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MemberFerdinand Stenglein

Currently I am writing about the practice of present-day communes, that is a radically alternative practice of private property. Thereby I am particularly interested in the commune as an interstitial, potentially anti-capitalist form of life and the performative modes within which communard subjects evolve. In general my thinking and practices of writing feed from critical pedagogies, anarchist, feminist and Marxist political philosophies, practice theory, ethnography and critical science studies. In the center of my thought are subjects and their potentials.

DepositTeaching Against Hierarchies: An Anarchist Approach

The state of California spends more on prisons than on colleges and universities, and the fact that these two budgetary figures are often compared shows the relationship between the two state institutions. Our classrooms, starting from a very early stage, not only prepare children to be productive members of the consumer economy but educate them for complacency in the face of state violence and mass incarceration. In attempting to move away from hierarchical models of education, this article looks at the feminist pedagogical theory of bell hooks and antiauthoritarian and anarchist theorists such as Jacques Rancière and Derrick Jensen in order to begin investigating alternatives to current education systems. It also identifies major problems in attempting to construct antihierarchical classrooms within a larger society that is still suffering from oppression and structural inequality, and claims that, if not paired with direct action, any attempt for revolutionizing education will meet up against repressive state institutions.

MemberStephanie Spoto

Stephanie Spoto is a lecturer at California State University, Monterey Bay in the department of Humanities and Communication, teaching literature, feminist theory, and writing. In 2013 she was an International Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study – Sofia.  Her research project is “William Lithgow (1582–1645) and Early Modern Scottish Journeys to Eastern Europe”. Education: Stephanie finished her B.A. in English at the University of California in Irvine in 2006, writing her undergraduate thesis on gender and censorship in Milton’s Paradise Lost. She began her PhD at Edinburgh, and was awarded the Centre for Renaissance Studies Research Grant (2009).  At Edinburgh University, she taught first-year English Literature, and has been a reviewer and Reader for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in Fiction (2010), Biography (2011) and has reviewed for the Forum Postgraduate Journal (2011).  Her dissertation passed with minor corrections, and she graduated in June 2012. She also works as a bookdealer, and enjoys baking cakes and riding her bicycle. Research Interests: Stephanie’s dissertation chronicled the history of European occult philosophy, focusing on Hermeticism and demonology, in order to create a theory of gender within English seventeenth century demonological studies. She is currently working on two research projects:

  • Scottish perceptions of Islam in the seventeenth century
  • A comparative analysis of seeing and recognition in the work of Sartre, Wittgenstein, and Fanon

Her other research interests include anarchism, feminist and queer theory, monstrosity, intersectionality, and teaching methods.

MemberRaymond Craib

Trained as a Latin Americanist, my research and teaching interests revolve around the intersections of space, politics, and everyday practice. Although trained as a historian, I am deeply invested in the field of geography and critical spatial theory. My first book, Cartographic Mexico: A History of State Fixations and Fugitive Landscapes (Duke U. Press, 2004; Spanish translation, 2013), attempted to wrestle with questions of space, property and belonging through a close, social history of cartography. The book examines the cartographic routines—exploring, mapping, and surveying—through which Mexican national sovereignty and a series of property regimes (from communal landholding, through to privatization and enclosure, to the creation of the post-revolutionary ejido, as well as riparian and water rights) were forged.  A ‘social history of cartography,’ the book focuses in particular on the points of contact, cooperation, and conflict between those living and working on particular lands (in this case, peasants in highland Veracruz) and those charged with translating legislative decrees in to social and juridical realities (in this case, land surveyors in highland Veracruz). The result is a historical ethnography of liberalism, property and cartography. I expanded on my interest in putting social history and the history of cartography together in a number of subsequent essays, most recently in a long piece on decolonization and cartography which appeared in Decolonizing the Map: Cartography from Colony to Nation (U. of Chicago Press, 2017), edited by James Akerman. I sought in this essay not only to respond to the primary thematic focus of the collection—namely, cartography and decolonization—but also to in some sense decolonize the writing of history on cartography, which for far too long has lacked a kind of social historical edge. The essay thus ranged broadly into subjects that seem rarely to get a hearing in the history of cartography: the colonization of everyday life, situationist spatial practices, anarchist internationalism and geographies, among others. Intersecting with my concerns with geography and space have been my long-standing interests in forms of collective political subjectivity that refuse the nation-state and open possibilities for different forms of egalitarian association. My second book, The Cry of the Renegade: Politics and Poetry in Interwar Chile (Oxford Univ. Press, 2016; Spanish translation with the title Santiago Subversivo 1920: Anarquistas, universitarios y la muerte de José Domingo Gómez Rojas, Ediciones LOM, 2017), sought to fuse more directly—in micro-historical fashion—relationships between space and politics, in this instance in the context of post-World War I Santiago, Chile, a city then undergoing dramatic spatial and social transformation. The book takes a six-month period of time—from the initial crackdowns on purported anarchists and foreign agitators through to the eventual release six months later of most of those illegally detained—and examines in close detail what unfolded. My research came out of an effort to understand the processes and events that led to the death of a young anarchist poet named José Domingo Gómez Rojas. In the process I sought to rescue him from the flat oblivion of martyrdom and instead to bring him to life through the lives and struggles of his comrades and friends. I emphasize a number of issues in the book: I pay close attention to university students and the radicalization and “disidentification” they experienced over the course of the 1910s as well as the close relationships they forged with working people. My focus on university students was intended to move beyond the persistent discourse of students as socially privileged and politically naive and therefore somehow less authentic political subjects, while at the same time moving to a period prior to the heavily-fetishized 1968.  The book also stresses the importance of anarcho-communism in Chile in the first two decades of the 20th century. I was particularly interested in anarchist organizers who spent most, if not all, of their lives in Santiago. They were not peripatetic radicals but sedentary ones and this in part, I argue, explains why they faced such severe persecution: they knew labor law, they knew who the industrialists and manufacturers and landlords were who did not abide by the laws or who attempted to break unions or strikes; they lived next door to the policemen who occasionally arrested them; they knew on which doors to knock and upon which neighbors to rely when it came time for organizing demonstrations or mobilizing in solidarity; and so forth. I stress this in part because in some ways I sought to move beyond the new orthodoxy of transnational history in order to look at the immediacy of place in relation to peoples’ politics without sacrificing the context of the international circulation of people and ideas.  A preliminary version of this work resulted in an invitation to deliver one of three plenary lectures at Chile’s Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos in 2014. The museum subsequently published the lecture as a small book, Martirio, memoria, historia: Sobre los subversivos y la expulsión de Casimiro Barrios, 1920 as part of their Signos series. My work is disciplinarily eclectic and pulls from a range of geographical subfields. I have sought repeatedly in my work to find thematic, methodological, and explanatory linkages with other areas and literatures, in part in order to deparochialize area studies itself and in part to find commonalities across national, regional and continental boundaries. I read extensively outside of my discipline and subfield and my teaching and advising—especially at the graduate level—is purposefully interdisciplinary and geographically wide-ranging. So it is with my current project, Libertarian Noir: White flight and exit geographies from decolonization to the digital age. This work follows three “exit strategies” undertaken by market-libertarians (or anarcho-capitalists) since 1950:  island havens in areas of decolonization; floating platforms (seasteads) in non-sovereign oceanic spaces; and charter cities and start-up cites in Central America.

MemberJames Gifford

I am Professor of English in the School of the Humanities and Director of the University Core at Fairleigh Dickinson University – Vancouver Campus. In Fall 2017, I was Visiting Professor at l’Université Toulouse – Jean Jaurès, and for the Fall of 2011, I was Visiting Professor of English in the graduate program at Simon Fraser University. For 2006–2008, I was an Assistant Professor (limited term) and SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of English at the University of Victoria. I pursue studies in Music and performance as well. Beginning, July 1st, 2017, I am Director of FDU Press, the editorial offices for which relocated to FDU’s Vancouver campus. My research interests include Transatlantic Modernism (British, American, Irish, and Canadian), colonialism and decolonization, prose and poetry, media studies, cultural studies, genetic criticism, anarchism, radical political thought, and opera. I have particular interests in Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller, Elizabeth Smart, T.S. Eliot, Ursula K. Le Guin, Aidan Higgins, and related authors.