What We’re Reading

What We’re Reading: February 17

Here are a few interesting articles and pieces we found around the web this week. If you come across something that other intellectual historians might enjoy, please let us know in the comments section.


André Aciman, “The Life Unlived” (The American Scholar)

Ulka Anjaria, “The Goddess of Loss” (Boston Review)

Sudip Bose, “The Conscience of Adolf Busch” (The American Scholar)

Bettina Maria Brosowsky, »Vergessenes Bauhaus« (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

Guillaume Calafat, « Une histoire de France sans œillères » (La république des livres)

Caryl Emerson, “Writing in the Heat of Crisis” (TLS)

Eberhard Falke, »Ein Grenzgänger zwischen Ordnung und Chaos« (Deutschlandfunk)

Peter E. Gordon, “After the Inferno” (The Nation)

Maxime Laurent, « Paris, capitale anticoloniale » (BibliObs)

Joshua Sperling, “The Transcendental Face of Art” (Guernica)

And finally, a wonderful (and bizarrely prescient) recording of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and his wife Charlotte (in English; YouTube)


Max Weber, Science As a Vocation (1922)

Rory Stewart, How to Serve Coffee: Aleppan Manners (LRB)

Alison Light, A Memoir of a Marriage, recording of a lecture about her new memoir (History Workshop)

Mike Ratcliffe, Raising the Stakes in Student Accommodation (More Means Better)


Laurence de Cock, “Todorov et l’école, un plaidoyer contre le racisme, et pour l’humanité” (Mediapart)

Tyler Fleming, “Pan-Africanism Was Peter Abraham’s Country” (Africa is a Country)

Samuel Moyn, “Endless War Watch, Winter 2017” (Lawfare)

Timothy Snyder, “We have at most a year to defend American democracy, perhaps less” (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

Michael Walzer, “Learning to Listen” (Dissent)


Amy Julia Harris, The Religious Freedom Loophole (Reveal)

Benjamin Kearl, Of Laggards and Morons: Definitional Fluidity . . . in Progressive Era Special Education (Education’s Histories)

John Ernest, Life Beyond Biography: Black Lives and Biographical Research (Common-place)

Annette Joseph-Gabriel, Resisting Racism and Islamophobia: Lessons from Muslim Slave Narratives (Black Perspectives)


Seth Denbo, “Whose Work is it Really?” (Perspectives)

Robin D. G. Kelley, “Black Study, Black Struggle” (Boston Review)

Sarah Marks and Daniel Pick, “Lessons from the 1950s on Mind Control” (Chatham House)

Laura Marsh, “Between the Lines: Ferrante’s Frantumaglia” (Dissent)


Stephen Lovell, “Rasputin: Full of Fire and Ecstasy” (The Times Literary Supplement)

Lanre Bakare, “The fire this time—the legacy of James Baldwin” (The Guardian)

Robert Darnton, “The True History of Fake News” (The New York Review of Books)

Paul Veyne “The Oasis of Palmyra” (Lapham’s Quarterly)

What We’re Reading: Feb. 11

Here are a few interesting articles and pieces we found around the web this week. If you come across something that other intellectual historians might enjoy, please let us know in the comments section.


Heidi Egginton, ‘Cadogan’s Last Fling’: The Papers of Sir Alexander Cadogan continued (Churchill College Archives Centre)

Alex Abramovich, Ode to Joy (LRB blog)

Daniel Penny, #Milosexual and the Aesthetics of Fascism (Boston Review)

Nicholas Syrett interviews April Haynes, More than Masturbatory (on Haynes’ new book about nineteenth-century US anti-masturbation campaigns) (Notches)


Alys Aglan à propos de Sergio Luzzatto, « La justice des partisans » (La vie des idées)

Dirk Baecker, »Superintelligenz, und die Plastizität des Menschen« (Open Edition: Kultur/Reflexion)

Markus Beyer im Gesprach mit Norman Manea, »Die Chance des Exils« (NZZ)

Sylvain Bourmeau avec Marc Joly, « La sociologie, une révolution » (France Culture)

Caryl Emerson, “Word Wars” (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Emilio Gentile, “Storiografia in crisi d’identità” (Il Sole 24 Ore – Domenica):

Wolfgang Herbert zum neuen Buch Jan Assmanns, »Genealogie des Monotheismus« (Literaturkritik.de)

Anna von Münchhausen zu Willy Fleckhaus, »Ein Mann färbt ab« (Zeit)

Anna-Verena Nosthoff und Felix Maschewski, »„Democracy as Data“? – Über Cambridge Analytica und die „moralische Phantasie“« (Merkur)

Jacob Soll, “How Think Tanks Became Engines of Royal Propaganda” (Tablet Magazine)

And finally, a late interview (« La beauté sauvera-t-elle le monde ? ») with the great scholar Tzvetan Todorov (1939-2017; avec John Cornil, CLAV/CAL-YouTube)


Roxana Azimi, A Marrakech, quand la bourgeoisie marocaine construit des musées plutôt que des golfs (Le Monde)

Juliet Hooker, More and more influential: Frederick Douglass and Donald Trump (AAIHS Black Perspectives)

Benjamin Kunkel, Marx’s Revenge (The Nation)

Fiona Paisley, Australian Women at the League of Nations: A spotlight on settler colonialism in the 1930s (Australian Women’s History Network Blog)

Tim Parks, What Are the Pitfalls for the Politically Engaged Writer? (New York Times)


David Bell, “France: The Death of the Elephants” (Dissent)

Peter Kujawinski, “Guardians of a Vast Lake, and a Refuge for Humanity” (The New York Times)

Amani Bin Shikhan, “Why Princess Nokia Matters, Now More Than Ever” (Vice)

Peggy Noonan, “What Comes After Acheson’s Creation?” (The Wall Street Journal)

Rachel Syme, “The Big Short” (The New Republic)


Janet Flanner, “Isadora” (The New Yorker)

Rachel Aviv, “How Albert Woodfox Survived Solitary” (The New Yorker)

Michael Engelhard, “Darwin’s Polar Bear” (Time to Eat the Dogs)

Mark Harman, “Lesser-Known Kafkas” (Los Angeles Review of Books)


I. Augustus Durham, “How “Black” Is Your Science Fiction?” (Black Perspectives)

Claire Jarvis, “Woman Problems” (N+1)

Damon Linker, “Trump’s theofascist” (The Week)

Kathryn Schulz, “When Things Go Missing” (The New Yorker)


Raphael Pope-Sussman, “A German Historian’s Thoughts on Trump, Fascism and America: Interview with Isabel Hull” (The Gothamist)

Pankaj Mishra, “Václav Havel’s Lessons on How to Create ‘Parallel Polis’” (The New Yorker)

David Bornstein, “Comparing Young Americans for a Complex World” (NYT)

What We’re Reading: February 2

Here are a few interesting articles and pieces we found around the web this week. If you come across something that other intellectual historians might enjoy, please let us know in the comments section.


Raise your hand if your coping mechanism as a historian is to geek out about tariff reform!
Michael Kenny and Nick Pearce, The empire strikes back (New Statesman)
Dominic Rushe, Smoot and Hawley, the ghosts of tariffs past, haunt the White House (Guardian)

Isabel Hull, The Innocence Campaign: The Sinking of the ‘Lusitania’ (LRB)

Donna Zuckerberg, Classics in the Time of Intolerance (Eidolon)

Beverly Gage, How the Women of the Mormon Church Came to Embrace Polygamy (NY Times)

Stephen Rohde, What Do You Have to Lose? Mark Danner on the Forever War (LARB)

And finally, be the Eleanor Rathbone you want to see in the world.


Eric Aeschimann and David Caviglioli, « “Histoire mondiale de la France”: le livre qui exaspère Finkielkraut, Zemmour et Cie » (L’Obs)

Roger Berkowitz, “Turning Ourselves into Outlaws” (Hannah Arendt Center)

Sam Dresser, “How Camus and Sartre split up over the question of how to be free” (Aeon)

Tom Edwards in conversation with Klaus Brinkbäumer and Christoph Amend, “German weeklies” (The Stack)

Par Marie-Madeleine Fragonard, « Translation de Rabelais » (La république des livres)

John Gray, “Noi, fatti solo di material” (Il Sole 24 Ore Domenica)

Clive James, “In Homage to Gianfranco Contini” (TLS, 1974; CliveJames.com)

Jérémie Majorel, « Les essais esthétiques de Jean Starobinski » (La vie des idées)

Ahlrich Meyer, »Herrschaftsfreie Diskussion, aber keine kritische Theorie« (NZZ)

Elisabeth Richter in conversation with Sofia Gubaidulina, »Eine Kraft, die aus der Stille kommt« (NZZ)

And finally, présentation du livre « Le temps suspendu » par Giovanni Careri et Bernhard Rüdiger (28 novembre 2016, CRAL – YouTube)


Hilary Mantel, “How do we know her?” (London Review of Books)

Jane Darcy, “Jane Austen the Teenager” (The Times Literary Supplement)

Hannah Arendt “From an Interview” (New York Review of Books)


Kritika Agarwal, “Historians as Expert Witnesses” (Perspectives)

Jean-Luc Bonniol, “Races sans couleur” (La vie des idées)

Branko Milanovic, “Is liberalism to blame?” (globalinequality)

Laura Tanenbaum and Mark Engler, “When women revolted” (Waging Nonviolence)


Amy Julia Harris, Steve Bannon had a big weekend in the White House. Get to know him (Reveal)

Dana Goldstein, How to Inform a More Perfect Union (Slate)

Jim Dalrymple II and Blake Montgomery, Trump Threatens UC Berkeley’s Federal Funding (Buzzfeed)

Kristen West Savali, The Radical Uses of Anger (The Root)

What We’re Reading: January 28th

Here are a few interesting articles and pieces we found around the web this week. If you come across something that other intellectual historians might enjoy, please let us know in the comments section.


Sarah Al-Matary, « Henri Guillemin, intellectuel réfractaire : Entretien avec Patrick Berthier » (La vie des idées)

Arnauld Chandivert and Claire Ducournau, « L’esprit libre de Richard Hoggart » (La vie des idées)

Marshall Poe interviews Stephen Brockmann on his new book The Writers’ State: Constructing East German Literature, 1945-1959 (New Books in History)

Marshall Poe interviews Matthew L. Jones on his new book Reckoning with Matter: Calculating Machines, Innovation, and Thinking about Thinking from Pascal to Babbage (New Books in History)

Christine Richard, »Peter von Matt: Wie küsst Mann mit 80?« (Die Zeit)

Carlo Rovelli, “This Granular Life” (Aeon)

Niccolò Scaffai, “Le opere di Primo Levi” (Le parole e le cose)

Jörg Scheller, »Unter einem Dach die ganze Welt« (Die Zeit)

Ena Selimovic, “The accumulation of tragedy leads to farce: An Interview with Aleksandar Hemon” (The Balkanist)

Adam Tooze, “What Held Nazi Germany Together? The Aly-Tooze Debate Revisited” (AdamTooze.com)

And finally, Becci Sharp on Laurent Kronental’s photography, “Neglected Utopia: Photographer explores the forgotten modernist estates of Paris” (Creative Boom)


Susan Pedersen, Super-shallow-fragile-ego-Trump-UR-atrocious, on the women’s march (LRB)

Duncan Bell, The Anglosphere: new enthusiasm for an old dream (Prospect)

Jennifer Schuessler, Columbia Unearths Its Ties to Slavery (NY Times)

Eleanor Parker, Times and Seasons (A Clerk of Oxford)

Helen McCarthy, Nineteen Thirty-One (LRB Blog)

Alison Light, Diary: Raphael Samuel (LRB)

John Banville, The Strange Genius of the Master (NYRB)

Jonah Miller, To Be Worth Forty Shillings: Early Modern Inequality (LRB)

A one-day conference at the Institute for Historical Research, London: London’s women historians: a celebration and a conversation, March 13, 2017.


This week’s NPR program, The Takeaway, had an excellent interview with UT Austin History Professor Daina Ramey Berry on her book, The Price for Their Pound of Flesh.  I wish it had been longer.

Bookseller Brian Cassidy’s recent e-list of books on drugs is great.

I was disappointed not to attend the Diversifying the Digital Historical Records conference, but followed the conversation on Twitter.  It’s worth perusing the Tweets by Bergis Jules, Bethanie Nowiski, and others.

Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) is now live in Beta! See The Collation blog for the skinny.

Roberta Kwok “Crowdsourcing for Shakespeare” (New Yorker)

Louise Nicholson, “Virginia Dawn Emerges as the star of the NGAS New Galleries” (Apollo Magazine)

Dan Piepenbring, “Mr. Coffee Mansplains and Other News” (The Paris Review – this links out to several other excellent pieces, particularly about the recent uptick in sales of Orwell’s 1984)

Ed Smith, “Selling Rare Books on NYC Sidewalks” (The New Antiquarian)


Hugo Drochon, “‘Zombie’ Apocalypse in the West?” (Project Syndicate)

Leslie James, “What lessons on fascism can we learn from Africa’s colonial past?” (Africa is a Country)

Dominic Pettman, “Some Remarks on the Legacy of Madame Francine Descartes” (Public Domain Review)

Pierre Rimbert, “Le mot qui tue” (Le monde diplomatique)


Peter Myers, ‘The Third City,’ (ArchitectureAU)

Susan Pedersen, ‘Super-shallow-fragile-ego-Trump-UR-atrocious,’ (London Review of Books)

Karen Stohr, ‘The New Age of Contempt,’ (New York Times)

Adam Tooze, ‘Goodbye to the American Century,’ (Zeit Online)

Rosemary Wakeman, ‘“The ‘Urban Question’ is Now at the Center of Intellectual Life”: A Conversation with Rosemary Wakeman,’ (Global Urban History Blog)


A.S. Hamrah, “All That Counts is Getting to A Normal World” (n+1)

Alena Graedon, “Cesar Aira’s Infinite Footnote to Borges” (The New Yorker)

Helen McCarthy, “Nineteen Thirty-One”  (The London Review of Books)


Steven Shapin, “Invisible Science” (The Hedgehog Review)

Lorraine Daston, “When Science Went Modern” (The Hedgehog Review … maybe just read the whole issue)

Lorraine Berry, “Bibliomania: The Strange Historyof Compulsive Book Buying” (The Guardian)

Isabel Hull, “The Innocence Campaign” (LRB)

Timothy Garton Ash, “Is Europe Disintegrating?” (NYRB)

What We’re Reading: January 20th

Here are a few interesting articles and pieces we found around the web this week. If you come across something that other intellectual historians might enjoy, please let us know in the comments section.


Lina Bolzoni, “ «Furioso» per l’Ariosto” (Il Sole 24 Ore Domenica)

Hugo Drochon, “Why Elites Always Rule” (New Statesman)

Heinrich Geiselberger in conversation with Angela Gutzeit, »Für Bauman war die Moderne kein eindeutiger Fortschrittsprozess« (Deutschlandfunk)

Timothy Nunan interviews Elizabeth Borgwardt, “A New Deal for the Nuremburg Trials?” (Toynbee Prize Foundation)

François Ottmann, « Du pragmatisme kantien » (La vie des idées)

Marshall Poe interviews Surekha Davies on her new book Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human: New Worlds, Maps, and Monsters (New Books in History)

Patrycja Pustkowiak, “Lem, the Stars, and the Holocaust” (Aspen Review)

Doreen Reinhard, »Die Mauer aus Glas« (Die Zeit)

James Schmidt, “The Making and the Marketing of the Philosophische Fragmente: A Note on the Early History of the Dialectic of Enlightenment (Part I)” (Persistent Enlightenment)

Adam Shatz, “Where Life is Seized” (London Review of Books)

And finally, Marielle Macé, « Sciences sociales : sciences du style » (CRAL – YouTube)


August Kleinzahler, Inauguration Day (LRB Blog)

Daniel Rodgers, When Truth Becomes a Commodity (Chronicle)

Christian Lorentzen, Considering the Novel in the Age of Obama (Vulture)

Claire Potter, Did We Lose It At The Movies?, a review of Kelly Oliver’s Hunting Girls (review31)

Samuel Moyn, Beyond Liberal Internationalism (Dissent)

Pete Kuryla, Some Thoughts on a Politics of Love in the Age of the Deal (USIH)

Antony Carpen, The Newnham connection to the making of modern Cambridge (Lost Cambridge)

Tom Seymour, After hours: capturing the journey home from New York City’s gay nightclubs (Guardian)

In shameless self-promotion, my article “Arthur Sidgwick’s Greek Prose Composition: Gender, Affect, and Sociability in the Late-Victorian University” is in the January issue of the Journal of British Studies.


Rebecca Solnit, “From Lying to Leering: Rebecca Solnit on Donal Trump’s Fear of Women” (LRB)

Marcus H. Johnson, “Stop Calling It ‘Identity Politics’ – It’s Civil Rights” (AlterNet)

Susan Chira’s “‘You Focus on the Good:’ Women Who Voted for Trump, in Their Own Words” (NYT)

I’m also still reading Janet Lewis. The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron is not as poignant as the masterful The Wife of Martin Guerre, but the story revolves around a bookbinder’s shop and the circulation of a slanderous pamphlet against Louis XIV. The pamphlet’s format (duodecimo) is mentioned over and over again – it’s a bibliographer’s novel.  I’ve also dipped into her Selected Poems. In short, she is my antidote to DJT.


Teresa Bejan “Mere Civility—An introduction” (The Immanent Frame)

Marcus Bunyan “Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s” (Art Blart)

Chris Kark on Mark Lilla “the future ain’t what it used to be” (3:AM)

Jessica Wright “Latin Behind Bars” (Eidolon)


Matt Bruenig, Antti Jauhiainen & Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen, ‘The UBI Bait and Switch’, (Jacobin)

Robin D.G. Kelley, ‘What Did Cedric Robinson Mean by Racial Capitalism?’ (Boston Review)

Jeanne Marie Laskas, ‘To Obama With Love, and Hope, and Desperation,’ (New York Times Magazine)

Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, ‘Martin Luther King’s Radical Legacy, From the Poor People’s Campaign to Black Lives Matter,’ (Dissent Magazine)

Adam Shatz, “Where Life Is Seized’ (London Review of Books)

Carolyn :

Glen Newey, “Utopia in Texas” (LRB)

Jonathan Kirshner, “America, America” (Blog of the LARB)

Karen Horn, “Der Homo oeconomicus – ein Missverständnis” (NZZ)

What We’re Reading: January 14th

Here are a few interesting articles and pieces we found around the web this week. If you come across something that other intellectual historians might enjoy, please let us know in the comments section.


« La constellation des savoirs : Entretiens avec Patrick Boucheron et Barbara Cassin » (La vie des idées)

Susanna Ferguson with Omnia El Shakry, “Islam, Psychoanalysis, and the Arabic Freud” (Ottoman History Podcast)

Wolfgang Kaußen, »Durch die Bibliothek …« (Suhrkamp Logbuch)

Jürgen Osterhammel, “Arnold Toynbee and the Problems of Today” (Toynbee Prize Foundation)

Stéphane Sahuc and Lucie Fougeron, « Il faut réinventer une manière de mener la bataille d’idées » (entretien avec Patrick Boucheron; L’Humanité)

Don Skemer, “Martin Guerre Returns, Again” (Princeton RBSC Manuscripts Division)

Alexander Stern, “The Art of Thinking in Other People’s Heads” (Humanities)

Emily Thompson, “The Women of Charter 77 and the New Dissenters” (Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty)

And finally, « Lumière, Lumières » (colloque au Collège de France)


Check out the CFP for “Beyond Between Men: Homosociality Across Time, my dream conference happening in Oxford this June.

Amia Srinivasan, Remembering Derek Parfit (LRB)
Jane O’Grady, Derek Parfit obituary (Guardian)

Our friends at Eidolon are sponsoring an essay contest for high-school students: if you know a teenage classicist, encourage them to apply!

Xiaolu Guo, ‘Is this what the west is really like?’ How it felt to leave China for Britain (Guardian)

Andrew Hartman, The Long Lives of Marxist Books (S-USIH)

Tamson Pietsch, I read this book so you don’t have to (Cap and Gown), a review of William Lubenow’s Only Connect: Learned Societies in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Robert B. Townsend and Emily Swafford, Conflicting Signals in the Academic Job Market for History (AHA Perspectives)

John Broich, How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler (Smithsonian)


Erich Chaim Kline’s recent catalog of photographic books

Rebecca Herscher, “What Happened when Dylan Roof Asked Google About Race?” (NPR)

I just started Janet Lewis’ wonderful Cases of Circumstantial Evidence series, with The Trial of Soren Qvist. I happily read it in 24 hours, absolutely perfect for a wintry night at home. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series, and delving into her poetry as well.  Larry McMurtry reviewed several reissues of her work for the NYRB in 1998.

Charles Wood’s recent catalogue of photo-technically illustrated books

J.T. Roan, “Pedagogy for the World: Black Studies in the Classroom and Beyond” (AAIHS)


For a Luxury Leftism” (Current Affairs)

Atossa Araxia Abrahamian on Branko Milanovic, “An Economist’s Case for Open Borders” (Dissent)

Dean Baker, “Forum: Is Globalization to Blame?” (Boston Review)

Nathan Perl-Rosenthal “Plotting Revolution, Part One, Two, and Three” (Age of Revolutions).

Adam Shatz, “Where Life is Seized” (LRB)


Timothy Garton Ash, ‘Is Europe Disintegrating?’ (The New York Review of Books)

Arthur Goldhammer, ‘France Chooses a New President,’ (The American Prospect)

Patrick Iber, ‘Literary Agents: Rethinking the legacy of writers who worked with the CIA,’ (New Republic)

Wesley Morris, ‘Visiting the African-American Museum: Waiting, Reading, Thinking, Connecting, Feeling,’ (NY Times)

Samuel Moyn, ‘Beyond Liberal Internationalism,’ (Dissent)


Amani Bin Shikhan, “Finding the Right Light: With his music debut, Mustafa the Poet grows up – and turns inward” (GOOD)

George Blaustein, “The Obama Speeches: Drones need no Churchills and deserve no Lincolns” (N+1)

Alex Dueben, “How ‘His Girl Friday’, One of the Best Movies of All Time, Led to Today’s TV Dramedies” (Splitsider)

Jamila Osman, “A Map of Lost Things: On Family, Grief, and the Meaning of Home” (Catapult)

Timothy Shenk, “Jonathan Chait and the Failure of “Grown Up” Liberalism” (New Republic)


Christiane Habermalz, “Gelöschtes Gedächntis? Kritik am neuen Bundesarchivgesetz” (Deutschlandradio Kultur)

Helene von Bismarck, “Lost in translation: Brexit and the Anglo-German Relationship” (History & Policy, Opinion)

Ian Frazier, “The Vertical Farm” (The New Yorker)

Mark Micale, “Early Global Thinker” (TLS)

What We’re Reading: January 6th

Here are a few interesting articles and pieces we found around the web this week. If you come across something that other intellectual historians might enjoy, please let us know in the comments section.


Holland Cotter, “World War I — The Quick. The Dead. The Artists.” (New York Times)

François Hartog and Jacques Attali, « Que peut-on encore prédire ? » (La Grande table, France Culture)

Louise Hidalgo talks with Martin Palouš on the signing of Charter 77 (BBC World Service)

Andreas Isenschmid, »Das wahre Leben ist die Literatur« (Zeit)

Thomas de Monchaux, “A Beacon in Berlin” (New Yorker)

Oliver Pfohlmann, »Briefauswahl als innere und äußere Biografie« (Deutschlandfunk)

Janet Todd, “Living and breathing politics” (TLS)

Adam Tooze, “A General Logic of Crisis” (LRB)

Ingeborg Waldinger, »Unteilbare Menschlichkeit« (NZZ)

Uwe Justus Wenzel, »Subjektivität, Metaphysik und Moderne« (NZZ)

And in honor of John Berger (1926-2017), the first episode of his television series “Ways of Seeing” (1972; YouTube)


Historiann’s guide to surviving the Mile High #AHA17 (Historiann)

Philip Oltermann, Angela Merkel and the history book that helped inform her worldview (Guardian) (shoutout to our editor emerita Madeline, who sent this to me)

Madeleine Schwartz, It doesn’t tie any shoes: Shirley Jackson (LRB)

Marina Warner, Anglo-Egyptian Attitudes (LRB)

Wesley Morris, Visiting the African-American Museum: Waiting, Reading, Thinking, Connecting, Feeling (NYT)

Mark Brown, Hidden gay British histories take centre stage 50 years after decriminalisation (Guardian)

Robert Saunders, 2016 and the Crisis of Parliaments (Gladstone Diaries)

Michael Waters, The Public Shaming of England’s First Umbrella User (Atlas Obscura)

Susan Harlan, Poems on the End of the Academic Semester (Hairpin)


Margaret Anderson, “Why Can’t the US Decolonize its Design Education?” (AIGA)

Rebecca Onion “Five Fascinating Digital History Projects We Loved in 2016” (Slate – and I’m so  proud that the NYSL’s City Readers project made the list!)

Michael Melgaard, “Used and Unusual: The past, present, and future of Toronto’s antiquarian bookstores” (National Post)

Terry Eagleton, “Not Just Anybody” (LRB)

Darryl Pinckney, “The Genius of Blackness” (NYRB – the recent issues of the New York and London Reviews are worth perusing in full.)

On my nightstand: Jean Rhys, Smile Please: An Unfinished Autobiography, with an introduction by her editor, Diana Athill (Deutsch, 1980) and The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry, edited by Eliot Weinberger, with translations by Ezra Pound, Kenneth Rexroth, David Hinton, William Carlos Williams, and Gary Snyder. This wonderful compilation shows the range of possible translations of a single poem, publishing or more translators’ interpretations side by side. (New Directions, 2003)


Adam Tooze, “A General Logic of Crisis” (LRB)

Samuel Farber, “Lessons from the Bund” (Jacobin)

Daniel T. Rodgers, “What Next for Liberalism?” (Democracy)

Jules Simha, “Le laboratoire des politiques publiques” (La vie des idées)

Masha Gessen, “The Most Powerful Men in the World” (NYRB)


Martin Clark, ‘Roll Up, Roll Up … for A Transformational Journey into the Australian Constitution!’, (Opinions on High Court Blog)

Barack Obama, ‘The President’s Role in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform’, (Harvard Law Review)

Rebecca Onion, ‘Five More Compelling History Projects We Loved in 2016’, (Slate)

Kenneth Roth, ‘Barack Obama’s Shaky Legacy on Human Rights’, (Foreign Policy)

Gabriel Winant, ‘Birth of an Imperial Nation’, (The Nation)


Achille Mbembe, “The age of humanism is ending” (Mail and Guardian)

Joshua Rothman, “Ted Chiang’s Soulful Science Fiction” (The New Yorker)

Courtney Skye, “First Nations decline invite to Canada 150 event, cite onerous task of washing hair during Boil Water Advisory” (CBC Comedy)

Sam Spurrell, “Indigenous Erasure in Plain Sight: Place Names in New England” (Intercontinental Cry)

Adam Tooze, “A General Logic of Crisis – Review of Wolfgang Streeck’s How Will Capitalism End?” (London Review of Books)


J.M. Coetzee, “A Great Writer We Should Know” (NYRB)

Pico Iyer, “What do We Know?” (New York Times, “The Stone”)

Moira Weigel, “Political Correctness: How the Right Invented a Phantom” (The Guardian)

Christy Wampole, “How to Live Without Irony (For Real This Time)”  (New York Times, “The Stone”)


Michael McNay, “John Berger Obituary” (The Guardian)

Daphnie Merkin, “The Trauma of the Gift Child: The Memoirs of Holocaust Survivor Saul Friedländer” (Bookforum)

Nicholas Penny, “Blame it on His Social Life” (LRB)

Adam Tooze, “A General Logic of Crisis” (LRB)


What We’re Reading, December 23rd

Here are a few interesting articles and pieces we found around the web this week. If you come across something that other intellectual historians might enjoy, please let us know in the comments section. The editors of the JHI Blog also join together in wishing all our readers very happy holidays!


Pierre Assouline, « La puissance du hasard » (La république des livres)

Michael C. Behrent reviews Mark Lilla’s The Shipwrecked Mind: On Political Reaction (New York Review Books, 2016; The Immanent Frame)

Alexander Cammann, »“Ich sitze dazwischen”« (on Siegrfried Kracauer; Die Zeit)

Cécile Dutheil, « Un grand roman sur les identités mouvantes » (En attendant Nadeau)

Susanna Ferguson and Matthew Ghazarian interview İrvin Cemil Schick: “The Ottoman Erotic” (Ottoman History Podcast)

Palko Karasz, “Reflecting on a Hungary Escape 60 Years Ago, and on a Refugee’s Plight” (New York Times)

Tim Parks, “A No-Nonsense Machiavelli” (NYR Daily)

Marshall Poe interviews Eva Mroczek on her book The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity (Oxford Univ. Press, 2016; New Books in History)

Thomas Ribi, »Der Tod ist ein schmieriger Charmeur« (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

Milan Schreuer, “A Master Work, the Ghent Altarpiece, Reawakens Stroke by Stroke” (New York Time)

And finally, Marielle Macé, « Sciences sociales : sciences du style ? » (Q&R courtesy of the CRAL, Paris)


Christopher Isherwood, Goodbye to Berlin (1939), literature for our times.

Paul Krugman, How Republics End (NY Times)

Libby Purves, Tales from girls’ boarding schools (TLS)

Eleanor Parker, The O Antiphons in Middle English: ‘To þe we clepe with alle owre hert and brethe’ (A Clerk of Oxford)

Adam Smyth, How to Perfume a Glove: Early Modern Cookbooks (LRB)

Alan Bennett, Diary (LRB)


Charles Portis, Dog of the South – I’m reading a really nice copy of the 1979 first edition from Knopf.

Brian Cassidy, “Think of an Elephant” (Brian Cassidy is a DC based bookseller, he published this short essay via his mailing list last month.)

I missed Matthew Kirschenbaum’s Fales Lecture, but the video is now up and I’m looking forward to watching it.

I’m working with a collection of screenplays right now, so I’ve been reading up on that literary form and its history.  I’m especially interested in the materiality of scripts, so you’ll see some books on office typing/copy technology, secretaries, and secretarial culture here. Some are better than others, others I’m just getting to, but here’s the list:

David Bordwell, Janet Staiger, and Kristin Thompson, The Classical Hollywood Cinema (Columbia University Press, 1985)

Tom Stempel, Framework (Syracuse University Press, 2000)

Steven Price, A History of the Screenplay (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

Leah Price & Pamela Thurschwell, Literary Secretaries/Secretarial Culture (Ashgate, 2005)

Vicky Lynn Jones, How to Type Scripts (Tracy Plane Press, 1981)

Ian Batterham, The Office Copying Revolution (National Archives of Australia, 2008)


Daniel Bessner & Udi Greenberg, “The Weimar Analogy” (Jacobin)

Vivian Gornick “Feeling Paranoid” (Boston Review)

Ibram X. Kendi, “Are you an Intellectual?” (AAIHS)

Roxanne Panchasi “Cite Specific” (Perspectives)


Ta-Nehisi Coates, “My President Was Black: The History of the First African American White House — and of what came next” (The Atlantic)

Susan Harlan, “Poems on the End of the Academic Semester” (The Hairpin)

Shayla Love, “My Grandparents’ Trauma is In My Blood” (Vice)

Lauren Mitchell featuring Leonicka Valcius, “Cavern of Secrets: Episode 22” (Hazlitt)

Erin Seatter, “Canadian Universities Failing At Diversity” (Ricochet)


What We’re Reading: December 16th

Here are a few interesting articles and pieces we found around the web this week. If you come across something that other intellectual historians might enjoy, please let us know in the comments section.


Roundtable: “Brexit Before and After” (Columbia University, 7 December 2016)

Thony Christie, “Werner von Siemens and Erlangen” (The Renaissance Mathematicus)

J. Hoberman, “Mexico: The Cauldron of Modernism” (NYR Daily)

Thomas Meaney, “The neo-Nazi murder trial revealing Germany’s darkest secrets” (Guardian)

Didier Mineur, « Figurations du politique » (La vie des idées)

Claudia Stancati, « Umberto Eco, philosophe des signes » (La vie des idées)

Judith Thurman, “Grete Stern’s Rediscovered Dreams” (The New Yorker)

Adam Tooze, “1917—365 days that shook the world” (Prospect)

Miloš Vec, »Wie man einen Rechtsstaat mit dem Recht beerdigt« (FAZ)

Adrian Nathan West, “Both a Fish and an Ichthyologist: On Viktor Shklovsky’s Diverse Achievement” (LARB)

And finally, Carlo Ginzburg’s 2015 Tanner Lectures (courtesy of Harvard University)


Jenny Diski remembered by Ian Patterson (Guardian)

Michelle Grigsby Coffey, The Unselfish Academic (Auntie Bellum)

Frederick Wilmot-Smith, Article 50 in the Supreme Court (LRB)
Tom Crewe, The Strange Death of Municipal England (LRB)

And finally, my letter to the editor, responding to Nakul Krishna’s wonderful piece “Rhodocycles,” is in the latest n+1.


J.T. Levy, “The Defense of Liberty Can’t Do Without Identity Politics” (No Virtue)

Louise Michel, translated and introduced by John Tresch, “Every Society Invests the Failed Utopia it Deserves: Scoundrel History and Utopian Method” (Public Domain Review)

Paul Reitter & Chad Wellmon “Field of Dreams” (LARB)

Sarah Scullin, “She’s only a 4” (Eidolon)



Ray Monk, “‘One of the Great Intellects of His Time’” (NYRB)

Zadie Smith, “On Optimism and Despair” (NYRB)

Robert Wright, “Can Evolution Have a ‘Higher Purpose’?” (New York Times, “The Stone”)

What We’re Reading: December 10th

Here are a few interesting articles and pieces we found around the web this week. If you come across something that other intellectual historians might enjoy, please let us know in the comments section.


Costica Bradatan, “The Philosopher of Failure: Emil Cioran’s Heights of Despair” (LARB)

Drew Flanagan, “Theresienstadt concentration camp documents, 1939-1945” (Brandeis Special Collections Spotlight)

Massimo Firpo, “Né con Roma né con Lutero” (Il Sole 24 Ore)

Tobias Lehmkuhl, »Kracauer als einsamer Gesellschaftskritiker« (Deutschlandfunk)

Gabrielle Napoli, « Tout le vingtième siècle » (En attendant Nadeau)

Timothy Nunan, “The Other Intellectuals: A Conversation with Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins about Raymond Aron and International Order” (Toynbee Prize Foundation)

Gertrud Nunner-Winkler, »Rechtsidealismus und/oder Interessenpolitik?« (Literaturkritik.de)

Elif Shafak, “The Silencing of Writers in Turkey” (The New Yorker)

Marcel Stoetzler, “Durkheim’s and Simmel’s reactions to antisemitism and their reflection in their views on modern society” (Open Review / DHI Paris)

Joel Whitney, “Fifty Years of Disquietude” (The Baffler)

And finally, explore the incredible resources and commentary assembled at the Archaeology of Reading in Early Modern Europe collaboration


Ian Buruma, “The Weird Success of Guy Burgess” (NYRB)

Liz Butterworth, “Aequora: Teaching Literacy with Latin” (Eidolon)

Mark Mazower, “The Historian Who Was Not Baffled by the Nazis,” (NYRB)

James McAuley, “The Man Who Brought Paris to Dallas” (NYT)

Andrew O’Hagan, “All hail, sage lady” (LRB)


Jeremy Adelman on Gareth Stedman Jones, “The Mortal Marx” (Public Books)

Ben DuPriest, Nothing New: Introduction (Musiquology)

Olivia Gesbert interviews Barbara Cassin, Traduire pour résister (France Culture)

Patrick Iber, “Fidel Without Illusions” (Dissent)

…and the LSE roundup after the Italian referendum (LSE Europp)


Michael LaPointe, “The Pleasures of Incomprehensibility” (The Paris Review)

Pankaj Mishra, “Welcome to the Age of Anger” (The Guardian)

Naben Ruthnum, “Eight Saints and a Demon” (Hazlitt)

Zadie Smith, “On Optimism and Despair” (NYRB)

Vidal Wu, “Distances, Hesitations, Intimacies” (Tiff)


Ronald Aronson, “The New Politics of Hope” (Boston Review)

Shuja Haider, “Liberal Anti-Politics” (Jacobin)

Daniel Little, “Localism and Assemblage Theory” (Understanding Society)

Phillip Lopate, “The Downside of Urban Density” (American Scholar)