Letter from the Philosophy Editor:
It is with great pleasure that I present the Columbia University Press philosophy catalog for 2020. These titles, which span subjects from critical theory to political philosophy to philosophy of religion, aesthetics, environmental and animal philosophy, philosophy of science, philosophy of gender, and Asian philosophy, reflect the interdisciplinary and global approach of our list and exemplify the innovative and field-changing scholarship that we value.
Among the many outstanding titles in this year’s wide-ranging catalog several deserve special attention. In the area of critical theory Bernard Harcourt’s masterwork Critique and Praxis challenges us to move beyond decades of philosophical detours and to harness critical thought to the need for action, while Amy Allen’s eagerly awaited Critique on the Couch persuasively argues that psychoanalysis, in providing an analysis of human subjectivity, is essential to the progressive, emancipatory aims of critique.
Also on the subject of global political theory, Gavin Arnall’s revelatory work Subterranean Fanon offers a rigorous and profoundly original engagement that affirms Fanon’s importance in the effort to bring about radical change. Out of the Dark Night by Achille Mbembe is a nuanced exploration of African postcolonial thought, while Antonio Gramsci’s Subaltern Social Groups, edited and translated by Joseph A. Buttigieg and Marcus E. Green, collects Gramsci’s writings on subalternity, a category that he originated, from Notebook 25 and elsewhere. And Universality and Identity Politics by Todd McGowan restores to the Left the legitimacy of its origins: the promise of universal emancipation.
Among the important new titles in philosophy of religion are three entries in our new No Limits series, edited by Costica Bradatan. Mark Taylor’s Intervolution reveals that we are already cyborgs, integral cogs in what will become a superorganism of bodies and things. Touch by Richard Kearney argues that touch is our most primordial sense, foundational to our individual and common selves. Aimlessness by Tom Lutz asks us to give up our striving for achievement and instead become sidetracked, get lost, and daydream. Wisdom as a Way of Life is Steven Collins’ final work, a powerful argument that Theravāda Buddhism offers insights into the self and how to act that are relevant today.
Other exciting new books of note include Foucault’s Strange Eros by Lynne Huffer, a haunting reevaluation of Foucault’s ethics as experiments in living that work poetically to make the present strange. Barbara Carnevali’s Social Appearances takes aim at Western philosophy’s disdain for the surface, showing that understanding social life is necessary to grasp the dynamics of interaction, recognition, and power in which we live. N. Katherine Hayles’ strikingly original Postprint spans book studies, cultural theory, and media archeology in demonstrating the role of computational media in the ongoing evolution of humanity. The Wake of Crows by Thom van Dooren considers five sites where the lives of crows and humans are entangled and asks if possibilities still exist for living and dying well on a damaged planet. Why Veganism Matters by Gary L. Francione offers a persuasive and powerful argument for all readers who care about animals but are not sure whether they have a moral obligation to be vegan.
I am confident that you will find much to enjoy and ponder in these pages. My colleagues and I look forward to continuing our dialogue.
Publisher, Philosophy, Religion, Political Theory, Animal and Critical Life Studies