paper trail

Crossover sociology; fetishizing the book shelf

Alice Goffman

Dustin Rowles writes about Salon’s decision to rewrite the headline of his recent and well-read think piece about “how we treat violent and sexual crimes differently.” As he points out, the new headline clashes with the actual intentions of the article. “Now, when I saw that headline, I didn’t even realize it was my piece at first, and I was pissed before I’d even read it.”

The University of Chicago Press is hoping that Alice Goffman’s On the Run, a work of sociology that follows a small group of young black men in a Philadelphia neighborhood for six years, will reach more than an academic audience. UCP acquired the book, which they praise as an ethnography with “novelistic qualities,” when Goffman was only twenty. Goffman is the daughter of the late, celebrated sociologist Erving Goffman, author of The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959). Whatever influence the elder Goffman had on his daughter could not have been transmitted personally; he died in 1982, soon after she was born.

The Rumpus interviews Leslie Jamison, author of the recent essay collection The Empathy Exams. You can read “Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain,” an excerpt of Jamison’s excellent book, at the Virginia Quarterly Review. “The wounded woman gets called a stereotype, and sometimes she is,” Jamison writes. “But sometimes she’s just true….The possibility of fetishizing pain is no reason to stop representing it. Pain that gets performed is still pain. Pain turned trite is still pain.” Over at Salon, Jamison joins Roxane Gay in conversation.

A Google map showing every bookstore and library across the US.

Instead of reading, we’re fetishizing the bookshelf.