Though the horrific images of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib have been burned into the American cultural consciousness, what modes of redress are actually available to victims of US military torture? In an interview with Erika Eichelberger of the Nation Institute, Joshua E.S. Phillips discusses the grim shortcomings of the Detainee Abuse Task Force that he uncovered while researching his incisive investigation of American soldiers and torture, None of Us Were Like This Before. The DATF, Phillips explains, too often fails to properly investigate and resolve reports of torture:
Drawing on the work of Jacques Ranciere and Erik Olin Wright, Vince Carducci at Deliberately Considered has written a remarkable reflection on the renewed experience of aesthetic and political community in Detroit. In the face of decades of blight and increased "demassification," the city has, in a stunning dialectical movement, recently begun to witness an unprecedented creative flourishing and reclamation of the city's downtown space. In his article, Carducci points to the ways that the city's neglected spaces, foreclosed homes and abandoned buildings have suddenly come to "open up a new field of cultural production" that has, of late, encouraged young artists to repurpose them and, in effect, reimagine and assert a robust new understanding of the "commons". That is, by using as their raw material the virtually abandoned ruins of the city, artists in Detroit are seizing opportunities to use them to boldly re-articulate new understandings of what public space, community and urban experience mean to them today.
On yesterday's Minnesota Public Radio Midmorning segment, Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation, squared off against David Lat, who declared internships a "win-win situation" in a New York Times Room for Debate piece earlier this week.
Both Perlin and listeners who called in to join the discussion pointed out that internships that offer college credit in exchange for core work are often illegal and exploitative ways for employers to avoid paying minimum wage, and create situations in which interns are essentially paying tuition to work. Perlin also reiterated that internships routinely displace and replace regular employees, and bar those who can't afford to work for free from entire industries where unpaid internships serve as the only entry.
"I think the law as it stands is adequate," Perlin concluded, in response to Midmorning host Kerri Miller's question of whether the Department of Labor's internship guidelines needed to be changed. "We just need to see enforcement of the law, and interns understanding their rights and standing up for themselves."
As the recent high-profile lawsuits against companies like Fox Searchlight and Hearst seem to indicate, more and more interns are doing just that.
Visit MPR Midmorning with Kerri Miller to hear the full podcast.
Ross Perlin will be participating in a panel co-sponsored by Dissent on internships and precarious work at Left Forum.
Although he seems to be everywhere these days, Simon Critchley still finds the time to indulge in his obsessive reading habits. Currently steeped in the world of ancient Greek tragedy and fully absorbed by its "massive and unacknowledged relevance to the contemporary psychical and political situation," he recently shared with The Believer a short list of some of the standouts from his current reading list.
With a good balance of the classic and the contemporary, the scholarly and the dramatic, he offers a diverse set of titles that are worth checking out to get a better idea of tragedy’s “savage and troubling beauty, its conflict with and superiority to philosophy,” and, of course, its endless supply of insights into the present day. Not to mention the fact, as he rightfully notes, that Seneca and Euripides can just be a lot of fun to read!
Not to keep you in suspense about the list, visit The Believer to read Critchley's recommendations in full.
Simon Critchley's The Faith of the Faithless is also now out in hardback.
With the publication of Simon Critchley's Faith of the Faithless, the journal Political Theology has provided readers an excerpt from the book's introduction on its blog, and is planning on hosting a series of longer responses to it in the coming weeks.
In Critchley's introduction, you can find the conceptual foundations of the book's larger argument and its clearest elucidation of its titular trope, "the faith of the faithless." Together, these set the groundwork for the book's striking "experiments" in political theology and inform its bracing readings of Rousseau, Heidegger, St. Paul and Agamben. As the book's opening salvo, it also explicitly delineates the political dimensions of religious belief and theology today, and suggests how they may be properly thought in relation to the eventual possibilities for self-realization and the formation of collective bonds of identity organized around "infinitely demanding" ethical and political responsibilities and action.
For instance, in the introduction, he writes,