Associate Professor of Politics
Albert and Vera List Academic Center
Banu Bargu is Associate Professor of Politics at the New School for Social Research. Banu Bargu’s main area of specialization is political theory, especially modern and contemporary political thought, with a thematic focus on theories of sovereignty, resistance, and biopolitics. Her research interests are situated at the intersection of philosophy, politics, and anthropology, with a regional focus on the Middle East (especially Turkey). In her research and teaching, she draws upon the traditions of continental and critical theory to address salient political issues and contemporary resistance practices. Her work engages with thinkers such as Machiavelli, Marx, Stirner, Schmitt, Foucault, and Althusser around questions related to the body, violence, sacrifice, martyrdom, ideology, and aesthetics. She is interested in bringing together political theorization with empirical, ethnographic, and historical research, relying on methods that are transdisciplinary and hybrid.
Professor Bargu is the author of Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons (Columbia UP, 2014), which received APSA's 2015 First Book Award given by the Foundations of Political Theory section and was named an Outstanding Academic Title for 2015 by CHOICE. She is currently working on two book-length projects. The first is a volume on corporeal counter-politics, analyzing exemplary instances involving the use of the body in political struggles. The second project is a manuscript on Louis Althusser’s political thought and his rethinking of the materialist tradition, especially in light of the posthumous publication of Althusser’s work on the aleatory.
PhD 2008, Cornell University
Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014), 512 pp.
- Recipient of the Best First Book Award, American Political Science Association (Foundations of Political Theory Section), 2015
- Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2015
Feminism, Capitalism, and Critique: Essays in Honor of Nancy Fraser, co-edited with Chiara Bottici (New York: Palgrave, 2017)
“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 2017): 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 (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 (2014): 713-27.
“Sovereignty as Erasure: Rethinking Enforced Disappearances,” Qui Parle 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).
“Machiavelli after Althusser,” in The Radical Machiavelli: Philosophy, Politics, and Language, ed. Filippo Del Lucchese, Fabio Frosini, and Vittorio Morfino (Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2015), 420-39.
“Sovereignty,” in The Cambridge Foucault Lexicon, ed. 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 & 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.
“Response to Andrew Dilts’s Review of Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons.” Perspectives on Politics 13, no. 3 (September 2015): 824-825.
“The Weaponization of Life: Review essay of Talal Asad, On Suicide Bombing (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007) and Diego Gambetta, ed. Making Sense of Suicide Missions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005),” Constellations 16:4 (2009), 634-43.
“Hunger Strikes: When the Body Becomes a Battlefield,” The Funambulist Magazine: Politics of Space and Bodies, no. 7 (September-October 2016): 34-39.
“‘God, bread, liberty’: Anticapitalist Muslims in Turkey,” The Middle East in London 10, no. 3 (April-May 2014): 11-12.
“Theorizing Self-Destructive Violence,” in the Roundtable on Violence and the Middle East, International Journal of Middle East Studies 45, no. 4 (2013): 804-806.
“Forging Life into a Weapon,” in the dossier “Thinking Through Violence: An Interdisciplinary Conversation,” edited by Elena Bellina, J. Martin Daughtry, Crystal Parikh and Arvind Rajagopal, Periscope: Social Text, May 2011.
Contemporary Continental Political Theory, Critical Theory
History of Political Thought
Theories of Sovereignty, Biopolitics, Subjectivity, and Resistance
Prisons, Political Prisoners, and Human Rights
Middle East Politics, Turkish Politics
Directed Dissertation Study
Ind Senior Prject