- On Star Wars and Political Theory with Jeremy Keats
As one of the biggest and longest-running franchises in cinematic history, the Star Wars saga has maintained a special and revered place in the hearts of millions around the world. Walking the line between Hollywood tentpole and cultural meditation, Star Wars is a cinematic phenomenon unlike any other, using archetypes as much as storytelling and special effects to make ontological statements on spirituality, philosophy, and indeed politics as well.
As a cultural text, the Jedi saga heralds to larger questions relevant to our contemporary political context such as the struggle between tradition and modernity, the overarching role of technology and the rise of nativism and extreme exclusionary politics, which begs us as political scientists to ask two interrelated questions: what are the political inferences that can be drawn from the Star Wars saga? And how can political philosophy aid us achieving a deeper and richer understanding of the mythos of that famed tale from a long time ago in a galaxy far away?
- The Politics of the Game - Professor Aaron Ettinger on Sports and Politics
The Colin Kaepernick-NFL situation took an unexpected turn in recent weeks when the exiled former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers was invited to a public practice by the Atlanta Falcons. For three years Kaepernick has been forced to sit on the sidelines, exiled from the 49ers and blacklisted by the ownership of every other NFL franchise for his controversial choice to “take the knee” during the ceremonial playing of the American national anthem in protest of the increasing violence against African American citizens perpetrated by American law enforcement.
While Kaepernick’s return to the field was surprising, the muted response by the NFL and its various franchises was not, with the vast majority of teams choosing to ignore the practice altogether, citing the inconvenience of a last-minute change in venue and an alleged lack of need for an elite-level quarterback on the bench.
But while Kaepernick continues to be treated as a pariah by the league he has become a contemporary folk hero for anti-oppression social movements throughout the United States and the world at large, and a central part of the #BlackLivesMatter movement that has come to redefine social movement activity in the digital age.
And he’s not alone in this regard – from Megan Rapinoe and the women of American soccer pushing not only for equality within their sport but American society at large, to Lebron James’ Twitter critiques of the American President, athletes have emerged as some of the most prolific and influential non-political voices in the political world. And while the practice of this agency has taken a very specific shape in the current era of #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter and social media, the tradition of the ‘athlete as rebel’ is one that has a long history, stretching back to Tommie Smith and John Carlos, Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson.
On this week’s podcast we focus on the politics of the game using an institutional lens, dissecting the institutional logics of both elite and amateur sport leagues, the place of politics in sports and the political agency of athletes with Professor Aaron Ettinger, an assistant professor specializing in international relations and foreign policy with Carleton University’s Department of Political Science.
- Louise Cockram on The Trials of Being a First Time MP in Canada
After one of the most controversial and scandal-ridden federal election campaigns in recent history, Canadians made their voices heard in selecting the Liberal Party to a second consecutive government. And while Election Night 2019 saw the re-election of many longstanding Members of Parliament, it would also see the emergence of many new MP’s taking their seat in the House of Commons for the very first time.
For these rookie MP’s the life of a parliamentarian is a novel experience they’ve never encountered before, and this begs a simple question: what is it like for first time MP’s to formally enter the world of Canadian politics? This week on the Carleton University Political Sceince Podcast we talk with PhD candidate Louise Cockram about her researcher on the experience of rookie MP’s in the House of Commons and the trials of orientation they face when taking their seat in Parliament.
- Paul Thomas: #Elxn43 and Why Campaigns Matter
On Monday October 21 Canadians will be heading to the polls to name their choice to lead the country for the next four years. After several months of controversy, scandal and politicking, Justin Trudeau’s incumbent Liberal Party has found itself in a dead-heat with Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party of Canada, with no clear winner in sight.
As the campaign comes to a close and Election Day 2019 looms we talk with Professor Paul Thomas – one of the many Canadianists from our department – about the election, the key issues for Canadians and the state of the Canadian democracy in this week’s episode of the Carleton University Political Science Podcast.
- Waller R. Newell: The Revolutionary Longing for Political Wholeness
Waller R. Newell describes his course Concepts of Political Community ll: The Revolutionary Longing for Political Wholeness. PSCI 5309 is offered Winter 2020.
What is the meaning of political life? Is it meant to protect our rights as individuals, leaving us free to work hard and prosper in private life? That is the recipe for the classical liberalism of Locke and the early modern social contract theorists. But what if political life is about much more than this? What if it is meant to give us a sense of participating in a community of our fellow citizens? What if the purpose of life is not merely utility, but nobility and virtue? In this course, we will explore that alternative as it emerges through the Philosophy of Freedom, launched by Rousseau and developed in the works of Kant, Schiller, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche and Heidegger and their ever more revolutionary and even illiberal expectations for the future transformation of the human condition, a Third Age of collective bliss variously evoked by Marx’s proletariat, Nietzsche’s Superman and Heidegger’s vision of the German “community of destiny.”
- Waller R. Newell: Political Modernity as the Conquest of Nature
Waller R. Newell describes his course Political Theory ll: Political Modernity as the Conquest of Nature. PSCI 6301 is offered Winter 2020.
In this course, we will examine how the modern political project can be expressed as the conquest of nature. We will begin with the Platonic-Aristotelian teaching that human beings should live within the natural order, criticizing the view of the Sophists that we can assert our mastery over nature to achieve power through exploiting others. Machiavelli inaugurates the full-blown modern project for the conquest of nature to create power and prosperity for princes and peoples, which both was and was not a return to the Sophists owing to the impact of the concept of the Creator God. Machiavelli’s prescription for the modern state is carried forward by his successors including Bacon and Hobbes until it is forced to a screeching halt by the great protest of the Philosophy of Freedom begun by Rousseau and continuing through Hegel and the historical school. We end with Heidegger, who takes us back to the beginning by arguing that global technology, the summation of the modern political project, is grounded in ancient Greek techne but constitutes a radical modification of it. We will conclude with some critical engagements of Heidegger’s understanding of modernity as technology by thinkers including George P. Grant and Leo Strauss.
- Andrea Chandler: Vladimir Putin: What can Canadians learn from his 20 year rule?
Russia’s Vladimir Putin has now been in power for 20 years. Is he a successful leader? What does Putin’s longevity mean for Canadians? Professor Andrea Chandler, author of three books on Russian and post-Soviet politics, offers her reflections on these questions.