Nathan Nunn (UBC): The Long-Term Effects of Africa’s Slave Trades (and more). "When will the postcolonial hangover end?": Instead of marking a new beginning, the EU-Africa summit ended in bickering over new trade deals between the two continents. Africa Rising: Democracy is expanding, conflicts are ebbing, economies are growing at a healthy clip — the untold story of a continent that is surprising the pessimists. As the presidential contenders squabble over the leadership of the scandal-hit ANC, an Aids-ravaged South Africa is left to wonder what happened to the dream of the Rainbow Nation. A review of Diamonds, Gold and War: The Making of South Africa by Martin Meredith. A look at how Somalia is completing its devolutionary cycle. Is there hope for a new Zimbabwe after Mugabe? Arthur Mutambara is staking his life on it. In her Nobel acceptance speech, Doris Lessing recalls her childhood in Africa and laments that children in Zimbabwe are starving for knowledge. A review of The Columbia Guide to Central African Literature in English Since 1945 by Adrian Roscoe, and a review of Nadine Gordimer's Beethoven Was One-Sixteenth Black and Other Stories (and more). Ron Eglash on his work exploring the rigorous fractal math underpinning African architecture, art and even hair braiding.
A review of The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language by Christine Kenneally (and more). A review of Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin by Nicholas Ostler. The passion of Latin lovers: When Virginia's all-star team of young scholars competes in a national quiz bowl, a dead language is very much alive. Mother tongue: A review of Inventing English: A Portable History of the Language by Seth Lerer. Does it seem as if the English language is becoming more and more common in the everyday lives of Europeans? The English language won’t be done in by the influx of Latin Americans — to see the fallacy of this warning, just take a little look at American history. Lost in translation in the City of Babel: More than 145 languages in Toronto can pose problems in hospitals and courts, which too often rely on unqualified interpreters. From New English Review, a look at why Esperanto is different.
The first chapter from Old Masters and Young Geniuses: The Two Life Cycles of Artistic Creativity by David W. Galenson. From Humanities, teaching Rembrandt: Why introduce children to masterpieces? A review of Medievalism: The Middle Ages in Modern England by Michael Alexander. More on Peter Gay's Modernism: The Lure of Heresy. Edward Hopper's subjects are looking for something that may have passed them by — is that what we look for in Hopper? asks Michael Dirda. A review of Edward Burra: 20th-Century Eye by Jane Stevenson. A look at how Chinese artists are the new stars of international auctions and there's a bull market for their work. An obituary for shock art: Fake bomb didn't bring down the Royal Ontario Museum, but it did mark the passing of an artistic era — fact is, there's little left that can rouse us from our comfortable numbness. From Mute, a review of Signs of Life: Bio Art and Beyond.
How much should George Bush get paid: What if pay-for-performance standards came to the White House? A look at the Bush administration’s greatest hits (to your face). More and more on Dead Certain: the Presidency of George W Bush by Robert Draper. George W. Bush's Presidential Library: Can Democrats stop Bush and Cheney from depriving the library of the papers they wish to keep secret? A look at how the Bush family gets away with crimes that would land anyone else in jail. An interview with the Center for Constitutional Rights' Michael Ratner: "We'll keep going after Bush and Cheney when they leave office". A look at lawyer Michael Ratner's quest to prosecute Donald Rumsfeld in Europe. Popular culture views Bush, Nixon, Mulroney, et al as flawed — villains, even; but, a 100 years from now, academics might have a vastly different opinion.
From The Mises Institute, a review of Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism by Jorg Guido Hulsmann. Veblen the Red: We should not pick between Marx or Veblen; we should construct a vibrant radicalism out of them both. From American, MIT’s Ivan Werning uses theoretical models to find the best economic policies on estate taxes and unemployment insurance. Economics for humans: An interview with Tyler Cowen on using incentives for a better life. Regression analysis: Economists and general readers have discovered each other in a match made in trade publishing heaven; the cost is oversimplification. A group of documentary directors are teaming up to make a documentary based on Freakonomics, with each making a 15 minute segment based off of a couple of chapters. From Monthly Review, more unequal: An article on aspects of class in the United States. A look at the Heritage Foundation on hunger: Poor people aren't hungry; they're fat. A review of Hunger: A Modern History by James Vernon. More on A Farewell to Alms by Gregory Clark. Why are so many charities ineffective? The Economist investigates. Simple giving: C'mon, you can do better than a gift card. A gift that gives right back? The ritual of showing how much we care also makes us feel good.
From Forward, a look at how Hillary's thesis on leftist icon Saul Alinksy reveals roots. Hillary Clinton might be the least electable Democrat: While Hillary Clinton maintains her lead in national polling among Democrats, in direct match-ups against Republicans, she consistently trails her competitors. Going negative can be a perilous strategy, but that hasn't stopped the Clinton-Obama smackdown from shifting into overdrive. From The Weekly Standard, a cover story on Saint Barack of Iowa: The Democratic contest comes down to Hope versus Muscle. Roger Cohen on Obama’s American idea. Can Barack Obama win, and if not, is it because he's black?: A review of Shelby Steele's A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win. Oprah the Believer: The prospect of America electing a black president no longer seems impossible. Could 2008 actually end up being a showdown between the author of The Audacity of Hope and the new Man from Hope, Ark.? A pastor’s true calling: Mike Huckabee's success is due, in part, to right-time, right-place luck — but he says it comes from above. Is this guy for real? Republican Mike Huckabee has a slim chance of making it to the White House — but that won't stop him from shaking up the GOP race. An article on Romney, Thompson, and God. Mr. Perfect’s Slip: Mitt Romney did everything right to win the Republican nomination—so why is he drifting? Some beliefs are more equal than others: Romney's "landmark" speech was the antithesis of JFK's call for religious tolerance. Damon Linker on Mitt Romney's theoconservatism. An unholy trinity of issues — abortion, immigration and his messy personal life — could hurt Giuliani's chances with his key constituency, Catholic voters. A look at how Ron Paul's phenomenal candidacy is giving the long-fractured libertarian movement a Kumbaya moment.
Lawrence O. Gostin (Georgetown): Meeting Basic Survival Needs of the World's Least Healthy People: Toward a Framework Convention on Global Health. From the IMF's Finance & Development, an article on governing global health: How better coordination can advance global health and improve value for money; here are three points of view on how the global health system can be improved; and a profile of Harvard economist Michael Kremer, who has helped pioneer the creation of a new instrument to boost the development of vaccines by securing advance promises to pay for them. The introduction Will to Live: AIDS Therapies and the Politics of Survival by Joao Biehl. The soul of a new vaccine: A controversial effort to stop malaria zeroes in on mosquitoes and the parasites that live inside themThe Times hears a WHO: An accidentally broken embargo causes the World Health Organization to engage in sanction overkill. When a spoonful of sugar won't do: Wanted — Medicine for a group whose voice is still too small to be hear. Is the U.S. population behaving healthier? A look at what has happened to the population's health behaviors over time and what the future may hold.
Mindi Torrey (USF): Authenticity: Existential Virtue or Platonic Ideal? A review of The Cambridge Companion to Plato's Republic. A review of Human Goodness: Pragmatic Variations on Platonic Themes by Paul Schollmeier. From Dissent, an interview with Avishai Margalit, author of The Ethics of Memory. Hans Kung on the globalization of ethics. Kwame Anthony Appiah on the new new philosophy: Philosophers are increasingly eager to go out into the world and conduct experiments. But will their results settle any arguments? An interview with Julian Baggini on thought experiments. A review of Why Think? Evolution and the Rational Mind by Ronald de Sousa. "Which living person do you most despise, and why?": An interview with Martha Nussbaum.
From Newsweek, a cover story on a new American holy war. From Britannica, Robert McHenry on religion and the "culture war", so called. David Brooks on faith vs. the faithless. Are Christian conservatives "Christian" or "conservative"? A review of Head and Heart: American Christianities by Garry Wills. A review of After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion by Robert Wuthnow. Making Mormon history: An influential religion struggles with how to tell the story of its past. Where politics and Buddhism intersect: An interview with Ethan Nichtern, author of the new Buddhist political treatise One City, about faith, youth, 9-11, consumption, and powerlessness. A review of Lew Daly's God and the Welfare State. From The Washington Post Magazine, a cover story on the trials and tribulations of Hashmel Turner: An unassuming small-town preacher and his unconventional Christian lawyer are trying to win the right to pray to Jesus at city council meetings.
From Dissent, a special section on the "new" France, including Philippe Askenazy (CNRS): France's 35-Hour Workweek: Myths and Realities; Mitchell Cohen on France: Red rose, blue grip; of croissants and couscous: An article on national identity after the French elections; an article on gender and politics in France: Segolene Royal and the Socialist Party; and an essay on Internet politics in France. From Multitudes, an anthropologist between banlieues and globalized world: Monique Selim recalls her research into social structures in French housing estates in the 1970s and the taboos she ran up against on talking about the existence of working-class racism. From Esprit, an interview with Lilian Thuramon the teaching the history of slavery, about the positive function of French identity, and why it is too soon to write off the French model of integration. France has been stung by a lament in Time magazine that French culture is all but dead. In a response, French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy argues that the criticism tells us more about the US cultural landscape.