Saturday, March 27, 2021

ENG 102: Books for Argument Essay Research Projects (Interviews and Analysis)


"#Charleston Syllabus." African American Intellectual History Society (2016)  ["Here is a list of readings that educators can use to broach conversations in the classroom about the horrendous events that unfolded in Charleston, South Carolina on the evening of June 17, 2015. These readings provide valuable information about the history of racial violence in this country and contextualize the history of race relations in South Carolina and the United States in general. They also offer insights on race, racial identities, global white supremacy and black resistance. All readings are arranged by date of publication."]

Bamford, James. "On NSA Secrets, Keith Alexander’s Influence & Massive Growth of Surveillance, Cyberwar." Democracy Now (June 14, 2013) ["As the U.S. vows to take “all necessary steps” to pursue whistleblower Edward Snowden, James Bamford joins us to discuss the National Security Agency’s secret expansion of government surveillance and cyber warfare. In his latest reporting for Wired magazine, Bamford profiles NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander and connects the dots on PRISM, phone surveillance and the NSA’s massive spy center in Bluffdale, Utah. Says Bamford of Alexander: “Never before has anyone in America’s intelligence sphere come close to his degree of power, the number of people under his command, the expanse of his rule, the length of his reign or the depth of his secrecy.” The author of The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, Bamford has covered the National Security Agency for the last three decades, after helping expose its existence in the 1980s."]

---. The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9-11 to the Eavesdropping on America. Doubleday, 2008. ["James Bamford has been the preeminent expert on the National Security Agency since his reporting revealed the agency’s existence in the 1980s. Now Bamford describes the transformation of the NSA since 9/11, as the agency increasingly turns its high-tech ears on the American public. The Shadow Factory reconstructs how the NSA missed a chance to thwart the 9/11 hijackers and details how this mistake has led to a heightening of domestic surveillance. In disturbing detail, Bamford describes exactly how every American’s data is being mined and what is being done with it. Any reader who thinks America’s liberties are being protected by Congress will be shocked and appalled at what is revealed here."]

Becker, Elizabeth. "You Don't Belong Here." On the Media (April 30, 2021) ["Before the Vietnam War there was a law that banned women from reporting on the frontlines of any war for the U.S. When President Johnson refused to officially declare a state of war in Vietnam, an opening appeared: no war, no ban. A handful of pioneering women bought one-way tickets into the battlefield. They had no editors, no health insurance and little or no formal training. This week, Brooke spoke about this time to reporter Elizabeth Becker, formerly a Washington Post war correspondent in Cambodia, NPR's foreign editor and then national security correspondent for the New York Times. Becker is the author of a new book: You Don't Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War."]

Belew, Kathleen. "Understanding the White Power Movement." On the Media (March 22, 2019) ["When events like Christchurch happen, the elements may indeed be obvious: Guns. Sociopathy. Alienation. But the obvious is also reductive, and risks obscuring larger forces at play. The same goes with the vocabulary of race violence: White nationalist. White identity. Alt-right. White supremacy. White power. They’re used interchangeably, which further clouds the picture. Christchurch, says University of Chicago professor Kathleen Belew, is the latest manifestation not just of resentment and paranoia, or even radical racism, but of a clearly defined revolutionary movement: the white power movement. Belew is author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, which describes the history of the white power movement that consolidated after the Vietnam War. She argues that if society is to wage an effective response to the white power threat, we need to work to understand it."]

Benjamin, Medea and Soraya Chemaly. "Where Does #MeToo Go from Here? Women Are 'On Fire' with Rage as Kavanaugh Joins Supreme Court." Democracy Now (October 8, 2018) ["Thousands of women protested outside the U.S. Capitol and across the country on Saturday as Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, just hours after the Senate voted to confirm him. “I hope that it is deep enough that it is forming a strong, cohesive movement among people that will resonate through this country and change the culture,” says Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink, who joined the protests. We also speak with longtime feminist activist and writer Soraya Chemaly, author of the new book, Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger. She says conservatives’ biggest fear since the “Me Too” movement is that women are telling the truth. “And if women are telling the truth,” Chemaly notes, “then it’s not just an indictment of a few bad apples, but an indictment of the entire system.”"]

Capria, Don, et al. "A Mob Boss Starts a Movement." History This Week (June 28, 2021) ["June 28, 1971. It’s the second annual “Unity Day” rally at Columbus Circle in New York City, organized by the Italian American Civil Rights League. Joe Colombo is the very public face of the League, a group that actively fights discrimination and ugly stereotypes against the Italian-American community, such as their association with organized crime and the Mafia. The problem? That same Joe Colombo is a leader of the Mafia, one of the heads of the “Five Families” in New York. It’s an open secret; many people across the city know who he really is, and the FBI is hot on his tail, trying to catch him in the act. On this day, Colombo’s dual life—as a media-facing advocate and as an underground criminal—will come crashing down in a violent display. Special thanks to Don Capria, co-author of Colombo: The Unsolved Murder; Selwyn Raab, veteran Mafia reporter and author of Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires; and Geoff Schumacher, vice president of exhibits and programs for the Mob Museum in Las Vegas."]

Clark, Ashley. "Bamboozled: New Millennium, Same Bullshit."  The Current (March 17, 2021) [Discusses themes of his book Facing Blackness: Media and Minstrelsy in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (2015): "Four years on, I stand by my assessment of the centrality of Bamboozled to Lee’s output, and his most significant subsequent releases have explicitly harked back to itmore than to any other film. Consider the wild, outsize, sex-and-guns social satire of Chi-Raq (2015), or the Oscar-winning box-office smash BlacKkKlansman (2018), a more easily digestible and conventional film than Bamboozled but one that nevertheless echoes its predecessorin its sharply critical deployment of footage from Gone with the Wind and The Birth of a Nation to illustrate the long-held racist myths seeping from American entertainment into the national social and political fabric. It seems unlikely, though, that Lee will ever again produce something with the sheer, unsettling force of Bamboozled—as much an exorcism as a film, a brilliant, fiery obelisk that turns the demonic power of racism inside out for the world to gaze upon, if it dares."]

Cobbina, Jennifer E. "Hands Up, Don't Shoot." This is Not a Pipe (November 7, 2019) ["Jennifer E. Cobbina discusses her book Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: Why the Protests in Ferguson and Baltimore Matter, and How they Changed America with Chris Richardson. Cobbina is an Associate Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. She received her PhD in criminal justice at the University of Missouri – St. Louis in 2009. Dr. Cobbina’s areas of expertise center on police-community relations, youth violence, and concentrated neighborhood disadvantage, with a special focus on the experiences of minority youth and the impact of race, class, and gender on criminal justice practices. Her research also focuses on corrections, prisoner reentry and the understanding of recidivism and desistance from crime. Her mixed-methods qualitative and quantitative research predicts recidivism and desistance outcomes and also explores offenders’ perceptions regarding how they manage reentry and integration back into the community. Her scholarship is centered on improving the reentry outcomes of individuals with a felony record and/or has been formerly incarcerated. Her goal is to produce research that is theoretically informed, empirically rich, and informs criminal justice policy and crime control practices. Dr. Cobbina’s research has been published in a number of academic journals, including Criminology, Justice Quarterly, Crime and Delinquency, Criminal Justice & Behavior, British Journal of Criminology, and Journal of Crime and Justice."]

Cohn, Jonathan. "The Burden of Choice." This is Not a Pipe (December 20, 2020) ["Jonathan Cohn discusses his book The Burden of Choice: Recommendations, Subversion, and Algorithmic Culture with Chris Richardson. Cohn is an assistant professor of digital cultures and head of the digital humanities program at the University of Alberta. His research focuses on digital culture and history, critical algorithmic studies, film and media, postfeminist and postracial discourses…and television. With Dr. Jennifer Porst, he is co-editing Very Special Episodes: Event Television and Social Change (Rutgers, forthcoming) on the history of how the television industry has confronted traumatic events and cultural change. In the meantime, he is thinking a lot about what differences might exist between algorithmic and AI culture, and the experiences of incoherence endemic to our current moment. In an effort to make our relationship with AI more collaborative, ethical and egalitarian, he is also creating a program to help humanities scholars co-write and research with AI."]

Connolly, N.D.B. "Race and Real Estate in Miami." Who Makes Cents #5 (September 5, 2014) ["N.D.B. Connolly discusses how examining the ownership of real estate in Miami changes our perspective on the history of capitalism and African American history in the twentieth century. Ever wondered how real estate factors into American history? Curious about the impact of landlord-tenant struggles on the history of race in America? Listen to find out. N.D.B. Connolly is Assistant Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida."]

Connor, J.D., Florence Dore and Dan Sinykin. "Rebel Yale: Reading and Feeling Hillbilly Elegy." Los Angeles Review of Books (January 10, 2018)

Davis, Joseph E. "When Your Authenticity is an Act, Something's Gone Wrong." Psyche (March 31, 2021) [Discusses multiple books that examine this issue.]

Fawaz, Ramzi. "The New Mutants." This Is Not a Pipe (February 22, 2018) ["Ramzi Fawaz discusses his book The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics with Chris Richardson. Fawaz is assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The New Mutants won the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Fellowship Award for best first book manuscript in LGBT Studies and the 2017 ASAP Book Prize of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present. His work has been published in numerous journals including American Literature, GLQ, Feminist Studies, Callaloo, and Feminist Review. He is currently co-editing a special issue of American Literature with Darieck Scott titled "Queer About Comics," and co-editing Keywords in Comics Studies with Deborah Whaley and Shelley Streeby for NYU Press. His new book Queer Forms, explores the relationship between feminist and queer politics and formal innovation in the art and culture of movements for women’s and gay liberation. Queer Forms will be published by NYU Press."]

Fhlainn, Sorcha Ní. "Postmodern Vampires." This Is Not a Pipe (November 26, 2020) ["Sorcha Ní Fhlainn discusses her book Postmodern Vampires: Film, Fiction, and Popular Culture with Chris Richardson. Ní Fhlainn is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies and American studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom. She is a founding member of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies and author of Postmodern Vampires: Film, Fiction, and Popular Culture (Palgrave, 2019). She has published widely on socio-cultural history, subjectivity and postmodernism in Film Studies, American studies, Horror studies, and Popular Culture. Previous books include Clive Barker: Dark imaginer (Manchester UP, 2017), and The Worlds of Back to the Future: Critical Essays on the Films (McFarland, 2010), and articles in Adaptation (Oxford UP), and Horror Studies (Intellect). She is currently leading a research project and writing a monograph on the popular culture of the 1980s."]

Filippo, Maria San. "Provocateurs and Provocations: Screening Sex in 21st Century Media (Indiana University Press, 2021)." New Books in Media & Communications (April 13, 2021) ["Twenty-first century media has increasingly turned to provocative sexual content to generate buzz and stand out within a glut of programming. New distribution technologies enable and amplify these provocations, and encourage the branding of media creators as "provocauteurs" known for challenging sexual conventions and representational norms. While such strategies may at times be no more than a profitable lure, the most probing and powerful instances of sexual provocation serve to illuminate, question, and transform our understanding of sex and sexuality. In Provocauteurs and Provocations: Screening Sex in 21st Century Media (Indiana UP, 2021), award-winning author Maria San Filippo looks at the provocative in films, television series, web series and videos, entertainment industry publicity materials, and social media discourses and explores its potential to create alternative, even radical ways of screening sex. Throughout this edgy volume, San Filippo reassesses troubling texts and divisive figures, examining controversial strategies--from "real sex" scenes to scandalous marketing campaigns to full-frontal nudity--to reveal the critical role that sexual provocation plays as an authorial signature and promotional strategy within the contemporary media landscape."]

Fogg, B.J., et al. "A History of Persuasion, Pt. 3." On the Media (August 28, 2019) [On how the tech innovators that started our social media platforms were trained at Stanford University in the creation of addictive behaviors through their technological devices. Features the authors: - Alexandra Rutherford, Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University in Toronto and author of Beyond the Box: B.F. Skinner's Technology of Behaviour from Laboratory to Life, 1950s-1970s
- Ian Leslie, author of The Scientists Who Make Apps Addictive

Ford, Phil and J.F. Martel. "The Medium is the Message." Weird Studies #71 (April 15, 2020) ["On the surface, the phrase "the medium is the message," prophetic as it may have been when Marshall McLuhan coined it, points a now-obvious fact of our wired world, namely that the content of any medium is less important than its form. The advent of email, for instance, has brought about changes in society and culture that are more far-reaching than the content of any particular email. On the other hand, this aphorism of McLuhan's has the ring of an utterance of the Delphic Oracle. As Phil proposes in this episode of Weird Studies, it is an example of what Zen practitioners call a koan, a statement that occludes and illumines in equal measures, a jewel whose shining surface is an invitation to descend into dark depths. Join JF and Phil as they discuss the mystical and cosmic implications of McLuhan's oracular vision."]

---. "Whirl Without End: On M.C. Richards' Centering." Weird Studies #35 (December 5, 2018) ["The first step in any pottery project is to center the clay on the potter's wheel. In her landmark essay Centering: In Pottery, Poetry and the Person (1964), the American poet M. C. Richards turns this simple action into a metaphor for all creative acts, including the act of living your life. The result is a penetrating and poetic reflection on the artistic process that values change, unknowing, and radical becoming, making Richards' text a guide to creativity that leaves other examples of that evergreen genre in the dust. Phil and JF get their hands dirty trying to understanding what centering is, and what it entails for a life of creation and becoming. The discussion brings in a number of other thinkers and artists including Friedrich Nietzsche, Norman O. Brown, Carl Jung, Antonin Artaud, and Flannery O'Connor."]

Gribben, Crawford. "Survival and Resistance in Evangelical America: Christian Reconstruction in the Pacific Northwest (Oxford University Press, 2021)." New Books in Christian Studies (March 29, 2021) ["In America's Pacific Northwest a group of conservative Protestants have been conducting a new experiment in cultural transformation. Dissatisfied with what they see as the clumsy political engagement and vapid literary and artistic culture of mainstream Evangelicals, these Christian Reconstructionists have deployed an altogether different set of strategies for the long game, fueled by their Calvinist theology and much-more-hopeful apocalypse. In Survival and Resistance in Evangelical America: Christian Reconstruction in the Pacific Northwest (Oxford UP, 2021), Crawford Gribben presents a hybrid study of historical, theological, literary, and anthropological analysis of this variant of Evangelical counter-culture. Gribben paints a rich and detailed portrait of this loosely banded, sometimes coordinated migration to the "American redoubt." This migration has led, in part, to the establishment of a network of communities and institutions that include churches, a liberal arts college, a publishing house, and an ambitious media strategy that has already had an outsize impact. From their outpost in Idaho and prompted by their revised postmillennial eschatology, these Christian conservatives are preparing to survive the collapse American society and to reconstruct a godly society that will usher in the Kingdom of Christ. For this group of born-again Protestants, their apocalyptic strategy is precisely to be left behind."]

Hampton, Timothy. "Bob Dylan's Poetics: How the Songs Work." Berkeley Book Chats (April 17, 2019) ["The 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature recognized Bob Dylan as a major modern artist, elevating his work beyond the world of popular music. In his book Bob Dylan's Poetics (Zone, 2019), Timothy Hampton (Comparative Literature and French, Townsend Center director) focuses on the details and nuances of Dylan's songs, showing how they work as artistic statements designed to create meaning and elicit emotion. Locating Dylan in the long history of artistic modernism, Hampton offers both a nuanced engagement with the work of a major artist and a meditation on the contribution of song at times of political and social change."]

Hanhardt, Christina. "On Gay Neighborhoods and Violence." Who Makes Cents? (January 7, 2015) ["Christina Hanhardt discusses her book Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence. Today we’ll focus on how the history of quality of life policing connects to the history of gay neighborhood politics. By looking at the gay neighborhoods in San Francisco and New York City, Christina Hanhardt will also shed light on what focusing on real estate, housing, violence, and the politics of place have to do with the history of capitalism."]

 Henry, Charles. "On the Case for Reparations." Berkeley Talks (February 12, 2021) ["Charles Henry, professor emeritus of African American studies at UC Berkeley and author of Long Overdue: The Politics of Racial Reparations, discusses why reparations are gaining mainstream support, why he believes they are a solution and what could enable Black Americans to feel "acknowledged, redressed and with closure.""]

Hess, Amanda. "Sinead O’Connor Remembers Things Differently." The New York Times (May 18, 2021) ["The mainstream narrative is that a pop star ripped up a photo of the pope on “Saturday Night Live” and derailed her life. What if the opposite were true?" An interview with Sinead O'Connor about her new memoir Rememberings]

Hooven, Carole. "T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone That Dominates and Divides Us." The Joe Rogan Experience #1665 (June 10, 2021) [Description of T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone That Dominates and Divides Us: "Through riveting personal stories and the latest research, Harvard evolutionary biologist Carole Hooven shows how testosterone drives the behavior of the sexes apart and how understanding the science behind this hormone is empowering for all. Since antiquity—from the eunuchs in the royal courts of ancient China to the booming market for “elixirs of youth” in nineteenth-century Europe—humans have understood that typically masculine behavior depends on testicles, the main source of testosterone in males. Which sex has the highest rates of physical violence, hunger for status, and desire for a high number of sex partners? Just follow the testosterone. Although we humans can study and reflect on our own behavior, we are also animals, the products of millions of years of evolution. Fascinating research on creatures from chimpanzees to spiny lizards shows how high testosterone helps males out-reproduce their competitors. And men are no exception. While most people agree that sex differences in human behavior exist, they disagree about the reasons. But the science is clear: testosterone is a potent force in human society, driving the bodies and behavior of the sexes apart. But, as Hooven shows in T, it does so in concert with genes and culture to produce a vast variety of male and female behavior. And, crucially, the fact that many sex differences are grounded in biology provides no support for restrictive gender norms or patriarchal values. In understanding testosterone, we better understand ourselves and one another—and how we might build a fairer, safer society."]

Jones, Matthew. "The Case for Animal Rights: A Defense of Tom Regan." Philosophy in Film (October 24, 2020) [On Tom Regan's 1987 book The Case for Animal Rights and Bong Joon-Ho's 2017 film Okja.]

Junger, Sebastian. "Freedom." The Joe Rogan Experience #1655 (May 20, 2021) ["Sebastian Junger is a bestselling author, journalist, and an Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker." His latest book is Freedom "Throughout history, humans have been driven by the quest for two cherished ideals: community and freedom. The two don’t coexist easily. We value individuality and self-reliance, yet are utterly dependent on community for our most basic needs. In this intricately crafted and thought-provoking book, Sebastian Junger examines the tension that lies at the heart of what it means to be human. For much of a year, Junger and three friends—a conflict photographer and two Afghan War vets—walked the railroad lines of the East Coast. It was an experiment in personal autonomy, but also in interdependence. Dodging railroad cops, sleeping under bridges, cooking over fires, and drinking from creeks and rivers, the four men forged a unique reliance on one another. In Freedom, Junger weaves his account of this journey together with primatology and boxing strategy, the history of labor strikes and Apache raiders, the role of women in resistance movements, and the brutal reality of life on the Pennsylvania frontier. Written in exquisite, razor-sharp prose, the result is a powerful examination of the primary desire that defines us."]

Lee, Edward Ashford. "The Coevolution: The Entwined Futures of Humans and Machines (MIT Press, 2020)." New Books in Science, Technology, and Society (April 2, 2021) ["Are humans defining technology, or is technology defining humans? In The Coevolution: The Entwined Futures of Humans and Machines (MIT Press, 2020), Edward Ashford Lee considers the case that we are less in control of the trajectory of technology than we think. It shapes us as much as we shape it, and it may be more defensible to think of technology as the result of a Darwinian coevolution than the result of top-down intelligent design. Richard Dawkins famously said that a chicken is an egg's way of making another egg. Is a human a computer's way of making another computer? To understand this question requires a deep dive into how evolution works, how humans are different from computers, and how the way technology develops resembles the emergence of a new life form on our planet. Lee presents the case for considering digital beings to be living, then offers counterarguments. What we humans do with our minds is more than computation, and what digital systems do--be teleported at the speed of light, backed up, and restored--may never be possible for humans. To believe that we are simply computations, he argues, is a "dataist" faith and scientifically indefensible. Digital beings depend on humans--and humans depend on digital beings. More likely than a planetary wipe-out of humanity is an ongoing, symbiotic coevolution of culture and technology."]

Like Stories of Old. "Fight Club: How (Not) to Become a Space Monkey." (Posted on Youtube: November 16, 2019) ["Video essay on Fight Club; examining how charismatic leaders like Tyler Durden turn men into Space Monkeys." Ernest Becker book The Denial of Death is used to formulate the critique/interpretation.]

---. "The Lover Within: How Moonlight Relates to ALL Men." (Posted on Youtube: April 9, 2017) ["... Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette’s archetypes" in their book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine  "are a very interesting way to analyze media and provide personal insights, similarly to Joseph Campbell’s related concept of the Hero’s Journey."]

---. "What Makes a Great King? Exploring the Archetype of the King in Movies and Television." (Posted on Youtube: August 18, 2017) [MB: I think this has a great message about the leader role/archetype (not comfortable with the king thing, but I recognize it is an archetype) and only wish that is wasn't limited to just a discussion of masculine archetypes. Easily beats the ocean of facile business leadership books. From the author: "... Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette’s archetypes" in their book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine  "are a very interesting way to analyze media and provide personal insights, similarly to Joseph Campbell’s related concept of the Hero’s Journey."]

Lorr, Benjamin. The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket (Penguin 2020) New Books in Economics and Business History (June 29, 2021) ["This episode of the New Books in Economic and Business History is an interview with New York writer Benjamin Lorr. Benjamin Lorr is the author of Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga, a book that explores the Bikram Yoga community and movement. His second book, The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket is "an extraordinary investigation into the human lives at the heart of the American grocery store. The miracle of the supermarket has never been more apparent. Like the doctors and nurses who care for the sick, suddenly the men and women who stock our shelves and operate our warehouses are understood as ‘essential’ workers, providing a quality of life we all too easily take for granted. But the sad truth is that the grocery industry has beenfailing these workers for decades. In this page-turning expose, author Benjamin Lorr pulls back the curtain on the highly secretive grocery industry. Combining deep sourcing, immersive reporting, and sharp, often laugh-out-loud prose, Lorr leads a wild investigation, asking what does it take to run a supermarket? How does our food get on the shelves? And who suffers for our increasing demands for convenience
and efficiency?"]

McGhee, Heather. "'The Sum of Us': Heather McGhee on How Racism Undercuts the American Dream for Everyone." Democracy Now (March 19, 2021) ["Amid a national reckoning with structural racism and the dangers of white supremacy, author Heather McGhee’s new book details how racism in the United States hurts not just people of color but also white people. In “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” McGhee details how zero-sum thinking has worsened inequality and robbed people of all stripes of the public goods and support they need to thrive. We speak with McGhee about the cost of racism, Republican voter suppression efforts and what people can accomplish when they come together in solidarity across racial lines. “Fundamentally, racism has been the most powerful tool wielded against the best of America — against American democracy, against cross-racial solidarity, against the American dream itself,” says McGhee."]

Meek, James. "Hooyah: Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill." London Review of Books 24.15 (August 2, 2007) [Interview Scahill's book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army: "BLACKWATER USA, the world's most secretive and powerful mercenary firm. Based in the wilderness of North Carolina, it is the fastest-growing private army on the planet, with forces capable of carrying out regime change throughout the world. Blackwater protects the top US officials in Iraq, and yet we know almost nothing about the firm's quasi-military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and inside the US. Blackwater was founded by an extreme right-wing fundamentalist Christian mega-millionaire ex-Navy Seal named Erik Prince, the scion of a wealthy conservative family that bankrolls far-right-wing causes. This book is the dark story of the rise of a powerful mercenary army, ranging from the blood-soaked streets of Fallujah to rooftop firefights in Najaf to the hurricane-ravaged US Gulf to Washington DC, where Blackwater executives are hailed as new heroes in the war on terror." -- From publisher description.]

Meek, Michelle. "Sex Sells—But Why? and How? Author Maria San Filippo on Sexual Provocation in Film and TV." Ms. (April 6, 2021) ["How has sexual provocation been used by female filmmakers as a feminist act? Is it possible to separate art from artists? How have sex scenes changed over the years?" In her latest book Provocauteurs and Provocations: Screening Sex in 21st Century Media, San Filippo examines the history of sexual provocation in the media. Yes, sex sells—but why and how? In particular, she examines how female and queer filmmakers coopt sexual provocation for their own radical and sometimes even radically ordinary purposes."]

Muraresku, Brian and Graham Hancock. "The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name." The Joe Rogan Show #1543 (June 21, 2020) ["Attorney and scholar Brian C. Muraresku is the author of The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name. Featuring an introduction by Graham Hancock, The Immortality Key is a look into the psychedelic origins of the world's great spiritual practices and what those might mean for how we view ourselves and the world around us. Hancock's most recent book is America Before: The Key to Earth's Lost Civilization."]

Needham, Andrew. "On Electricity and the Southwest." Who Makes Cents? (November 3, 2014) ["
Andrew Needham discusses his new book, Power Lines: Phoenix and the Making of the Modern Southwest. Power Lines shows that we can't think of the modern southwest without the energy that makes such places possible. Through this, he knits together a metropolitan geography that connects Phoenix with the places where it got its electricity--most prominently, coal from the Navajo Nation."]

Nestle, Marion, et al. "Let's Ask Marion: What You Need to Know about the Politics of Food, Nutrition, and Health (University of California Press, 2020)." New Books in Food (January 13, 2021) ["Marion Nestle describes her new book as “a small, quick and dirty reader for the general audience” summarizing some of her biggest and most influential works. Let’s Ask Marion: What You Need to Know About the Politics of Food, Nutrition, and Health published September 2020 by University of California Press, was written in conversation with Kerry Trueman, a blogger and friend. Trueman’s questions served as prompts to organize Nestle’s 800-1000 word summaries in approachable and engaging prose. Readers familiar with Nestle’s groundbreaking Food Politics will recognize many of the ideas and information, but this new pocket-sized and affordable volume serves as an introduction for undergraduate students or readers new to Food Studies. However, Nestle does cover some new material in her explanation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, especially the campaign for Zero Hunger. Nestle also summarizes how nutrition advice has changed in the last few years by thinking about food in categories ranging from unprocessed (corn on the cob) to ultraprocessed (Nacho Cheese tortilla chips). This reevaluation makes it easier to identify foods that are acceptable to eat without excessive focus on micronutrients. In the conversation, Nestle addresses the ethics of marketing food to children, food as a human right and access in the Covid era, the possibility of a National Food Policy Agency, the politics of food banks, and the promise of regenerative agricultural practices. Nestle concludes by talking about the pleasures of food and eating and how to establish a “loving relationship” with food that doesn’t include fear, guilt, or anxiety about nutrition. Marion Nestle is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Emerita, at New York University, and the author of books about food politics, most recently Unsavory Truth."]

Pelroth, Nicole. "On the Cyberweapons Race." The Lawfare Podcast (March 19, 2021) ["Jack Goldsmith spoke with New York Times cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth about her new bookThis is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race. They discussed the dark world of markets for zero-day vulnerabilities that are so vital in offensive cyber operations, the history of the markets, how they work, who the players are and why the United States doesn't control as much as it used to. They also discussed broader issues of U.S. cybersecurity policy, including the recent SolarWinds hack."]

Peters, John Durham. "Promiscuous Knowledge: Information, Image, and Other Truth Games in History (University of Chicago Press, 2020)." New Books in Communications (November 5, 2020) ["Sergey Brin, a cofounder of Google, once compared the perfect search engine to “the mind of God.” As the modern face of promiscuous knowledge, however, Google’s divine omniscience traffics in news, maps, weather, and porn indifferently. Promiscuous Knowledge: Information, Image, and Other Truth Games in History (U Chicago Press, 2020), begun by the late Kenneth Cmiel and completed by his close friend John Durham Peters, provides a genealogy of the information age from its early origins up to the reign of Google. It examines how we think about fact, image, and knowledge, centering on the different ways that claims of truth are complicated when they pass to a larger public. To explore these ideas, Cmiel and Peters focus on three main periods—the late nineteenth century, 1925 to 1945, and 1975 to 2000, with constant reference to the present. Cmiel’s original text examines the growing gulf between politics and aesthetics in postmodern architecture, the distancing of images from everyday life in magical realist cinema, the waning support for national betterment through taxation, and the inability of a single presentational strategy to contain the social whole. Peters brings Cmiel’s study into the present moment, providing the backstory to current controversies about the slipperiness of facts in a digital age. A hybrid work from two innovative thinkers, Promiscuous Knowledge enlightens our understanding of the internet and the profuse visual culture of our time."]

Phillips-Fein, Kim. "On the Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal." Who Makes Cents? #10 (April 1, 2015) ["Kim Phillips-Fein discusses her book Invisible Hands: The Businessmen’s Crusade Against the New Deal. Today we’ll focus on the history of resistance to the New Deal. Kim Phillips-Fein details how many of the most prominent elites had their ideas and practices shaped by groups that were part of organized resistance to the New Deal. She argues that this history helps revise common understandings of the rise of conservatism in the 1970s and after."]

Piketty, Thomas. Capital and Ideology. trans. Arthur Goldhammer. Harvard University Press, 2020. ["Thomas Piketty’s bestselling Capital in the Twenty-First Century galvanized global debate about inequality. In this audacious follow-up, Piketty challenges us to revolutionize how we think about politics, ideology, and history. He exposes the ideas that have sustained inequality for the past millennium, reveals why the shallow politics of right and left are failing us today, and outlines the structure of a fairer economic system. Our economy, Piketty observes, is not a natural fact. Markets, profits, and capital are all historical constructs that depend on choices. Piketty explores the material and ideological interactions of conflicting social groups that have given us slavery, serfdom, colonialism, communism, and hypercapitalism, shaping the lives of billions. He concludes that the great driver of human progress over the centuries has been the struggle for equality and education and not, as often argued, the assertion of property rights or the pursuit of stability. The new era of extreme inequality that has derailed that progress since the 1980s, he shows, is partly a reaction against communism, but it is also the fruit of ignorance, intellectual specialization, and our drift toward the dead-end politics of identity. Once we understand this, we can begin to envision a more balanced approach to economics and politics. Piketty argues for a new “participatory” socialism, a system founded on an ideology of equality, social property, education, and the sharing of knowledge and power. Capital and Ideology is destined to be one of the indispensable books of our time, a work that will not only help us understand the world, but that will change it." This is the Harvard University Press book page, it has links to app. 50 interviews and features on the author & the book.]

Raworth, Kate. "A Renegade Solution to Extractive Economics." Your Undivided Attention (February 11, 2021) ["When Kate Raworth began studying economics, she was disappointed that the mainstream version of the discipline didn’t fully address many of the world issues that she wanted to tackle, such as human rights and environmental destruction. She left the field, but was inspired to jump back in after the financial crisis of 2008, when she saw an opportunity to introduce some fresh perspectives. She sat down and drew a chart in the shape of a doughnut, which provided a way to think about our economic system while accounting for the impact to the world around us, as well as for humans’ baseline needs. Kate’s framing can teach us a lot about how to transform the economic model of the technology industry, and help us move from a system that values addicted, narcissistic, polarized humans to one that values healthy, loving and collaborative relationships. Her book, “Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist,” gives us a guide for going from a 20th-century paradigm to an evolved 21st-century one that will address our existential-scale problems."]

Richardson, Chris. "Reimagining Livelihoods." This is Not a Pipe (December 26, 2019) ["Ethan Miller discusses his book Reimagining Livelihoods: Life Beyond Economy, Society, and Environment with Chris Richardson. Miller is an activist-scholar committed to co-creating resilient and liberatory forms of collective livelihood. He is an interdisciplinary lecturer teaching in politics, anthropology, and environmental studies at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, a board member of the Community Economies Institute, and has worked for the past twenty years with an array of grassroots organizing and popular education projects. Ethan lives at the Wild Mountain Cooperative (formerly JED Collective), a collective subsistence homestead, and works as an organizer for Land in Common community land trust, focused on land justice and cooperative forms of land tenure. His research and teaching focuses on solidarity economics and postcapitalist livelihood, intersections of economy and ecology and, most recently, land justice. His first book, Reimagining Livelihoods: Life Beyond Economy, Society, and Environment was released in March 2019 by the University of Minnesota Press."]

Rogers, Amanda and Adam Shatz. "Forty years on, Edward Said's 'Orientalism' still groundbreaking." Ideas (October 23, 2019) ["Edward Said's seminal book, Orientalism (1978), proposed one of the most influential and enduring analyses of the relationship between the West and the Middle East. In many ways, his ideas seem uncontroversial, perhaps even obvious today. But four decades ago, what Said proposed was radical. It still is."]

Schafer, Simon. "How To Think About Science (Part 1)." Ideas (October 10, 2017) ["In 1985 a book appeared that changed the way people thought about the history of science. Until that time, the history of science had usually meant biographies of scientists, or studies of the social contexts in which scientific discoveries were made. Scientific ideas were discussed, but the procedures and axioms of science itself were not in question. This changed with the publication of Leviathan and the Air Pump, subtitled Hobbes, Boyle and the Experimental Life, the book's avowed purpose was - "to break down the aura of self-evidence surrounding the experimental way of producing knowledge." This was a work, in other words, that wanted to treat something obvious and taken for granted - that matters of fact are ascertained by experiment - as if it were not at all obvious; that wanted to ask, how is it actually done and how do people come to agree that it has truly been done. The authors of this pathbreaking book were two young historians, Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, and both have gone on to distinguished careers in the field they helped to define, science studies. Steven Shapin will be featured later in this series, but How to Think About Science begins with a conversation with Simon Schaffer. David Cayley called on him recently in his office at the Whipple Museum of the History of Science at Cambridge where he teaches."]

Schapiro, Mark. "Seeds of Resistance: The Fight to Save Our Food Supply." Townsend Center for the Humanities (October 23, 2019) ["The fate of the food supply has slipped into a handful of the world’s largest companies, with more than half of commercial seed varieties owned by three agri-chemical companies. In Seeds of Resistance (Skyhorse, 2018), Mark Schapiro (School of Journalism, UC Berkeley) examines what this corporate stranglehold is doing to our daily diet, from the explosion of genetically modified foods to the rapid disappearance of plant varieties to the elimination of independent farmers who have long been the bedrock of our food supply."]

Seller, Bakari. "'My Vanishing Country': Mass Protests Rise from 400 Years of Systemic Racism." Democracy Now (June 1, 2020) ["As mass unrest engulfs the U.S., we speak with attorney and political commentator Bakari Sellers, whose new memoir My Vanishing Country was just published. One of the central moments in the book is the Orangeburg massacre of 1968, when police opened fire on a crowd of students gathered on the campus of South Carolina State University to protest segregation at Orangeburg’s only bowling alley. When the shooting stopped, three Black students were dead, 28 students were wounded. The nine officers who opened fire that day were all acquitted. The only person convicted of wrongdoing was Bakari Sellers’s father, Cleveland Sellers, a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, known as SNCC. He was convicted of a riot charge and spent seven months behind bars. He was pardoned in 1993. We speak with Bakari Sellers about Orangeburg, 2020 and “400 years of systemic racism” in the U.S."]

Selod, Saher. "Forever Suspect: Racialized Surveillance of Muslim Americans in the War on Terror (Rutgers University Press, 2018)." New Books in Sociology (March 29, 2021) ["How does a specific American religious identity acquire racial meaning? What happens when we move beyond phenotypes and include clothing, names, and behaviors to the characteristics that inform ethnoracial categorization? Forever Suspect, Racialized Surveillance of Muslim Americans in the War on Terror (Rutgers University Press, 2018) provides a nuanced portrayal of the experiences of South Asian and Arab Muslims in post 9/11 America and the role of racialized state and private citizen surveillance in shaping Muslim lived experiences. Saher Selod, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Simmons University, shares with us her story of growing up in Kansas and Texas and how writing this book helped her reclaim her own racialized experiences as the children of Pakistani immigrants to the US. Saher first began this project as a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin. As she returned to the dissertation to craft it into a book, she realized that beyond just race, racism and racialization, surveillance was a key recurring theme for the interview respondents. In today’s conversation, we explore the nuances of gender, race and surveillance, what it means to “Fly while Muslim”, and the harmful consequences of institutional surveillance laws like “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) that came about during the Obama Administration. We also touch on limitations of the book, including the exclusion of Black Muslims from this specific project. Saher’s openness with which she shares how her thinking has evolved over the years since this project first began leads us to discuss the ways in which non-Black Muslim immigrants and American born Muslims enact and maintain white supremacist structures. Forever Suspect provides an important and eye opening lens for us to consider how racialized surveillance, in all dimensions and forms, the War on Terror and U.S. Empire building continues to impact Muslim communities in the U.S."]

Sepinwall, Alyssa Goldstein. "Slave Revolt on Screen: The Haitian Revolution in Film and Video Games (University Press of Mississippi, 2021)." New Books in History (July 22, 2021) ["Michel-Rolph Trouillot wrote that “the silencing of the Haitian Revolution is only a chapter within a narrative of global domination. It is part of the history of the West and it is likely to persist, even in attenuated form, as long as the history of the West is not retold in ways that bring forward the perspective of the world.” Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall’s Slave Revolt on Screen: The Haitian Revolution in Film and Video Games (University Press of Mississippi, 2021) illustrates how this holds true not just in the writing of historical narratives but also the history of film. The book shows how one of the most important revolutions in world history, a revolt in which enslaved people fought for their freedom and created the first majority Black and post-slavery republic, has been silenced, ridiculed, or whitewashed by American and European film makers. She introduces us to Haitian directors such as Raoul Peck who want to tell their own story, free of white saviors but with the full horrors of slavery. The book takes some surprising turns. It turns out video games such as Assassins’ Creed do a better job at recreating the resistance of enslaved people than most films. Sepinwall also finds an unexpected hero in comedian Chris Rock. His Top Five contains a subplot about a fictionalized version of Rock trying to promote his film about the Haitian Revolution to white journalists who can't even understand the concept of a slave revolt."]

Shane, Charlotte. "Stupid Human Tricks: Why animals may be smarter than we think." Bookforum (May 2021) [On the book How to Be Animal: A New History of What It Means to Be Human by Melanie Challenger.]

Shermer, Ellie. "On Local Elites Creating a 'Good Business Climate.'" Who Makes Cents? (December 5, 2014) ["Ellie Shermer discusses her book Sunbelt Capitalism: Phoenix and the Transformation of American Politics. On this episode, we speak to Ellie Shermer about how local elites in Phoenix crafted a “business climate” that made Pheonix hospitable to industry and shaped both the modern sunbelt and contemporary politics."]

West, Stephen. "The Frankfurt School: Erich Fromm on Love." Philosophize This! #150 (January 30, 2021) [A discussion of the psychologist Erich Fromm and his book The Art of Loving.]

Wilensky-Lanford, Brook. "Gen Z's Religious Affiliation Stats are Confusing ... but Only When Viewed From a Christian-Centric Perspective." Religion Dispatches (July 27, 2021) [A good contextual analysis of recent surveys of Gen Z belief & non-belief. Introduces Kaya Oakes 2015 book The Nones are Alright: A New Generation of Seekers, Believers, and Those In-Between."]

Wilson, Carl. "Daze of Our Lives: Revisiting Richard Linklater’s shaggy classic." Bookforum (May 2021) [Review of a book on Richard Linklater's 1993 film Dazed and Confused.]

Yuen, Nancy Wang. "Reel Inequality." This is Not a Pipe (December 7, 2017) ["Nancy Wang Yuen discusses her book Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism with Chris Richardson. She is an Associate Professor and the Chair of the Sociology Department at Biola University. She is the author of Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism (2016), the first book to examine the barriers actors of color face in Hollywood and how they creatively challenge stereotypes. Along with a team of researchers, she pioneered the first study of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on television (2005/2006) and the 2017 study, Tokens on the Small Screen: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Prime Time and Streaming Television. Dr. Yuen is an expert speaker on race and media, appearing on BBC World TV, NPR and The Washington Post. "]

Zoellner, Tom. "The Rwanda Myth." Los Angeles Review of Books (April 3, 2021) [On Michela Wrong's book Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad."]



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