Tragedy, Philosophy, and Political Education in Plato’s Laws

What are the prospects for ambitious political reform in communities of traditional, passionate, and even self-righteous citizens? Can thoughtful legislators create a healthy society for citizens whose judgment is typically unsound? In this searching and provocative book, Ryan K. Balot addresses these timely, yet perennial, political questions by offering a novel interpretation of Plato’s last and longest dialogue, the Laws. Turning to the ancient past is often essential to reinvigorating our contemporary understanding of these critical issues.

Previous scholars and writers have either celebrated the idealism in Plato’s Laws or denounced its totalitarianism. Balot, by contrast, refuses to interpret the dialogue as a political blueprint, whether admirable or misguided. Instead, he shows that it constitutes Plato’s greatest philosophical investigation of political life. In this transformative re-appraisal, Balot reveals that Plato’s goal was to cultivate a tragic attitude toward our political passions, commitments, and aspirations. The result is a profound political inquiry with far-reaching consequences.

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The Banker Ladies: Vanguards of Solidarity Economics and Community-Based Banks

All over the world, Black and racialized women engage in the solidarity economy through what is known as mutual aid financing. Formally referred to as rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs), these institutions are purposefully informal to support the women’s livelihoods and social needs, and they act to reject tiered forms of neo-liberal development. The Banker Ladies – a term coined by women in the Black diaspora – are individuals that voluntarily organize ROSCAs for self-sufficiency and are intentional in their politicized economic co-operation to counter business exclusion.

Caroline Shenaz Hossein reveals how Black women redefine the banking co-operative sector to be inclusive of informal institutions that are democratic and focused on group consensus, and which build an activist form of economic co-operation that is intent on making social profitability the norm. The book examines the ways in which diasporic Black women, who organize mutual aid, receive little to no attention.

Unapologetically biased towards a group of women who have been purposely sidelined and put down for what they do, The Banker Ladies highlights how, in order to educate oneself about their contributions to politics and economics, it is imperative to listen to the voices of hundreds of Black women in charge of financial services for their communities.

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Lectures on the Philosophy of Right, 1819–1820

Published in 1821, Outlines of the Philosophy of Right is considered the definitive articulation of the legal, moral, social, and political philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel. However, shortly before its publication, Hegel delivered a series of lectures on the subject matter of the work at the University of Berlin. These lectures are unlike any others Hegel gave on the philosophy of Right in that they do not supplement a published text but rather give a full and independent presentation of his mature political thought. Yet, they are also unlike Hegel’s formal treatise in that they form a smooth and flowing discourse, much like Hegel’s lectures on the philosophy of history, philosophy of art, philosophy of religion, and history of philosophy. Substantively, these lectures contain more extensive discussions of poverty and the proletariat than are found in Hegel’s published text – discussions that carry out the retreat from optimism about the present age intimated in the preface to Outlines but nowhere evident in the text itself.

Translated with an introduction and notes by Alan Brudner, Hegel’s 1819/20 lectures on the philosophy of Right present his complete thoughts on law and the state in a manner that is more accessible and engaging than any other Hegelian text on these subjects.

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Two Cheers for Minority Government: The Evolution of Canadian Parliamentary Democracy, Second Edition

Two Cheers for Minority Government presents a concise, accessible analysis of the prevalence of minority governments in Canada. Using the Canadian case to reflect on the processes and procedures of the parliamentary system, Peter H. Russell explores the tendency for people in parliamentary government to prefer elections which result in one party getting a margin of seats.

Russell aims to explain why a minority government is not only a likely outcome of parliamentary elections in Canada but is also, for most, the best possible outcome. He argues that the best result of parliamentary actions is for no party to end up with a majority of seats in the lower house. This makes for government that is more accountable to the people.

This new edition reveals how the increasing frequency of parliamentary elections that do not result in majority governments is a positive development for democracy. Ultimately, Two Cheers for Minority Government aims to help both citizens and politicians understand and make the most of the opportunities presented by minority governments.

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Going to Seed: Questions of Idleness, Nature, and Sustainable Work

*Winner of the 2023 Sowell Emerging Writers Prize

An abandoned place, a disheveled person, a shabby or deteriorating state: we describe such ruin colloquially as “going to seed.” But gardeners will protest: going to seed as idle? No, plants are sending out compressed packets filled with the energy needed to sow new life. A pause from flowering gives a chance for the seeds to form. In a time of urgent environmental change, of pressing social injustice, and of ever-advancing technologies and global connections, we often respond with acceleration—a speeding up and scaling up of our strategies to counter the damage and destruction around us. But what if we take the seeds as a starting point: what might we learn about work, sustainability, and relationships on this beleaguered planet if we slowed down, stepped back, and held off?

Going to Seed explores questions of idleness, considering the labour both of humans and of the myriad other inhabitants of the world. Drawing on science, literature, poetry, and personal observation, these winding and sometimes playful essays pay attention to the exertions and activities of the other-than-human lives that are usually excluded from our built and settled spaces, asking whose work and what kinds of work might be needed for a more just future for all.

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Transformative Politics of Nature: Overcoming Barriers to Conservation in Canada

Transformative Politics of Nature highlights the most significant barriers to conservation in Canada and discusses strategies to confront and overcome them. Featuring contributions from academics as well as practitioners, the volume brings together the perspectives of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous experts on land and wildlife conservation, in a way that honours and respects all peoples and nature.

Contributors provide insights that enhance understanding of key barriers, important actors, and strategies for shaping policy at multiple levels of government across Canada. The chapters engage academics, environmental conservation organizations, and Indigenous communities in dialogues and explorations of the politics of wildlife conservation. They address broad and interrelated themes, organized into three parts: barriers to conservation, transformation through reconciliation, and transformation through policy and governance.

Taken together, the essays demonstrate the need for increased social-political awareness of biodiversity and conservation in Canada, enhanced wildlife conservation collaborative networks, and increased scholarly attention to the principles, policies, and practices of maintaining and restoring nature for the benefit of all peoples, species, and ecologies. Transformative Politics of Nature presents a vision of profound change in the way humans relate to each other and with the natural world.

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Protecting the Prairies: Lorne Scott and the Politics of Conservation

Grasslands are among the richest, most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, and they are crucial in the fight against climate change. Unfortunately, since 1970 Canada has lost more than 40 percent of its grasslands, and less than 15 percent of Saskatchewan’s grasslands exist today. The province has some of the highest CO2 and methane emissions per capita and virtually no environmental regulations. How did we allow the grasslands to become one of the most endangered ecosystems on Earth?

In some sense, the story of Saskatchewan fits rather neatly into the larger story of Western Canada, where politicians often care more about extraction and growing the economy while destroying the very things the economy depends on. But that isn’t the whole story.

Much like Canada’s universal health care, Saskatchewan is also the birthplace of some of the first provincial and national conservation laws, and home to an unsung and unlikely champion for the environment: a farmer with a twelfth-grade education and a really old van.

In Protecting the Prairies, Andrea Olive provides a history of wildlife and land conservation in Saskatchewan told through the life story of environmentalist, naturalist, farmer, and former Minister of Environment and Resource Management Lorne Scott. This is a book that challenges and inspires us to be stewards of the environment in our own backyards and communities, and above all, to never be complacent when it comes to protecting the natural world.



The Quantum Revolution: Art, Technology, Culture

We are currently riders of the information storm. AI fascinates us, images mesmerize us, data defines us, algorithms remember us, news bombards us, devices connect us, isolation saddens us. Deeply embedded in digital technology, we are the very first inhabitants of life in the quantum zone. The Quantum Revolution is about life today – its entanglements, creativity, politics, and artistic vision.

Arthur Kroker and David Cook explore a new way of thinking drawn directly from the quantum imaginary itself. They explain the quantum revolution as everyday life, where technology moves fast, and where, under cover of the digital devices that connect us, the most sophisticated concepts of technology and science originating in mathematics, astrophysics, and biogenetics have swiftly flooded human consciousness, shaped social behavior, and crafted individual identity. The book discusses the concept of the quantum zone as a new way of understanding digital culture, and presents stories about art, technology, and society, as well as a series of reflections on art as a gateway to understanding the quantum imaginary. Richly illustrated with sixty images of critically engaged photos and artwork, The Quantum Revolution privileges a new way of understanding and seeing politics, society, and culture through the lens of the duality that is the essence of the quantum imaginary.

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Deciphering the Genome of Constitutionalism: The Foundations and Future of Constitutional Identity

Constitutional identity has become one of the most important and hotly contested concepts in contemporary constitutional theory and practice. It has been repeatedly invoked in debates concerning EU integration, constitutional reform and revolution, and the spread of ethno-nationalist populism, democratic backsliding, and constitutional retrogression. Yet, the concept’s precise foundations, meaning, scope, and dynamics of continuity and change remain somewhat unclear and under-explored. This contemporary and definitive volume aims to address this stark gap. Featuring some of the world’s leading scholars of comparative constitutionalism, constitutional theory, and constitutional politics, this book provides a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind theoretical, comparative, normative, and empirical account of the concept of constitutional identity. It will be of great interest to scholars, students, jurists, and constitutional drafters alike.

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The Judicial System of Russia

The Judicial System of Russia paints a portrait of the courts of the Russian Federation under Putin, how they work in practice, and what shapes the behaviour of its judges. It stresses the dual nature of a judicial system, where ordinary cases are for the most part handled fairly, but where cases of interest to powerful persons are subject to influence–a common situation in authoritarian states. In so doing, the authors trace the origins of some contemporary practices to the Soviet past, but also identify novelties. They pay close attention to the struggles of reformers to make the courts fairer and more efficient, along with the measures taken to ensure that judges conform to the expectations of their political masters. This means dealing with the evolution of judicial governance, including the selection, promotion, and disciplining of judges.

In studying the actual operation of the courts, the authors take a socio-legal approach, emphasizing how different players (petitioners, respondents, lawyers, prosecutors, accused, judges) behave and why. This means dealing with the full gamut of courts from justices of the peace through the Supreme and Constitutional Courts and analysing their conduct in ordinary civil disputes, criminal cases, business disputes, administrative justice (claims against state officials), and constitutional matters. The authors also examine the relation of the public to the courts, including its readiness to litigate disputes despite generally negative views of the courts.

This analysis of the administration of justice in Russia covers both the Constitutional Amendments of 2020 and developments relating to the first months of the 2022 War in Ukraine. It is a must read for academics, practitioners, and all those with an interest in comparative courts and Russia’s judicial system.

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