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This chapter provides an overview of the three main objectives of the book. I trace the reception of Plutarch’s work in French and English political thought. This also offers an alternative to dominant narratives regarding the centrality of civic humanism, republicanism and constitutionalism as key idioms in the history of political thought. Through the lens of Plutarch I demonstrate the importance of a tradition of public humanism, focused on a consideration of the unique and complex ethos of public service.
In the conclusion to the book I offer an appeal to the distilled principles of the tradition of public humanism as associated with Plutarch reception and developed in the opening chapters of the book. I argue that the tradition of public humanism can inspire resistance to excessive cynicism towards the possibilities of public life and to renew some faith in contemporary democratic life.
What I seek to do in this chapter is to build on the existing methodological reflections put forward by historians in order to put forward an alternative form of “serial contextualism,” focused on the reception of an author rather than of a concept, and anchored in that author’s original context of writing. In doing so, I am also building on existing studies of actual reception processes in IR, history, and international law, but my aim is to give a more systematic account of how one might go about studying the reception of a famous author and what this type of inquiry can contribute.
In “The Nature of Literature,” Peter Remien and Scott Slovic examine nature’s role in the history of literary studies from Aristotle’s Poetics to the modern environmental humanities. The chapter begins with a close analysis of Sidney’s The Defense of English Poesy as an example of the premodern understanding of the parallel creative processes of art and nature. Not only does art imitate nature, as Aristotle asserts, but it furthers nature’s creative purposes. The chapter then constructs a genealogy of ecocriticism with attention to nature’s contested role as a central keyword. Attentive to nature’s ideological and metaphysical baggage, Remien and Slovic examine important critiques of the concept of nature by Derrida, Timothy Morton, and others, as well as claims of “the end of nature” in the Anthropocene. The final part of the introduction traces a broad history of nature in literary studies through an overview of the book’s three sections and twenty-one chapters.
Nature and Literary Studies supplies a broad and accessible overview of one of the most important and contested keywords in modern literary studies. Drawing together the work of leading scholars of a variety of critical approaches, historical periods, and cultural traditions, the book examines nature's philosophical, theological, and scientific origins in literature, as well as how literary representations of this concept evolved in response to colonialism, industrialization, and new forms of scientific knowledge. Surveying nature's diverse applications in twenty-first-century literary studies and critical theory, the volume seeks to reconcile nature's ideological baggage with its fundamental role in fostering appreciation of nonhuman being and agency. Including chapters on wilderness, pastoral, gender studies, critical race theory, and digital literature, the book is a key resource for students and professors seeking to understand nature's role in the environmental humanities.
This paper argues that the interwar Japanese Marxists Miki Kiyoshi and more contemporary Hiromatsu Wataru each moved towards developing this perspective beyond simple distinctions between idealism, which is confined to concepts, and materialism, conceived as presupposing that ideas are determined by matter. Japanese Marxism was in a unique place to affect such a synthesis because of the existence of Kyoto School philosophy, with whom both Miki and Hiromatsu were associated. The proponents of the Kyoto School combined Eastern and Western philosophical perspectives, which had the aim of criticizing modernity. Miki Kiyoshi and other members of the Kyoto School eventually supported Japan's wartime effort, which delegitimized their concerns about modernity during the postwar. However, in postwar Japan, Hiromatsu developed a creative reading of Marx's materialism and in the 1994 surprised everyone by advocating a pan-Asianist critique of modernity. Hiromatsu suggested that despite problems that Miki and the Kyoto School represented, one had to grasp the rational kernel, which could save Marxism from slipping into an equally dangerous modernization theory. This task remains for us today when the dystopia of globalized capitalism seems to have become a reality that threatens the survival of our planet.
In 1500, speculative philosophy lay at the heart of European intellectual life; by 1700, its role was drastically diminished. The Kingdom of Darkness tells the story of this momentous transformation. Dmitri Levitin explores the structural factors behind this change: the emancipation of natural philosophy from metaphysics; theologians' growing preference for philology over philosophy; and a new conception of the limits of the human mind derived from historical and oriental scholarship, not least concerning China and Japan. In turn, he shows that the ideas of two of Europe's most famous thinkers, Pierre Bayle and Isaac Newton, were both the products of this transformation and catalysts for its success. Drawing on hundreds of sources in many languages, Levitin traces in unprecedented detail Bayle and Newton's conceptions of what Thomas Hobbes called The Kingdom of Darkness: a genealogical vision of how philosophy had corrupted the human mind. Both men sought to remedy this corruption, and their ideas helped lay the foundation for the system of knowledge that emerged in the eighteenth century.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the idea that a system of international commercial law was gradually replacing domestic laws in the sphere of international transactions began to interest a group of European scholars. Using a bygone expression, they called this phenomenon lex mercatoria, or “law merchant.” The exploration of lex mercatoria also coincided with the emergence of a full-fledged school of thought – what could be described as the French school of international arbitration. As this chapter shows, this was a time of intense renewal, which carried great appeal and led to bold, cutting-edge research. At the same time, vacillating between renewal and anxiety, many scholars strongly disagreed with the existence of lex mercatoria and voiced their disagreement. The first section of this chapter sketches the intellectual history of lex mercatoria; the second investigates its relationship with a nascent school of thought in international arbitration; and the third looks at the quarrels over lex mercatoria that marked the movement from renewal to anxiety.
Looming decisions on arms control and strategic weapon procurements in a range of nuclear-armed states are set to shape the international security environment for decades to come. In this context, it is crucial to understand the concepts, theories, and debates that condition nuclear policymaking. This review essay dissects the four editions of The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy, the authoritative intellectual history of its subject. Using this widely acclaimed work as a looking glass into the broader field of nuclear security studies, we interrogate the field's underlying assumptions and question the correspondence between theory and practice in the realm of nuclear policy. The study of nuclear strategy, we maintain, remains largely committed to an interpretive approach that invites analysts to search for universal axioms and to abstract strategic arguments from the precise circumstances of their occurrence. While this approach is useful for analysing the locutionary dimension of strategic debates, it risks obscuring the power structures, vested interests, and illocutionary forces shaping nuclear discourse. In the conclusion, we lay out avenues for future scholarship.
Turkey's 1960 military coup d’état was received by Kemalists in the courts, bureaucracy, and universities as an opportunity to reinvigorate Atatürk's ideal of a centralized and rationally organized state. This article investigates how a handful of avant-garde thinkers sought to ride the post-1960 wave of reformism by promoting a techno-utopian approach to governance through publications and seminars aimed at state leaders and intellectuals. Cybernetics, they argued, offered a paradigm of adjudication and administration unblemished by association with the ascendant ideologies of the Cold War, whether socialist or conservative, and was fully in keeping with Kemalism. I argue that, although it remained largely at the stage of fantasy, Turkish cybernetics ultimately served as a set of metaphors with which conservative state thinkers from different political camps found common ground, facilitating the shift that occurred within the state during the 1970s away from the rights-based pluralism of the Constitution of 1961 and toward an effort to de-radicalize Turkish society, if necessary through violence.
Cicero's Brutus (46 BCE), a tour-de-force of intellectual and political history, was written amidst political crisis: Caesar's defeat of the republican resistance at the battle of Thapsus. This magisterial example of the dialogue genre capaciously documents the intellectual vibrancy of the Roman Republic and its Greco-Roman traditions. This book is the first study of the work from several distinct yet interrelated perspectives: Cicero's account of oratorical history, the confrontation with Caesar, and the exploration of what it means to write a history of an artistic practice. Close readings of this dialogue-including its apparent contradictions and tendentious fabrications-reveal a crucial and crucially productive moment in Greco-Roman thought. Cicero, this book argues, created the first nuanced, sophisticated, and ultimately 'modern' literary history, crafting both a compelling justification of Rome's oratorical traditions and also laying a foundation for literary historiography that abides to this day.
This chapter chronicles an unnoticed aspect of the intellectual history of the “contractarian” paradigm, the descriptive claim that firms are best characterized as nexus of contracts. Although the paradigm’s rise in the 1980s in the corporate world is well known, little has been said about its success in rewriting both theory and doctrine in charitable and not-for-profit law. The contract paradigm has reshaped the questions that not-for-profit scholarship attempts to answers, and it is tightly linked to developments in not-for-profit doctrine and practice. Key examples include the growth of donor standing—the notion that not-for-profits have a fiduciary duty to their donors, and that donors may bring suit for breaches—and the growing obsession with “donor intent” throughout the not-for-profit sphere. I contrast contractarianism with an institutionalist “public trust” conception of charities, which was the prevailing intellectual paradigm for most of the 20th century.
This chapter challenges the claim that historians are able to offer value-free, impartial, and verifiable observations about the history of something called ‘international law’. While numerous historians have criticised international legal scholars for misusing the past to tell stories, draw analogies, or link material from diverse periods, historical work is presented as a process of finding evidence rather than making arguments, committed to reality rather than myths. This chapter argues that histories of international law are necessarily as partisan and political as those produced by the most pragmatic of lawyers. Any study that is described as offering a history of something called ‘international law’, or of a subfield of international law such as international economic law or human rights law, necessarily makes normative and political choices about what international law is and where it is to be found. To show how that works in practice, the chapter explores three empiricist historical accounts that are overtly presented as offering correctives to the distorted, presentist, or incomplete histories of international law produced to date – Lauren Benton and Lisa Ford’s Rage for Order, Samuel Moyn’s The Last Utopia, and Quinn Slobodian’s Globalists.
Giovanni da Empoli's second voyage to Asia (1510–1514) was eventful and violent, characterised by the emergence of conflicting agendas among different groups of Portuguese. The Florentine merchant's long letter about the voyage is an extraordinary document, and provides insights in three important areas. First, it allows us to fill some of the gaps in the history of the early phases of Portuguese empire building, questioning the extent to which the Crown was pursuing a clear and coherent strategy that included the conquest of Malacca. Second, it problematises further our conception of “the Portuguese” by reporting episodes of Portuguese-on-Portuguese violence and opposing views on the objectives of Portuguese fleets in the Indian Ocean. Finally, Giovanni unequivocally expresses admiration for the international markets of Eastern city-ports and openly criticises the militarist attitude and lawless tactics of the Portuguese viceroy, Alfonso de Albuquerque, thereby inviting us to reconsider the chronology of a “cosmopolitan reaction” among Italian writers visiting South Asia.
One hundred years have passed since the death of Georg Simmel (1858–1918), one of the most fascinating minds of the Second German Empire (Kaiserreich). Simmel’s intellectual brilliance and productivity have never been in doubt, and they are themselves sufficient grounds for writing about him. Indeed, there is no shortage of studies that grapple with various aspects of his thought. Simmel scholarship has recently received fresh impetus with the collection of all his available texts in the monumental twenty-four-volume edition of the Gesamtausgabe coordinated and edited by Otthein Rammstedt.
By conceiving two emergent nation-states as a single region linked by conjoining roads, shared technologies and circulating researchers, this essay traces the emergence of a common “intellectual infrastructure” that during the interwar decades enabled European, American, Iranian, Afghan and Indian scholars to promote archeological and architectural interpretations of the Iranian and Afghan past. Taking Robert Byron’s Road to Oxiana as a fixed point of reference, the following pages survey the motor-linked sites where these new disciplinary approaches were developed and disseminated. By positioning Byron amid a larger cadre of investigators publishing in Farsi, Dari and Urdu no less than English, French and German, the essay shows how shifts in Iranian perceptions of the ancient and medieval past were part of a larger regional development, unfolding not only in familiar dialogue with Europe, but also in conversation and to some degree competition with nationalist scholarship in Afghanistan and India. Together with the journals, museums, learned societies and congresses which were launched in the 1920s and 1930s, cars and cameras—those key tools of the “age of speed”—were central to these learned ventures. Far from generating uniformity, this shared intellectual infrastructure enabled multiple interpretations of the archaeological and architectural past that were nonetheless mutually intelligible and methodologically consistent.
Lisa Lowe’s 1991 essay “Heterogeneity, Hybridity, and Multiplicity: Marking Asian American Differences,” published in Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies, argued for the profound generativity of the concept of difference in cultural politics. By instead characterizing Asian American racial formation and its cultures through the terms heterogeneity, hybridity, and multiplicity, Lowe challenged the orientalist binaries that had for so long constricted considerations of Asian American culture. Because difference could generate affiliation and expansion, rather than unity, closure, and finitude, it would become a new starting point for apprehending minority cultures outside of the dominant frameworks of national inclusion and normative citizenship. This essay uses the frameworks of “recovery,” “reckoning,” and “remediation” to structure a discussion of the impact of Lisa Lowe’s work, and particularly the insights offered by her 1991 “Heterogeneity, Hybridity, and Multiplicity” essay, on the field of Asian American studies.
Seamus Deane was one of the most vital and versatile authors of our time. Small World presents an unmatched survey of Irish writing, and of writing about Irish issues, from 1798 to the present day. Elegant, polemical, and incisive, it addresses the political, aesthetic, and cultural dimensions of several notable literary and historical moments, and monuments, from the island's past and present. The style of Swift; the continuing influence of Edmund Burke's political thought in the USA; the echoing debates about national character; aspects of Joyce's and of Elizabeth Bowen's relation to modernism; memories of Seamus Heaney; analysis of the representation of Northern Ireland in Anna Burns's fiction – these topics constitute only a partial list of the themes addressed by a volume that should be mandatory reading for all those who care about Ireland and its history. The writings included here, from one of Irish literature's most renowned critics, have individually had a piercing impact, but they are now collectively amplified by being gathered together here for the first time between one set of covers. Small World: Ireland, 1798–2018 is an indispensable collection from one of the most important voices in Irish literature and culture.
The Theatre of Sa'dallah Wannous is the first book in English to provide a clear sense of the significance and complexity of Wannous' life and work. It is unique in bringing cross-disciplinary scholarship on Wannous together and aligning it with cultural practice and memory by including contributions from leading academics as well as renowned cultural figures from the Arab world. This volume should be of interest to literary and theatre studies scholars, cultural historians, theatre practitioners and anyone who cares about contemporary theatre, Syria and the Arab world. Collectively, the contributions demonstrate the role of cultural production - especially dramatic literature - in providing a portrait of and shaping a culture in the throes of profound transformation.