Carrie Pitzulo, “Bachelors and Bunnies: The Sexual Politics of Playboy” (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
Playboy is having (another) moment. Since its fiftieth birthday in 2003, the brand’s relevance has risen after a period of decline. The Girls Next Door, a reality television show about the goings-on at Hugh Hefner’s Los Angeles mansion, was a breakout hit starting in 2005, and it eventually spawned two... Read More
Peter Baehr, “Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism, and the Social Sciences” (Stanford UP, 2010)
Contemporary research into illiberal governments draws much inspiration from the writings of Hannah Arendt. In her classic The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), Arendt claimed that Nazi Germany and Bolshevik Russia were not merely typical authoritarian regimes, but rather were despotisms of a new “totalitarian” sort. Arendt believed “totalitarianism” was entirely... Read More
Jonathan Metzl, “The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease” (Beacon Press, 2010)
Schizophrenia is a real, frightening, debilitating disease. But what are we to make of the fact that several studies show that African Americans are two to three times more likely than white Americans to be diagnosed with this malady, and that black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean are six... Read More
Francesco Duina, “Winning: Reflections on an American Obsession” (Princeton University Press, 2010)
“Winning is everything” is such a common phrase that we rarely question where it comes from and why we apply it to everyday experiences.  One can win a little league game, an election, the lottery, a friendly competition at work or an unfriendly one.  Entrepreneurs can win in business and patients... Read More
Teresa Gowan, “Hobos, Hustlers and Backsliders-Homeless in San Francisco” (University of Minnesota Press, 2010)
Why do people become homeless? Is it because some people have made bad decisions in their lives or can’t hold onto a stable job? Or is homelessness the result of a depilating mental illness or chemical addiction? From a different perspective, perhaps homelessness is less an “individual issue” but more... Read More