"What does it mean to be lonely?" Dumm asks. His inquiry, documented in this book, takes us beyond social circumstances and into the deeper forces that shape our very existence as modern individuals. The modern individual, Dumm suggests, is fundamentally a lonely self. This book challenges us, not to overcome our loneliness, but to learn how to re-inhabit it in a better way.
What is freedom? In this study, Thomas Dumm challenges the conventions that have governed discussions and debates concerning modern freedom by bringing the work of Michel Foucault into dialogue with contemporary liberal thought. While Foucault has been widely understood to have characterized the modern era as being opposed to the realization of freedom, Dumm shows how this characterization conflates Foucault’s genealogy of discipline with his overall view of the practices of being free. Dumm demonstrates how Foucault’s critical genealogy does not (...) shrink from understanding the ways in which modern subjects are constrained and shaped by forces greater than themselves, but how it instead works through these constraints to provide, not simply a vision of liberation, but a joyous wisdom concerned with showing us, in his words, that we “are much freer than we feel.” Both as an introduction to Foucault and as an intervention in liberal theory, Michel Foucault and the Politics of Freedom is bound to change how we think about the limits and possibilities of freedom in late modernity. (shrink)
The “school-to-prison pipeline” is an emerging trend that pushes large numbers of at-risk youth—particularly children of color—out of classrooms and into the juvenile justice system. The policies and practices that contribute to this trend can be seen as a pipeline with many entry points, from under-resourced K-12 public schools, to the over-use of zero-tolerance suspensions and expulsions and to the explosion of policing and arrests in public schools. The confluence of these practices threatens to prepare an entire generation of children (...) for a future of incarceration. In this comprehensive study of the relationship between American law and the school-to-prison pipeline, co-authors Catherine Y. Kim, Daniel J. Losen, and Damon T. Hewitt analyze the current state of the law for each entry point on the pipeline and propose legal theories and remedies to challenge them. Using specific state-based examples and case studies, the authors assert that law can be an effective weapon in the struggle to reduce the number of children caught in the pipeline, address the devastating consequences of the pipeline on families and communities, and ensure that our public schools and juvenile justice system further the goals for which they were created: to provide meaningful, safe opportunities for all the nation’s children. (shrink)
We invited five Cavell scholars to write on this topic. What follows is a vibrant exchange among Paola Marrati, Andrew Norris, Jörg Volbers, Cary Wolfe and Thomas Dumm addressing the question whether, in the contemporary political context, Cavell’s skepticism and his Emersonian perfectionism amount to a politics at all.
Encounters with Alphonso Lingis is the first extensive study of this American philosopher who is gaining an international reputation to augment his national one. The distinguished contributors to this volume address most of the central themes found in Lingis's writings—including singularity and otherness, death and eroticism, emotions and rationality, embodiment and the face, excess and the sacred. The book closes with a new essay by Lingis himself.
Americans encounter their homes in ways comforting and haunting: as an imagined refuge or a place of mastery and domination, a destination or a place to escape. Drawing on literature, personal experience, and the histories of slavery, incarceration, and homesteading, Thomas Dumm offers a meditation on the richness and poverty of the idea of home.
In _My Father's House_, the political philosopher Thomas Dumm explores a series of stark and melancholy paintings by the American artist Will Barnet. Responding to the physical and mental decline of his sister Eva, who lived alone in the family home in Beverly, Massachusetts, Barnet began work in 1990 on what became a series of nine paintings depicting Eva and other family members, as they once were and as they figured in the artist's memory. Rendered in Barnet's signature quiet, abstract (...) style, the paintings, each featured in full color, present the ordinary and extraordinary aspects of a twentieth-century American family. Dumm first became acquainted with Barnet and his paintings in 2008. Given his scholarly focus on the lives of ordinary people, he was immediately attracted to the artist's work. When they met, Dumm and Barnet began a friendship and dialogue that lasted until the painter's death in 2012, at the age of 101. This book reflects the many discussions the two had concerning the series of paintings, Barnet's family, his early life in Beverly, and his eighty-year career as a prominent New York artist. Reading the almost gothic paintings in conversation with the writers and thinkers key to both his and Barnet's thinking—Emerson, Spinoza, Dickinson, Benjamin, Cavell, Nietzsche, Melville—Dumm's haunting meditations evoke broader reflections on family, mortality, the uncanny, and the loss that comes with remembrance. (shrink)
This essay examines the contemporary masculinity of straight, white men in the business classes of the United States as a category of identity. I argue that this form of masculine identity is currently in crisis, and, through a reading of the 1995 film Toy Story, develop an argument about the value of ‘downsizing’ masculinity in an era of diminished work expectations.