Jedediah Purdy

All articles by this author

Laundered Violence

Laundered Violence

Law and protest in Durham

One of the impressive and now oft-remarked ironies of the present fights is that the people who are accused of wanting to “erase history” are doing more to remind others of history than Ken Burns’s entire oeuvre could do lined up end-to-end. I wonder whether something similar might be happening with the law: that the people who are accused of ignoring and defying it will end up instructing everyone else about how it works.

What I Had Lost Was a Country

What I Had Lost Was a Country

To re-encounter nature would be a way of getting another angle of vision on the same social facts, the same greedy and unequal humanity.

Nature and landscape are palimpsests of history and social violence more than they are alternatives to them. They show back to the observer the durability and definiteness of the world people have made so far, as well as its fragility.

Teenage Riot

Teenage Riot

A Sentimental Education

The Hunger Games is a story about civil war over forms of government and control of the means of production. According to its own dialogue: a battle for democracy, justice, and the fruits of labor. But it also portrays a world in which a serious argument about politics is unimaginable, because politics, although worthy of a war, raises no hard or even interesting questions. It is just possible that this makes The Mockingjay: Part I the political movie for our time.

The Accidental Neoliberal

The Accidental Neoliberal

Against the old sincerity

I left college in 1997 with a motto, Czesław Miłosz’s “What is unpronounced tends to nonexistence,” and a corollary, that pronouncing things might bring them into being. What I wanted to pronounce was politics. To me, that meant making all my book-learning come alive in a shared awareness that people create, preserve, or degrade their own world, joined to a sense that its justice or injustice, peace or violence, belongs to everyone.

Laundered Violence

Laundered Violence

Law and protest in Durham

One of the impressive and now oft-remarked ironies of the present fights is that the people who are accused of wanting to “erase history” are doing more to remind others of history than Ken Burns’s entire oeuvre could do lined up end-to-end. I wonder whether something similar might be happening with the law: that the people who are accused of ignoring and defying it will end up instructing everyone else about how it works.

What I Had Lost Was a Country

What I Had Lost Was a Country

To re-encounter nature would be a way of getting another angle of vision on the same social facts, the same greedy and unequal humanity.

Nature and landscape are palimpsests of history and social violence more than they are alternatives to them. They show back to the observer the durability and definiteness of the world people have made so far, as well as its fragility.

Teenage Riot

Teenage Riot

A Sentimental Education

The Hunger Games is a story about civil war over forms of government and control of the means of production. According to its own dialogue: a battle for democracy, justice, and the fruits of labor. But it also portrays a world in which a serious argument about politics is unimaginable, because politics, although worthy of a war, raises no hard or even interesting questions. It is just possible that this makes The Mockingjay: Part I the political movie for our time.

The Accidental Neoliberal

The Accidental Neoliberal

Against the old sincerity

I left college in 1997 with a motto, Czesław Miłosz’s “What is unpronounced tends to nonexistence,” and a corollary, that pronouncing things might bring them into being. What I wanted to pronounce was politics. To me, that meant making all my book-learning come alive in a shared awareness that people create, preserve, or degrade their own world, joined to a sense that its justice or injustice, peace or violence, belongs to everyone.