MemberJennifer Thompson

…“Morality in the garden: Applying Jewish Ethics.” Part of volume Food and Judaism: A Companion, ed. by Aaron Gross, Jody Myers, and Jordan Rosenblum. Under contract with New York University Press.

Applied Ethics eText. [2014]2017. Peer reviewed.

“MeToo needs a forgiveness option, and Judaism can provide it.” Forward, December 15, 2017.

“Response to Marshall Sklare Award Le…

DepositEthical revaluation in the thought of Śāntideva

This dissertation examines the idea of ethical revaluation — taking things we normally see as good for our flourishing and seeing them as neutral or bad, and vice versa — in the Mahāyāna Buddhist thinker Śāntideva. It shows how Śāntideva’s thought on the matter is more coherent than it might otherwise appear, first by examining the consistency of Śāntideva’s own claims and then by applying them to contemporary ethical thought. Śāntideva claims that property and relationships are bad for us because they promote attachment, and that others’ wrongdoing is good for us because it allows us to generate patient endurance. Yet he also urges his readers to give property to others, and to prevent their wrongdoing. Is he caught in contradiction? The dissertation argues that he is not, because giving to others is not intended to benefit them materially, but rather to produce beneficial mental states in them, and preventing wrongdoing is intended to benefit the wrongdoer and not the victim. In both cases, Śāntideva emphasizes individual action in a way that makes social or political action more difficult to justify. The dissertation makes four significant contributions: it shows how this interpretation of Śāntideva contrasts notably with standard presentations of Mahāyāna ethics; it refutes claims that Buddhists have no normative ethics; it shows how ethical revaluation is a more sustainable position than Martha Nussbaum’s criticisms of it would imply; and by finding similarities of concern and differences of opinion between Śāntideva and a contemporary thinker, it helps bridge the gap between normative and comparative religious ethics.

Deposit(Dis)entangling Barad: Materialisms and ethics

In the wake of the widespread uptake of and debate surrounding the work of Karen Barad, this article revisits her core conceptual contributions. We offer descriptions, elaborations, problematizations and provocations for those intrigued by or invested in this body of work. We examine Barad’s use of quantum physics, which underpins her conception of the material world. We discuss the political strengths of this position but also note tensions associated with applying quantum physics to phenomena at macro-scales. We identify both frictions and unacknowledged affinities with science and technology studies in Barad’s critique of reflexivity and her concept of diffraction. We flesh out Barad’s overarching position of ‘agential realism’, which contains a revised understanding of scientific apparatuses. Building upon these discussions, we argue that inherent in agential realism is both an ethics of inclusion and an ethics of exclusion. Existing research has, however, frequently emphasized entanglement and inclusion to the detriment of foreclosure and exclusion. Nonetheless, we contend that it is in the potential for an ethics of exclusion that Barad’s work could be of greatest utility within science and technology studies and beyond.

TopicCall for Articles (reopened): Fictions, Facts and “Effects of Reality”

Call for Articles (reopened). The journal English Literature: Theories, Interpretations, Contexts, published at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, invites scholars to send article proposals on the topic of ‘Fictions, Facts and “Effects of Reality”: Questioning the Mimetic in the Nineteenth-Century Novel’. The new deadline for sending proposals is August 15th, 2019. Please refer to the […]

TopicCFP – Adaptation of (English) literary works

The journal English Literature: Theories, Interpretations, Contexts, published at the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari, invites scholars to send article proposals on  “Adapting literary works“. We’ll be happy to consider essays on all aspects of the relationship between English literature/literatures in English and their adaptations for various media (films, series, games, videos, cultural merchandise, etc.) […]

Deposit“And Both are Equal”: Exegesis Creating Values in Ancient Jewish Texts

“And Both are Equal”: Exegesis Creating Values in Ancient Jewish Texts Amit Gvaryahu There are many gaps between the primary or literal interpretation of what is written in the Torah and the way the Sages interpreted it in midrashim, the Mishnah, and the Talmud. Many scholars see these gaps as a result of the Sages’ imposition of external values on the Torah. Sometimes this paradigm can explain these gaps — but not always. In this article I focus on one issue—the laws of personal injury, with an “eye for an eye” at their center—and show that the Sages were fully aware of the discrepancy between the Torah and their interpretation of it. In the Torah they found an ethical norm and general interpretation that the law must apply equally to everyone and strove to apply this concept to every detail of Torah law. A comparative historical inquiry into the discussions about the proper application of “an eye for an eye” shows that this hermeneutical method has its roots in groups the Sages did not identify with. The use of this method in rabbinic literature means a considerable expansion of the exegetical horizon of scriptural interpretation. This method can ground the considerable differences between Torah law and rabbinic law in the scriptural text itself, without recourse to outside values.

TopicCFP: Digital Frontiers 2017 (deadline 4/28/17)

Digital Frontiers is an annual conference that explores advances and research in humanities and cultural memory through the lenses of digital scholarship, technology, and multidisciplinary discourse. The conference recognizes creativity and collaboration across academic subjects by bringing together researchers, students, librarians, archivists, genealogists, historians, information and technology professionals, and scientists. The theme for the 2017 […]

MemberTaylor R. Genovese

Taylor R. Genovese draws on his background in sociocultural anthropology and political theory as a doctoral student in the Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology (HSD) program at Arizona State University, where he is pursuing his interest in the social imaginaries of human futures on Earth and in outer space. He is doing so by pulling from the intellectual and applied traditions of abolition democracy, new materialisms, critical secular studies, relational ethics, performance studies, multimodality, Marxism, and anarchism. His dissertation work focuses on producing a genealogy of futurist discourse surrounding human immortality and space travel. He is tracing the legacy of these ideas from the Proletkult movement as well as from the Russian Cosmists, a loose-knit esoteric political-spiritual-artistic group operating in the decades surrounding the Russian Revolution. He is interested in the ways in which utopian ideas rooted in human solidarity get transmuted into the egocentric dreams of the wealthy through declensionist narratives.