Identity, Ecology, and Entanglement

Review: Timothy Morton The Ecological Thought Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2012 159 pp.

Joshua Paetkau

the-ecological-thoughtUnder the auspice of identity we write towards an indiscernible future that holds forth hope not only as vision or project but in reality and in truth. What is it to evoke a catholic commons but to signal an intimate entanglement with which we are never truly finished? Never finished because the commons is not something that belongs to us but rather the interconnectedness wherein we constantly find ourselves surprised by beings who fill us with wonder, delight, amazement, disgust, frustration and pain. To speak of the commons is always to speak of what is beyond private control; it is to speak of communion and camaraderie and at the same time the pain, isolation, and violence that come bound up in earthly existence. That the commons is catholic is a sign of its expansiveness, our locality is not protectionist. And what could it be to be seeking the kingdom except that we are on the road open to encounter with that strange stranger who just, just might be the Christ? Continue reading

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Infrastructure Wars: Connectivity and the Role of the State

A Review of Jo Guldi’s Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2012, 297 pages.

Joshua Paetkau

The opening paragraph of Jo Guldi’s Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State plunges the reader into the sinkhole of a 1726 British road large enough to swallow a horse.  This scene is directly contrasted with the wide level highways of 1848 setting the stage for a classic tale of human ingenuity, progress and national unity. It is not to be. Guldi instead depicts a vivid dialectical landscape, narrating the rise and demise of infrastructure, and the many battles between, with far-reaching and incisive clarity. Continue reading