Reviewing Political Criticism examines the rise of the ’review’ form of journal publication, from the early eighteenth to the early twenty-first centuries. The review belongs to a long tradition of written political criticism that first advised, then revised, and with the increased confidence afforded to civil society by the rise of market capitalism, subsequently challenged and even transformed the state’s view on what and how it governed. Chaves investigates the crucial nexus of intellectual debate with political judgment over this time, and highlights the review’s central role in upholding this connection. Focusing upon critical moments that required the exercise of political judgment, the book explains this journal form as a means of political practice, one that essentially ’re-views’ the state’s view of how society should be ordered. To understand critical activity, one must reflect on where this activity takes place-on the institutions of criticism that sustain it. Referred to by some as the ’natural habitat’ of intellectuals, journals, as the institutionalized sites of theoretical discourse, are often overlooked. This groundbreaking book offers a concentrated critique of the review form of journal publication as a medium for political thought and action, as a decisive site for political judgment by the state’s conservers and critics.
’Elisabeth K. Chaves offers a fascinating study of what amounts to the history and future of public intellectuals who publish social criticism in reviews and journals. She considers paradigm-shifting outlets, from the New York Review of Books to Telos to, most recently, n+1 and Jacobin. She tracks the emergence of journals from pulp to pixels as she considers the impact of the Internet on intellectual life. A must-read by those interested in fostering outlets for social critics and political pundits who feel constrained by the tired tropes and tribalism of peer-reviewed academic journals.’ Ben Agger, University of Texas, Arlington, USA and author of Oversharing and Texting toward Utopia and editor of the e-journal Fast Capitalism, www.fastcapitalism.com ’A sweeping and engaging study of the practice of political criticism from the 18th century to the early 21st. Exploring how a wide range of journals confronted the challenges of politically engaged critical review, Chaves guides the reader through this complex terrain with a sharp eye.’ Emily Hauptmann, Western Michigan University, USA