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Archive for the 'Book Excerpt' Category

Friday, October 20th, 2017

Law and the Wealth of Nations

Law and the Wealth of Nations: Finance, Prosperity, and Democracy

Finance and its relation to production form only one aspect of the organization of the economy, an aspect that we commonly associate with dream-destroying constraint rather than, as we also can and should, with transformative opportunity. — Tamara Lothian

Today, we are happy to present the introduction from Law and the Wealth of Nations: Finance, Prosperity, and Democracy, by Tamara Lothian.

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

A Different Trajectory

Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly

“While Bourguiba also relied on education to promote a Tunisian national identity and a nationalist narrative built around him, he had much to fall back on in terms of continuity, territorial integrity, and national historic legitimacy.” — Safwan Masri

This week, our featured book is Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly, by Safwan M. Masri, with a foreword by Lisa Anderson. Today, we are happy to present an excerpt from the book’s fourteenth chapter, in which Masri contrasts the development of the education system in Tunisia in the twentieth and twenty-first century with that of education systems elsewhere in the Middle East.

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Introducing Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly

Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly

“Therein lies one of the most common and misguided propositions about Tunisia—namely, that its successful transition to democracy can serve as a model for the rest of the Arab world and that the factors that led to Tunisia’s democracy could be, if not easily, replicated. This theory is based on a set of assumptions, some explicit and others less so, that I argue are flawed.” — Safwan Masri

This week, our featured book is Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly, by Safwan M. Masri, with a foreword by Lisa Anderson. In today’s post, read a set of excerpts hand-selected by Masri that provide an excellent introduction to the book’s ideas.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Tunisia!

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Read the Story “Pilfering Green Cloth by Pretending to Steal a Goose”

Book of Swindles
“‘I won’t lie to you,’ he said in a low voice. ‘I’m a petty thief… I’ve got a plan, and I just need your help to pull it off.’” — Zhang Yingyu

Today we are happy to present an excerpt from The Book of Swindles: one of the over forty stories of scams and deception in Ming China featured in the volume.

Stay tuned for an interview with the translators, Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk, to be published on Friday. Rea and Rusk talk about changing social norms and other reasons why theft and scams were on the rise.

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

The “Alt-Lite”

Making Sense of the Alt-Right

“A new term that appeared in mid-2016 is quite helpful: ‘Alt-Lite.’ I am aware of no one who uses the term as a self-description, and is it used as a derogatory term by the Alt-Right. Despite its origin, Alt-Lite is an appropriate description of people whose views on immigration and race relations partially overlap with those on the Alt-Right yet do not cross the line into open white nationalism.” — George Hawley

This week, our featured book is Making Sense of the Alt-Right, by George Hawley. In today’s post, Hawley takes a look at the “fellow travelers” of the Alt-Right movement, dubbed the “Alt-Lite,” and explains why making this distinction is crucial in coming to an accurate view of the Alt-Right.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy!

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

The Long History of White Nationalism in America

Making Sense of the Alt-Right

“The issue of tone is important. Rage and hate were the primary emotions associated with the older white-nationalist movement. Even when it dabbled in popular culture, such as with the record label Resistance Records (which released punk and heavy-metal albums with white-nationalist lyrics), it was a movement transparently driven by resentment…. The Alt-Right offers something more attractive to potential supporters: edginess and fun.” — George Hawley

This week, our featured book is Making Sense of the Alt-Right, by George Hawley. To start the feature, we are happy to present an excerpt, originally featured at LitHub, in which Hawley discusses the legacy of white nationalism in the United States, and the difficulty in tracing the lineage of the Alt-Right. You can read the article in full at LitHub.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy!

The Long History of White Nationalism in America
By George Hawley

Detailing the history of white nationalism in America is trickier than it first appears. This is because, despite the egalitarian rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence, the United States operated as a de facto white-supremacist nation for most of its history. This has been a subject of controversy for decades. No one disputes that slavery poses a problem for the narrative that America is, and always was, a beacon for freedom and equality. But debates continue as to what the most important Founding Fathers “really” thought about race and the future of equality.

(more…)

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Introducing Making Sense of the Alt-Right

Making Sense of the Alt-Right

“Despite its innocuous name, the Alt-Right is also, at its core, a racist movement. I am generally hesitant (perhaps too hesitant) to label an individual, group, or political movement as racist. But in the case of the Alt-Right, there is no other appropriate word. I furthermore doubt that anyone seriously involved with the Alt-Right will challenge that characterization.” — George Hawley

This week, our featured book is Making Sense of the Alt-Right, by George Hawley. To start the feature, we are happy to present an excerpt from Hawley’s introduction.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy!

Friday, September 1st, 2017

Encoding the Consumer: The Computerization of Credit Reporting and Credit Scoring

Columbia Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism

“‘A prospective borrower is still asked the familiar questions about his age, marital status, whether he owns or rents a home, how long he has been on the present job,’ the New York Times reported. But there was a key difference in this new regime of credit evaluation. ‘By applying a scientifically determined series of weights to each factor and adding up a total score, the credit manager in thirty seconds is able to reject those applications almost certain to result in charge-offs.’ This new system was statistical credit scoring.” — Josh Lauer

This week, we are featuring two books from our exciting new Columbia Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism series: Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America, by Josh Lauer, and From Head Shops to Whole Foods: The Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs, by Joshua Clark Davis. For this final post of the feature, we have an excerpt from Creditworthy, in which Lauer tells the story of the rise of the rise of the automation of credit evaluation in the 1960s.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of both books!

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

An excerpt from A Book to Burn and a Book to Keep (Hidden)

Book to Burn

“A rich translation of essays revealing Li Zhi as the epitome of dissent. His tragic suicide culminated Li’s life as a free thinker, but at the same time his enemies immortalized him as someone who had defrocked Ming autocracy of its elegantly woven orthodoxies. He also provided Ming precedents for political repression under the Republic of China and the People’s Republic. The PRC ironically appropriated Li Zhi’s rhetoric, pretending that everyone was now liberated, as long as they towed the party line. Later Pierre Bourdieu honored him as China’s homo academicus!” — Benjamin A. Elman, Princeton University

A Book to Burn and a Book to Keep (Hidden) introduces the controversial Ming scholar Li Zhi through his letters, essays, poetry, and historical writings. Below, we excerpt the volume’s introduction, by editors and translators Rivi Handler-Spitz, Pauline Lee, and Haun Saussy.

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Introducing Creditworthy

Columbia Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism

“How did Americans become faceless names and numbers in an enigmatic network of credit records, scoring systems, and information brokers? How did financial identity become such an important marker of our personal trustworthiness and worth?” — Josh Lauer

This week, we are featuring two books from our exciting new Columbia Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism series: Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America, by Josh Lauer, and From Head Shops to Whole Foods: The Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs, by Joshua Clark Davis. Today, we are happy to present an excerpt from the introduction to Creditworthy.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of both books!

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Introducing From Head Shops to Whole Foods

Columbia Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism

“The title of this book serves two purposes. By using the phrase ‘from head shops to whole foods,’ I am referencing the wide range of businesses this book examines. But, more importantly, I am highlighting a marked transition away from the collective goals of political progress that some, although not most, activist enterprises made between the late 1970s and the end of the twentieth century.” — Joshua Clark Davis

This week, we are featuring two books from our exciting new Columbia Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism series: Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America, by Josh Lauer, and From Head Shops to Whole Foods: The Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs, by Joshua Clark Davis. Today, we are kicking the feature off with an excerpt from the introduction to From Head Shops to Whole Foods.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of both books!

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Ovcharov meets Nastasya Ivanovna: A City Folk and Country Folk excerpt

City Folk and Country Folk

“Order is necessary in all things, Nastasya Ivanovna. Germans understand this, but we Russians haven’t appreciated it. Why should you pass up an opportunity for gain, and why should I accept gifts or sacrifices from you? That’s nothing but Russia’s outdated lack of moral discipline—simple disorder. If I live on your property, there is no question but that I will pay you for everything. It would be better if you just told me whether or not I can live in your bathhouse.” — Erast Sergeyich Ovcharov

This week, our featured book is City Folk and Country Folk, by Sofia Khvoshchinskaya, translated by Nora Seligman Favorov. Below you will find an excerpt from the book. Erast Sergeyich Ovcharov has planned to spend the summer on his country estate, but arrives to find it uninhabitable. Here he negotiates with his neighbor about staying with her for the summer, but not, heaven forbid, as her guest!

We originally featured this excerpt in our roundup of recommended reading for #womenintranslation month. See that list here. #WITMonth

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of City Folk and Country Folk!

Friday, August 18th, 2017

It Is an Entire World That Has Disappeared

Extinction Studies

“Did they have an intuition of what was and what will have been? That the sky had become a desert? That to be ten, or even a hundred, means to be alone when you are a Passenger Pigeon? Did they know, from their ancestors’ memories, that the land, forests, and fields, seen by few eyes, no longer resembled anything, and that their patterns and colors, so familiar and recognizable when the eyes are many, had become incomprehensibly foreign and senseless for theirs—like a painting by an artist gone mad?” — Vinciane Despret

This week, our featured book is Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death, and Generations, edited by Deborah Bird Rose, Thom van Dooren, and Matthew Chrulew, with a foreword by Cary Wolfe. For the final post of the feature, we are happy to present Vinciane Despret’s afterword to the book, translated by Matthew Chrulew.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Extinction Studies!

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

Telling Extinction Stories

Extinction Studies

“And yet, despite this central responsibility, people are involved in extinction in varied and ambivalent ways. We eat animals, log their forests for housing, cull their numbers for convenience, destroy and transform their homes and lives through unyielding systems of development and security. In this context, many people find themselves overwhelmed with the depressing inevitability and crushing finality of extinction. It is all the more astonishing, therefore, that along with sadness there is hope, along with seeming inevitability there is resistance.” — Rose, van Dooren, and Chrulew

This week, our featured book is Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death, and Generations, edited by Deborah Bird Rose, Thom van Dooren, and Matthew Chrulew, with a foreword by Cary Wolfe. Today, to start the feature, we are happy to present the introduction, cowritten by the book’s three editors.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Extinction Studies!

Monday, August 14th, 2017

Introducing Energy Dreams

Energy Dreams

Energy Dreams—the title came to me all of a sudden, as they say “out of the blue,” when I least expected it. It surprised me and, just as swiftly, energized my thought and swathed me in its opacities.” — Michael Marder

This week, our featured book is Energy Dreams: Of Actuality, by Michael Marder. To start the feature, we are happy to present an excerpt from the book’s first chapter.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Energy Dreams!

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

The Contested Ontology of Psychiatric Disorders, Part Two

The Diagnostic System

“This book seeks to answer three related questions: why the classification of psychiatric disorders is so difficult, why it is necessary to classify in the first place, and what problems (and solutions) follow from the kinds of classifications we create.” — Jason Schnittker

This week, our featured book is The Diagnostic System: Why the Classification of Psychiatric Disorders Is Necessary, Difficult, and Never Settled, by Jason Schnittker. Today, we are happy to present part two of an excerpt from the book’s introduction. You can read part one here.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of The Diagnostic System!

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

The Contested Ontology of Psychiatric Disorders, Part One

The Diagnostic System

“Perhaps because the symptoms of mental illness are so common and explanations so easy to grasp, the concept of mental illness invites controversy. When everyone knows something about sadness—about what it feels like, about what causes it—claims of authority, even with respect to official diagnosis, can appear unnecessary or dubious.” — Jason Schnittker

This week, our featured book is The Diagnostic System: Why the Classification of Psychiatric Disorders Is Necessary, Difficult, and Never Settled, by Jason Schnittker. Today, we are happy to present part one of an excerpt from the book’s introduction.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of The Diagnostic System!

Friday, July 28th, 2017

Horror, Disbelief, and Shame

Struggle on Their Minds

“Rather than simply humanize black Americans as did Du Bois, Wells described how black dehumanization was less an a priori truth and more a meticulous white supremacist social construction. Highlighting the intensity and methodical accuracy with which they dismembered Hose’s body piecemeal also reflected the wish to excise black people from humanity. Publicly destroying black bodies communicated white anxiety about black equality.” — Alex Zamalin

This week, our featured book is Struggle on Their Minds: The Political Thought of African American Resistance, by Alex Zamalin. For the final post of the feature, we are happy to present an excerpt from Zamalin’s chapter on Ida Wells and the antilynching movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Struggle on Their Minds!

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Huey Newton, the Black Panthers, and the Decolonization of America

Struggle on Their Minds

“[The Black Panthers'] view that political power was more important than ethics and that freedom would be best secured through the factional competition of competing interests extended Madison’s arguments. Their conviction that public action centered on the common good needed to be divorced from moral considerations resonated with American civic republicans. Or, to put it differently, the Panthers thought politics needed to be conducted by political moralists rather than moral politicians.” — Alex Zamalin

This week, our featured book is Struggle on Their Minds: The Political Thought of African American Resistance, by Alex Zamalin. Today, we are happy to present an excerpt from the book’s chapter on the political and philosophical thoughts of Huey Newton and the Black Panthers.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Struggle on Their Minds!

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

The Political Thought of African American Resistance

Struggle on Their Minds

“[This book's aim] is to provide an intellectual history of when resistance to racial inequality was palpable in key African American political movements. If resistance is at once an activity and an experience that resists comprehensive analysis because it has no singular essence—if there is no way ever to develop fully a philosophical definition of the practice itself—we should study moments in which what occurs can clearly be called ‘resistance.’” — Alex Zamalin

This week, our featured book is Struggle on Their Minds: The Political Thought of African American Resistance, by Alex Zamalin. Today, we are happy to present an excerpt from Zamalin’s introduction, in which he lays out the project for his book and explains what he means by “resistance” (and why the idea is such an important one).

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Struggle on Their Minds!