A new issue of The Caravan is out. From Himal Southasian, a special issue on the caste system. A republican agenda: If democracy in India is to survive, it must move away from the paternalism of its founders. A review of Post-Hindu India: A discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, socio-spiritual and scientific revolution by Kancha Ilaiah. Global fashion was chasing an Indian dream — the dream is now over. From Outlook India, "development is a contraceptive": An interview with Ashish Bose, India’s foremost demographer, on how India ended up with the world’s largest population despite 60 years of family planning (and a review of Headcount: Memoirs of a Demographer); Hindu terror is a reality, yet India refuses to utter its name; and intellectuals want change, but not without the freedom to disagree. A think tank report warns that India is poised on the brink of anarchy, that we could hurtle very fast into an ungovernable mess — the signs are all around us. More and more and more on Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India by William Dalrymple. India asks, should food be a right for the poor? A look at how mobile phones are transforming Indian agriculture. A review of Mother Pious Lady: Making Sense Of Everyday India by Santosh Desai. Is India the world’s worst place to die? Real India: Historian Ramachandra Guha cautions the use of “the Indian Century”. Zahid Rafiq is a pacifist — but he wants to be a stone-pelter. A. Revathi's The Truth About Me is a much needed introduction to hijras' lives and their community (and an interview). Comic realism: Classical Indian comics basically train young minds to suck up to the stereotypes of the status quo.
Andrew M. Odlyzko (Minnesota): Bubbles, Gullibility, and Other Challenges for Economics, Psychology, Sociology, and Information Sciences. From the CIA's Studies in Intelligence, Patrick C. Neary (ODNI): The Post 9/11 Intelligence Community Intelligence Reform, 2001–2009: Requiescat in Pace?; Christopher Moran (Warwick) and Robert Johnson (Oxford): In the Service of Empire: Imperialism and the British Spy Thriller 1901–1914; a review of Operation Hotel California: The Clandestine War Inside Iraq by Mike Tucker and Charles Faddis; a review of Spinning Intelligence: Why Intelligence Needs the Media, Why the Media Needs Intelligence; intelligence today and tomorrow: An interview with former CIA Director Michael Hayden; and translated in the following pages is a chapter from a book first published in Paris in 1809, or the French Napoleonic Staff View of HUMINT. Finding our inner Republican: The GOP's website reminds us how grand the old party used to be — eons ago. Even to look at it under a clear blue sky, when there is little in the weather to encourage irrational flights of fancy, there is something about the Willoughby Incinerator, a distinctive 1930s industrial building set in suburban parkland on Sydney’s north shore, that sets the imagination in motion. From Trypillian Civilization Journal, an article on Trypillian Civilization in the prehistory of Europe, its culture and its discovery. Who's afraid of Ukrainian history? Timothy Snyder want to know. The Decline of the Left: Le Monstre Doux examines why the political right is ascendent in the West.
From ISR, an interview with David Harvey, author of The Enigma of Capital; and a review of Imperialism and Global Political Economy by Alex Callinicos. From MR, arguing socialism: Dominic Alexander reviews The Socialist Alternative by Michael Lebowitz, The Case for Socialism by Alan Maass, and Envisioning Real Utopias by Erik Olin Wright; and Prabhat Patnaik on the state under neo-liberalism. A review of The Radical Critique of Liberalism by Toula Nicolacopoulos. An interview with Noam Chomsky: “President Obama is involved in war crimes right now”. A review of Chomsky Notebook. Noam Chomsky’s Hopes and Prospects shows Chomsky is a conservative (and more). A look at the evolution of Noam Chomsky’s anarchism. Anarchism and socialism: A review of The Abolition of the State by Wayne Price (and a response and a reply). A review of Anarchism and its Aspirations by Cindy Milstein. A review of Alex Butterworth's The World that Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists, and Secret Agents (and more). A complicated rebel: A review of Radical: A Portrait of Saul Alinsky by Nicholas von Hoffman. As radical as reality: An interview with Mickey Z. An excerpt from Black Bloc, White Riot: Anti-Globalization and the Genealogy of Dissent by AK Thompson. Symptom of a crisis: Robert Zwarg reviews The Coming Insurrection by The Invisible Committee. A review of Social Structure and Forms of Consciousness by Istvan Meszaros. From Canadian Dimension, Cy Gonick on exploring ecosocialism as a system of thought; an interview with Joel Kovel on ecosocialism as holistic Earth care; and an article on climate change sceptics on the Left: Alexander Cockburn, David Noble, and Slavoj Zizek.
Robert J. Bonk (Widener): Medicine as an Absurdist Quest in Albert Camus’ The Plague. J. Jackson Barlow (Juniata): Cui Malo? Fraud and Politics in the Wizard of Oz. A review of Barry Lynn's Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction. Homoerotic comics for women (and sometimes men): A review of Boys' Love Manga: Essays on the Sexual Ambiguity and Cross-Cultural Fandom of the Genre. Atlas Obscura visits the Osmotheque, a perfume museum and library. Chuck Baldwin on dates that destroyed America. From Psychology Today, Jeff Wise on the sad science of hipsterism: The psychology of indie bands, PBR and weird facial hair. A review of Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson. An excerpt from Terror, Religion, and Liberal Thought by Richard B. Miller. Ass dialing is the fastest spreading epidemic of the 21st century. A review of Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women by Rebecca Traister (and more). Parul Sehgal reviews How to Become a Scandal: Adventures in Bad Behavior by Laura Kipnis (and more and more). While Democrats nationwide kowtow to the anti-tax crowd, Connecticut gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy shows progressive taxation can be a winning issue. Narrative and personal good: We can see why our storytelling would be especially important in the face of failure, while contributing to our welfare across the range of more or less successful lives we might find ourselves living.
Kevin J. Worthen (BYU): The NCAA and Religion: Insights About Non-State Governance from Sunday Play and End Zone Celebrations. Nancy Wadsworth (Denver): Could this be Political Anthropology? Reflections on Studying Conservative Evangelical Subcultures. The introduction to Religion and Democracy in the United States: Danger or Opportunity?, ed. Alan Wolfe and Ira Katznelson. From Political Theology, a review of books on religion and American politics. From Church and State, bombastic TV host Glenn Beck and Religious Right "Professor" David Barton team up to rewrite American history; and Michigan multi-millionaire Betsy DeVos is a four-star general in a deceptive behind-the-scenes war on public schools and church-state separation. Will Radical Christianity have any effect on the American church? Beer Me, Jesus: The ambiguously Christian leader of Catalyst Church is bored with hate and Hell. More on In the Land of Believers by Gina Welch. A review of Wandering Souls: Protestant Migrations in America, 1630-1865 by S. Scott Rohrer. Since 2008, ChristWire.org has emerged as the leading Internet site for ultraconservative Christian news, commentary and weather reportage — oh, by the way, ChristWire is all one big joke. Four ways Christians damage sex: Jonathan Acuff explores how the American church has accidentally made sex more confusing. From The Freethinker, a look at at Wow: The CatholicTV Challenge, a Catholic game show for kids. From New Geography, Travis Vauhgn on the suburbanization of religious diversity. The idea that the United States has always been a bastion of religious freedom is reassuring — and utterly at odds with the historical record. David Sehat on the myth of American religious freedom: Religion, morality, and law (and part 2).
A review of The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia's Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB by Irina Borogan and Andrei Soldatov. The case of the infamous Russian arms trader Victor Bout — who has supplied guns, ammunition, and material to groups ranging from the FARC in Colombia to the Afghan Taliban — has raised many questions. It started with the launch of Sputnik and ended with the Cuban missile crisis, but for a moment it looked as if the Russian dream of unrivalled prosperity would be realised. In their remote forest republic 400 miles east of the Moscow, the pagan Mari people are once again being harassed by the authorities. An interview with Francis Spufford on 20th-century Russia. Anatol Lieven on reexamining Russian history. From elegant modernism to Stalinist kitsch, the history of the Soviet Union’s journey is written all over its facades. How does Ekho Moskvy manage to survive in a country which is thought to be authoritarian and where the regime tramples on the press? A look at why Putin is the biggest badass in world politics. Guided by Medvedev, Russia appears to be slowly refashioning its foreign policy to favor better relations with the West. Moscow would like to exchange closer ties for investment and technology — a trade that the US would be wise to support. A review of Lonely Power: Why Russia Has Failed to Become the West and the West is Weary of Russia by Lilia Shevtsova.
David S. Law (Washington U.) and Mila Versteeg (Oxford): The Evolution and Ideology of Global Constitutionalism. From Butterflies and Wheels, Jahanshah Rashidian takes a look into the psychology of dictators. Jonathan Gourlay is white, and all of his students are black — what’s the one word he shouldn’t say? A review of Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality by Theodore Dalrymple. An interview with Mia Farrow on changing the world for good. The problem with writing in coffee shops is that everyone hates the kind of people who write in coffee shops — especially the kind of people who write in coffee shops. Vogue's earliest celebrity models: The first women who made their names from gracing the pages of the magazine often led lives as exotic and unlikely as anything conjured in a photoshoot. The introduction to Market Threads: How Cotton Farmers and Traders Create a Global Commodity by Koray Caliskan. The Genius of the Tinkerer: The secret to innovation is combining odds and ends, writes Steven Johnson. Atlas Obscura profiles Caboodle Ranch, a thirty-acre non-profit center dedicated to rescuing abandoned cats. Firestorm at Forbes: Is "real journalism" at Forbes being ruined by its blogs? Reid Stowe spent 1,152 days on the open sea, the longest continuous journey ever undertaken by one person — he came back to a brand-new family, but not exactly a hero’s welcome.
Bred to death: The pursuit of purebred perfection threatens some of our best friends (and more). Dog lovers are some of the most disturbing hypocrites around — how many times have you heard them put the lives of dogs ahead of their fellow man? Dogs have played heroic roles throughout the history of modern science in experiments that weren't always humane. Did dogs gain their social intelligence by accident? What has long been lore is now established fact: many people look like their dogs. Dogs meet DogBots: How might real dogs react to robotic dogs? From Intelligent Life, a photo gallery on extreme dogs. And Man created Dog: The dog is the most varied mammal on the planet — the variety is a direct result of human tinkering or artificial selection that began more than 15,000 years ago. Why dogs love us: In his new Duke Canine Cognition Center, Brian Hare explores the bonds that, over thousands of years, have linked dogs and humans. Stanley Coren on how dogs were created: A deeper look into our pets' history. Animal domestication is one manifestation of a larger distinctive trait of our species, the "animal connection", which unites and underwrites a number of the most important evolutionary advances of our hominin ancestors. Dog Bark Park Inn: Sweet Willy, at 30 feet tall, is the world's biggest beagle. At this hotel, even a pooch can live in the lap of luxury — but please don't use the word "kennel".
From The Utopian, a special issue on pain and pleasure, including an interview with Charles Taylor on religion, politics, and ignorance past; Michel Houellebecq on religion for immortals: "Sexual needs are more urgent than spiritual needs. But what if our sexual needs are satisfied and our spiritual needs take over?"; Damon Linker on the impossibility of sexual consensus; and Alexander Lee on a short history of desire. This week those hoping to become All Souls fellows will sit "the hardest exam in the world"; the notorious one-word essay question may have been scrapped, but candidates still have to sit the General Paper — four writers attempt one question in strictly one hour: "Would it have been better had some surviving works of ancient authors been lost?" Tim Ferriss on how Tucker Max got rejected by publishing and still hit #1 New York Times. From Slate, Emily Bazelon on the tragedy at the Virginia Quarterly Review: The suicide of its managing editor has been blamed on workplace bullying — new details suggest the real story is much more complicated. Here are 6 things you may not know about the passport (and more). From Vanity Fair, gastronomes have been trekking to the remote Spanish cove where Ferran Adria has changed culinary history with his deconstructed martinis, frozen foam, and beetroot cookies — now, to evolve his restaurant, El Bulli, the man they call the world’s greatest chef is closing it forever.
Jared A. Goldstein (Roger Williams): The Tea Party's Constitution. The perils of constitution-worship: One of the guiding principles of the tea-party movement is based on a myth (and a response). Stanley Fish on Antaeus and the Tea Party. From Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi on how corporate interests and Republican insiders built the Tea Party monster; and an interview with President Obama on the Tea Party, the war, the economy and what’s at stake this November. Kevin Drum on the Tea Party: Old whine in new bottles — Memo to Obama: Bill Clinton, LBJ, and FDR know how you feel. Noam Scheiber profiles the disillusioned David Axelrod. Howard Kurtz profiles Paul Krugman, disaffected liberal. Obama's forgotten base: The tragic irony of this political moment is that the people with the most faith in Obama are the hardest hit by the economic disaster, and this brute fact is driving the enthusiasm gap. The Tea Partyers aren't wrong about the growing influence of un-Americans in high places — they've just misidentified who those un-Americans are. From Boston Review, William Hogeland on Real Americans: In America the deadlock between liberalism and populism may be unbreakable. TAP debates populism: Reactions to Kevin Mattson's call for the left to abandon populism; and Robert Kuttner on how populism comes in two varieties — progressive and reactionary.