Monday, 5 September 2011

Oppression and the Human Condition: An Introduction to Sartrean Existentialism

Thomas Martin applies Sartre's philosophy to contemporary issues and concerns, and draws on two case studies to make his point. The cases examine modern-day oppressors--in one case an anti-semite, in the other a sexist who objectifies women--in the context of Sartre's "bad faith." The case studies also reinforce Martin's argument that Sartre's early philosophy, especially his concept of "bad faith," provides a framework for discussions of oppressions such as racism and sexism.

"Tom Martin, writing in contexts marked by colonial legacies of racism and economic dependence, offers here one of the clearest statements on Sartre's philosophy and its importance for our continued efforts to forge a humane world. This is, indeed, one of the very best books on the subject for both scholars and lay readers."—Lewis R. Gordon, Brown University

"Martin's lucid and compelling study of oppression is set apart from other accounts by a focus on the oppressor and an emphasis on individual responsibility. His case study of modern day sexism shows the value of a Sartrean approach for understanding gender oppression."—Julien S. Murphy, University of Southern Maine

"In a nuanced reading of Sartre's early writings that is fresh and convincing, Tom Martin argues that the anti-Semitic racist and the sexist are engaged in bad faith flights from the situated freedom of the human condition. Martin demonstrates that the early as well as the later Sartre is important to those who are interested in understanding the structures and dynamics of repression and persecution."—Debra Bergoffen, Director of Women's Studies, George Mason University