Christopher Powell, “Barbaric Civilization: A Critical Sociology of Genocide” (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2011)
What exactly is genocide? Is there a fundamental difference between episodes of genocide and how we go about our daily life? Or can it be said that the roots of the modern world, or civilization itself, has the potential to produce genocide? If the latter is true, then what does... Read More
Dick Hobbs, “Lush Life: Constructing Organized Crime in the UK” (Oxford UP, 2013)
There is a fascinating area of study of how communities around the world realized there was such a concept as organized crime. This topic is driven by social attitudes and, to an increasing degree, by media images such as the Godfather movies. Some criminal groups actually model their movie icons,... Read More
Paul O’Connor, “Islam in Hong Kong: Muslims and Everyday Life in China’s World City” (Hong Kong UP, 2012)
What does the everyday experience of Muslim minorities look like? We have often heard about what Muslims deal with in the West. But what about Muslim minorities in the East? This was one of the questions Paul O’Connor, professor in the Anthropology department at the Chinese University of Hong Kong,... Read More
W. Caleb McDaniel, “The Problem of Democracy in the Age of Slavery: Garrisonian Abolitionists and Transatlantic Reform” (LSU Press, 2013)
How could members of a movement committed to cosmopolitanism accommodate nationalism? How could men and women committed to non-resistance reconcile themselves to politics when the authority of even democratic polities depended ultimately upon the threat of force? How could activists committed to equality — the essence of democracy — deny... Read More
Sarah Churchwell, “Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of the Great Gatsby” (Virago, 2013)
One phenomenon of movies made of classic novels is that the movie often says a lot more about the time of its making than about the time of the novel. And so Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is more a depiction of a 2012 idea of the 1920s than a... Read More
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