Elaine Scarry

Elaine Scarry is the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard University. She is the author of The Body in Pain, On Beauty and Being Just, and Who Defended the Country?

  • Rule of Law, Misrule of Men

    Rule of Law, Misrule of Men

    Elaine Scarry

    A passionate call for citizen action to uphold the rule of law when government does not.

    This book is a passionate call for citizen action to uphold the rule of law when government does not. Arguing that post-9/11 legislation and foreign policy severed the executive branch from the will of the people, Elaine Scarry in Rule of Law, Misrule of Men offers a fierce defense of the people's role as guarantor of our democracy. She begins with the groundswell of local resistance to the 2001 Patriot Act, when hundreds of towns, cities, and counties passed resolutions refusing compliance with the information-gathering the act demanded, showing that citizens can take action against laws that undermine the rights of citizens and noncitizens alike.

    Scarry, once described in the New York Times Sunday Magazine as “known for her unflinching investigations of war, torture, and pain,” then turns to the conduct of the Iraqi occupation, arguing that the Bush administration led the country onto treacherous moral terrain, violating the Geneva Conventions and the armed forces' own most fundamental standards. She warns of the damage done to democracy when military personnel must choose between their own codes of warfare and the illegal orders of their civilian superiors. If our military leaders uphold the rule of law when civilian leaders do not, might we come to prefer them? Finally, reviewing what we know now about the Bush administration's crimes, Scarry insists that prosecution—whether local, national, or international—is essential to restoring the rule of law, and she shows how a brave town in Vermont has taken up the challenge.

    Throughout the book, Scarry finds hope in moments where citizens withheld their consent to grievous crimes, finding creative ways to stand by their patriotism.

    • Hardcover $9.75 £7.99

Contributor

  • Beauty

    Beauty

    Dave Beech

    Key texts on beauty and its revival in contemporary art.

    Beauty has emerged as one of the most hotly contested subjects in current discussions on art and culture. After more than half a century of suspicion and interrogation, beauty's resurgence in visual practice and discourse since the late 1980s has engaged some of the most influential artists and writers on art. From the avant-garde to the conceptual era, anti-aesthetic strategies have resisted beauty because of its perceived complicity with dominant systems and ideologies. Thus politicized and opened to critique, beauty, invoked in relation to contemporary art, no longer sustains a singular or universal meaning but is always contentious. Spanning a range of positions on beauty—both for and against—this anthology assembles the key texts on the controversy and situates the debate over the revival of beauty in the broader context of the history of ideas and artistic practice. Artists survyed include: Vito Acconci, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Gustave Courbet, Marcel Duchamp, Marlene Dumas, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Gary Hume, Asger Jorn, Alex Katz, Willem de Kooning, Joseph Kosuth, Paul McCarthy, Édouard Manet, Robert Mapplethorpe, Agnes Martin, Robert Morris, Barnett Newman, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Gerhard Richter, Mark Rothko, Robert Smithson, Nancy Spero, Frank Stella, Clyfford Still, Andy Warhol. Writers include: Theodor Adorno, Alexander Alberro, Rasheed Araeen, Art & Language, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, T. J. Clark, Mark Cousins, Arthur C. Danto, Jacques Derrida, Thierry de Duve, Fredric Jameson, Christoph Grunenberg, Dave Hickey, Suzanne Perling Hudson, Caroline A. Jones, John Roberts, Elaine Scarry, Wendy Steiner, Paul Wood.

    • Paperback $24.95 £16.95