Faculty Writing: On Sovereign Technology and National Liberation, the Street Homeless and the Anti-Crime Agenda, and Freud’s Final Days

In Science for the People, Max Ajl explores the life and work of Tunisian agronomist Slaheddine el-Amami, who, “more than almost any other postcolonial theorist of development…perceived that technological sovereignty and national liberation” must proceed hand-in-hand. Inverting the “European canon” of decolonization, where the “agrarian question” emerged as tertiary to the questions of politics and labor, Amami—recognizing that “technologies developed elsewhere and imposed upon Tunisia by the North were not socially neutral in their effects”—instead proposed to cultivate and leverage the “ingenuity and capacity of the poorest and most oppressed direct producers of the nation” as the agents of its liberation. 

Next, writing in The Brooklyn Rail, Andy Battle outlines how Eric Adams’s anti-crime agenda is hitting New York City’s street homeless population the hardest. Evoking a throughline from post-fiscal crisis New York of the 1970s to today, Battle argues that, though the slogans and tactics may have changed, the targets, motivations, and cruelties have not: “The homeless are a living symbol of an epic market failure, but to address the problem outside the realm of the market remains unthinkable.” For those outside the market, who will not be disciplined through work, the police become the blunt instrument of discipline.

And, in The New Republic, Patrick Blanchfield reviews Andrew Nagorski’s account of Freud’s escape from Nazi Austria, Saving Freud: The Rescuers Who Brought Him to Freedom. For Blanchfield, the harrowing account, thrillingly told, of Freud’s reluctance to leave a Vienna that had become so perilous to his own existence, is also “distressingly timely”: if the arch-skeptic Freud, “so attuned to the dark undercurrents of human behavior and so critical of the false security offered by our wishful illusions, proved unable to think clearly…as nightmare after nightmare became real, what are our chances now?”

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