Justice Everywhere

a blog about philosophy in public affairs

Beyond the Ivory Tower Interview with Dana Mills

This is the latest interview in our Beyond the Ivory Tower series, an interview between Dana Mills and Zsuzsanna Chappell about Mills’s activist work in Israel-Palestine. Dana Mills is a writer, dancer, and peace and human rights advocate. She received her DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2014. As an academic, she has held posts, among other institutions, at the University of Oxford, NYU, Northwestern University, American Dance Festival, Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, University of Amsterdam and the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College. Since 2021 she has been working in Israeli-Palestinian civil society on a variety of issues. Mills has written many articles and three books: Dance and Politics: Moving beyond Boundaries (MUP, 2016); a biography of Rosa Luxemburg (Reaktion, 2020) and Dance and Activism: a century of radical dance across the world (Bloomsbury, 2021).

An inverted verification principle for political theory

What do these four countries have in common?

Protecting Territorial Minorities: Defensive Federalism

In this post Marc Sanjaume-Calvet (Universitat Pompeu Fabra), discusses the role of federalism as a way of protecting from the tyranny of the majority, safeguarding both against the ills of centralised power and territorial self-government. The reflections in this post stems from his recently published book, coedited with Professor Ferran Requejo (UPF), Defensive Federalism Protecting Territorial Minorities from the “Tyranny of the Majority” (2023, Routledge).

Image by George Becker from Pexels
Image by George Becker from Pexels

Driving for Values

Smart cities are full of sensors and collect large amounts of data. One reason for doing so is to get real-time information about traffic flows. A next step is to steer the traffic in a way that contributes to the realisation of values such as safety and sustainability. Think of steering cars around schools to improve the safety of children, or of keeping certain areas car-free to improve air quality. Is it legitimate for cities to nudge their citizens to make moral choices when participating in traffic? Would a system that limits a person’s options for the sake of improving quality of life in the city come at the cost of restricting that person’s autonomy? In a transdisciplinary research project, we (i.e., members of the ESDiT programme and the Responsible Sensing Lab) explored how a navigation app that suggests routes based on shared values, would affect users’ experiences of autonomy. We did so by letting people try out speculative prototypes of such an app on a mobile phone and ask them questions about how they experienced different features of the app. During several interviews and a focus group, we gained insights about the conditions under which people find such an app acceptable and about the features that increase or decrease their feeling of autonomy.

Disney’s Frozen: Acceptance, Passing and Covering (Part 2)

In this two-part blog post, Zsuzsanna Chappell examines the issues Disney’s Frozen films raise about the possibilities and problems faced by people who do not conform to our idea of “normal” or “usual”. The story raises hopes for those of us who are “unusual” or living with “difference”, but she argues that in the end we just end up with new forms of discrimination and new demands to fit in with the majority. Part 1 (“Otherness, Masking and Control”) can be found here.

Disney Frozen two film banner. Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven, Olaf, wintery forest background

How the animal industry undermines consumers’ autonomy

In this post, Rubén Marciel (UPF and UB) and Pablo Magaña (UPF) discuss their article recently published in the Journal of Applied Philosophy on the ethical legitimacy of misleading commercial speech for ‘green’ or ‘ethically produced’ animal products.

Photo by Mae Mu with Unsplash Licence.

Disney’s Frozen: Otherness, Masking and Control (Part 1)

In this two-part blog post, Zsuzsanna Chappell examines the issues Disney’s Frozen films raise about the possibilities and problems faced by people who do not conform to our idea of “normal” or “usual” . The story raises hopes for those of us who are “unusual” or living with “difference”, but she argues that in the end we just end up with new forms of discrimination and new demands to fit in with the majority.

An Interview with Dorothea Gädeke (Beyond the Ivory Tower Series)

This is the latest interview in our Beyond the Ivory Tower series, a conversation between Davide Pala and Dorothea Gädeke, revolving around Gädeke’s research project “Theorising Freedom From Below”. Dr. Dorothea Gädeke is Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Ethics Institute, Utrecht University. She joined Utrecht University in 2018. Before that, she taught at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Germany, and at TU Darmstadt, Germany and spent time as a visiting scholar at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa and at Princeton University, USA. Her research is motivated by the urge to understand and address current social and political challenges. It is situated at the intersection of political philosophy, social philosophy and legal and constitutional theory. She specialises in domination and structural injustices and analyse how they are connected to practices of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. She is particularly interested in transnational relations between the global north and the global south. Currently, she is setting up a new project on agency and resistance against unfreedom. 

An Interview with Lisa Guenther (Beyond the Ivory Tower Series)

This is the latest interview in our Beyond the Ivory Tower series, a conversation between Leonie Smith and Lisa Guenther. Lisa Guenther teaches at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. Her position is cross-appointed in Philosophy and Cultural Studies and her official title is ‘Queen’s National Scholar in Political Philosophy and Critical Prison Studies’, reflecting her current areas of scholarship, teaching, and activism. From 2012-17, she volunteered at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison in Nashville, Tennessee, where she facilitated a discussion group with men on death row called REACH Coalition. She currently teaches a Walls to Bridges class at Collins Bay Institution in Kingston, Ontario, which brings together undergraduate students from Queen’s with incarcerated students from Collins Bay for credit-bearing courses in Philosophy and Sociology. She is also a member of the Advisory Board for the P4W Memorial Collective, a group of former prisoners who are creating a memorial garden for women who died at the Kingston Prison for Women (P4W).

More Open Access, More Inequality in the Academia

For many political philosophers, the beginning of 2024 has turned out to be – in one respect – rather disconcerting, as it ushers in the widespread boycott of one of the community’s leading publications. Many readers of this blog will no doubt be familiar with the unfolding situation. In April 2023, Wiley decided to remove Robert Goodin from his position as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Political Philosophy at the end of the year. This in turn led to swift resignations from the Editorial Board of the journal, and a statement of non-cooperation signed by more than a thousand political philosophers, pledging not to submit or review papers for the journal, or to join its editorial ranks, unless Goodin is reinstated. Since this has not happened, with JPP’s website not indicating any editorial composition as of the moment when this article was published, the boycott is now in effect. The likely demise of the Journal of Political Philosophy as a consequence of these developments is profoundly distressing. But the wider context which led to it is even more worrying, not only for political philosophers and not only in regard to research quality, but also in regard to the deepening of academic inequality in both philosophy and many other research fields as well.

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