PhD Studentship available: Geographies of Democracy

Details here (or here) of a PhD Studentship available at the University of Exeter to work with me in the broad area of ‘Geographies of Democracy’. Do please either pass this on to any likely interested candidates, or contact me with any questions. Deadline for applications is 27th March 2014. Here is the blurb:

Applications are invited for one fully funded three-year doctoral studentship in Human Geography at the University of Exeter, under the supervision of Professor Clive Barnett, commencing in September 2014.

The substantive focus of the studentship is expected to be in the broad area of Geographies of Democracy; applicants are invited to define their own focussed research project in this area. Indicative topics include research on contemporary urban politics, the politics of public space, geographies of social movement mobilisations, and the geographies of political parties and elections. The student will be a member of the Spatial Responsibilities Research Group in the Department of Geography.

Candidates must have (or be about to complete) a research Masters degree in a relevant social science or humanities discipline (e.g. Geography, Anthropology, Sociology, Development Studies, Politics and International Relations), or be able to demonstrate equivalent research training. Personal qualities should include the ability to work independently and the motivation necessary to complete a PhD in three years.

The studentship is open to UK and EU students, and covers cover both full-time tuition fees at home and EU rate, and a £13,863 tax-free stipend p.a.

Closing date for applications is 27th March 2014.

Favourite Thinkers IX: Robert Dahl R.I.P.

Via Thomas Gregerson’s Political Theory blog, I see that Robert Dahl died last week, aged 98. Dahl is one of my favourite thinkers about democratic politics, not least because he theorised on the basis of an analysis of contemporary conditions, because he thought of democracy as a way of doing politics, and also because he had a low-level geographical imagination – from debates about community power, investigations of democracy and size, contributions to debates about the boundary problem, through to considerations of the value of representation in democratic politics. None of this was expressed in the wobbly ontological registers that have served as the medium of convergence between political theory and spatial disciplines, and nor was Dahl a political philosopher like Rawls. But Dahl’s understanding of the political dynamics of democracy’s changing forms (see Democracy and its critics) is a much better ground for critical thinking than one finds in either of those fields, which tend to either look backwards to a canon or ‘upwards’ to perfect styles of reasoning for their points of reference.

Public Seminar

I have just noticed, being a bit slow, a new on-line writing initiative, Public Seminar: I came across it checking out the latest from Jeff Goldfarb’s Deliberately Considered. Better late, etc. The editorial board includes people such as Nancy Fraser, Eli Zaretsky, and Simon Critchley. Best of all, it promises not just lots of interesting writing, but it also has an Index. A brilliant innovation for our digital age (please note, Bruno Latour). Here’s the pitch:

Confronting fundamental problems of the human condition and pressing problems of the day, using the broad resources of social research, we seek to provoke critical and informed discussion by any means necessary.

We use short form posts and long form essays, audio and video reports and discussions, and links to provocative materials of critical public interest anywhere we can find them. We are committed to creating a distinctive intellectual community, suspicious of clichés, informed by diverse experiences, theoretically heterodox, politically plural, worldly.

We work in the tradition of critical scholarship and public engagement of the original New School for Social Research (1919) and its University in Exile (1933). We seek to open the discussion of experts to broader publics, in the United States, and crucially far beyond, in the tradition of Charles Beard, John Dewey, Thorstein Veblen, Emil Lederer, Max Wertheimer, Frieda Wunderlich, Hans Speier, Leo Strauss and Hannah Arendt.

Public Seminar is an extension of The New School’s legendary “General Seminar,” founded by the original exile scholars. Through it, we are constituting a public seminar for the 21st century.

Postcolonial discontents

For anyone interested in the debate aroused by Vivek Chibber’s critique of postcolonial theory for being insufficiently Marxist-in-the-right-sort-of-way, which has included a robust response from Partha Chatterjee, Bruce Robbins has a review of Chibber’s book at n+1, and Chibber has a response to Robbins at Jacobin, to which Robbins has in turn his own response at n+1 again. Phew.