt in 1930 marked a significant landmark in the history of Arab Shakespeares, as the translator rendered the play in colloquial Egyptian Arabic, rather than in the formal, classical Arabic accessible to the educated elite. As such, the play offered the uneducated Egyptian public – and women in particular – unprecedented access to this work of Shakespeare. Instrumental to the adaptation’s success was Fāṭima Rushdī, owner and lead actress of the company that performed this first Arabic Shrew. In this and other roles as one of Egypt’s first renowned Shakespearean actresses, Rushdī not only effectively recast Shakespeare in an Egyptian mould, but also cast Egyptians in a Shakespearean mould, with effects that still echo today.

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Among the English Worthies

Longfellow and the Campaign for Poets' Corner

David Haven Blake

In 1884, a bust of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was unveiled in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey, positioning the American between memorials to Geoffrey Chaucer and John Dryden. Longfellow was the first foreign author thus honoured, and his selection created transatlantic controversy. Through newspapers and correspondence, this article explores how Longfellow's bust came to be in Poets' Corner, tracing the role of its organizer, Dr William Cox Bennett, his benefactors in government and the Palace, and a host of distinguished contributors to the campaign. While nineteenth-century celebrity is often described as a public phenomenon accompanied by crowds of cheering admirers, the memorialization campaign centred on transatlantic elites who praised Longfellow's virtue, humility, and internationalism. The article examines how the campaign shaped the meaning of both Poets' Corner and late nineteenth-century transatlantic fraternity and argues that it also became the setting for conflicting ideas about literature, cosmopolitanism, national memory, and Victorian racial theories.

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Alan B. Spitzer

The May 1948 issue of Les Temps Modernes published three short essays entitled "Nés en 1925." The young authors were Jean-François Lyotard, who was to become a philosopher of international distinction; Paul Viallaneix, his generation's outstanding Michelet scholar; and Pierre Gripari, the author of a wide variety of works including popular books for children. They had been comrades (along with the future sociologist Alain Touraine), at the khâgne of the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, which prepared a student elite to compete for entrance into the École normale supérieure. Their contributions reflected the experience of an intense traditional education under the pressures of war and the Occupation. Their subsequent careers reveal the relation of the permanent stamp of a common formation and the individual experience of particular circumstances.

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The Limits of Black Political Empowerment

Fanon, Marx, 'the Poors' and the 'new reality of the nation' in South Africa

Nigel Gibson

In an earlier paper, written in reaction to those who argued that the African National Congress (ANC) had no alternative but to implement neoliberal economic policies in the context of the ‘Washington Consensus’, I discussed the strategic choices and ideological pitfalls of the ‘political class’who took over state power in South Africa after the end of apartheid and implemented its own homegrown structural adjustment programme (Gibson 2001). Much of this transition has been scripted by political science ‘transition literature’ and much of it is proactive, mapping out what should be done to establish a ‘pacted’, ‘elite’ democracy overseeing neoliberal economic policies (O’Donnell, Schmitter & Whitehead 1986). From another vantage point, I argued that Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth is perhaps one of the most perceptive critiques of the transition literature available. This paper continues the discussion.

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Laurence Piper

That democracy has won is common cause. The vast majority of states of the world today are termed ‘democratic’, a fact that stands in some contrast to the global order just some fifty years ago. Even more importantly, there is no competing alternative model of political rule, other than perhaps forms of radical Islam. Yet at the very moment of its triumph, democracy finds itself in trouble. Recent survey evidence from the United States suggests both political disengagement and a growing cynicism towards parties and elites, and similar trends are evident in Europe. Moreover, democracy faces substantial problems in the developing world, whether a tangible fragility among newly democratic states in Africa, or serious discontent at the responsiveness of government in many middle-income countries. Hence, at the very moment of hegemony we have increasing talk of democratic deficit.

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Sonia Sikka

This paper criticises the concept of culture as deployed within debates on moral relativism, arguing for a greater appreciation of the role of power in the production of a society's purportedly 'moral' norms. The argument is developed in three stages: (1) analysis of the relation between ideology and morality, noting that the concept of morality excludes self-serving moral claims and justifications; (2) analysis of the concept of culture, drawing attention to an ambiguity in its usage and to the hierarchical social structures within which the actual bodies of cultures are produced and reproduced; and (3) contention that (1) and (2) provide the basis for a radical and socially effective species of immanent critique: the exposure of existing norms and institutions purported to be morally justified as masks for the self-interest of elite groups.

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Earl Jeffrey Richards

In May 1995 German academe was rocked by the revelation that one

of its most respected members, Hans Schwerte, the recently deceased

former rector of the University of Aachen and Goethe scholar, was

actually Hans Ernst Schneider, a high-ranking official in Himmler’s

research organization, the SS-Ahnenerbe (“ancestral heritage”). Since

this revelation there has been a veritable explosion of literature, no

less than twelve monographs and essay collections, devoted to the

questions of whether Schneider as Schwerte is an exemplary or symbolic

figure for Germany’s transformation into a democratic society,

whether his career as an “academic manager” in the Third Reich and

his university career in the Federal Republic attest to the well-known

continuity of elites, independent of political beliefs, and whether

Schneider owed his subsequent professional success to connections

with somewhat unsavory (albeit fully legal and quite public) networks

of former Nazis.