A new issue of Habitus: A Diaspora Journal is out, on Mexico City. From NYRB, how to write about Mexico’s drug war? A review essay (and more: "Know your Zetas"). The Terror: An excerpt from Ed Vulliamy's Amexica: War Along the Borderline (and more and more). Back in print after 500 years: A review of Incantations: Songs, Spells and Images by Mayan Women by Ambar Past. A review of 2000 Years of Mayan Literature by Dennis Tedlock. With little knowledge of the history of slavery in the region, Afro-Mexican culture slips away. The eternal "black problem": When it comes to race, Cuba is far from the utopia that black intellectuals like to think it is. Kenan Malik on The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution by C.L.R. James. Letter from Port of Spain: Is Trinidad the next Jamaica? Placencia wants tourism, but not too much of it — can the peninsula in Belize have it both ways? Guyana’s post-colonial plight: Still beset by ethnic divisions 45 years after independence from Britain, the country’s labor movement is now offering "bold leadership". The Darien Gap is the only gap in the 30,000-mile span of roads called the Pan-American Highway. Education is a major stumbling block in Brazil’s bid to accelerate its economy and establish itself as one of the world’s most powerful nations. A review of Brazil on the Rise: The Story of a Country Transformed by Larry Rohter (and more and more). Philosopher king: An interview with former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the man credited with putting the "B" in Bric. An interview with Larry Rohter books on Brazil. Peru gives landlocked Bolivia a piece of Pacific coast to call its own. Boom Town: In the last few decades Santiago has emerged as one of Latin America’s wealthiest and most highly developed cities. Argentina's self-confident capital: Buenos Aires, Metropolis of the Zeitgeist. From Words Without Borders, beyond Borges: A special issue on Argentina now. A review of Crisis and Capitalism in Contemporary Argentine Cinema by Joanna Page. An interview with Oscar Guardiola-Rivera on books about the rise of Latin America.
Amy J. Sepinwall (Penn): Citizen Responsibility and the Reactive Attitudes ("This paper takes seriously the notion that individuals may bear responsibility for the transgressions of their group even where they do not bear the hallmarks of individual culpability"). A review of What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers. In the Face of Death: 52% of the Christians who have completed this activity think the murder of children is sometimes morally justified — do you agree with them? MacGyvering in Haiti: Teaching engineering skills helps Haitians help themselves. How the Right brought down ACORN: A review of Seeds of Change by John Atlas. Is the west still the best? The west still rules, but this will change in the coming decades; indeed, geography may cease to matter (and more). A review of Logic and How It Gets That Way by Dale Jacquette. Imagine that: Jean Kazez goes Gaga in her regular arts column. Peter Bergen on why the U.S. can't find Osama Bin Laden. GeoCurrent on the surprising geography of international tourism. Tim Heffernan on the political phrase of the year and the foreseeable future. From H-Net, a review of Ruling the World? Constitutionalism, International Law, and Global Governance. Sergio Aragones never dreamed that his simple pantomime cartoons would find a home at Mad magazine, where satire and parody — cartoons with words — always ruled. Perhaps it's no surprise that government employees can't fight the urge to pry into the private lives of high-profile figures using something they do have: access to vast digital repositories of sensitive personal information. Appeasing the Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov: Who's afraid of the ruler of the Silk Road? Michael Barker reviews The Political Economy of Media and Power.
From Common-place, a review of Common Bondage: Slavery as Metaphor in Revolutionary America by Peter Dorsey; a review of Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America by Douglas R. Egerton; and a review of Revolutionary Conceptions: Women, Fertility, and Family Limitation in America, 1760-1820 by Susan Klepp. The Constitution was “proslavery in its politics, in its economics, and its law” — the result was A Slaveholders’ Union. Thaddeus Russell on 11 freedoms that drunks, slackers, prostitutes and pirates pioneered and the Founding Fathers opposed (and more). What anti-TV crusades, the campaign against the “Ground Zero mosque,” and Ayn Rand’s “intellectual heir” have in common with the reform movements of the antebellum era. The Civil War at 150: Politically and culturally, its battles are still being fought. An interview with S. Waite Rawls on his role as the keeper of the Confederacy's complex legacy. At great expense, railroad bypassed first black-founded town in the US. Zero Hour on Nihau: Did the actions of a handful of people on a remote Hawaiian island lead to the internment of over 100,000 Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor? A review of Demanding Democracy: American Radicals in Search of a New Politics by Marc Stears. Making sense of the "Me" decade: The 70s were confounding at the time and, judging from recent books, are even more so in retrospect. Defining a decade: A review of Living in the Eighties. A review of Capture the Flag: The Stars and Stripes in American History by Arnaldo Testi. "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" is more than a war ballad — the song speaks to how America sees itself and has comforted the country during crises for 150 years. Michael Kinsley on why the U.S. is not greatest country ever. The American "new man" is the product of unreason, believing that greed is good and that the US embodies the Enlightenment ideal of freedom. A review of The Anti-American Manifesto by Ted Rall (and more and more). Nightmare on Main St.: Why American society breeds so many mutants, psychos and zombies.
Tim Rakow (Essex): Risk, Uncertainty and Prophet: The Psychological Insights of Frank H. Knight. From IEET, it turns out to be incredibly difficult to make good guesses about the future. The three works under consideration here have nothing to do with anything in the news now but, taken together, they tell us enough about where we are — it isn’t good. Michael Schuman on why every government should be like Hong Kong's. From 4strugglemag, Shaka Zulu, chairman on the NABPP, on the foundations of Pantherism. When the paranormal becomes political: A close encounter with Jeff Peckman. From Radical Philosophy, capitalist epics: David Cunningham on abstraction, totality and the theory of the novel. Now that the fervor over Park51, the so-called “Ground Zero mosque”, has died down somewhat, we can actually step back, take a look around, and consider: the shitstorm that just passed through town is a familiar one (and more). From New Politics, Barry Finger on why socialists should be deficit hawks. If you like radicalizing students, you'll love this. From NYRB, can we create a National Digital Library? Robert Darnton wonders; and Bill McKibben on how very little gets written about public radio: This reflects public radio’s smooth professionalism — it’s gotten so good at its basic task that it’s taken for granted, a kind of information utility. From TAP, a look at how Citizens United gave political parties even more reason to concentrate on interest groups and the rich; even with moderate tax increases, the rich find ways not to pay; and more on Chris Lehmann's Rich People Things (and more). At a time when C. P. Snow's "two cultures" of art and science seem to be drifting further apart, Oliver Sacks remains a one-man bridge between them. A look at 6 secret monopolies you didn't know run the world.
From Penn Gazette, through music and a grassroots organization for girls, ethnomusicologist Jennifer Kyker is making things happen in Zimbabwe. From Himal Southasian, an article on Neil Nongkynrih, India’s leading and perhaps only opera composer; and the absurd condemnation of Western classical music as "alien" led to its calamitous decline in India, which is only now being reversed. Kaushiki Chakraborty Desikan is the next big thing in Hindustani classical music — and the subject of both fanfare and angry jibes. A review of Why Mahler?: How One Man and Ten Symphonies Changed Our World by Norman Lebrecht. The Communist Manifesto Oratorio: No commemoration has ever been so unusual as that of Czech composer-pianist Erwin Schulhoff, who actually set the Manifesto to music in 1932. Mark Lindley on Marx and Engels on music. From Socialist Standard, Pete Seeger is now in his 90th year; his songs have always been better than his politics. A review of Bob Dylan in America by Sean Wilentz (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more). Hey, hey, Bob Dylan, I wrote you a letter — about seein' your world of people and things. A look at how Bruce Springsteen helped make being a working class rebel cool again. Punk Rock Republicans: There's actually a grand tradition of members of musically radical musicians taking rightward political turns. The inherent conservatism of hip-hop: Most rappers are so conservative, they could easily belong to the Republican Party. Insane Clown Posse: America's nastiest rappers in shocking revelation — they've been evangelical Christians all along. Peter Mandaville on the rise of Islamic Rap: On the streets of Britain, hip hop jabs at Muslim politics. After her Jewish childhood in the West Bank, Invincible became a rapper in Detroit — now she’s fighting for social justice in unexpected ways. Straight Outta Comp 101: Language dork Sam Anderson finally falls in love with rap (and a history of rap as literature). Kevin Young reviews The Anthology of Rap by Adam Bradley and Andrew DuBois — a book rife with transcription errors; why is it so hard to get rap lyrics right? (and more)