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The Hungarian Marxist philosopher George Lukács has long occupied a complicated place in the Marxist canon of thinkers, both his lived and theoretical practice subject to much critical commentary and debate. While History and Class Consciousness is considered to be a classic of critical sociology, it has also often been held at arms length by Marxi…
 
At the start of 2021, a widespread belief held that India had escaped the Covid-19 pandemic relatively unscathed - this was evidenced, the story went, in the country's comparatively low death rates. Narendra Modi boasted to the World Economic Forum in January 2021, "that the country has saved humanity from a big disaster by containing corona effect…
 
History is told, it is said, by the victors. And so it is in regard to Richard Nixon. We all know how his presidency ended. What too few of us recall or bother to learn is how it started. In his new The Last Liberal Republican: An Insider's Perspective on Nixon's Surprising Social Policy (UP of Kansas, 2021), John Roy Price details how in Nixon's f…
 
Willi Braun's Jesus and Addiction to Origins: Towards an Anthropocentric Study of Religion (Equinox, 2020) constitutes an extended argument for an anthropocentric, human-focused study of religious practices. Part I presents the basic premise of the argument, which is that there is nothing special or extraordinary about human behaviors and construct…
 
Today I talked to Viviana MacManus, author of Disruptive Archives: Feminist Memories of Resistance in Latin America’s Dirty Wars published by the University of Illinois Press in 2020. It has just received Honorable Mention for the 2021 Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize. The National Women's Studies Association awards the prize for groundbreaking schola…
 
Kelefa Sanneh was born in England, and lived in Ghana and Scotland before moving with his parents to the United States in the early 1980s. He was a pop music critic at the New York Times from 2000-2008, and has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since then. His first book, just released on Penguin, is called Major Labels: A History of Popular Mu…
 
Politics for the Love of Fandom: Fan-Based Citizenship in a Digital World (Louisiana State Press, 2019) examines what Ashley Hinck calls “fan-based citizenship”: civic action that blends with and arises from participation in fandom and commitment to a fan-object. Examining cases like Harry Potter fans fighting for fair trade, YouTube fans donating …
 
In her scintillating new book, The Beauty of the Houri: Heavenly Virgins, Feminine Ideals (Oxford UP, 2021), Nerina Rustomji presents a fascinating and multilayered intellectual and cultural history of the category of the “Houri” and the multiple ideological projects in which it has been inserted over time and space. Nimbly moving between a vast ra…
 
Jean Hopman’s book Surviving Emotional Work for Teachers: Improving Wellbeing and Professional Learning Through Reflexive Practice (Routledge, 2020), is a guide to improving teachers' wellbeing and practice through support of their emotional workload. The book argues that teachers should be given a formal opportunity to debrief on challenging event…
 
Sandfuture (MIT Press, 2021) is a book about the life of the architect Minoru Yamasaki (1912–1986), who remains on the margins of history despite the enormous influence of his work on American architecture and society. That Yamasaki’s most famous projects—the Pruitt-Igoe apartments in St. Louis and the original World Trade Center in New York—were b…
 
The widely acclaimed films of Wong Kar-wai are characterized by their sumptuous yet complex visual and sonic style. This study of Wong’s filmmaking techniques uses a poetics approach to examine how form, music, narration, characterization, genre, and other artistic elements work together to produce certain effects on audiences. Bettinson argues tha…
 
Jacki Edry's Moving Forward: Reflections on Autism, Neurodiversity, Brain Surgery, and Faith (2021) is a journey between the worlds of autism, neurodiversity, brain surgery recovery, and faith. It provides a rare glimpse into how sensory and neurological processing affect functioning and thought, through the eyes of a professional, parent, and woma…
 
When inspiration struck Robert McCrum to write a book about the Bard, it came while watching one of the playwright’s plays in Central Park, New York. Here, McCrum realized that we, today, are undoubtedly living in Shakespearean times. Joe Krulder, a British Historian, interviews Robert about his latest book, Shakespearean: On Life and Language in T…
 
Eileen Hunt Botting is a Professor political science at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Botting is a widely published and cited scholar on the thought of Mary Wollstonecraft, the eighteenth-century author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. As editor of a two-volume collection, Portraits of Wollstonecraft (Bloomsbury Academic,2021), she offe…
 
Nariman Youssef speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her work translating three short stories from Arabic for The Common’s portfolio of fiction from Morocco, in the spring issue. In this conversation, Nariman talks about the conscious and unconscious decisions a translator makes through many drafts, including the choice to preserve some fe…
 
The construction of collective identity among the Muridiyya abroad is a communal but contested endeavor. Differing conceptions of what should be the mission of Muridiyya institutions in the diaspora reveal disciples’ conflicting politics and challenge the notion of the order’s homogeneity. While some insist on the universal dimension of Ahmadu Bamb…
 
When are borders justified? Who has a right to control them? Where should they be drawn? Today people think of borders as an island's shores. Just as beaches delimit a castaway's realm, so borders define the edges of a territory, occupied by a unified people, to whom the land legitimately belongs. Hence a territory is legitimate only if it belongs …
 
Today I talked to Sue Unerman about her new book Belonging: The Key to Transforming and Maintaining Diversity, Inclusions and Equality at Work (Bloomsbury, 2020) How is it that $8 billion a year gets thrown at diversity training and yet next-to-nothing changes? One person who isn’t giving up is Sue Unerman, who along with her co-authors Kathryn Jac…
 
In Sounds of Crossing: Music, Migration, and the Aural Poetics of Huapango Arribeño (Duke UP, 2017), Alex E. Chávez explores the contemporary politics of Mexican migrant cultural expression manifest in the sounds and poetics of huapango arribeño, a musical genre originating from north-central Mexico. Following the resonance of huapango's improvisat…
 
What can southern Black joy teach us about agency? What role does refusal have in liberation? What more might there be to root work than resistance? In The Politics of Black Joy: Zora Neale Hurston and Neo-Abolitionism (Northwestern UP, 2021), Lindsey Stewart explores Hurston’s contributions to political theory and philosophy of race to develop a p…
 
In the last two decades, amid the global spread of smartphones, state killings of civilians have increasingly been captured on the cameras of both bystanders and police. Screen Shots: State Violence on Camera in Israel and Palestine (Stanford UP, 2021) studies this phenomenon from the vantage point of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territori…
 
All Future Plunges to the Past: James Joyce in Russian Literature (Cornell UP, 2021) explores how Russian writers from the mid-1920s on have read and responded to Joyce's work. Through contextually rich close readings, José Vergara uncovers the many roles Joyce has occupied in Russia over the last century, demonstrating how the writers Yury Olesha,…
 
Steven Knoblauch's Bodies and Social Rhythms: Navigating Unconscious Vulnerability and Emotional Fluidity (Routledge, 2020) traces the development of an unfolding challenge for psychoanalytic attention, which augments contemporary theoretical lenses focusing on structures of meaning, with an accompanying registration different than and interacting …
 
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