From Situations, Jan C. Rehmann (UTS): Towards a deconstruction of Postmodernist Neo-Nietzscheanism: Deleuze and Foucault; Stanley Aronowitz reviews the work of Henri Lefebre; and a review of Fredric Jameson’s The Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia. James Bowman (EPPC): Heroism, Modernism, and the Utopian Impulse. From Cultural Logic, Christopher Kendrick (Loyola): Tendencies of Utopia: Reflections on Recent Work in the Modern Utopian Tradition; Michael Szekely (Temple): Rethinking Benjamin: The Function of the Utopian Ideal; and Maryam El-Shall on Salafi Utopia: The Making of the Islamic State.
The challenges of transhumanism: Hava Tirosh-Samuelson (ASU): Facing the Challenges of Transhumanism: Philosophical, Religious, and Ethical Considerations. A review of The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever by David M. Friedman. From Technology Review, human-animal cybrids: An interview with biologist Ian Wilnut on his cloning plans for the future. Craig Venter has built a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals and is poised to announce the creation of the first new artificial life form on Earth (and a response: This "new life form" is just reassembled car parts). A god of small things: Natural selection in the laboratory creates a new species of virus.
The scary consequences of our mindless indifference to the history of the Constitution: An excerpt from The Genius of America: How the Constitution Saved Our Country and Why It Can Again by Eric Lane and Michael Oreskes. Larry Sabato on why we need a new Constitution: The nation has changed since 1787—the founding document has to catch up. Let's abolish the Electoral College: Created to protect the slave states, it is championed now by conservatives who fear the power of America's true majority—it's time to ditch the antiquated way we choose presidents. It's not democracy, it's a sub: Americans seem willing to vote for everything but an actual candidate. Big Business for President: The American presidential candidates are so busy drumming up campaign contributions and grabbing at opportunities to fly around on corporate jets that they have little time left for the people. The presidential primary scam: Why the game is rigged, and why true democracy is only a secondary factor in the nation's rush to nominate the next president.
From America (reg. req.), a review of A Secular Age by Charles Taylor. Sam Harris on the problem with atheism. In Alabama, a civil debate over God's existence between Richard Dawkins and John Lennox. Sparring over things unseen: Hitchens vs. McGrath, a matchup made in heaven? A review of Head and Heart: American Christianities by Garry Wills. A nation of Christians is not a Christian nation: The founders wanted faith to be one thread in the country’s tapestry, not the whole tapestry. A review of Godly Republic: A Centrist Blueprint for America’s Faith-Based Future by John DiIulio. The National Association of Evangelicals recently met for dinner at the Sheraton in Crystal City. The keynote speaker? Why, the Antichrist himself.
From The Economist, Brussels rules OK: A look at how the European Union is becoming the world's chief regulator. From Der Spiegel, an interview with Timothy Garton Ash: "A clear European voice is missing in the world". Promises countries make to gain entry into NATO or the EU are similar to Mary Poppins’s description of pie crust: Easily made, easily broken. Richard Falk on Turkey's finest hour: The sick man of Europe gets a jolt of life, but will it last? The 2007 general election in Turkey, as much a triumph for democracy as it was for the AKP, may one day be seen as a turning point. Here are 5 myths about sick Old Europe. Archipelago Europe: Instead of two homogeneous European regions — "the East" and "the West" — there are now fragments, enclaves, and islands. Origins and elements of imitated democracies: Throughout the territory of the former Soviet Union, regimes have established themselves behind a democratic facade while concentrating power in the hands of a president, and contrary to their purported stability, all contain the seeds of their own downfall. Despot dilemma: The European Union seems unable to decide how to deal with dictators.
Sanford Levinson (UT-Austin): Slavery and the Phenomenology of Torture. From Boston Review, slave trade on trial: An article on lessons of a great human-rights law success. A review of The Slave Ship: A Human History by Marcus Rediker. Slavery, a shark's perspective: A strange text sheds new light on the true roots of abolition. From NYRB, a review of books on women and children for sale. A review of Ending Slavery: How We Free Today's Slaves by Kevin Bales and Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the Global Economy by John Bowe (and more and more and more). While many migrants are forced into sex work, the rescue industry's moral position has hindered their own efforts to stop it, according to a new book, Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labor Market and the Rescue Industry.
From American Scientist, from steam engines to life: what is the state of thermodynamics on the 100th anniversary of the death of Lord Kelvin? A review of The Sun Kings: The Unexpected Tragedy of Richard Carrington and the Tale of How Modern Astronomy Began by Stuart Clark. A review of The New Time Travelers: A Journey to the Frontiers of Physics by David Toomey. The mysterious dark matter that fills the universe could be made of the same particles that put the "big" in the big bang - explaining both inflation and dark matter in a single stroke. Yale scientists make 2 giant steps in advancement of quantum computing. Why has "some guy in a wheelchair"—Stephen Hawking—been repeatedly crossing in front of us, most recently floating weightlessly in space sans wheelchair, for the past quarter century? Children of the sun: Biochemist Gottfried Schatz follows light across time and space, from the Big Bang to the ocean floor. Chaos Theory Demystified: Physics has been practised, in one form or another, for thousands of years. A review of Why Beauty is Truth by Ian Stewart (and more).
From National Review, an interview with George McKenna, author of The Puritan Origins of American Patriotism. A review of American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day by Robert Coram. A review of The Truth about Patriotism by Steven Johnston. The introduction to Constitutional Patriotism by Jan-Werner Muller. A review of A World Beyond Politics? A Defense of the Nation-State by Pierre Manent. A review of Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers by Kwame Anthony Appiah. The introduction to Transnational Constitutionalism: International and European Perspectives. A review of The Parliament of Man by Paul Kennedy; Secretary or General? and The Best Intentions by James Traub. In search of common sense: The Tallberg Foundation offers global governance for an increasingly interdependent world.
From Eurozine, while the Great Estonian Novel has yet to be written, the range of fiction in Estonia is sufficiently wide to serve as an indicator of the post-communist country's hopes and fears, anxieties and obsessions. Freeing Theater in Belarus: One company's current-day battle against authoritarianism. Let us now read about famous men: Ina Hartwig on the profusion of new German biographies about great, dead, male writers. From New Statesman, the new wave: Andrew Hussey on the North African novelists at the gates of "Fortress Europe". Don't look down on Canadian literature: Jean Hannah Edelstein used to think there wasn't much more to Canadian culture than Margaret Atwood and empty space. D'oh! From Anthurium, a review of Consuming the Caribbean: From Arawaks to Zombies by Mimi Sheller, and a review of Twentieth Century Caribbean Literature: Critical Moments in Anglophone Literary History by Alison Donnell. V. S. Naipaul among the cannibals: A review of A Writer’s People: Ways of Looking and Feeling (and more and more).
From Philosophy Now, an interview with Randall Curren, author of Aristotle on the Necessity of Public Education; playing nice and teaching good: Carolyn Suchy-Dicey considers the dilemma of teaching moral autonomy. A review of An Introduction to Philosophy of Education by Robin Barrow and Ronald Woods. Schools as scapegoats: Our increasing inequality and our competitiveness problems are huge, but they can't be laid at the door of our education system. The flood waters that submerged New Orleans two years ago also sank the local school district. What has happened since the disaster, however, is redefining urban public education. A review of A Class of Their Own: Black Teachers in the Segregated South by Adam Fairclough. More on Tough Liberal by Richard Kahlenberg. Making the grade: How do you grow a bumper crop of math and science teachers? From Discover, one universe, under God: Creationism battles for the hearts and minds of America’s teachers. A review of Doubting Darwin? Creationist Designs on Evolution by Sahotra Sarkar. From Church & State, an article on the Religious Right's new tactics for invading public schools. A review of The Last Freedom: Religion from the Public School to the Public Square by Joseph P. Viteritti.