New Books Network

Kevin Duong, “The Virtues of Violence: Democracy Against Disintegration in Modern France” (Oxford UP, 2020)
Kevin Duong, a political theorist in the Politics Department at the University of Virginia, has written a fascinating analysis of the way that violence has been used, in a sense, to create or promote solidarity during the course of the “long nineteenth century” in France.  Duong explores four separate periods... Read More
Kory E. Olson, “The Cartographic Capital: Mapping Third Republic Paris” (Liverpool UP, 2018)
When is the last time you looked at/consulted a paper map? Perhaps you have one hanging on a wall at home or work, framed or not. Or maybe you have some old road maps in a stack somewhere, as I do, sitting untouched since various digital forms have made printed... Read More
Adrian Johnston, “Prolegomena to Any Future Materialism: The Outcome of Contemporary French Philosophy ” (Northwestern UP, 2013)
In the contemporary philosophical landscape, a variety of materialist ontologies have appeared, all wrestling with various political and philosophical questions in light of a post-God ontology. Entering into this discussion is Adrian Johnston, with his 3-volume ​Prolegomena to Any Future Materialism​, an attempt to develop a systematic and thoroughly atheistic... Read More
David A. Bateman, “Disenfranchising Democracy: Constructing the Electorate in the US, the UK, and France” (Cambridge UP, 2020)
David A. Bateman’s fascinating new book opens with a puzzle. In 19th-century America, why was mass democratization – abolishing property and tax qualifications – accompanied by the mass disenfranchisement of black, male citizens? The book highlights the importance of understanding democratization as both a process of extending political rights and... Read More
Laurence Monnais, “The Colonial Life of Pharmaceuticals: Medicines and Modernity in Vietnam” (Cambridge UP, 2019)
Situated at the crossroads between the history of colonialism, of modern Southeast Asia, and of medical pluralism, this history of medicine and health traces the life of pharmaceuticals in Vietnam under French rule. In The Colonial Life of Pharmaceuticals: Medicines and Modernity in Vietnam (Cambridge University Press, 2019), Laurence Monnais... Read More
Great Books: Melissa Schwartzberg on Rousseau’s “The Social Contract”
“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” The opening sentence of 18th century philosopher Jean-Jacques Roussau’s The Social Contract poses a central question for all of us. Why do we live under conditions of inequality, violence, dependency and general unhappiness (just look on twitter!) if society is... Read More
David Lebovitz, “Drinking French” (Ten Speed Press, 2020)
Few experiences can top sitting in a Parisian cafe and watching the world go by, a glass of something at your elbow. But if you’ve ever gone inside the cafe and confronted the battalion of beautiful bottles behind the bar, you may have come to the reluctant conclusion that there... Read More
Great Books: Denis Hollier on Lévi-Strauss’ “Tristes Tropiques”
Claude Lévi-Strauss’ Tristes Tropiques is one of the great books of the 20th century: intellectually bold, morally capacious, and it aims to understand nothing less than the elemental workings of the human mind. Ostensibly a travelogue and ethnographic account of a European’s fieldwork among indigenous people in mid-20th century Brazil,... Read More