Stanley Cavell has described the “new, yet unapproachable America.” These days, America seems as unapproachable as ever. Cavell’s reprise of Thoreau for the twentieth century, where American sins of slavery and the Mexican-American War are trumped by the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, was either “politically” effective or it was not.
While Cavell has been open about his desire to address politics questions in a philosophical manner, it remains a matter of some dispute how, if at all, he does so. One reason for this is that Cavell does not outline a political platform or recommend specific action of any kind; another is that — from his late sixties Lear essay on — the political moment in Cavell is regularly entangled with aesthetic and epistemological questions.
In what ways, then, are Cavell’s political writings efficacious? How might Cavell’s reading of King Lear help us make headway of the peculiar political challenges America faces in the twenty-first century, if one extends a critique of America begun by Thoreau to the Black Lives Matter movement, or to the War in Iraq? And how might Cavell’s writings avoid falling into the aestheticization of politics criticized by thinkers such as Benjamin, Schmitt, and Habermas? For the fifth issue of Conversations, we invite essays that address these questions as they emerge either in Cavell’s own work or in the evident political crises of our time as seen in light of that work. Topics might include:
• Cavell and Romanticism
• Politics as poetics and poetics as politics
• Cavell and Hannah Arendt
• Cavell and Pragmatism
• Cavell and political resistance
• Cavell and Black Lives Matter
• Cavell and democracy
• Cavell and the republican tradition
• Cavell and Communitarianism
• Cavell and perfectionism
• Cavell and the politics of cinema
Papers should be no more than 6000 words, including footnotes, and must follow the notes and bibliography citation system described in The Chicago Manual of Style. We also welcome shorter, more intimate pieces addressing specific questions (800-1200 words).
Please send complete articles to Amir Khan at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than September 15th, 2017. If you submit your article through the website, please send a follow-up query to one of the managing editors as well (Amir Khan or Sérgio Dias Branco at email@example.com).