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Do you consider that your work belongs to the field of "political theory", and why? If so, what has drawn you to do political theory and to describe your work as belonging to the field?
I train graduate students in political theory; my books are reviewed in political theory journals and two have been recognised with American Political Science Association (APSA) prizes in political theory. I served as organiser of the APSA annual conference (2010) at which I have also presented work for the discipline, most recently, a Trump panel for the APSA (2018). If political theory is home to the normative, historical, and critical study of politics within the domain of political science, and if the APSA is the official professional organisation of the discipline in the U.S., then this is surely a field to which my work belongs.
In addition, my first book, Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics (1993), argued for the unique perspective of political theory over and against that of philosophy for the study of politics. Political theory, I argued, was committed to theorising the promise, powers, conditions, and limits of political contestation rather than seeking to settle political debates with philosophically justified right answers. This argument, in favor of "agonism," drew on Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Foucault, Arendt, and others to claim that even the best worked-out philosophical formulas for justice generate remainders that are casualties of the philosophical approach to politics…

  • Public things
  • theory from below
  • grounded normativity
  • equality
  • agonism
Bonnie Honig
Bonnie Honig is Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media (MCM) and Political Science at Brown University, and (by courtesy) Religious Studies (RS) and Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS). In 2017-18 she served as the Inaugural Carl Cranor Phi Beta Kappa Scholar, and she is currently an affiliate of the Digital Democracy Group at Simon Fraser University and at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago. She has published many articles among which "Ismene's Forced Choice: Sacrifice and Sorority in Sophocles'Antigone" (Arethusa, 44:1, 2011) was awarded the Okin-Young best article award for work in feminist theory in 2012. She has edited or co-edited several collections, including Feminist Interpretations of Hannah Arendt (Penn State, 1995) and Politics, Theory, and Film: Critical Encounters with Lars von Trier (Oxford, 2016). She is also the author of Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics (Cornell, 1993, Scripps Prize for best first book), Democracy and the Foreigner (Princeton, 2001), Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy (Princeton, 2009, David Easton Prize), Antigone, Interrupted (Cambridge University Press, 2013), Public Things: Democracy in Disrepair (Fordham, 2017), A Feminist Theory of Refusal (Harvard, May 2021) and Shell Shocked: Feminist Criticism After Trump (Fordham, 2021).
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