Townsend Papers Archive

Marianne Constable, Let Volpp, Bryan Wagner

For many inside and outside the legal academy, the right place to look for law is in constitutions, statutes, and judicial opinions. This book looks for law in the “wrong places” — sites and spaces in which no formal law appears. These may be geographic regions beyond the reach of law, everyday practices ungoverned or ungovernable by law, or works of art that have escaped law’s constraints.

Freud and Monotheism: Moses and the Violent Origins of Religion critically examines a range of discourses surrounding Freud’s Moses and Monotheism, taking as its entry point Freud’s relations to Judaism, his conception of tradition and history, his theory of the mind, and his model of transgenerational inheritance.

Plasticity and Pathology: On the Formation of the Neural Subject brings together diverse scholars interested in the historical and conceptual problems of life and particularly the life of human beings in the neural age. 

Malcolm Bull, Anthony J. Cascardi, and T.J. Clark

Malcolm Bull offers a detailed analysis of nihilism in Nietzsche's works. Along with accompanying commentaries by Cascardi and Clark, he explores the significance of Nietzscheís views given the fact that a wide range of readers have come to embrace his ideas as new orthodoxy. There seem to be no anti-Nietzscheans today, but Bull demonstrates that this wide embrace of Nietzsche runs counter to the very meaning of nihilism as Nietzsche understood it.

Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, and Saba Mahmood

In this volume, four leading thinkers of our times confront the paradoxes and dilemmas attending the supposed stand-off between Islam and liberal democratic values. Taking the controversial Danish cartoons of Mohammad as a point of departure, Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, and Saba Mahmood inquire into the evaluative frameworks at stake in understanding the conflicts between blasphemy and free speech, between religious taboos and freedoms of thought and expression, and between secular and religious world views.

Jay M. Bernstein, Claudia Brodsky, Anthony J. Cascardi, Thierry de Duve, Ales Erjavec, Robert Kaufman and Fred Rush

Theodor Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory (1970) offers one of the most powerful and comprehensive critiques of art and of the discipline of aesthetics ever written. The work offers a deeply critical engagement with the history and philosophy of aesthetics and with the traditions of European art through the middle of the 20th century. It is coupled with ambitious claims about what aesthetic theory ought to be. But the cultural horizon of Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory was the world of high modernism, and much has happened since then both in theory and in practice.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, J. M. Coetzee, Arthur Danto, Mike Davis, Anthony Grafton, Seamus Heaney, Michael Ignatieff, Ivan Klíma, Maya Lin, Kenzaburō Ōe, Michael Pollan, Sebastião Salgado, Peter Sellars, Maurice Sendak

This volume commemorates the twenty-fifth year of the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities and captures the breadth and depth of lectures and events presented by the center. Many are revised versions of lectures and presentations organized in connection with the annual appointment of the Avenali Professor in the Humanities or the Una’s Lecturer; several are based on other events presented by the center over the years, such as the “Humanities Perspectives on Aging” program or the “Futures” lecture series organized to commemorate the center’s tenth anniversary.