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Benjamin Davis [7]Benjamin P. Davis [2]
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Benjamin Davis
University of Toronto, St. George Campus
  1.  17
    The Promises of Standing Rock: Three Approaches to Human Rights.Benjamin Davis - 2021 - Humanity 12 (2):205-225.
    Any appeal to a right raises the question of a corresponding duty. If one bears a right, then who bears the duty to respect, protect, and enforce that right? In this essay, I contend that human rights claims need not be oriented to or reliant on the state. I start from and conclude with lessons from the 2016 protests at Standing Rock. Standing Rock, I argue, exemplifies critical theory that organizes communities through the language of human rights.
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  2.  25
    Precarity and Resistance: A Critique of Martha Fineman's Vulnerability Theory.Benjamin Davis - 2021 - Hypatia 36 (2):1-17.
    Contemporary feminist theory by and large agrees on criticizing the traditional, autonomous subject and instead maintains a relational, dependent self, but the vocabulary used to describe the latter remains contested. These contestations are seen in comparing the approach of some feminist legal theory, as demonstrated by Martha Fineman, to the approach of some feminist theory that draws on continental philosophy, as demonstrated by Judith Butler. Fineman's concept of vulnerability emphasizes the universality of vulnerability in the human condition, arguing that a (...)
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  3. The Politics of Positionality: Distinguishing Between Post-, Anti-, and De-Colonial Methods.Benjamin Davis - 2020 - Culture, Theory, and Critique 60:1-15.
    This essay works at the intersection of two trends, one longstanding and one relatively more recent. First, it takes place against the background of the overwhelming influence that the category of ‘identity’ exercises on both contemporary knowledge production and political practice. Second, it responds to what has been called the ‘decolonial turn’ in theory. We compare the work of Gayatri Spivak, Aijaz Ahmad, and Walter Mignolo in terms of the following question: What kind of reflexive method do they deploy in (...)
     
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  4.  13
    What Could Human Rights Do? A Decolonial Inquiry.Benjamin Davis - 2020 - Transmodernity 5 (9):1-22.
    It is one thing to consider what human rights have been and another to inquire into what they could be. In this essay, I present a history of human rights vis-à-vis decolonization. I follow the scholarship of Samuel Moyn to suggest that human rights presented a “moral alternative” to political utopias. The question remains how to politicize the moral energy around human rights today. I argue that defending what Édouard Glissant calls a “right to opacity” could politicize the ethical energy (...)
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  5.  21
    The Politics of Édouard Glissant’s Right to Opacity.Benjamin P. Davis - 2019 - CLR James Journal 25 (1):59-70.
    The central claim of this essay is that Édouard Glissant’s concept of “opacity” is most fruitfully understood not as a built-in protection of a population or as a summary term for cultural difference, but rather as a political accomplishment. That is, opacity is not a given but an achievement. Taken up in this way, opacity is relevant for ongoing decolonial work today.
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  6.  7
    Responsibilities of the Intellectual.Benjamin Davis - 2020 - Inter-American Journal of Philosophy 2 (11):35-48.
    In this essay, I link Pragmatism and the philosophy of liberation by making a comparison between John Dewey’s concept of the public and Enrique Dussel’s concept of the pueblo. I am specifically interested in how these concepts set up the relationship between intellectuals and their constituency—the community from which their thought emerges and to which they take themselves to be responsible. Reading the public and the pueblo together, I emphasize the need for intellectuals to consider further how their scholarship affects (...)
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  7. Human Rights and Caribbean Philosophy: Implications for Teaching.Benjamin Davis - 2021 - Journal of Human Rights Practice 12 (4).
    This note on human rights practice observes that some pedagogical methods in human rights education can have the effect of making human rights violations both seem to be performed by abnormal, bad actors and seem to occur in places far away from US classrooms. This effect is not intended by instructors; a methodological corrective would be helpful to human rights education. This note provides a corrective by suggesting two practices: (1) a pedagogical emphasis on what the Martinican philosopher Édouard Glissant (...)
     
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  8. Pragmatic Saintliness: Toward a Criticism and Celebration of Community.Benjamin Davis - 2021 - Contemporary Pragmatism 1 (18):72-94.
    This essay responds to John McDermott’s diagnosis of politics and religious life in the U.S.: “[B]oth traditional political and religious institutions are no longer an adequate let alone rich resource for a celebratory language.” I present a new celebratory language by reading William James’s description of saintliness in Varieties of Religious Experience. James gives me the resources to naturalize and democratize saintliness. Distinguished not by her transcendent miracles but by her this-worldly energies and experiments, the pragmatic saint remakes the experience (...)
     
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  9.  1
    Simone Weil’s Method: Essaying Reality Through Inquiry and Action.Benjamin P. Davis - 2021 - Comparative and Continental Philosophy 13 (3):235-246.
    ABSTRACT I read a selection of Simone Weil’s political philosophy in the way that she reads Marx – as forming “not a doctrine but a method of understanding and action.” My claim is that Weil’s method is likewise twofold: she attempts to understand the world through inquiry, then she tests her understanding through action. First, I read “Reflections Concerning the Causes of Liberty and Social Oppression”. In that essay, inquiry, exemplified by Weil’s calling into question the term “revolution,” is her (...)
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