Directory

Banu Bargu

TitleAssociate Professor
DivisionHumanities Division
DepartmentHistory of Consciousness Department
AffiliationsPolitics Department
Phone831-459-1478
Email
Web Site academia.edu
OfficeHumanities Bldg 1
Office HoursWinter: Mondays 3-5 pm
Campus Mail StopHistory Of Consciousness
Mail415 Humanities Building, UCSC, 1156 High St
Santa Cruz, CA
95064
Banu Bargu

Research Interests

Banu Bargu's research concerns theories of sovereignty, biopolitics, and resistance. Her work is situated at the intersection of philosophy, politics, history, and political anthropology. 


Bargu's first book, Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons (Columbia University Press, 2014), explored the use of the body in self-destructive protest in the specific context of Turkish prisons through the ethnography of a radical movement. On the one hand, the book sought to bring into view a dark archive of Turkish democracy and the treatment of dissent in a country where prisons have become sites of political confrontation. On the other hand, utilizing the in-depth study of the Death Fast Struggle, the book sought to theorize the voluntary, protracted, and strategic deployment of self-destructive practices around the globe, practices which the author has called the weaponization of life, as an emergent repertoire of political action. Bargu is currently continuing this line of investigation by examining different modalities of corporeal counter-politics and processes of subjectivation, focusing on the uses of the body in different political struggles and their implications.


At the same time, Bargu is working on a book-length project on rethinking the materialist tradition, especially in light of the posthumous publication of Louis Althusser’s work on the aleatory.

Biography, Education and Training

Banu Bargu is a political theorist, with a focus on modern and contemporary political thought and critical theory. She is the author of Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons (Columbia University Press, 2014), which received APSA’s First Book Prize given by the Foundations of Political Theory section and was named an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice. She is the co-editor of Feminism, Capitalism, and Critique: Essays in Honor of Nancy Fraser (Palgrave, 2017). Bargu has previously taught at SOAS, University of London and The New School for Social Research, New York City.


Education:


Ph.D., Government, Cornell University, 2008


M.A., Government, Cornell University, 2004


M.A., Political Science and International Relations, Bogazici University, 2000


B.A., Management, Bogazici University, 1997

Honors, Awards and Grants

 Awards:



  • Best First Book Award, American Political Science Association (Foundations of Political Theory Section), 2015

  • Janice N. and Milton J. Esman Graduate Prize for Distinguished Scholarship (Best Dissertation Award), Government Department, Cornell University, 2007

  • John M. and Emily B. Clark Award for Distinguished Teaching, Office of the Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, Cornell University, 2003


Fellowships and Grants:



  • Mercator Fellowship, DFG (German Research Foundation) Research Training Group: Selbst-Bildungen: Praktiken der Subjectivierung [Self-Making: Practices of Subjectivation], Carl von Ossietzky Universität, Oldenburg, Germany, Spring 2017

  • Faculty Research Grant, Provost’s Office, The New School, 2015-2016

  • Visiting Scholar Research Grant, University of Padua, Italy, June-July 2013

  • Mellon Fellowship, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Cornell University, 2006-2007

  • Luigi Einaudi Fellowship, Institute for European Studies, Cornell University, 2004-2005

Selected Publications

Book:


Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014)


Edited Book:


Feminism, Capitalism, and Critique: Essays in Honor of Nancy Fraser, co-edited with Chiara Bottici (New York: Palgrave, 2017)


Journal Articles:


The Silent Exception: Hunger Striking and Lip-Sewing,” Law, Culture, and the Humanities, DOI: 10.1177/1743872117709684 (OnlineFirst: May 24, 2017), 1-28.


Bodies against War: Voluntary Human Shielding as a Practice of Resistance,” AJIL Unbound [American Journal of International Law Unbound Edition] 110 (January 2016), 299-304.


Why Did Bouazizi Burn Himself? The Politics of Fate and Fatal Politics,” Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory 23, no. 1 (2016): 27-36.


Another Necropolitics,” theory & event 19, no. 1 Supplement (January 2016).


Althusser’s Materialist Theater: Ideology and Its Aporias,” differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 26, no. 3, Special Issue: Balibar on Althusser and Ideology’s Dramaturgy (December 2015): 81-106.


Odysseus Unbound: Sovereignty and Sacrifice in Hunger and the Dialectic of Enlightenment,” Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities 19, no. 4 (2014): 7-22.


The Predicaments of Left-Schmittianism,” South Atlantic Quarterly 113, no. 4 (Fall 2014): 713-27.


Sovereignty as Erasure: Rethinking Enforced Disappearances,” Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences 23, no. 1 (Fall/Winter 2014): 35-75.


Human Shields,” Contemporary Political Theory 12, no. 4 (November 2013): 277-95.


In the Theater of Politics: Althusser’s Aleatory Materialism and Aesthetics,” diacritics 40, no. 3 (2012): 86-111.


Unleashing the Acheron: Sacrificial Partisanship, Sovereignty, and History,” theory & event 13:1 (Spring 2010).


Book Chapters:


“Machiavelli after Althusser,” in The Radical Machiavelli: Politics, Philosophy, and Language, edited by Filippo Del Lucchese, Fabio Frosini, and Vittorio Morfino (Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2015), 420-39.


“Sovereignty,” in The Cambridge Foucault Lexicon, edited by Leonard Lawlor and John Nale (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 456-65. 


“Politics of Commensality,” in The Anarchist Turn, edited by Jacob Blumenfeld, Chiara Bottici, and Simon Critchley (London: Pluto Press, 2013), 35-58.


“Stasiology: Political Theology and the Figure of the Sacrificial Enemy,” in After Secular Law, edited by Winnifred Sullivan, Robert Yelle and Mateo Taussig-Rubbo (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011), 140-159.


“Max Stirner, Postanarchy avant la lettre,” in “How Not to Be Governed”: Readings and Interpretations from a Critical Anarchist Left, edited by Jimmy Casas Klausen and James Martel (Lanham: Lexington Press, 2011), 103-122.


“Spectacles of Death: Dignity, Dissent, and Sacrifice in Turkey’s Prisons,” in Policing and Prisons in the Middle East: Formations of Coercion, edited by Laleh Khalili and Jillian Schwedler (London: Hurst & Company; New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), 241-261.


Review Essays and Book Reviews:


Foucault and Iran,” SCTIW Review Book Symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi’s Foucault in Iran, SCTIW Review: Journal of the Society for Contemporary Thought and the Islamicate World (March 21, 2017): 1-7.


Review: Prisons in the Late Ottoman Empire: Microcosms of Modernity. By Kent F. Schull. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014, 240 pp.” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 3, no. 2 (November 2016): 379-83.


Critical Dialogues: Review of Punishment and Inclusion: Race, Membership, and the Limits of American Liberalism. By Andrew Dilts. New York: Fordham University Press, 2014, 352 pp.Perspectives on Politics 13, no. 3 (September 2015): 820-821.


The Weaponization of Life: Review essay of Talal Asad’s On Suicide Bombing (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007) and Diego Gambetta, ed. Making Sense of Suicide Missions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005),Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory 16, no. 4 (2009), 634-43.

Teaching Interests


  • Modern and contemporary political theory

  • Critical theory

  • Theories of Sovereignty and Subjectivity

  • Biopolitics and Body Politics

  • Prisons and Political Prisoners

  • Middle East Politics and Turkish Politics

  • Resistance Movements and Practices

Courses Taught

HISC 129 Politics of Violence
HISC 265A Biopolitics I: Problematics
HISC 265B Biopolitics II: Corporealities