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Latest episodes from New Books in Politics

Marcello Tarì, "There Is No Unhappy Revolution: The Communism of Destitution" (Common Notions, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 28, 2021 75:40

The Marxist philosopher Theodor Adorno once quipped that much of his work was written without practical applications in mind, and that the constant demand for immediate practical relevance felt like being asked by occupied forces to present one's papers. While hyperbolic, the frustration is real among many progressive activists and intellectuals, and also points to a real problem within political engagement, with how the need to act right now sometimes can cloud judgment. Against this grain, some occasionally step up in encouraging us to step back and collect ourselves and our thoughts. One such writer is the topic of this episode, Marcello Tari, whose recent book There Is No Unhappy Revolution: The Communism of Destitution (Common Notions, 2021) recently became the first of his translated into English. Written from and for a scattered and confused left, the book has a style resembling the more esoteric and messianic figures in the lefts history, most notably Walter Benjamin, who appears throughout the books footnotes. In a series of chapters that wander through a number of disparate topics, it slowly develops a few key themes around late capitalism, violence, oppression, revolution and temporality, although a simple definition or analysis of any one of these elements in isolation never comes; instead they are developed and intertwined in various ways as a way of understanding the social and psychological knots we're caught in. Easy fixes don't come easy here either; instead Tari's goal is in many ways to cultivate our sensitivity to our current political predicament, to speak to comrades in a way that generates a productive confusion that might help us think more critically about what's needed. In the discussion that follows, Tari was unable to join us, but I was instead joined by two artists, Ayreen and Rene, who have known Tari for some time and proved careful and patient guides through the text. My typical formula for working through texts with guests broke down here; with every question I asked if they could define a term, or explain a passage, and every time they would take various detours through topics and themes I hadn't expected, only to eventually come back to my initial question, but with a newfound angle into it I hadn't picked up on during my own reading of the book. As a result, I left the conversation feeling like I was finally able to read the book, and I appreciate their willingness to sit with me on it. This book was challenging to read, and is even more challenging to describe, but it should be of interest to anyone engaged in contemporary political struggle. Tari is a self-described ‘barefoot' researcher of contemporary political movements and struggles, and has published works in both French and Italian. He is also the translator of The Invisible Committee's The Coming Insurrection. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Rafia Zakaria, "Against White Feminism: Notes on Disruption" (W. W. Norton, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2021 53:07

Elite white women have branded feminism, promising an apolitical individual empowerment along with sexual liberation and satisfaction, LGBTQ inclusion, and racial solidarity. As Rafia Zakaria expertly argues in Against White Feminism: Notes on Disruption (W. W. Norton, 2021), those promises have been proven empty and white feminists have leant on their racial privilege and sense of cultural superiority. Drawing on her own experiences as an American Muslim woman, as well as an attorney working on behalf of immigrant women, Zakaria champions a reconstruction of feminism that forges true solidarity by bringing Black and brown voices and goals to the fore. Ranging from the savior complex of British feminist imperialists to the condescension of the white feminist-led "development industrial complex" and the conflation of sexual liberation as the "sum total of empowerment," Zakaria presents an eye-opening indictment of how whiteness has contributed to a feminist movement that solely serves the interests of upper middle-class white women. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Lorenzo Fusaro, "Crises and Hegemonic Transitions: From Gramsci's Quaderni to the Contemporary World Economy" (Haymarket Books, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 26, 2021 63:21

Gramsci's concept of hegemony is often invoked, but usually as a means of cultural critique and analysis. However, my guest Lorenzo Fusaro argues in his recent book Crises and Hegemonic Transitions: From Gramsci's Quaderni to the Contemporary World Economy (Haymarket Books, 2020) that Gramsci's work is permeated by Marx's economic critique and his theories of value. Split into two parts, the book is both a critical rereading of Gramsci, followed by a rereading of the last century of economic and political developments. The first half of the book involves a careful rereading of key concepts in Gramsci's Prison Notebooks, rethinking concepts such as hegemony as being more closely related to the base, instead of simply being superstructural description. Hegemony is not above and beyond economic dynamics and antagonisms, but emerges from them and changes alongside them. This allows for a broadening of the theory conceptually, and also allows him to apply it to international relations, instead of being confined to a particular state. The second half of the book then traces the economic history of the 20th century, starting with the rise of the United States in the international scene in the 1920's, and following through to its eventual unraveling on the world stage in the present day. And even though the book was first published in 2018, at the end Fusaro offered some speculations on how this reworked theory of hegemony might help us think about the recent COVID crisis and its aftermath. Synthesizing theory, history and economics, this is a book that offers a powerful punch, and will reward readers from a number of different angles, and offers some dynamic theoretical resources for understanding our current crisis, and what might be just around the corner.  The book was first published by Brill as part of the Historical Materialism book series, and is now available in paperback from Haymarket. Lorenzo Fusaro received his PhD in international political economy at King's College, London. He is an associate professor of political economy at the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana in Mexico, and is also one of the editors of Revisiting Gramsci's Laboratory. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Scott Krzych, "Beyond Bias: Conservative Media, Documentary Form, and the Politics of Hysteria" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 23, 2021 76:17

Scott Krzych's book Beyond Bias: Conservative Media, Documentary Form, and the Politics of Hysteria (Oxford University Press, 2021) offers the first scholarly study of contemporary right-wing documentary film and video. Drawing from contemporary work in political theory and psychoanalytic theory, the book identifies what author Scott Krzych describes as the hysterical discourse prolific in conservative documentary in particular, and right-wing media more generally. In our chat, Scott and I review the development of conservative documentaries and discuss the various frameworks used to present ideas, as well as specific methods used to present information. Joel Tscherne is an Adjunct History Professor at Southern New Hampshire University. His Twitter handle is @JoelTscherne. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Amy Kaufman and Paul Sturtevant, "Devil's Historians: How Modern Extremists Abuse the Medieval Past" (U Toronto Press, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 23, 2021 66:05

In The Devil's Historians: How Modern Extremists Abuse the Medieval Past (University of Toronto Press, 2020), Amy S. Kaufman and Paul B. Sturtevant examine the many ways in which the medieval past has been manipulated to promote discrimination, oppression, and murder. Tracing the fetish for “medieval times” behind toxic ideologies like nationalism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and white supremacy, Kaufman and Sturtevant show us how the Middle Ages have been twisted for political purposes in every century that followed. The Devil's Historians casts aside the myth of an oppressive, patriarchal medieval monoculture and reveals a medieval world not often shown in popular culture: one that is diverse, thriving, courageous, compelling, and complex. Amy S. Kaufman is a scholar of medieval studies and popular culture. Paul B. Sturtevant is Editor in Chief of The Public Medievalist and a Visitor Research Specialist at The Smithsonian Institution. Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Visit him online at ZalmanNewfield.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

David Scott, "For Abolition: Essays on Prisons and Socialist Ethics" (Waterside Press, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 20, 2021 68:56

According to Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) 'Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.' Connecting the politics of abolition to wider emancipatory struggles for liberation and social justice, David Scott's book For Abolition: Essays on Prisons and Socialist Ethics (Waterside Press, 2020) argues that penal abolitionism should be understood as an important public critical pedagogy and philosophy of hope that can help to reinvigorate democracy and set society on a pathway towards living in a world without prisons. For Abolition draws upon the socialist ethics of dignity, empathy, freedom and paradigm of life to systematically critique imprisonment as a state institution characterised by 'social death'. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Robert Ovetz, "Workers' Inquiry and Global Class Struggle: Strategies, Tactics, Objectives" (Pluto Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 12, 2021 68:15

"The point of studying the world – including the past and other's writings – is not just to understand it but to use that understanding to change it." – Harry Cleaver (33 Lessons from Capital – On Reading Marx Politically) Listening to Robert Ovetz explain the origins of his interest in the study of labor and his academic influences I was reminded of the title of the late A.O. Hirschman's book A Propensity for Self-Subversion – you'll know what I mean even though Robert uses the phrase ‘suicide pact for my academic career'! Seriously though, for those unfamiliar with Professor Ovetz's engaging first book, When Workers Shot Back – Class Conflict from 1877 to 1921, the Hirschman reference is just a hint at the breadth of the professor's experiences beyond academia that bring much to bear to his insightful and active approach to writing and labor studies. He has worked in politics and as a public policy advocate including as an aide for members of the Texas legislature, executive director of an NGO, and as a campaign director and policy advocate for other non-governmental organizations on debt, development, human rights, and ocean conservation issues. Robert has appeared on NPR, CNN, and the BBC and is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Labor and Society. Most recently he edited and contributed to Workers' Inquiry and Global Class Struggle: Strategies, Tactics, Objectives published by Pluto Press in 2020. We talk about both books and endeavor to connect the theory with the methodology as exemplified in this edited volume of research from both academic and activist contributing authors representing labor studies from nine different countries over multiple industry sectors. In the course of the conversation Robert confirms the relevance and value of a ‘worker's inquiry' while broadening our understanding of class composition and struggle both historically and through recent developments with Amazon in our own global gilded age. Robert Ovetz is a lecturer in Political Science and the graduate program in Public Administration at San Jose State University. Keith Krueger lectures at the SILC Business School – Shanghai University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Jenny Price, "Stop Saving the Planet!: An Environmentalist Manifesto" (W. W. Norton, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 5, 2021 56:21

We've been ​“saving the planet” for decades…and environmental crises just get worse. All this Tesla driving and LEED building and carbon trading seems to accomplish little to nothing — all while low-income communities continue to suffer the worst consequences. Why aren't we cleaning up the toxic messes and rolling back climate change? And why do so many Americans hate environmentalists? Jenny Price says, enough already! — with this short, fun, fierce manifesto for an environmentalism that is hugely more effective, a whole lot fairer, and infinitely less righteous. In Stop Saving the Planet!: An Environmentalist Manifesto (W. W. Norton, 2021), she challenges you, Exxon, and the EPA alike to think and act completely anew — and to start right now — to ensure a truly habitable future. Jenny Price is a public writer and artist, and a Research Fellow at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University-St. Louis. Author of Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America, she is co-founder of the public art collective LA Urban Rangers and a co-creator of the Our Malibu Beaches mobile-phone app. She has been a resident artist at MOCA and the Orange County Museum of Art, and has held visiting professorships at Princeton University. She is currently working on “St. Louis Division,” a hometown collection of projects about environmental justice. Brian Hamilton is Chair of the Department of History and Social Science at Deerfield Academy and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Twitter. Website Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Alexander Laban Hinton, "It Can Happen Here: White Power and the Rising Threat of Genocide in the US" (NYU Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 30, 2021 85:32

If many people were shocked by Donald Trump's 2016 election, many more were stunned when, months later, white supremacists took to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting “Blood and Soil” and “Jews will not replace us!” Like Trump, the Charlottesville marchers were dismissed as aberrations—crazed extremists who did not represent the real US.  It Can Happen Here: White Power and the Rising Threat of Genocide in the US (NYU Press, 2021) demonstrates that, rather than being exceptional, such white power extremism and the violent atrocities linked to it are a part of American history. And, alarmingly, they remain a very real threat to the US today. Hinton explains how murky politics, structural racism, the promotion of American exceptionalism, and a belief that the US has have achieved a color-blind society have diverted attention from the deep roots of white supremacist violence in the US's brutal past. Drawing on his years of research and teaching on mass violence, Hinton details the warning signs of impending genocide and atrocity crimes, the tools used by ideologues to fan the flames of hate, and the shocking ways in which “us” versus “them” violence is supported by inherently racist institutions and policies. It Can Happen Here is an essential new assessment of the dangers of contemporary white power extremism in the United States. While revealing the threat of genocide and atrocity crimes that loom over the country, Hinton offers actions we can take to prevent it from happening, illuminating a hopeful path forward for a nation in crisis. Jeff Bachman is Senior Lecturer in Human Rights at American University's School of International Service in Washington, DC. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Hélène Landemore, "Open Democracy: Reinventing Popular Rule for the Twenty-First Century" (Princeton UP, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 28, 2021 70:08


Students of American history know that the framers of the Constitution were deeply concerned that the United States would founder on the shoals of mob rule. They designed a system meant to ensure rule by an elected elite, a republic rather than a democracy. While democratic elements have been introduced over the past two centuries, that basic structure still stands. In Open Democracy: Reinventing Popular Rule for the Twenty-First Century (Princeton UP, 2020), Landemore argues that it is time to create a more truly democratic system, one in which elections do not play a major role. While she thinks it unlikely that the national arena is necessarily the best place to start implementing such changes, she does see opportunities for creating local assemblies or “mini-publics” where citizens chosen by lot would deliberate on and enact policies and laws. She points out that hundreds of experiments in this direction have been initiated in the past two decades, and she lays down principles and approaches that make the likelihood of success greater. Her work is profoundly optimistic about the potential for citizens from all walks of life to participate in governing their society. Jack Petranker, MA, JD, is the founder and Senior Teacher at the Center for Creative Inquiry and the Director of the Mangalam Research Center. www.jackpetranker.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics


Alec Karakatsanis, "Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System" (New Press, 2019)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 23, 2021 72:30

From an award-winning civil rights lawyer, a profound challenge to our society's normalization of the caging of human beings, and the role of the legal profession in perpetuating it Alec Karakatsanis is interested in what we choose to punish.  Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System (New Press, 2019) is a profoundly radical reconsideration of the American "injustice system" by someone who is actively, wildly successfully, challenging it. For example, it is a crime in most of America for poor people to wager in the streets over dice; dice-wagerers can be seized, searched, have their assets forfeited, and be locked in cages. It's perfectly fine, by contrast, for people to wager over international currencies, mortgages, or the global supply of wheat; wheat-wagerers become names on the wings of hospitals and museums. He is also troubled by how the legal system works when it is trying to punish people. The bail system, for example, is meant to ensure that people return for court dates. But it has morphed into a way to lock up poor people who have not been convicted of anything. He's so concerned about this that he has personally sued court systems across the country, resulting in literally tens of thousands of people being released from jail when their money bail was found to be unconstitutional. Karakatsanis doesn't think people who have gone to law school, passed the bar, and sworn to uphold the Constitution should be complicit in the mass caging of human beings--an everyday brutality inflicted disproportionately on the bodies and minds of poor people and people of color and for which the legal system has never offered sufficient justification.  **Special announcement for teachers: Usual Cruelty is available free of charge for your students and for each student assigned a complimentary copy of Usual Cruelty will be circulated in prisons. Learn more https://thenewpress.com/books/... Lee M. Pierce (she/they) is an Assistant Professor at SUNY Geneseo specializing in rhetoric, race, and U.S. political culture. They also host the Media & Communications and Language channels for New Books Network and their own podcast titled RhetoricLee Speaking. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Wendy K. Z. Anderson, "Rebirthing a Nation: White Women, Identity Politics, and the Internet" (U Mississippi Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 17, 2021 60:08


In Rebirthing a Nation: White Women, Identity Politics, and the Internet (U Mississippi Press, 2021), author Wendy K. Z. Anderson details how white nationalist and alt-right women refine racist rhetoric and web design as a means of protection and simultaneous instantiation of white supremacy, which conservative political actors including Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Ivanka Trump have amplified through transnational politics. By validating racial fears and political divisiveness through coded white identity politics, postfeminist and motherhood discourse functions as a colorblind, gilded cage. Rebirthing a Nation reveals how white nationalist women utilize colorblind racism within digital space, exposing how a postfeminist framework becomes fodder for conservative white women's political speech to preserve institutional white supremacy. Wendy K. Z. Anderson (she/her) is an independent researcher and instructor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities. Lee M. Pierce (they & she) is Asst Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the State University of New York College at Geneseo. Connect on Twitter, Gmail, etc. @rhetoriclee. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics


Steven B. Smith, "Reclaiming Patriotism in an Age of Extremes" (Yale UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 8, 2021 63:18


In a time when questions about patriotism, nationalism, multiculturalism, and the like are sure to stir up controversy, Steven Smith offers a careful, balanced defense of what he calls “enlightened patriotism.” Smith, a professor of political science at Yale University, makes a point of distinguishing patriotism from nationalism; the latter, he writes, is most often based on a sense of grievance and is defensive in tone, while the former is a particular kind of loyalty, similar in some ways to the loyalty feels toward one's family.  In Reclaiming Patriotism in an Age of Extremes (Yale UP, 2021), Smith discusses the role of patriotism in a world where multiculturalism on the one hand, and cosmopolitanism on the one hand, have combined to make patriotism a contested term. For Smith, America's patriotism is unique in being based on ideas and texts as much as culture and land, a matter of both the head and the heart. Jack Petranker is Senior Teacher at the Center for Creative Inquiry and Director of the Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages. He writes and teachers about community, consciousness, and other topics at www.jackpetranker.com, www.fullpresence.org. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics


Matthew Karp on Writing Engaged History

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 8, 2021 51:42

Matthew Karp is a historian of the U.S. Civil War era and its relationship to the nineteenth-century world. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011 and joined the Princeton faculty in 2013. The piece we are talking about is The Politics of a Second Gilded Age, published in February 2021 in The Jacobin. His first book, This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy (Harvard UP, 2016) explores the ways that slavery shaped U.S. foreign relations before the Civil War. Karp is now at work on a book about the emergence of anti-slavery mass politics in the United States, and in particular the radical vision of the Republican Party in the 1850s. Agata Popeda is a Polish-American journalist. Interested in everything, with a particular weakness for literature and foreign relations. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Jonathan Rauch, "The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth" (Brookings, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 7, 2021 39:58


In recent years Americans have experienced a range of assaults upon the truth. In The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth (Brookings Institution Press, 2021), Jonathan Rauch describes the various ways in which our understanding of truth has come under attack, and the mechanisms that exist to fight back. As Rauch explains, the challenge of determining truth is as old as civilization itself, with the system we use today a product of concepts formulated in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today this system faces an unprecedented challenge created by the digital revolution, which has inverted the social incentives on which the reality-based community depends and fractured reality for millions of people. The consequences of this today can be seen today in both the numerous agenda-driven disinformation campaigns and the coercive conformity of “cancel culture” that challenges diversity of thought. Yet for all of the threats posed to the Constitution of Knowledge, Rauch argues that within it are contained the tools with which people can fight back successfully in order to maintain our social system for turning disagreement into truth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics


Andrei Znamenski, "Socialism As a Secular Creed" (Lexington Books, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 3, 2021 69:08

The predominantly secular focus of socialism can often obscure the parts of its ideology that reflect the elements it inherited from Western religious thinking. In Socialism as a Secular Creed: A Modern Global History (Lexington Books, 2021), Andrei Znamenski shows how this religious inheritance created elements within it that were closer in form to a belief system than a philosophy. These religious elements were most prevalent in socialism's formative period, as Znamenski identifies the debt the socialist world-view owed to Christian millennialist ideas that were current in the early 19th century. Because of this the socialist world-view soon echoed the Christian one, with the working class becoming the chosen people who were anticipated to be the vanguard leading the world to the promised land of a socialist system. These elements persisted even as socialism focused on social engineering and nationalist forces caused socialist thinking to branch off into different forms. This continued in the 20th century as the economic conditions changed, as the “embourgeoisement” of the working classes and the post-World War II desire to disassociate from Soviet-style socialism led many socialists to turn instead to culture as the means towards attaining their millennialist vision. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Joshua Mitchell, "American Awakening: Identity Politics and Other Afflictions of Our Time" (Encounter Books, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 2, 2021 64:11

Brace yourself for a sobering analysis of the state of the body politic and national soul. America is ailing from three main afflictions that are dangerously undermining the nation's ability to act in the interest of the common good. So argues Joshua Mitchell, a professor of political theory at Georgetown University, in his 2020 book, American Awakening: Identity Politics and Other Afflictions of Our Time (Encounter Books, 2020) According to Mitchell, the first and most serious of these afflictions is the rage for identity politics which he argues has become a religious arena for sacrificial offering. The sacrificial scapegoat of our day is the white, heterosexual man. Those who do not fall into that category are deemed pure and innocent groups who must purge the stained transgressor group. The second affliction is a sort of bipolarity in which many Americans veer from feeling invincible on their social media platforms at one moment to suddenly feeling impotent in the face of everyday problems. In the latter mode, they abjectly rely on the expert class and global managers to see them through all manner of problems from climate change to pandemics to economic travails. The third affliction, says Mitchell, is the enervating hope held by many Americans that they can find shortcuts that negate the need to acquire basic life skills. Mitchell gives the examples of substituting social media “friendship” for actual face-to-face contact with others, online shopping instead of navigating the brick-and-mortar world and relying on technology to get us to our destinations be that technology online maps or, in days to come, self-driving cars. But the book is not all gloom and doom. Mitchell argues that we can regain national cohesion via the recovery of liberal competence and adherence to three pillars of renewal: committing to the middle-class commercial republic our country was founded as; a sincere effort to address the legacy of slavery; and a modest foreign policy. Given what minefields race and politics are currently, this is a fearless book. Give a listen. Hope J. Leman is a grants researcher. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Michelle Miller-Adams, "The Path to Free College: In Pursuit of Access, Equity, and Prosperity" (Harvard Education Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later May 28, 2021 33:20

In The Path to Free College: In Pursuit of Access, Equity, and Prosperity (Harvard Education Press, 2021), Michelle Miller-Adams argues that tuition-free college, if pursued strategically and in alignment with other sectors, can be a powerful agent of change. She makes the case that broadly accessible and affordable higher education is in the public interest, yielding dividends not just for individuals but also for the communities, states, and nation in which they reside. Miller-Adams offers a comprehensive analysis of the College Promise movement--its history, impacts, and unintended consequences--and its relationship to access, affordability, and workforce readiness.  These factors are explored through data, analysis, and case studies of existing place-based scholarship programs. She also examines historical precursors of the free-college movement and evaluates the possibility of national action. The Path to Free College outlines how the design of free-college programs should relate to programmatic goals and explores the suitability of different approaches. In addition, the book describes both the need for and the challenges of implementing a nationwide free-college program, as well as the variety of models and research-based evidence. Given the raging national debate about tuition-free college, the moment is right for a book that assesses state and local efforts and offers policy leaders and practitioners guidance going forward. The Path to Free College asserts that the promise of private and public gains warrants public investment in tuition-free college. Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Nicholas Freudenberg, "At What Cost: Modern Capitalism and the Future of Health" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2021 35:52

Freedom of choice lies at the heart of American society. Every day, individuals decide what to eat, which doctors to see, who to connect with online, and where to educate their children. Yet, many Americans don't realize that these choices are illusory at best. By the start of the 21st century, every major industrial sector in the global economy was controlled by no more than five transnational corporations, and in about a third of these sectors, a single company accounted for more than 40 percent of global sales. The available options in food, healthcare, education, transportation, and even online presence are largely constructed by corporations, whose sweeping influence have made them the public face and executive agents of 21st-century capitalism.  At What Cost: Modern Capitalism and the Future of Health (Oxford UP, 2021) confronts how globalization, financial speculation, monopolies, and control of science and technology have enhanced the ability of corporations and their allies to overwhelm influences of government, family, community, and faith. As corporations manipulate demand through skillful marketing and veto the choices that undermine their bottom line, free consumer choice has all but disappeared, and with it, the personal protections guarding our collective health. At What Cost argues that the world created by 21st-century capitalism is simply not fit to solve our most serious public health problems, from climate change to opioid addiction. However, author and public health expert Nicholas Freudenberg also shows that though the road is steep, human and planetary well-being constitute a powerful mobilizing idea for a new social movement, one that will restore the power of individual voice to our democracy. With impeccably detailed research and an eye towards a better future, At What Cost arms ordinary citizens, activists, and health professionals with an understanding of how we've arrived at the precipice, and what we can do to ensure a healthier collective future. Claire Clark is a medical educator, historian of medicine, and associate professor in the University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine. She teaches and writes about health behavior in historical context. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Cary Nelson, "Not in Kansas Anymore: Academic Freedom in Palestinian Universities" (AEN, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2021 64:44

“Allying with a Hamas cell (on a Palestinian university campus) is not the same as joining the College Republicans at the University of Kansas...in the West Bank and Gaza, we are not in Kansas anymore” - Cary Nelson Why is there no academic freedom on university campuses in the Palestinian territories? In Not in Kansas Anymore: Academic Freedom in Palestinian Universities (AEN, 2021), Cary Nelson examines this question in the first empirical study of campus life under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas governance. For years, anti-Zionist activists have accused Israel of undermining academic freedom and campus free speech in both Gaza and the West Bank. Not in Kansas Anymore demonstrates conclusively that the major threats to academic freedom come from Palestinians themselves, including from both the Palestinian Authority and from paramilitary and terrorist groups, Hamas most prominent among them. Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at r.garfinkel@yahoo.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Teach-In on Sheikh Jarrah and Israel-Palestine

Play Episode Listen Later May 24, 2021 90:34

Today, I am introducing a recording of an event on Israel-Palestine organized by members of the history department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The event took place on May 19th, 2021 and was co-sponsored by the Jadaliyya e-zine as well as the New Books Network. Here is the text of the event poster: When it comes to Palestine, there is a sharp disconnect between the ways academics specializing in the contemporary Middle East frame the dispute, and the discussions by journalists and mainstream media outlets. The current crisis must be placed within its longer context that includes decades of occupation of Palestinian territory by the Israeli military and Israeli settlers. This panel seeks to reframe the issue by providing scholarly, historical perspectives on the multiple factors that have led to the current events taking place in the Jerusalem neighborhood Sheikh Jarrah, which are now expanding outward. Furthermore, this panel will speak not to intellectual abstractions, but will provide academic contexts to pragmatic concerns that journalists and readers should understand and consider when reporting on or reading about the current situation in Palestine today. Panel Moderator:  Dr. Sarah Shields is Professor of Middle East History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Panelists: Ussama Makdisi is Professor of History and the first holder of the Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair of Arab Studies at Rice University. Sherene Seikaly is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the editor of the Arab Studies Journal, co-founder and co-editor of Jadaliyya e-zine, and editor of Journal of Palestine Studies. Mouin Rabbani is a researcher and analyst specializing in the Arab-Israeli conflict and the contemporary Middle East, and co-editor of Jadaliyya. Podcast Host: Samee Siddiqui is a PhD Candidate at the Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

L. Ayu Saraswati, "Pain Generation: Social Media, Feminist Activism, and the Neoliberal Selfie" (NYU Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2021 69:16

Social media has become the front-and-center arena for feminist activism. Responding to and enacting the political potential of pain inflicted in acts of sexual harassment, violence, and abuse, Asian American and Asian Canadian feminist icons such as rupi kaur, Margaret Cho, and Mia Matsumiya have turned to social media to share their stories with the world. But how does such activism reconcile with the platforms on which it is being cultivated, when its radical messaging is at total odds with the neoliberal logic governing social media? Pain Generation: Social Media, Feminist Activism, and the Neoliberal Selfie (NYU Press, 2021) troubles this phenomenon by articulating a "neoliberal self(ie) gaze" through which these feminist activists see and storify the self on social media as "good" neoliberal subjects who are appealing, inspiring, and entertaining. This book offers a fresh perspective on feminist activism by demonstrating how the problematic neoliberal logic governing digital spaces like Instagram and Twitter limits the possibilities of how one might use social media for feminist activism. Rachel Stuart is a sex work researcher whose primary interest is the lived experiences of sex workers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

David R. Boyd, "The Rights of Nature: A Legal Revolution That Could Save the World" (ECW Press, 2017)

Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2021 57:51

Palila v Hawaii. New Zealand’s Te Urewera Act. Sierra Club v Disney. These legal phrases hardly sound like the makings of a revolution, but beyond the headlines portending environmental catastrophes, a movement of immense import has been building ― in courtrooms, legislatures, and communities across the globe. Cultures and laws are transforming to provide a powerful new approach to protecting the planet and the species with whom we share it. Lawyers from California to New York are fighting to gain legal rights for chimpanzees and killer whales, and lawmakers are ending the era of keeping these intelligent animals in captivity. In Hawaii and India, judges have recognized that endangered species ― from birds to lions ― have the legal right to exist. Around the world, more and more laws are being passed recognizing that ecosystems ― rivers, forests, mountains, and more ― have legally enforceable rights. And if nature has rights, then humans have responsibilities. In The Rights of Nature: A Legal Revolution That Could Save the World (ECW Press, 2017), noted environmental lawyer David Boyd tells this remarkable story, which is, at its heart, one of humans as a species finally growing up. Read this book and your world view will be altered forever. David R. Boyd is an environmental lawyer, professor, and advocate for recognition of the right to live in a healthy environment. Boyd is the award-winning author of eight books, including The Optimistic Environmentalist, and co-chaired Vancouver’s Greenest City initiative with Mayor Gregor Robertson. He lives on Pender Island, B.C. For more information, visit DavidRichardBoyd.com. Mark Molloy is the reviews editor at MAKE: A Literary Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Doron Taussig, "What We Mean by the American Dream: Stories We Tell about Meritocracy" (Cornell UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later May 14, 2021 46:07

Doron Taussig invites us to question the American Dream. Did you earn what you have? Did everyone else? The American Dream is built on the idea that Americans end up, in our working lives, roughly where we deserve to be based on our efforts and abilities—in other words, the United States is supposed to be a meritocracy. When Americans think and talk about our lives, we grapple with this idea, asking how a person got to where he or she is, and whether they earned it.  In What We Mean by the American Dream: Stories We Tell about Meritocracy (Cornell UP, 2021), Taussig tries to find out how we answer that question. Weaving together interviews with Americans from many walks of life—as well as stories told in American media about prominent figures from politics, sports, and business—What We Mean by the American Dream investigates how Americans think about whether an individual deserves an opportunity, job, termination, paycheck, or fortune. Taussig's frank assessment of the state of the American workforce and its dreams allows him to truly and meaningfully ask the question that underpins so many of our political debates and personal frustrations, did you earn it? By doing so, he sheds new light on what we mean by—and how we can deliver on—the American Dream of today. Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Andrew T. Walker, "Liberty for All: Defending Everyone's Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Age" (Brazos Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later May 13, 2021 43:04

Christians are often thought of as defending only their own religious interests in the public square. They are viewed as worrying exclusively about the erosion of their freedom to assemble and to follow their convictions, while not seeming as concerned about publicly defending the rights of Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and atheists to do the same.  In Liberty for All: Defending Everyone's Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Age (Brazos Press, 2021), Andrew T. Walker, an emerging Southern Baptist public theologian, argues for a robust Christian ethic of religious liberty that helps the church defend religious freedom for everyone in a pluralistic society. Whether explicitly religious or not, says Walker, every person is striving to make sense of his or her life. The Christian foundations of religious freedom provide a framework for how Christians can navigate deep religious difference in a secular age. As we practice religious liberty for our neighbors, we can find civility and commonality amid disagreement, further the church's engagement in the public square, and become the strongest defenders of religious liberty for all. Foreword by noted Princeton scholar Robert P. George. Zach McCulley (@zamccull) is a historian of religion and literary cultures in early modern England and PhD candidate in history at Queen's University Belfast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Cristina Beltrán, "Cruelty As Citizenship: How Migrant Suffering Sustains White Democracy" (U Minnesota Press, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later May 13, 2021 55:09

Cristina Beltrán has written a thoughtful and interrogating analysis of the concept of citizenship, particularly in the United States, and how the history of the United States as a country has shaped an understanding of who gets to be “belong” as a member of this society. The book, Cruelty as Citizenship: How Migrant Suffering Sustains White Democracy is part of the Forerunners book series published by the University of Minnesota Press—this series, as we discuss in our conversation, publishes shorter works that dig into ideas across a broad and interdisciplinary spectrum. And this is precisely what Beltrán has done in this book, in terms of engaging historiography, Cultural Studies, LatinX Studies, political theory, American Studies, and other disciplines to aid her unwrapping of our understanding of immigrants and migrants, and why there is an interest in seeing these groups as “others” and, among certain segments of the population, wanting to make sure they suffer in this exclusionary position. Beltrán takes the reader through both imagined and real spaces in terms of the place of the immigrant and the migrant in the United States, weaving the role of the American frontier, the way that settler-colonialism operated inside the U.S., and an understanding of white identity within all of these contexts. Cruelty as Citizenship is an accessible exploration of the tensions within the United States that surround our reactions to those coming to this country (forcibly, or by choice) and how racial identity has shaped the varied experiences and responses of those who come to the United States and those who have proceeded them here. As Beltrán noted in our discussion, she had come to this work in an effort to tease out the different political affiliations within the LatinX population in the U.S. What she found was that in order to understand the political responses by LatinX voters, the entire dynamic between different racial groups and the role of racial domination needs to be explored. Thus, Cruelty as Citizenship is the result of digging into the political dynamics within different racial groups in the United States, and getting at the role of white identity, and thus white democracy, within American cultural concepts and expectations of political and state power. Cruelty as Citizenship guides the reader through multiple facets of American history, politics, culture, and ideas about what it is to be American and who has the right to claim this identity as their own. Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at lgoren@carrollu.edu or tweet to @gorenlj. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Can we Disagree Online Respectfully?: A Discussion with Ian Leslie

Play Episode Listen Later May 11, 2021 55:36

In this episode, we are talking to a British writer Ian Leslie, a journalist and author of acclaimed books on human behavior. His latest book, Conflicted: How Productive Disagreements Lead to Better Outcomes (Harper Business, 2021), is about how to disagree better. Ian regularly publishes in The Guardian, The New Statesman and The Economist. He co-hosted the podcast series Polarized and created a BBC radio comedy series. The piece we talked about today is "How to have Better Arguments Online" (The Guardian, February 21, 2021). Agata Popeda is a Polish-American journalist. Interested in everything, with a particular weakness for literature and foreign relations. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Heath Brown, "Homeschooling the Right: How Conservative Education Activism Erodes the State" (Columbia UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later May 6, 2021 56:14


Political Scientist Heath Brown’s new book, Homeschooling the Right: How Conservative Education Activism Erodes the State (Columbia UP, 2021) is an excellent overview of the homeschooling movement in the United States, but it is much more than an exploration of that movement, since it centers on the way that this movement developed into a parallel political structure within states and localities with substantial capacity to influence policy and politics. Brown notes that initially the homeschool movement was ideologically diverse, but that over the past forty years it has become much more directly connected to conservative politics and the Religious Right. As parents chose to opt out of public education and provide education for their children at home, an entire industry grew up around this undertaking, providing, in the pre-internet days, support, content, approaches, and the means to help parents negotiate this at home. Along the way, as this movement continued to grow and expand, even though it was composed of only a fraction of school-age children, it also became a politically vocal movement, with lobbyists who worked on behalf of homeschoolers to keep government intrusion and regulation at bay.  These threads came together and helped to mobilize the members of the homeschool movement. Brown argues that the ideology and the political dimensions of the homeschool movement ultimately migrated over to the Tea Party Movement that takes root in the first decade of the 21st century, since the homeschool ideas are pulling together conservative libertarianism in the anti-government, anti-regulatory vein, and the reintegration of Christian beliefs within academic settings. As we discussed the book, Brown noted that every Republican presidential candidate over the past two decades has paid attention to the homeschool movement, and that President George W. Bush made a point of thanking the homeschool parents and children who had worked so diligently on his campaign and with the GOP Get Out The Vote efforts, since the homeschool students were able to fold these experiences into their curriculum and assignments. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which developed to provide legal support for home school advocates across the states, had initially become a key player in conservative politics, but has now refocused much more narrowly, specifically on homeschool policy.  Homeschooling the Right also gets at the complicated position of the homeschool movement within a democracy, since the movement itself is a way of removing the individual or the family from the public sphere. What is ironic, and important to understand, as Brown notes, is that this political movement has a louder, heightened political voice because of the capacity to mobilize many of its adherents, thus it is both actively inside and outside the political sphere. This is a wonderfully written book and so accessible to readers—and it will be of interest to many across a broad spectrum of disciplines. Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at lgoren@carrollu.edu or tweet to @gorenlj. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics


Séverine Autesserre, "The Frontlines of Peace: An Insider's Guide to Changing the World" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later May 6, 2021 59:03

The word "peacebuilding" evokes a story we've all heard over and over: violence breaks out, foreign nations are scandalized, peacekeepers and million-dollar donors come rushing in, warring parties sign a peace agreement and, sadly, within months the situation is back to where it started--sometimes worse. But what strategies have worked to build lasting peace in conflict zones, particularly for ordinary citizens on the ground? And why should other ordinary citizens, thousands of miles away, care? In The Frontlines of Peace: An Insider's Guide to Changing the World (Oxford UP, 2021), Severine Autesserre, award-winning researcher and peacebuilder, examines the well-intentioned but inherently flawed peace industry. With examples drawn from across the globe, she reveals that peace can grow in the most unlikely circumstances. Contrary to what most politicians preach, building peace doesn't require billions in aid or massive international interventions. Real, lasting peace requires giving power to local citizens. The Frontlines of Peace tells the stories of the ordinary yet extraordinary individuals and organizations that are confronting violence in their communities effectively. One thing is clear: successful examples of peacebuilding around the world, in countries at war or at peace, have involved innovative grassroots initiatives led by local people, at times supported by foreigners, often employing methods shunned by the international elite. By narrating success stories of this kind, Autesserre shows the radical changes we must take in our approach if we hope to build lasting peace around us--whether we live in Congo, the United States, or elsewhere. Beth Windisch is a national security practitioner. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Jillian C. York, "Silicon Values: The Future of Free Speech Under Surveillance Capitalism" (Verso Book, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later May 6, 2021 62:25

What is the impact of surveillance capitalism on our right to free speech? The Internet once promised to be a place of extraordinary freedom beyond the control of money or politics, but today corporations and platforms exercise more control over our ability to access information and share knowledge to a greater extent than any state. From the online calls to arms in the thick of the Arab Spring to the contemporary front line of misinformation, Jillian York charts the war over our digital rights. She looks at both how the big corporations have become unaccountable censors, and the devastating impact it has had on those who have been censored. In Silicon Values: The Future of Free Speech Under Surveillance Capitalism (Verso Book, 2021), leading campaigner Jillian York, looks at how our rights have become increasingly undermined by the major corporations desire to harvest our personal data and turn it into profit. She also looks at how governments have used the same technology to monitor citizens and threatened our ability to communicate. As a result our daily lives, and private thoughts, are being policed in an unprecedented manner. Who decides the difference between political debate and hate speech? How does this impact on our identity, our ability to create communities and to protest? Who regulates the censors? In response to this threat to our democracy, York proposes a user-powered movement against the platforms that demands change and a new form of ownership over our own data. Marci Mazzarotto is an Assistant Professor of Digital Communication at Georgian Court University in New Jersey. Her research interests center on the interdisciplinary intersection of academic theory and artistic practice with a focus on film and television studies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Paul M. Renfro et al., "Growing Up America: Youth and Politics Since 1945" (U Georgia Press, 2019)

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 29, 2021 51:25

Growing Up America: Youth and Politics Since 1945 (U Georgia Press, 2019) is a fascinating book that weaves together the burgeoning field of Childhood History, the post-World War II history of the United States, and the familiar concepts of political advocacy by younger citizens. Eckelmann Berghel, Fieldston, and Renfro, all historians, have brought together a rigorous and engaging work by other historians, legal scholars, and ethnic and indigenous studies experts, to which they have also contributed their own expertise. This book brings in the actual voices of children in the United States in the postwar period, highlighting their roles as political actors in their own right, and examining so many aspects of politics and culture as seen through the eyes of young people. The contributing authors of Growing Up America are knitting together, in their respective chapters of the book, children as agents, as actively engaged members of the society, and children as symbols, used in a whole host of different ways by different political actors and organizations. The book is divided into three sections that follow the chronological direction of recent American history, but that also focus on conceptual frameworks for each era under examination. The first part of the book is focused on the Cold War period and how children were integrated into both the symbolic and the political constructions of life during the Cold War. This section integrates the book’s first discussion of young people and science, as well as exploring the role that groups like the Boy Scouts played in building America’s Cold War empire. There is also research about the ways in which American girls and women, in particular, were supposed to look and act and how they were taught these qualities in school and how they were to shape the projected image of Americans. The second part of Growing Up America follows the arc of history through the Rights revolution that comes to dominate the political and cultural landscape in the U.S. (and elsewhere) in the 1960s and 1970s. This part of the book examines expected areas of youth involvement, but perhaps in unexpected ways, such as the many pre-adolescents who wrote to President Lyndon Johnson supporting the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The final section of the book examines the late 20th century political turn towards conservativism in American politics, and how this shift impacted and was experienced by children. Growing Up America brings in another chapter focusing on young people and science in this section, with a chapter on young women and STEM. The final chapter in this section evaluates the real and perceived vulnerability of childhood, especially in the racially segregated symbolism that was the milk carton campaign for missing children in the mid-1980s. Growing up America will be of great interest to scholars and students across a range of disciplines and areas of expertise, especially in the ways it draws on different arenas of politics and culture to explore youth engagement in the United States since 1945. Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at lgoren@carrollu.edu or tweet to @gorenlj. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro, "Minds Wide Shut How the New Fundamentalisms Divide Us" (Princeton UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 26, 2021 41:37

Two very thoughtful oddfellows--a labor economist and a Russian literature scholar--take on the world's problems in their newest collaboration, Minds Wide Shut How the New Fundamentalisms Divide Us (Princeton University Press, 2021).  Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro bring to bear the remarkably powerful tool of great 19th century Realist literature (and other parts of the Western canon) to define and counter the all-or-nothing fundamentalisms that have come to divide us in recent years. They touch upon politics, religion and economics, as well as great literature itself, and advocate bridging the divides with assertion and dialogue rather than the crude dismissal of opponents based upon absolute, unyielding assumptions. Daniel Peris is Senior Vice President at Federated Hermes in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at DanielxPeris@gmail.com or via Twitter @HistoryInvestor. His History and Investing blog and Keep Calm & Carry On Investing podcast are at https://strategicdividendinvestor.com/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Ola Innset, "Reinventing Liberalism: The Politics, Philosophy and Economics of Early Neoliberalism (1920-1947)" (Springer, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 26, 2021 52:26

This year, more than 40 books will be published in English with 'Neoliberal' or 'Neoliberalism' in the title. For many in the academy, these words have become interchangeable with “capitalist”, “laissez-faire”, “fiscally austere” or pretty much anything short of full socialism. Yet, when it was first coined by self-proclaimed neoliberals on either side of the second world war, the term had a specific meaning that has since been lost in a culture-war of words. By taking us back to neoliberalism’s embryonic debates in 1920s Vienna and a fly-on-the-wall account of the movement’s founding conference in the Swiss Alps in 1947, Ola Innset brings neoliberalism's specific "dual argument" to life.  Ola Innset is a postdoctoral researcher at the BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo. He has published three other books in Norwegian - the most recent being The Market Turn, a history of neoliberalism in Norway. Reinventing Liberalism: The Politics, Philosophy and Economics of Early Neoliberalism (1920-1947) (Springer, 2021), which is based on a PhD thesis for which he won the 2019 Joseph Dorfman Dissertation Prize from the History of Economics Society, is his first book in English. *The author's own book recommendations are Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism by Melinda Cooper (Zone Books, 2017) and the Outline trilogy by Rachel Cusk (Faber & Faber, 2018-19). Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Global Advisors. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Bernadette Barton, "The Pornification of America: How Raunch Culture Is Ruining Our Society" (NYU Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 23, 2021 41:31

Bernadette Barton, Ph.D. exposes the double standard we attach to women’s sexuality in The Pornification of America: How Raunch Culture is Ruining Our Society (NYU Press, 2021) Pictures of half-naked girls and women can easily be found on screens, billboards, and advertisement across the United States of America. There are pole-dancing courses that can be purchased by women who desire to stay fit. Men share dick pics to nonconsensual passengers on planes and trains. The last American President has also bragged about grabbing women “by their pussy.” This pornification of society is what Barton calls “raunch culture.” In this book, she explores what raunch culture is, why it matters, and how it is ruining America. She exposes how what is shown on the internet has a driving force in what is displayed on the programs, advertisement, and social media we watch. These images then make their way to content that is displayed on our cellphones, available for us to purchase in the fashion industry, and fantasies/desires we have when engaging in sexual intercourse. From twerking and breast implants, to fake nails and push-up bras, Barton explores just how much we encounter raunch culture on a daily basis – porn has become normalized. Drawing on interviews, television shows, movies, and social media, Barton argues that raunch culture matters not because it is sexy, but because it is sexist. She shows how young women are encouraged to be sexy like porn stars, and to be grateful for getting cat-called or receiving unsolicited dick pics. In male politicians vote to restrict women’s access to birth control and abortion. Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. His most recent research, “The Queen and Her Royal Court: A Content Analysis of Doing Gender at a Tulip Queen Pageant“, was published in Gender Issues Journal. He researches culture, social identity, and collective representation as it is presented in everyday social interactions. He is currently studying the social interactions that people engage in at two annual festivals that take place during the summer months along the banks of the Mississippi River. You can learn more about him on his website, Google Scholar, follow him on Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or email him at johnstonmo@wmpenn.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Philip Cunliffe, "Lenin Lives!: Reimagining the Russian Revolution 1917-2017" (Zero Books, 2017)

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 22, 2021 58:30


While a number of books came out on the centenary of the Russian Revolution, few seriously considered how the 20th century would have unfolded differently if the violent forces of counter-revolution and White terror had not crushed the Marxist dreams of a new future. What if the revolution had successfully spread to Western Europe and the United States of America? What would have happened if Rosa Luxemburg was not murdered by Freikorps thugs? What if the colonial empires had turned into non-racist mechanisms for egalitarian global development? As historians, we are not supposed to ask these “what if” questions, but our friends in political science can engage in such thought experiments. Philip Cunliffe’s Lenin Lives! Reimagining the Russian Revolution 1917-2017 (Zero Books, 2017) dares to ask these questions and then to carefully think through the answers. This counter-factual history plays out the consequences of a successful Russian and, more importantly, German Revolution. Cunliffe explores how not only politics and economics would have followed different historical trajectories (for example: no fascism!), but he also considers the environmental and scientific consequences of Lenin living just a little longer. Above all, Lenin Lives! is an exercise in historical empathy and social optimism. How would early 20th century Marxists have shaped the world had they not been subjected to generations of violent repression? Could they have built a better world? Dr. Philip Cunliffe is a Senior Lecturer in International Conflict at the University of Kent’s School of Politics and International Relations. His research interests include Peacekeeping, Humanitarian Intervention, Responsibility to Protect, Self-Determination, Sovereignty, Critical Theory, and IR Theory. He is the author of Legions of Peace: UN Peacekeepers from the Global South (2013), Cosmopolitan dystopia: International intervention and the failure of the West (2020) and The New Twenty Years’ Crisis: A Critique of International Relations, 1999-2019 (2020). He has also published several anthologies. If his voice sounds familiar, you may recognize it from Aufhebunga Bunga, which bills itself as the global politics podcast at the end of the End of History. Michael G. Vann is a professor of world history at California State University, Sacramento. A specialist in imperialism and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, he is the author of The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empires, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam (Oxford University Press, 2018). When he’s not reading or talking about new books with smart people, Mike can be found surfing in Santa Cruz, California. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics


Postscript: Biden's First 100 Days

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 19, 2021 61:58

Much has long been made of the bold legislative action that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt marshalled forward in his first 100 days in office in the midst of the Great Depression. To take stock of the Biden presidency, Lilly and Susan asked three thoughtful political scientists—Dr. Jonathan Bernstein (Bloomberg Media), Dr. Nadia E. Brown (Purdue University), and Dr. Jane Junn (University of Southern California) to interrogate the early days of the Biden Administration. They not only provided keen observations about the Executive Branch, but also about Congress and state governments. The lively discussion shifted quickly from the arbitrary marker of the first 100 days to what is necessary to move policy forward in the closely divided U.S. House and Senate, and what the legislative agenda may look like going forward. We chat about the apparent pause in the swift swirling of our politics—though we debate whether the new administration is a return to normalcy and if it is possible, post Trump, to return to normalcy. In this context, there was a discussion of competence, expertise, intelligence, rationality, preparation, and integrity. We pay close attention to the political parties, with specific focus on the internal tensions in both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Our guests also spend time framing the political landscape with an understanding of the role and place of news media and social media. Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at lgoren@carrollu.edu or tweet to @gorenlj. Susan Liebell is an associate professor of political science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Why Diehard Originalists Aren’t Really Originalists recently appeared in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage and “Retreat from the Rule of Law: Locke and the Perils of Stand Your Ground” was published in the Journal of Politics (July 2020). Email her comments at sliebell@sju.edu or tweet to @SusanLiebell. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Can We Fix Social Media?: A Discussion with Christopher A. Bail

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 15, 2021 45:10

In an era of increasing social isolation, platforms like Facebook and Twitter are among the most important tools we have to understand each other. We use social media as a mirror to decipher our place in society but, as Christopher A. Bail explains, it functions more like a prism that distorts our identities, empowers status-seeking extremists, and renders moderates all but invisible. Breaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make Our Platforms Less Polarizing (Princeton University Press, 2021) challenges common myths about echo chambers, foreign misinformation campaigns, and radicalizing algorithms, revealing that the solution to political tribalism lies deep inside ourselves. Drawing on innovative online experiments and in-depth interviews with social media users from across the political spectrum, this book explains why stepping outside of our echo chambers can make us more polarized, not less. Bail takes you inside the minds of online extremists through vivid narratives that trace their lives on the platforms and off—detailing how they dominate public discourse at the expense of the moderate majority. Wherever you stand on the spectrum of user behavior and political opinion, he offers fresh solutions to counter political tribalism from the bottom up and the top down. He introduces new apps and bots to help readers avoid misperceptions and engage in better conversations with the other side. Finally, he explores what the virtual public square might look like if we could hit “reset” and redesign social media from scratch through a first-of-its-kind experiment on a new social media platform built for scientific research. Providing data-driven recommendations for strengthening our social media connections, Breaking the Social Media Prism shows how to combat online polarization without deleting our accounts. Marshall Poe is the founder and editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at marshallpoe@newbooksnetwork.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Joshua Gunn, "Political Perversion: Rhetorical Aberration in the Time of Trumpeteering" (U of Chicago Press, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 14, 2021 61:48

When Trump became president, much of the country was repelled by what they saw as the vulgar spectacle of his ascent, a perversion of the highest office in the land. In his bold, innovative book, Political Perversion: Rhetorical Aberration in the Time of Trumpeteering (University of Chicago Press, 2020), rhetorician Joshua Gunn argues that this “mean-spirited turn” in American politics (of which Trump is the paragon) is best understood as a structural perversion in our common culture, on a continuum with infantile and “gotcha” forms of entertainment meant to engender provocation and sadistic enjoyment.  On this episode of the New Books Network, Dr. Lee Pierce (s/t) interviews Dr. Joshua Gunn (h) about lots of things other than Trump, from horror shows to sexting to Pee-Wee Herman, structural perversion, and, yes, some Trump. We are recording this episode as the second impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump begins and the Trump fatigue is real. But this is not exactly a book about Trump. As Gunn puts it, “labeling Trump and his ilk as ‘fascist’ displaces our collective responsibility for their ascent to national power.” In Political Perversion, Gunn argues that “Trump’s rhetoric and person are better understood as replicating a style and genre of political discourse” that has a long history, but Gunn has eloquently re-imagined as what he calls “structural perversion.” Gunn argues that perverse rhetorics dominate not only the political sphere but also our daily interactions with others, in person and online. From sexting to campaign rhetoric, Gunn advances a new way to interpret our contemporary political context that explains why so many of us have difficulty deciphering the appeal of aberrant public figures. In this book, Trump is only the tip of a sinister, rapidly growing iceberg, one to which we ourselves unwittingly contribute on a daily basis. We hope you enjoyed listening as much as we enjoyed chatting about this fascinating book. Connect with your host, Lee Pierce, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for interview previews, the best book selfies, and new episode alerts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Chuck Collins, "The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions" (Polity, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 26, 2021 36:40


For decades, a secret army of tax attorneys, accountants and wealth managers has been developing into the shadowy Wealth Defense Industry. These ‘agents of inequality’ are paid millions to hide trillions for the richest 0.01%. In The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions (Polity, 2021), inequality expert Chuck Collins, who himself inherited a fortune, interviews the leading players and gives a unique insider account of how this industry is doing everything it can to create and entrench hereditary dynasties of wealth and power. He exposes the inner workings of these “agents of inequality”, showing how they deploy anonymous shell companies, family offices, offshore accounts, opaque trusts, and sham transactions to ensure the world’s richest pay next to no tax. He ends by outlining a robust set of policies that democratic nations can implement to shut down the Wealth Defense Industry for good. This shocking exposé of the insidious machinery of inequality is essential reading for anyone wanting the inside story of our age of plutocratic plunder and stashed cash. Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics


Robbie Shilliam, "Decolonizing Politics: An Introduction" (Polity Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 24, 2021 66:55

Robbie Shilliam’s new book for the Polity Press’s “Decolonizing the Curriculum” series explores how the discipline of political science was born of colonialism, and takes us through different ways of reimagining our study of politics. In this conversation, Robbie talks to host Yi Ning Chang not just about reconceptualizing the various subfields, but also about the university, the politics of knowledge production in and beyond the academy, and how decolonizing, for him, is fundamentally about transforming our experience of higher education. Decolonizing Politics: An Introduction (Polity Press, 2021) argues that political science emerged as a response to the challenges of imperial administration and the demands of colonial rule. While not all political scientists were colonial cheerleaders, their thinking was nevertheless framed by colonial assumptions that influence the study of politics to this day. This book offers students a lens through which to decolonize the main themes and issues of political science - from human nature, rights, and citizenship, to development and global justice. Not content with revealing the colonial legacies that still inform the discipline, the book also introduces students to a wide range of intellectual resources from the (post)colonial world that will help them think through the same themes and issues more expansively. Decolonizing Politics is a much-needed critical guide for students of political science. It shifts the study of political science from the centers of power to its margins, where the majority of humanity lives. Ultimately, the book argues that those who occupy the margins are not powerless. Rather, marginal positions might afford a deeper understanding of politics than can be provided by mainstream approaches. Yi Ning Chang is a PhD student in political theory at the Department of Government at Harvard University. She works on the history of contemporary political thought, postcolonial theory and race, and the global histories of anticolonialism and anti-imperialism in Southeast Asia. Yi Ning can be reached at yiningchang@g.harvard.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Benjamin L. McKean, "Disorienting Neoliberalism: Global Justice and the Outer Limit of Freedom" (Oxford UP, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 18, 2021 47:33

Disorienting Neoliberalism: Global Justice and the Outer Limit of Freedom (Oxford UP, 2020) takes on a number of different dimensions of neoliberalism to help readers consider not only how this ideological framework structures our lives, but also to lead us towards the capacity to reorient our thinking and understanding of the world, and politics. Benjamin McKean explores the way that we can try to see beyond the operational framing that neoliberalism provides in order to prompt readers, and, more specifically, political theorists, to a kind of activism.  McKean’s thesis compels us to think about our political and economic situations in a broader, global perspective, as our consumer experiences are, in fact, global in nature and operation. Disorienting Neoliberalism demystifies the bewildering transnational components of the commodities we interact with on a daily basis, unpacking the way that the transnational supply chain for our goods and services obscures the exploitation and violence inherent in the production of these goods. Because of the promise of freedom through the market as a key attraction for neoliberal thinking, McKean also investigates how much freedom individuals actually have if their entire orientation – in politics and economics – is framed by neoliberalism. We are made to feel powerful as consumers in the market since we can make choices and experience a kind of freedom in this context. But this is based on the conception that the market itself is out of our control and is, itself, disorienting. Thus, we need to reconsider what we think about as our real, actual freedom and how this is contextualized by our experiences and environments. McKean’s analysis asks the reader to try to consider how our freedom is constrained within neoliberalism, and what it is that we need to do to reorient our thinking and our actions to move beyond this framework. Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at lgoren@carrollu.edu or tweet to @gorenlj. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Cas Mudde, "The Far Right Today" (Polity, 2019)

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 15, 2021 56:43

What is the difference between Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front and Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president? Why should we understand Trump as part of a dangerous “fourth wave” of radical right politicians? Dr. Cas Mudde’s new book The Far Right Today (Polity, 2019) argues that politicians like Le Pen represented a 20th-century marginalized populist radical right party but Trump (and others across the globe) represent a fourth wave in which the 21st-century radical right parties are normalized and mainstreamed all over the world such that three of the world’s largest democracies (India, the United States, and Brazil) have or have had radical right leaders. It is this normalization that Mudde identifies as crucial to our understanding of the radical right around the globe – and any possible responses available from liberal democracies. Cas Mudde is the Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia and a Professor II in the Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX) at the University of Oslo. Mudde has written numerous scholarly books published in 23 languages (many of which focus on extremism and populism) and regularly publishes in popular outlets such as The Guardian. He hosts Radikaal, a podcast about the radical aspects politics, music, and sports. Susan Liebell is an associate professor of political science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Why Diehard Originalists Aren’t Really Originalists recently appeared in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage and “Retreat from the Rule of Law: Locke and the Perils of Stand Your Ground” was published in the Journal of Politics (July 2020). Email her comments at sliebell@sju.edu or tweet to @SusanLiebell. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Annika Smethurst, "On Secrets" (Hachette, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 10, 2021 46:29

On June 4, Federal Police raided the home of Walkley award-winning journalist Annika Smethurst, changing her life forever. The police claimed they were investigating the publication of classified information, her employer called it a 'dangerous act of intimidation'. Annika believes she was simply doing her job. Ms Smethurst became the accidental poster woman for press freedom. Politicians even debated the merits of police searching through her underwear drawer. On Secrets (Hachette, 2020) considers the impact this invasion has had on her life, and examines press freedom. Annika Smethurst is a Walkley award-winning journalist. She is the Daily Telegraph's and Sunday Herald Sun's political editor. Bede Haines is a solicitor, specialising in litigation and a partner at Holding Redlich, an Australian commercial law firm. He lives in Sydney, Australia. Known to read books, ride bikes and eat cereal (often). bede.haines@holdingredlich.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/politics-and-polemics

Mark R. Rank, "Poorly Understood: What America Gets Wrong about Poverty" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 4, 2021 40:03

Few topics have as many myths, stereotypes, and misperceptions surrounding them as that of poverty in America. The poor have been badly misunderstood since the beginnings of the country, with the rhetoric only ratcheting up in recent times. Our current era of fake news, alternative facts, and media partisanship has led to a breeding ground for all types of myths and misinformation to gain traction and legitimacy. Poorly Understood: What America Gets Wrong about Poverty (Oxford UP, 2021) is the first book to systematically address and confront many of the most widespread myths pertaining to poverty. Mark Robert Rank, Lawrence M. Eppard, and Heather E. Bullock powerfully demonstrate that the realities of poverty are much different than the myths; indeed in many ways they are more disturbing. The idealized image of American society is one of abundant opportunities, with hard work being rewarded by economic prosperity. But what if this picture is wrong? What if poverty is an experience that touches the majority of Americans? What if hard work does not necessarily lead to economic well-being? What if the reasons for poverty are largely beyond the control of individuals? And if all of the evidence necessary to disprove these myths has been readily available for years, why do they remain so stubbornly pervasive? These are much more disturbing realities to consider because they call into question the very core of America's identity. Armed with the latest research, Poorly Understood not only challenges the myths of poverty and inequality, but it explains why these myths continue to exist, providing an innovative blueprint for how the nation can move forward to effectively alleviate American poverty. Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm

Alison Phipps, "Me, Not You: The Trouble with Mainstream Feminism" (Manchester UP, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 16, 2021 59:05


We are joined today by Alison Phipps, Professor in Gender Studies and the University of Sussex to talk about her newest book, Me, Not You: The Trouble with Mainstream Feminism (Manchester University Press, 2020). The Me Too movement, started by Black feminist Tarana Burke in 2006, went viral as a hashtag eleven years later after a tweet by white actor Alyssa Milano. Mainstream movements like #MeToo have often built on and co-opted the work of women of colour, while refusing to learn from them or centre their concerns. Far too often, the message is not ‘Me, Too’ but ‘Me, Not You’. Alison Phipps argues that this is not just a lack of solidarity. Privileged white women also sacrifice more marginalised people to achieve their aims, or even define them as enemies when they get in the way. Me, not you argues that the mainstream movement against sexual violence expresses a political whiteness that both reflects its demographics and limits its revolutionary potential. Privileged white women use their traumatic experiences to create media outrage, while relying on state power and bureaucracy to purge ‘bad men’ from elite institutions with little concern for where they might appear next. In their attacks on sex workers and trans people, the more reactionary branches of this feminist movement play into the hands of the resurgent far-right. Dr. Phipps is the author of Women in Science, Engineering and Technology: Three Decades of UK Initiatives (Trentham Books, 2008), an examination of the mixed results of the UK’s attempts to address gender disparity STEM fields through policy and The Politics of the Body: Gender in a Neoliberal and Neoconservative Age (Polity Press, 2014) an award-winning look at the way feminists find themselves negotiating a very tight passage between the Scylla and Charybdis of neoconservatives and neoliberals, as well as a bevy or articles on similar issues. Jana Byars is the Academic Director of Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm


Richard Kreitner, "Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America's Imperfect Union" (Little Brown, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 8, 2021 75:52

Journalists, scholars, politicians, and citizens often assume that calls for secession are political or historical aberrations. Our founding myth is that the Civil War divided an otherwise united nation and we soon reconstructed the United States to form a more perfect union. But Richard Kreitner’s provocative new book, Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America's Imperfect Union (Little Brown, 2020), argues that “disunion” is the hidden thread in the history of the United States. Kreitner is a contributing writer to The Nation who has also published in The New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, USA Today, Slate, Raritan, and The Baffler. American politics from colonial times to the present, Break it Up argues, has always included “forces that have conspired to divide it” and Kreitner insists that we get a more nuanced and comprehensive “understanding of both our contentious past and our uncertain future” if we confront that history. Drawing on rich scholarship from multiple disciplines Break It Up argues that the United States has “always been riven by race and religion, cleaved by class and culture, sundered by section, and fragmented by geography.” The United States was always a “tentative proposition” – an “experiment that might fail at any time.” The book insists that asking questions about unity is the “prerequisite for serious discussion about what we Americans want the future to hold for ourselves and this perennially divided union.” Moreover, facing disunion assists in the work of building an inclusive, multiracial democracy capable of combating climate change or racial equality. As the book starkly puts it, the U.S. should either finish the work of Reconstruction or give up on the idea of the “united” states as currently conceived. Break It Up uses four eras to trace the theme of disunion. “A Vast, Unwieldy Machine” deals with the colonial and Revolutionary periods with Kreitner arguing that resisting a common enemy in the British should not be mistaken for unity. For example, the process of unification was characterized by bitter disagreements over representation and the protection of enslavement in the proposed Constitution. Here, Kreitner reviews some of what is well known in the literature but also smaller (and heated) controversies that may surprise those who think they know the period well. The second era highlights the disagreements in the early Republic over the increase in land (e.g., the Louisiana Purchase) and Aaron Burr’s attempt to break off parts of the country to form an independent Empire. For Hamilton: An American Musical buffs, Kreitner challenges some of Chernow’s assumptions to create a more nuanced understanding of the first Secretary of the Treasury. Kreitner’s third era documents the increasing appetite for disunion in the years before the American Civil War – and the ultimate schism. The fourth period is less defined by chronology. “Return of the Repressed” ranges from Reconstruction to 21st century plans for secession. Kreitner argues that Reconstruction’s failure to resolve fundamental conflicts leave us with a nation perpetually split over race and class. Susan Liebell is an associate professor of political science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Why Diehard Originalists Aren’t Really Originalists recently appeared in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage and “Retreat from the Rule of Law: Locke and the Perils of Stand Your Ground” was published in the Journal of Politics (July 2020). Email her comments at sliebell@sju.edu or tweet to @SusanLiebell. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Manfred Steger and Ravi Roy, "Neoliberalism: a Very Short Introduction" (Oxford University Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 8, 2021 51:23


George Orwell once said that “the word ‘fascism’ has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’”. The word ‘neoliberalism’ knows exactly how it feels. How did a term coined by a group of anti-authoritarian German economists in the 1930s to label a philosophy that stressed the role of the state in ensuring efficient competition turn into more of an insult than a description 50 years later? Has the nationalist tide that swept through Washington, London, Rome, Brasília, and Budapest brought the neoliberal era to end or helped relaunch its “third wave”? What differentiates neo- from ordo- from classical liberalism? In this second edition of Neoliberalism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2021), Manfred Steger and Ravi Roy seek to answer these questions, and retell the history of an idea, its mutations and its future. Manfred Steger is Professor of Sociology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Ravi Roy is Associate Professor of Political Science and W. Edwards Deming Fellow in Public Affairs at Southern Utah University. *The authors’ book recommendations are Other People's Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People? by John Kay (Profile Books, 2016) and Imperium by Robert Harris (Arrow, 2009). Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Global Advisors. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


Richard Lachmann, "First Class Passengers on a Sinking Ship: Elite Politics and the Decline of Great Powers" (Verso, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 2, 2021 64:41

Being a great power almost seems to invite discussion of decline: whether you are declining, what can be done to prevent or arrest it, and what the consequences of decline might ultimately be. The United States has not managed to escape from any of this analysis, but understanding how imperial and hegemonic decline has played out historically often does not inform these discussions. Is the United States an empire, or it better described as a hegemon? What’s the meaningful difference, especially in the current content of the United States’ global position? Richard Lachmann’s First-Class Passengers on a Sinking Ship: Elite Politics and the Decline of Great Powers (Verso, 2020) explores these questions. Lachmann examines prior explanations of great power decline and finds them wanting for a variety of different reasons. Lachmann instead focuses on a series of factors that first of all enable hegemony, but also the factors that ultimately cause its collapse. Lachmann examines the cause of the Netherlands and the British Empire before examining how these factor are currently at play in the United States. Zeb Larson is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University with a PhD in History. His research deals with the anti-apartheid movement in the United States. To suggest a recent title or to contact him, please send an e-mail to zeb.larson@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Lenny Henry and Marcus Ryder, "Access All Areas: The Diversity Manifesto for TV and Beyond" (Faber and Faber, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 29, 2021 38:24

How can we create a more equal media industry? In Access All Areas: The Diversity Manifesto for TV and Beyond, Marcus Ryder and Sir Lenny Henry, both founder members of the The Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity at Birmingham City University, tell the story of their work to transform British television and set out an eight point manifesto for change. The book lays out the diversity crisis in the media industry, setting out the numerous barriers confronting those who are labelled as minorities (despite being the majority of the population!) and showing why previous efforts to address the problems have failed. By doing so, the book sets up its alternatives that will create a more just, and thus more diverse, television industry. The book, along with Marcus’ blog, is essential reading for academics and the public, both in the UK and beyond. Dave O'Brien is Chancellor's Fellow, Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Edinburgh's College of Art. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Diana Taylor, "¡Presente!: The Politics of Presence" (Duke UP, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 29, 2021 54:24

Diana Taylor's ¡Presente! The Politics of Presence (Duke University Press, 2020) examines what it means to be presente in the context of protest, theatre, and everyday life. Taylor pays particular attention to the performativity of protest politics and the politics of performance art in the Americas, including case studies of the Zapatistas, post-dictatorship historical memory in Chile and Argentina, and the leftist pranksters The Yes Men. ¡Presente! is a wide-ranging and entertaining work of scholarship that looks at how performance and performance studies can become useful tools in the fight against neo-liberal capitalism and in the creation of new modes of living. Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Leigh Claire La Berge, "Wages Against Artwork: Decommodified Labor and the Claims of Socially Engaged Art" (Duke UP, 2019)

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 28, 2021 61:56

The last twenty years have seen a rise in the production, circulation, and criticism of new forms of socially engaged art aimed at achieving social justice and economic equality.  Leigh Claire La Berge, author of Leigh Claire La Berge, Wages Against Artwork: Decommodified Labor and the Claims of Socially Engaged Art (Duke UP, 2019), speaks with Pierre d'Alancaisez about what she calls decommodified labor — the slow diminishment of wages alongside an increase in the demands of work. Outlining the ways in which artists relate to work, La Berge examines how artists and organizers create institutions to address their own precarity and why the increasing presence of animals and children in contemporary art points to the turn away from paid labor. Leigh Claire La Berge is Assistant Professor of English at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York. She's the author of Scandals and Abstraction (about which she spoke on an earlier episode), and co-editor of Reading Capitalist Realism. She's currently working on expanding her project Marx for Cats, initiated with Caroline Woolard and Or Zubalsky. La Berge's discusses the proliferation of animals in contemporary art starting 45 minutes in the episode.  Pierre d’Alancaisez is a contemprary art curator, cultural strategist, researcher. Sometime scientist, financial services professional. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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