I'm in the midst of preparing for the beginning of the new term and the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. I recognize this sounds unbearably tedious but it's fun for political theorists; most of the political theorists I know will be there, giving papers, and going to panels.Unlike other subfields and disciplines, we actually attend the panels and take the discussions very seriously. My first exposure to Jane Bennett's exciting work on vital materialism, for example, was at APSA. Other friends like Paul Apostolidis, James Martel, Lori Marso, David Kim, Kennan Ferguson, Tom Dumm, Jackie Stevens, Davide Panagia, Mike Shapiro, Chad Lavin, and Geoff Whitehall are usually there, giving great papers, making great remarks (I apologize if I left out anyone). Bill Connolly, Wendy Brown, and Cornell West are nearly always on panels and attending panels. This year Bill Connolly will be on with Talal Asad. Steve Shaviro will also make an appearance--his first ever at APSA (I hope he doesn't make fun of political scientists' clothes; folks slumming from the MLA nearly always comment on how poorly political science as a discipline dresses). And, David Harvey will be the featured speaker at the Foundations of Political Theory plenary meeting (when I was section organizer a few years ago, I invited Zizek to give the address).
Now, on David Harvey--everyone should read his new book, The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism. I hope to say something more about it later. I confess that the only other book of his that I've really read was the one on neoliberalism. So I don't know if his development of an analysis of capitalism out of a footnote in the Grundrisse is new. At first I was reluctant to embrace the basic point--which seemed to entail a rejection of the determining role of the mode of production. But after reading the whole thing, I think I've been convinced that mode of production entails multiple interrelating spheres of activity (he identifies 7; Marx has 5; the different spheres strike me as descriptive and overlapping, guides for thought, rather than clear-cut analytical categories).
Anyway, more later (I hope...I realize I've been neglecting the comments lately--apologies for that...I confess that I've been rather intensely out of sorts this month...earlier in the summer I was planning all sorts of posts on the similarities between painting a room and writing an article, on the satisfaction of physical labor, etc. Then somehow the sense of satisfaction diminished and I became over-whelmed with the impermanence of everything--my house, my life, history, the world, the universe. I really became paralyzed with an overwhelming sense of the universe as one of meaninglessness and stagnation. It's hard to get excited about teaching undergraduates political theory if that is one's overwhelming disposition. I haven't quite shaken it, but rather returned to the senseless practices of my profession, the practices that blind me/us to the utter pointlessness of all endeavors.)