Hope Against Hope

Philosophies, Cultures and Politics of Possibility and Doubt


Editors: Janet Horrigan and Ed Wiltse
In September 2006, when 45 scholars and activists from 19 countries around the world gathered amid the spires and gargoyles of Oxford for a conference entitled, “Hope: Probing the Boundaries,” complex dialectics of hope and despair circulated through the meeting rooms by day, and the conversations in quadrangles and pubs late into the night. On the one hand, the remarkable social and political openings and possibilities of the previous decade, from Berlin to Johannesburg, Leningrad to the Lacandon jungle of Chiapas, seemed to be ever-more constrained by political and economic forces as brutal as those that preceded them, but, on the other hand, there were (and are) the Zapatistas and a thousand other movements persisting in the belief that, to echo the mantra of the World Social Forums, “another world is possible,” and there we were from around the world, to do the work of theorizing, describing, and enacting the persistence of individual and collective hope despite grim realities. The essays developed from that conference and collected here reflect both the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings and the cultural and political praxes of “hope against hope.”
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Table of contents

Janet Horrigan and Ed Wiltse: Introduction Hope in Theory Nicholas H. Smith: From the Concept of Hope to the Principle of Hope Ioannis S. Christodoulou: Hope and its Incongruence with Evil Roland Bluhm: Wishful Hoping Rosa Slegers: Reflections on a Broken World: Gabriel Marcel and William James on Despair, Hope and Desire Fotini Vaki: Negative Dialectics as an Exercise in Hope: Adorno on History and Utopia Iris Meyer: Hope as the Conscious Action Towards an Open-Future Hope in Action Janet Horrigan: Hope When the Game is Over: The Effect of Exploitation on Athletes Shilpa Das: Hope for the Invisible Women of India: Disability, Gender, and the Concepts of Karma and Shakti in the Indian Weltanschauung Veena Balsawer & Xiaolin Rebecca Feng: Hoping For and Against Hope: Lived Experiences of Hyphenated Dislocated Identities Juan D. Mah y Busch: Beyond Anticolonial Hope and Postcolonial Despair: A Chicana-Feminist Reconfiguration Lia Haro: The Affective Politics of Insurgent Hope Ed Wiltse: Hope Across the Razor Wire: Student-Inmate Reading Groups at Monroe Correctional Facility