Barrio Rising

barrioIn the mid-1950s, Venezuela’s military government razed a massive slum settlement in the heart of Carácas and replaced it with what was at the time one of Latin America’s largest public housing projects. When the dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez was overthrown on January 23, 1958, thousands of people rushed to occupy the uninhabited portions of the project, taking it over and renaming the resulting neighborhood for the date of the fall of the regime: the 23 de Enero. The neighborhood that emerged stood at the geographic and in some cases political center of Venezuela’s transition to democracy over the decades that followed. This unruly, often contradictory transition is detailed in a new book, Barrio Rising: Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela (University of California Press, 2015) by Boston College alumnus Alejandro Velasco. The book traces how the residents of the 23 de Enero came to fashion an expansive understanding of democracy–both radical and electoral–from the late 1950s to the early 1990s, and examines how that understanding still resonates today. Velasco is on the faculty of New York University.

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Do Guns Make Us Free?

gunsOne of the most emotionally charged debates in the United States centers on the Second Amendment and the rights of citizens to bear arms. In his new book, Do Guns Make Us Free?: Democracy and the Armed Society (Yale University Press, 2015), Boston College alumnus Firmin DeBrabander examines the contentious and uniquely American debate over guns and contends an armed society is not a free society but one that actively hinders democratic participation. DeBrabander is an associate professor of philosophy at Maryland Institute College of Art and has written pieces for the Baltimore Sun, Common Dreams, Counterpunch, and the New York Times.

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Catholic Press Association honors

cpa logoBoston College faculty members including Professor of Theology M. Shawn Copeland and School of Theology and Ministry Assistant Professor Hosffman Ospino, Associate Professor Thomas Stegman, S.J., and Research Professor Christopher R. Matthews were among those honored by the Catholic Press Association of the U.S. and Canada at its 2015 conference. BC doctoral students and alumni also were recognized this year. BC News

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The Legacy of Vatican II

vaticaniibookThe Legacy of Vatican II (Paulist Press, 2015)co-edited by School of Theology and Ministry Associate Professor Andrea Vicini, SJ and Massimo Faggioli of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, explores the legacy of the Second Vatican Council via essays from 12 leading international scholars. One section of the book examines the contributions of four Jesuit theologians at Vatican II. A second part reflects on the Council’s key themes of continuity and change and a third section examines the Council’s engagements in the public arena. The following Boston College faculty members contributed essays to the volume: David Hollenbach, SJ; Richard R. Gaillardetz; John F. Baldovin, SJ, and  Lisa Sowle Cahill. More from BC News.

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Naturalizing Heidegger

heideggerIn Naturalizing Heidegger: His Confrontation with Nietzsche, His Contributions to Environmental Philosophy (State University of New York Press, 2015), Assistant Professor of the Practice of Philosophy David Storey proposes a new interpretation of Heidegger’s importance for environmental philosophy. Primarily drawing on Heidegger’s engagement with Nietzsche, but also on his readings of Aristotle and the biologist Jakob von Uexküll, Storey focuses on his critique of the nihilism at the heart of modernity, and his conception of the intentionality of organisms and their relation to their environments. From these ideas, a vision of nature emerges that recognizes the intrinsic value of all living things and their kinship with one another, and which anticipates later approaches in the philosophy of nature, such as Hans Jonas’s phenomenology of life and Evan Thompson’s contemporary attempt to naturalize phenomenology.

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Bigamy in Victorian novels

bigamyFrom sensational plots to “simultaneous” remarriages in such classic literature as Jane Eyre, David Copperfield and Middlemarch, bigamy in Victorian novels is a surprisingly prevalent narrative phenomenonIn the first extended study on this topic, a new book by Assistant Professor of English Maia McAleavey — The Bigamy Plot: Sensation and Convention in the Victorian Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2015) fills a key gap in the history of the Victorian novel and revises the view that links its narrative structure to courtship and marriage, which have dominated accounts of these works. Familiar conventions are upended in this innovative study which explores authors’ use of bigamy plots to undermine conventional forms and values. In hundreds of novels, plays and poems published in Victorian Great Britain, spouses thought dead reappear to their newly remarried husbands or wives. McAleavey, a specialist in the Victorian novel, nineteenth-century British literature and culture, narrative analysis, gender theory, and generic distinctions and conventions, makes the case for a historical approach to narrative which is grounded in the legal and social changes of the period, but counters cultural expectations. The book includes an index of nearly 300 novels featuring bigamy plots. McAleavey’s work has been published in Representations, Victorian Studies, the Dickens Studies Annual and Victorian Review.

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The art and thought of Paul Klee

kleeFrederick J. Adelmann, SJ, Professor of Philosophy John Sallis has written a book that provides a philosophical perspective on the relation between artist Paul Klee’s work and his thought. Klee once said that “art does not reproduce the visible but makes visible.” In Klee’s Mirror (State University of New York Press, 2015)Sallis examines the various ways in which Klee’s art is like a mirror capable of reflecting not only the surface appearance of things, but also their hidden depth and the cosmic setting to which they belong. Tracing the relation of Klee’s paintings and drawings to music, poetry, and philosophy, Sallis also takes account of Klee’s own extensive writings, both theoretical and autobiographical. In 2012, Sallis curated a highly acclaimed exhibition at the Boston College McMullen Museum of Art titled “Paul Klee: Philosophical Vision; From Nature to Art.”


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