CFP: States of Emergency (grad) (2/1/04; journal issue)

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The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the “state of emergency” in
which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a
conception of history that is in keeping with this insight. Then we shall
clearly realize that it is our task to bring about a real state of emergency.
—Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History

Historians debate whether the first camps to appear were the campos de
concentración created by the Spanish in Cuba in 1896 to suppress the popular
insurrection of the colony, or the “concentration camps” into which the
English herded the Boers toward the start of the century. What matters here
is that in both cases, a state of emergency linked to a colonial war is
extended to an entire civil population. The camps are thus born not out of
ordinary law but out of a state of exception . . . . the birth of the camp in
our time appears as an event that decisively signals the political space of
modernity itself. It is produced at the point at which the political system
of the modern nation-state . . . enters into a lasting crisis.
— Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer

Has “the state of emergency” become a norm in politics as argued by Benjamin &
Agamben? Or does it remain an extra-legal “state of exception,” and thus
exceptional? What are the historical precedents—if any—for the present
crisis? Is it constitutive of modernity itself? Does the state of emergency
open space for radical left projects? Is the task to isolate and limit the
emergency via progressive legalism, or to accelerate crisis as proposed by

keywords: detention centers, enemy combatant, sovereignty, occupied
territory, civil disobedience, anticolonial resistance, civil liberty,
Guantanamo, habeus corpus, unilateralism, sabotage, crisis, executive power,
insurgency/counterinsurgency, antistructure, subversion, Empire, terrorism &
state terrorism

CRITICAL SENSE,, produced by an
interdisciplinary group of graduate students and based in the Department of
Political Science at the University of California-Berkeley, seeks graduate
papers for a special issue entitled STATES OF EMERGENCY.

Submissions may originate in any department or discipline and should represent
high-quality, rigorous graduate scholarship. Submitted articles must not
exceed 30 double-spaced pages (1-inch margins, 12-point type). Please include
a short abstract of no longer than one page in length. Please send
submissions, by 1 February 2004, as attachments in Word or rich text format to
the following email address:

Articles and essays (to be received on or before 1 February 2004) or other
editorial correspondence may also be submitted to CRITICAL SENSE, Department
of Political Science, 210 Barrows Hall, MC 1950, Berkeley, CA 94720-1950.

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Received on Tue Dec 23 2003 - 22:23:23 EST