Fabian Drixler, “Mabiki: Infanticide and Population Growth in Eastern Japan, 1660-1950” (University of California Press, 2013)
The book opens on a scene in the mountains of Gumna, Japan. A midwife kneels next to a mother who has just given birth, and she proceeds to strangle the newborn. It’s an arresting way to begin an inspiring new… Read More
Sarah Banet-Weiser, “Authentic: The Politics of Ambivalence in a Brand Culture” (NYU Press, 2013)
In Authentic: The Politics of Ambivalence in a Brand Culture (NYU Press, 2013), Sarah Banet-Weiser scrutinizes the spread of brand culture into other spheres of social life that the market–at least in our imaginations–had left untouched: politics, religion, creativity, and… Read More
Elizabeth A. Armstrong and Laura T. Hamilton, “Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality” (Harvard UP, 2013)
One of the basic rules of human behavior is that people generally want to do what their peers do. If your friends like jazz, you’ll probably like jazz. If your friends want to go to the movies, you’ll probably want… Read More
Matthew W. Hughey, “White Bound: Nationalists, Antiracists, and the Shared Meanings of Race” (Stanford UP, 2012)
Whiteness studies has confirmed that race is a social construction, even for whites, and that the identity we understand as white is also a social invention. Those who benefit from this invention accrue privileges that others either must pay dearly… Read More
David Garland, “Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition” (Harvard UP, 2010)
Why is it that the United States continues to enforce the death penalty when the rest of the Western world abolished its use a little over three decades ago? That question, along with many other equally important questions, is at… Read More
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