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Eraldo Souza dos Santos talks about the invention of civil disobedience as a form of political action around the world, and the need for its redefinition to describe activism present and future. In the episode, he references John Rawls’s classic definition from A Theory of Justice (Harvard UP, 1971) and Erin Pineda’s new book, Seeing Like an Activi…
 
On September 9, 1921, a tropical storm raged above San Antonio, Texas. The rain that night flooded the city's many waterways, distributing unequal destruction throughout its many neighborhoods. For the whiter, wealthier, parts of the city, the flood was an inconvenient detriment to business. For the Latinx West Side, it was a devastating tragedy. I…
 
A man is arrested for a single typo, a woman gets on buses at random, and two friends reunite in a changed world.... Diverse in form, scope and style, Amanat: Women's Writing from Kazakhstan (Gaudy Boy, 2022) brings together the voices of thirteen female Kazakhstani writers, to offer a glimpse into the many lives, stories, and histories of one of t…
 
Along with football and religion, housing is a fundamental cornerstone of Egyptian life: it can make or break marriage proposals, invigorate or slow down the economy, and popularize or embarrass a ruler. Housing is political. Almost every Egyptian ruler over the last eighty years has directly associated himself with at least one large-scale housing…
 
A short guidebook to understanding and discussing privilege among vegans and vegan organizations in the wake of #metoo, including how to establish accountability while honoring dignity and ways to communicate effectively. In The Vegan Matrix: Understanding and Discussing Privilege Among Vegans to Build a More Inclusive and Empowered Movement (Lante…
 
The Victorian era is known for its class rigidity and moral strictness. In her 1847 novel Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë gave us a robust, layered character who pushes against cultural norms and fully embraces her complexity. She’s crabby, difficult, and gets depressed. But she’s also smart and passionate. And she claims the right to love and be loved…
 
Today I talked to Chris McMorran about his new book Ryokan: Mobilizing Hospitality in Rural Japan (U Hawaii Press, 2022). Amid the decline of many of Japan’s rural communities, the hot springs village resort of Kurokawa Onsen is a rare, bright spot. Its two dozen traditional inns, or ryokan, draw nearly a million tourists a year eager to admire its…
 
The two parallel Palace Museums in Beijing and Taiwan, and their separate collections of thousands of precious artworks and artifacts from imperial times, reflects a key moment in the 1940s when the Republic of China and the People’s Republic became distinct entities. But the very survival of these vast troves of porcelain, sculpture, jade, paintin…
 
In The Next World: Extraordinary Experiences of the Afterlife (White Crow Books, 2022), historian of religions Gregory Shushan explores the relationships between extraordinary experiences and beliefs in life after death. He first shows how throughout history and around the world, near-death experiences have influenced ideas about the afterlife. Shu…
 
Meg Howrey is the author of the novels They're Going to Love You, The Cranes Dance, and Blind Sight. She is also the coauthor, writing under the pen-name Magnus Flyte, of the New York Times Bestseller City of Dark Magic and City of Lost Dreams. Her non-fiction has appeared in Vogue and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She currently lives in Los Ang…
 
Art historian Romita Ray has long puzzled power, visual culture, and how knowledge moves globally. Currently writing about tea, we talk with Ray about botany, picking tea, archives, and the sexiness (and importance) of plant intimacies. Learn more about the Seeing Truth exhibition at here. Follow us on Twitter @WhyArguePod and on Instagram @WhyWeAr…
 
Today I talked to Chris De Santis about his new book Why I Find You Irritating: Navigating Generational Friction at Work (Ampify, 2022). Soon, those who qualify as Millennials or part of Gen Z will constitute 70% of the workplace in America. What kinds of work environments and interactive styles will appeal or repel them most? Among the suggestions…
 
We all know that academic integrity matters. But do we all agree on what academic integrity really is? Somewhere beyond the nuances and gray areas is blatant cheating. And that’s always wrong . . . but what if your professor asks you to cheat? This episode explores: How well students understand academic integrity. Why Dr. Heng Hartse designed a cou…
 
The Nuclear Club: How America and the World Policed the Atom from Hiroshima to Vietnam (Stanford UP, 2022) reveals how a coalition of powerful and developing states embraced global governance in hopes of a bright and peaceful tomorrow. While fears of nuclear war were ever-present, it was the perceived threat to their preeminence that drove Washingt…
 
In Human Being, Bodily Being: Phenomenology from Classical India (Oxford UP, 2021), Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad offers illuminating new perspectives on contemporary phenomenological theories of body and subjectivity, based on studies of diverse classical Indian texts. He argues for a 'phenomenological ecology' of bodily subjectivity in health, gender, …
 
The Sassoons were one of the great merchant families of the nineteenth century, alongside such names as the Jardines, the Mathesons, and the Swires. They dominated the India-China opium trade through the David Sassoon and E.D. Sassoon companies. They became Indian tycoons, English aristocracy, Hong Kong board directors, and Shanghai real estate mog…
 
How do you create a fair society? Who deserves to rule? What rights do citizens have? How are those rights protected? What does it mean to act morally within society? These are the kinds of questions political philosophers furrow their brows and scratch their chins trying to answer. In 1971, an American philosopher named John Rawls introduced a new…
 
The idea of legitimate political opposition is familiar. A decent political order permits citizens, parties, and coalitions to challenge those in power. Under such conditions, there is an ongoing nonviolent contest for power. Typically, the value of legitimate opposition is understood in terms of democracy. Here, the idea is that democracy is damag…
 
Today I had the pleasure of talking to Dr. Henni Alava, postdoctoral researcher at Tampere University, on her fascinating new book published by Bloomsbury as part of the New Directions in Anthropology of Christianity book series: Christianity, Politics and the Afterlives of War in Uganda: There is Confusion (Bloomsbury, 2022). Alava's work sheds cr…
 
In The Wandering Army: The Campaigns that Transformed the British Way of War (Yale University Press, 2022), Dr. Huw J. Davies presents a compelling history of the British Army in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—showing how the military gathered knowledge from campaigns across the globe. At the outbreak of the War of Austrian Succession in 1…
 
Vietnam and Russia share a common socialist history dating back to the Cold War. But since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and Vietnam’s đổi mới reforms, Russia has also become a destination for Vietnamese labour migrants who dream of making their fortune. Working in markets, garment factories, and as small traders – both legally and illeg…
 
How should humans respond to our ongoing human-made climate catastrophe? To answer that question, Recall this Book turned to prize-winning climate reporter Elizabeth Kolbert, who visited Brandeis this Fall. The topic was Under a White Sky, her recent book that documents the responses to the climate crisis ranging from a form of climate engineering …
 
“Soft sci-fi, gothic body horror” is how Hiron Ennes describes their debut novel, Leech (Tordotcom, 2022). But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Set in an isolated winter chateau, the novel weaves a surreal and atmospheric tale of a doctor who is part of a hivemind parasite, a twisted baron’s family, and a newcomer that threatens to destroy any p…
 
Through extensive use of primary resources and fieldwork, Karli Shimizu's book Overseas Shinto Shrines: Religion, Secularity and the Japanese Empire (Bloomsbury, 2022) examines overseas Shinto shrines and their complex role in the colonization and modernization of newly Japanese lands and subjects. Shinto shrines became one of the most visible symb…
 
Whose fault are financial crises, and who is responsible for stopping them, or repairing the damage? Impunity and Capitalism: The Afterlives of European Financial Crises, 1690-1830 (Cambridge University Press, 2022) develops a new approach to the history of capitalism and inequality by using the concept of impunity to show how financial crises stop…
 
Digital Activism in Russia: The Communication Tactics of Political Outsiders (Palgrave MacMillan, 2022) examines various forms of Russian online anti-establishment resistance, focusing in particular on the period between 2016 and 2019. Grounded in qualitative content analysis of the YouTube videos and social media activities of opposition activist …
 
On the west side of Manhattan, Riverside Park winds between the banks of the Hudson River and the elegant housing of Riverside Drive. In her new book Heaven on the Hudson: Mansions, Monuments, and Marvels of Riverside Park (Fordham UP, 2022), Stephanie Azzarone seeks to lift the park and its surroundings from the shadows of more famous places, like…
 
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