What We’re Reading

What We’re Reading: Summer Books Edition


Here are some of the books that the Blog’s editors have lined up for summer. From art history to critical theory, from fiction to poetry, we’ve got you covered if you’re looking for something to pick up during the academic off season.


I have a confession to make: I have never read D.F. McKenzie’s Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts from cover to cover. As a working bibliographer I encounter a huge variety of “texts,” from incunabula to 20th century manuscripts printed on Xerox machines, to 45 rpm sound recordings, even recordings on magnetic tape. As Jerome McGann wrote in a 1988 review for the London Review of Books, “In a series of trenchant illustrations, [McKenzie] unfolds a profound truth about ‘the book’ itself – and thence about every kind of possible text: that it is meaning-constitutive not simply in its ‘contained’ or delivered message, but in every dimension of its material existence.” So, Marshall McLuhan meets Phillip Gaskell and Fredson Bowers?  I’m about to find out.


Eve Babitz, age 14, reading a biography of novelist and screenwriter Elinor Glyn.

I’m also going for it with Hollywood fiction to support my work with a private collection of film scripts and cinematic ephemera this summer. As a New Yorker, Los Angeles seems the land of good vibes, great hair, and Fridays off to me – I loved Pynchon’s Inherent Vice and P.T. Anderson’s film adaptation. So, I’m looking for a sense of the place on the ground, without completely bursting my Beach Boys bubble.  I just started Eve Babitz’s Eve’s Hollywood, up next is Darcy O’Brien’s A Way of Life Like Any Other, and then comes Don Carpenter’s Hollywood Trilogy. Babitz is a sophisticated, well read, well connected, and totally liberated mid-century California woman, and best of all she is a tremendous writer.  O’Brien and Carpenter’s books both come highly recommended as novels of the note-so-glamorous side of Hollywood life on both ends of the 20th century.


The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases, ed. Jeff VanderMeer and Mark Roberts (2003): I’m a hopeless science fiction/fantasy addict, as well as a history of science buff. Rarely do those passions come together, but some of the genre’s cleverest writers—Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, Alan Moore—have compiled this darkly comic “anthology” of imaginary maladies. Being something of a hypochondriac, I am a little nervous (in a good way).

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 9.11.45 AMKate Tempest, Hold Your Own (2014). Kate Tempest is a brilliant, prize-winning poet from the UK, whose debut collection, Hold Your Own, explores gender, sexuality, and the life cycle through a reimagining of the story of Tiresias, the blind prophet of Greek mythology. A brief sample: “Snakes. Two snakes! / Coiling, uncoiling / Boiling and cooling / Oil in a cauldron / Foil in a river / Soil on a mood ring.”

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719). The beach read extraordinaire. One of those books that has sat on my shelf unread for far too long. Arguably the first English novel. It created its own genre—the Robinsonade—of castaway or “desert island” stories.


One summer, I carried W.G. Sebald’s After Nature all over Europe, like a talisman. I read it quietly in hotel rooms, and over coffees in little squares. The historian’s work can be alienating, so much solitude, so many hours and days spent unmoored from your own time. Here was someone else who did that deep dive, and came back with a work of lapidary beauty. It’s a work that always sets me thinking about the writer’s craft.

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 9.35.14 AM

Summer, for me, is also a time for re-reading those books that first opened certainintellectual doors. I often go back to T.J. Clark’s work – whether the more conventional art historical works, like The Painting of Modern Life – or stranger ones like Farewell to an Idea, The Sight of Death. Clark both knows how to look and how to leap from ekphrasis to argumentation. I plan to read and and look at the art work under discussion again, and somewhere between reading and looking, come to a new understanding of work and text.

But it’s also a season of sun, and salt, and blue. This summer, I’ll have Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse in my beach bag, for something that feels deceptively diaphanous, along with Joan Didion’s South and West for a glimpse at another writer’s working process. I’m also carrying Solmaz Sharif’s first book of poetry, Look, because something about the heat and pain in these poems demands slow, careful reading. Read a stanza. Look at the sea. Repeat. If I should find myself stuck at an airport, I’ll reach for Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet. I second Eric on this recommendation. They are gripping. They pull you into another world and nothing makes a four-hour travel delay go by faster.


Elena Ferrante. The Neapolitan Quartet surely need me least of all to sing their praises at this point. They are very good and (at least for me) gripping enough that the summer is the right time to sit down with them. Pay more attention to the backdrop of postwar Italy than to the sexist shenanigans around authorship that have recently overshadowed the novels themselves.

Moishe Postone, Time, Labor, and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marx’s Critical Theory (Cambridge, 1993). This classic in recent critical theory has since provided an important base for significant work in intellectual history. I should have read it a long time ago.

Benjamin Straumann, Crisis and Constitutionalism: Roman Political Thought from the Fall of the Republic to the Age of Revolution (Oxford, 2016). This is well outside my area of expertise, but I just finished teaching a semester of Roman history and David Armitage’s Civil Wars whetted my appetite for this sort of thing.


A film series and book pairing: the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive presents a summer-long series on the centennial of Jean-Pierre Melville (1917-1973). His oeuvre extends well beyond films about the Occupation of France, but I’ll look at those films through the lens of this book, by Professor Leah Hewitt, Remembering the Occupation in French Film: National Identity in Postwar Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).

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Jean-Pierre Melville

Mary Sarah Bilder’s Madison’s Hand Revising the Constitutional Convention (Harvard UP, 2015), through a range of fascinating research tools, invites us into James Madison’s writing of his Notes on the Constitutional Convention of 1787, showing the complex biography of a text often treated as an unimpeachable primary source.

Another pairing—and in this vein of the biography of a text: William Carlos Williams’s epic American poem Paterson (1946-1958) and the multiply eponymous film Paterson (2016), a film about writing poems, which has stirred interest in Williams’s work.


I have read the historical novel Hild by Nicola Griffith every summer since 2014. Griffith is best known for her fantasy writing, and has produced a stirring and lush story with fantastical elements that is rooted in the fragmentary records left by Bede of the life of St. Hilda of Whitby. Griffith also kept a blog in which she recorded the progress of her historical writing: https://gemaecce.com/. Set in 7th century Anglo-Saxon England, this novel details the childhood and early adulthood of a young woman of a royal house, and moves languidly through loss, sexuality, the rhythms of political and everyday life, and the tumult of living in changing and unprecedented times. I find it equally comforting and unsettling. A sequel is forthcoming. The author’s interview in The Paris Review is also a helpful look at what writing about the fantastical/real is like.

Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital by Vivek Chibber is a book I have read about, but have not read. I hope to correct that this summer. It is a work with immense political stakes as well as implications for work done in the space between the fields of intellectual history, critical theory, postcolonial studies, political thought, and global history (a zone with which I find myself increasingly preoccupied). I will no doubt have to read it alongside the many critiques and responses to it (some of which has been helpfully collected here).

Daniel Brückenhaus’s 2017 book, Policing Transnational Protest: Liberal Imperialism and the Surveillance of Anticolonialists in Europe: 1905-1945 is an exploration of the effect of state pressure, surveillance, and policing on anti-imperial activity. Brückenhaus has detailed here the development of a transnational anti-colonial government in the first half of the twentieth century, in northwestern Europe in particular. This book is also framed in terms of a pre-history of current debates about such a transnational surveillance operation, and the trajectory of such an entity over the last century told through archival research in Britain, France, and Germany.


Richard Swedberg Tocqueville’s Political Economy (2009). Tocqueville: political thinker, proto-sociologist, or political economist? Although the text primarily interests me for its perspective on Tocqueville in America, it is sure to prove useful to intellectual historians more generally as well. By examining the intersection between Tocqueville’s thought as a proto-sociologist and political thinker, Swedberg unearths an easily missed yet crucial aspect of Tocqueville’s outlook and method: political economy.


Photograph of Claude McKay, taken for ‘Home to Harlem’ promotion, c. 1928.

David Motadel Islam and Nazi Germany’s War (2014). In good graduate student fashion, this is one of the books I preordered, received a few months later, read the first chapter meticulously, and promptly placed on my bookshelf. Summer is finally here and with it more time for pleasure reading. This text is fascinating for its depiction of colonial societies’ interaction with Nazi Germany and the latter’s views on Islam. 

Claude Mckay Amiable with Big Teeth (2017). I first encountered Claude McKay after reading Brent Edwards’ “Taste of The Archive.” Written in 1941, a Columbia graduate student discovered the unpublished manuscript in 2012 (an amusing story in its own right). The novel touches on the mood and climate in Harlem on the cusp of World War II.



What We’re Reading: Week of May 5th

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.



Jason Delisle, “The Disinvestment Hypothesis” (Brookings)

Hal Brands, “Why Scholars and Policymakers Disagree” (The American Interest)

Sarah Jaffe, “The Unexpected Afterlife of American Communism” (New York Times)

Josephine Livingstone, “Wonder Woman is Propaganda” (New Republic)_



Nadia Khomami, “Unseen Edith Wharton Play Found Hidden in Texas Archive” (Guardian)

Andrew Kahn, “Pushkin for President” (TLS)

Adam Kirsch, “Ironists of a vanished empire” (NYRB)



Claire Barliant, “The Hanging at Mankoto” (Triple Canopy)

Susanne von Faulkenhausen, “Get Real” (Frieze)

Catherine Damman, “See Change: The Sublime Artistry of Trish Brown” (bookforum)

Amelia Gray, “Reading Isadora Duncan’s Autobiography” (The Paris Review)



Rebecca Fishbein, “A Brief History of The Strand” (Gothamist)

Joe Kanon, “There is no better place to write than the library” (Literary Hub)

Linsey McGoey, entretien par Marc-Olivier Déplaude & Nicolas Larchet, “Les dessous de la philanthropie” (Vie des idées)

Chris Ware, “Saul Steinberg’s View of the World” (NYRB)



Jerry Bannister, “How To Finish Your Thesis,” (Early Canadian History)

Katie Dobbs, “Though this be madness: Orange-Sannyas in Fremantle,” (overland)

Shane Greentree, “Catherine Macauley and the “Equal Eye” of Compassion,” (AWHN)

Sam Metz, “Édouard Louis’s Novel of the French Working Class,” (New Republic)

James Wood, “Cramming for Success,” (LRB)

What We’re Reading: Week of May 22

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.


Sue Collard; Sonia Delesalle-Stoper; Mayanthi Fernando; Sudhir Hazareesingh; Imen Neffati;  Daniel Lee, ‘French History @ IHR: A Discussion of the French Presidential Election,’ (French History Society Blog)

Emile Chabal, ‘The Sahel: In What State?,’ (Books & Ideas)

Paul A. Kramer, ‘History in a Time of Crisis,’ (Chronicle)

Colum Mcann, ‘So you want to be a writer? Essential tips for aspiring novelists,’ (Guardian) (Regardless of the title, this is a good read for everyone who takes the craft of writing seriously, whether for fiction or non-fiction.)

Bruce Robbins, ‘Discipline and Parse: The Politics of Close Reading,’ (LARB)



Ross Douthat, “The Handmaid’s Tale,’ and Ours” (New York Times)

Penelope Green, “50 Years of Marriage and Mindfulness with Nena and Robert Thurman” (New York Times)

Roger Moore – Saint, Persuader and the suavest James Bond – dies aged 89” (The Guardian)

Linda Colley, “What Gets Called Civil War” (New York Review of Books)



Ashley Finigan, Caine Jordan, Guy Emerson Mount, Kai Parker, “A Case for Reparations at the University of Chicago” (Black Perspectives).

Mitch Landrieu, “We Can’t Walk Away from this Truth” (The Atlantic).

Elaine Mokhtefi, “Diary” (LRB).

Colette Shade, “Blight at the Museum” (Current Affairs).



Sarah Jeong, “Mother, Wife, Slave” (The Atlantic)

Mark Trecka, “Interrogation and Transmigration: On Layli Long Soldier’s “Whereas” and Mai Der Vang’s “Afterland” (LARB)

László Krasznahorkai, “from the Manhattan Project” (BOMB)

Daniel Penny, “Rei Kawakubo” (4Columns)

Anne Higonnet, “Through a Louvre Window” (Project18)

(This week’s pairing of Daniel Penny’s “Rei Kawakubo” review with Anne Higonnet’s extended meditation on a single eighteenth-century French painting (Portrait of Charlotte du Val d’Ognes, also at the Met) highlights two different ways of considering the intersection of fashion, politics, and the body.)



Biancamaria Fontana, “Would you mind imprisoning my wife?” (TLS)

Anthony Mostrom, “The Fascist and the Preacher” (LARB)

Julia M. Klein, “One Author, Two Radically Different Holocaust Stories” (The Forward)

Álvaro Santana-Acuña, “How One Hundred Years of Solitude Became a Classic” (The Atlantic)



Hayden N. Pelliccia, “The Ancient Delights of the Epigram” (NYRB)

Guy Lodge, “Maurice at 30: The gay period drama the world wasn’t ready for” (Guardian)

Ingrid D. Rowland, “Martin Luther’s Burning Questions” (NYRB)

Adam Tooze, “Critiquing Frank Trentmann’s ‘Empire of Things’” (Adam Tooze)

Colm Tóibín, “How I rewrote a Greek tragedy” (Guardian)

Peter Mandler, “Why is the Labour Party in a mess?” (Dissent)

James Romm, “The Vitality of the ‘Berlin Painter’” (NYRB)



Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, “Funny Face” (The New Inquiry)

Rochelle Miller, “I’ve Been Grading Student Papers for the Last 72 Hours” (McSweeney’s Internet Tendency)

Owen Hatherley, “The Spirit of ‘40 and ‘45 and ‘74 and ‘79 and ‘97” (n+1)





Matthew Dessem, “New Orleans Mayor Denounces Confederate Nostalgia in Stirring Speech Defending Monument Removal” (Slate)

Ezra Klein, “Bryan Stevenson explains how it feels to grow up black amid Confederate monuments” (Vox)

Robert Jay Lifton, “Malignant Normality” (Dissent)



Michel Espagne, Überlegungen zur Frage nach einer europäischen Geschichte (JMEH)

Roman Bucheli, Sensationeller Fund: Max Frisch goes Hollywood – und keiner merkt es (NZZ)

Johan Schloemann: Schöne Körper. Winckelmann und die Folgen – eine aufregende Ausstellungen Weimar (SZ)


What We’re Reading: Week of May 15

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.


Suzanne Koven, “On Desire and Disease” (LARB)

Eimear McBride, “‘It gets people killed’: Osip Mandelstam and the perils of writing poetry under Stalin” (New Statesman)

Catherine Merridale, “Living, eating and dreaming revolution” (New Statesman)

Priyamvada Natarajan, “Calculating Women” (NYRB)

Robert O. Darnton, “A Parliament of Owls” (NYRB)



Dan Fox, “Signs of the Times: Mark Bradford at the Venice Biennale” (Frieze)

Madeleine Thien, “The Land in Winter” (Granta)

Hannah Black, “Review: We Wanted a Revolution” (4Columns)

Kellie Jones and LaToya Ruby Frazier, “The Unfinished Work of the Civil Rights Movement” (Aperture)



LD Burnett, In the Books (USIH)

Zachary Bampton, Do You Speak Princetonian? The Language of Princeton (Mudd Manuscript Library Blog), an interesting slice of 19th-century American college life

Andrew Hartman, To the Finland Station (USIH)

Jacob Mikanowski, Goodbye, Eastern Europe! (LARB)



Kevin B. Anderson, ‘Slavery, War, and Revolution,’ (Jacobin)

Emile Chabal, ‘Les intellectuels et la crise de la démocratie,’ (Pouvoirs)

Nelson Lichtenstein, ‘Judith Stein, 1940-2017,’ (Dissent)

Christoph Menk, interviewed by Thomas Assheuer, ‘Unsere Zerrissenheit ist doch das Beste an der Moderne, was wir haben!’  (zeitonline)

Samuel Moyn, Thomas Pink, John Finnis, Lorenzo Zucca, ‘Symposium of Christian Human Rights,’ (King’s Law Journal)



Alex Tizon, “My Family’s Slave” (The Atlantic)

Fresh Air (Podcast), “A ‘Forgotten History’ Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America” (with author Richard Rothstein)

Stephen Kantrowitz, “Refuge for Fugitives” (Boston Review)


Andreas Klein, Zwischen Grenzbegriff und absoluter Metapher. Hans Blumenbergs Absolutismus der Wirklichkeit (Ergon, 2017)

Martin Burckhardt, Eine kleine Geschichte der Digitalisierung (Merkur)

Peter Ackroyd, The Romantics – Nature (BBC documentary)

Roman Bucheli, Wir rühren uns – mit Flügelschlägen. Rilke in Russland (NZZ)

Roland Reuß, Engagierte Pfadfinder. Bei Kieser in Schwetzingen [portrait of a famous bookstore near Heidelberg] (boersenblatt.net)


What We’re Reading: Week of May 8

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.


Twenty Questions with China Miéville” (TLS)

Peter Coates, “Rising High Water Blues” (TLS)

China Miéville, “Why does the Russian revolution matter?” (Guardian)



Valerie Korineck, ‘After Stonewall’ and Gay and Lesbian Liberation in Western Canada (Notches)

Rebecca Futo Kennedy, We Condone it By Our Silence (Eidolon)

John Gallagher, Fear the fairies: Early Modern Sleepe (LRB)

Jim Marino, Questions for the Jedi Vice-Chair of Graduate Studies (McSweeneys)



Adam Gopnik, “We Could Have been Canada: Was the American Revolution Such a Good Idea?” (New Yorker)

Susan Dominus, “Is an Open Marriage a Happier Marriage?” (New York Times Magazine)

Ai Weiwei, “How Censorship Works” (New York Times)

Jed Perl, “The Confidence Man of American Art” (on Robert Rauschenberg) (New York Review of Books)



Ben Sisario, “Norton Records, Still Rocking, is Releasing a Lost Dion Album” (NYT)

William Grimes, “Billy Miller, Curator & Historian of Fringe Music, Dies at 62” (NYT)

Adam Shatz, “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” (LRB)

Robert Sapolsky, Behave: The Biology of Humans at our Best and Worst (Penguin, 2016)

Robert Sapolsky, Human Behavioral Biology — this is a lecture series (25 hours!) published by Stanford on their YouTube channel. If you, like me, learn best as a listener, I highly recommend diving in.  If you’re looking for a quick intro to his work, Sapolsky’s public and academic lectures are widely available on YouTube. He was also a recent guest on the Daily Show.



Jennifer Kabat, “The Fairytale” (Granta)

Anne Anlin Cheng, “The Ghost in the Ghost” (L.A. Review of Books)

Alice Spawls, “It’s Only in Painting that You Can Do Everything You Want: Hurvin Anderson speaks to Apollo” (Apollo)

Artur Walther and Okwui Enwezor, “Okwui Enwezor on the Recent Histories of African Photography” (Aperture)



Dieter Grimm with Jürgen Kaube, ‘Ich hänge an der Demokratie/Not for the State’s but for Democracy’s Sake,’ ( wiko-berlin)Eddie S. Glaude Jr. with Cornel West, ‘Before Cornel West, After Cornel West’ with Cornel West,’ (AAS Podcast 21)

Jamie Martin and Maribel Morey, ‘Introduction,’ (Humanity Journal)

Samuel Moyn, ‘Restraining Populism,’ (First Things)

Angela Nagle, ‘The Market Theocracy,’ (Jacobin)



William Deresiewicz, “In Defense of Facts” (The Atlantic).

Mariame Kaba, “Free Us All” (The New Inquiry).

Peter Kletsan, “Revolution and Restorative Justice: An Anarchist Perspective” (Abolition).

Martha Nussbaum, “Powerlessness and the Politics of Blame (2017 Jefferson Lecture)” (Humanities).



Fresh Air (Podcast), “Largely Forgotten Osage Murders Reveal A Conspiracy Against Wealthy Native Americans

Peter Coclanis, “Famine on Campus?” (The City Journal)

Isaac Chotiner, “How Should we remember the Confederacy?” (Slate)


What We’re Reading: Week of May 1


Peggy Kamuf, “Who Has the Right to Move?” (LARB)

Martin Filler, “The Best Kind of Princess” (NYRB)

Ingrid D. Rowland, “The Virtuoso of Compassion” (NYRB)

Rupert Shortt, “Alvin Plantinga and the Templeton Prize” (TLS)


Nicholas Heron, “70 Years On, Primo Levi” (The Conversation)

Helena Kelly, “The Many Ways in Which We Are Wrong About Jane Austen” (Lithub)

Dana Stuster, “The State of Sovereignty” (Lawfare)

Adam Tooze, “The H-Word by Perry Anderson” (FT)



Joseph Heat, “ ‘You’re Wrong.’” (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Robert Darnton, “A Buffet of French History” (NYRB)

A Digital Archive of Slave Voyages Details the Largest Forced Migration in History” (Smithsonian Magazine)



Emile Chabal, “Europe’s far right: the new normal?.” (History Workshop)

Jakub Dymek and Zsolt Kapelner, “It Doesn’t Take a Dictator to Smother a Free Press,” (Dissent)

Samuel Goldman, “Is a Conservative Crack-Up on the Horizon?” (National Review)

Sarah Jones, The Handmaid’s Tale is a Warning to Conservative Women,” (New Republic)

Jackson Lears, “Mysterian,” (LRB)



Richard Wilson, Bonfire in Merrie England: Shakespeare’s Burning (LRB)

Katie Fitzpatrick, Heartlessness as an Intellectual Style (Chronicle)

Jason Pedicone, Ne Plus Ultra: Classics Beyond the Tenure Track (Eidolon)

Francine Prose, Selling Her Suffering (NYRB)

What We’re Reading: Week of April 24

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.


William Chace, “Why Pick on Middlebury?” (The American Interest)

James Somers, “Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria” (The Atlantic)

Tom Perrottet, “How New York is Rediscovering its Maritime Spirit” (Smithsonian)

Podcast: “Behind the Bylines: Advocacy Journalism in America” (Backstory)

Gene Zubovich, “Reinhold Niebuhr, Washington’s Favorite Theologian” (Religion and Politics)  



Pointing Machines (Collected American Elegance) (Triple Canopy)

Charles Hope, “Help with His Drawing: Is it Really Sebastiano?” (London Review of Books)

Jerry Saltz, “My Life As a Failed Artist” (New York Magazine)

Roslyn Sulcas, “A Conversation with Three Choreographers” (New York Times)


Robert Darnton, “A Buffet of French History” (NYRB)

Jessica T. Mathews, “Can China Replace the West? (NYRB)

Alexandra Schwartz, “Yes, “The Handmaid’s Tale” Is Feminist” (New Yorker)

Jon Lee Anderson, “Photo Booth: Colombia’s Former Revolutionaries” (New Yorker)



Louis Menand, The Book that Scandalized the New York Intellectuals (New Yorker)

Peter Brown, At the Center of a Roiling World (NYRB)

Martin Pugh, Why Former Suffragettes Flocked to British Fascism (Slate)

Thomas Meaney, Short Cuts, on Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny (LRB)

Paul Levy, The Painter and the Novelist, on the Stephen sisters (NYRB)


Robert Darnton, “A Buffet of French History” (NYRB).

Mike Furlough, “What Libraries Did with Google Books

Josephine Quinn, “Goose Girl” (LRB).

Britt Rusert, “From the March for Science to an Abolitionist Science” (From the Square).

Catholic Left History Reader



David A. Bell, ‘France, Round One: The Left’s Continuing Dilemma,’ (Dissent)

Jean-Noël Jeanneney, ‘Chut! Une histoire du silence,’ (franceculture)

G.-A. Kassia, ‘”Paris, capitale du tiers monde”, de Michael Goebel,’ (Le Matin d’Algérie)

Jon Piccini, ‘“Women are the oldest colonial group in the world”: Human Rights, Women’s Rights and Third Worldism in Mexico City, 1975,’ (noteventhedeadblog)

Glenda Sluga, ‘The long history of humanitarianism, and the women who invented it,’ (AWHN)



Mary Beard, “Death of a dictator” (The New Statesman)

Nisi Shawl, “Golden Ages” (Fantasy Cafe)

Robert Darnton, “A Buffet of French History” (NYRB)

Colin Dickey, “Why the United States Government Embraced the Occult” (The New Republic)

Alan Burdick, “The Loch Ness Monster of Mollusks” (The New Yorker)



Series Spotlight: Writers in their Time (New York Society Library)

Anna Maria Gillis, “Impertinent Questions with Wayne Wiegand” (Humanities Mag)

Abeba Birhane, “Déscartes Was Wrong: ‘A Person is a Person through other Persons’” (Aeon)

Podcast with Book History editor Ezra Greenspan (Past is Present)

The Grasshoppers Come (David Garnett, Chatto & Windus, 1931)


What We’re Reading: Week of April 10

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.


Terri Kapsalis, Hysteria, Witches, and the Wandering Uterus: A Brief History, or, Why I Teach “The Yellow Wallpaper” (Lithub)

Amber Regis, The Memoirs of John Addington Symonds (London Library Magazine)

J J Cohen, How to Place “Humanities” Next to “Future” Without the Adjective “Dire” (or, Why Entry Level Courses Matter) (In the Middle)

Elizabeth Barnes, Ross Cameron, and Robbie Williams, Josh Parsons (1973-2017) (Daily Nous)

Rachel Moss, assembled, astonished and disturbed (meny snoweballes)

Meredith Warren, What Would Jesus Eat This Easter? A First Century Menu for the Last Supper (History Matters Sheffield)

Josh Allen, The Thompson-Davis Letters (Past & Present blog)


Fríða Ísberg, “Dracula in Iceland” (TLS)

Steven Nadler, “Who was the first modern philosopher?” (TLS)

Melanie Benson Taylor, “The Convenient Indian” (The Los Angeles Review of Books)

Garry Wills, “Where Evangelicals Came From” (New York Review of Books)


Daniel Drezner, Triumph of the Thought Leader(Chronicle of Higher Education)

Molly McCluskey, Public Universities get an Education in Private Industry(The Atlantic)

Christopher Caldwell, American Carnage (First Things)

D.T. Max, How Humans are Shaping our own Evolution(National Geographic)


Noah Chasin, “Raymond Pettibon” (4 Columns).

“In Conversation: Thelma Golden in Conversation with Joachim Pissarro and David Carrier” (The Brooklyn Rail)

Hoberman, “At the Grey Art Gallery” (London Review of Books)

Kathryn Murphy, “More to Cheese than meets the eye? Dutch Still Life Paintings” (Apollo)


Rachel Cooke, “Eric Gill: Can We Separate the Artist from the Abuser?” (Guardian)

Yasmin Nair, “The Dangerous Academic is an Extinct Species” (Current Affairs)

Peter Pihos, “The Possibility of a Public” (Forum for Scholars and Publics)

Robert Priest, “Brexit, 1905?” (SSFH)


What We’re Reading: Week of April 3

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.


Jennifer Schuessler, “A Trove of the Women’s Suffrage Struggle, Found in an Old Box” (NYTimes)

Richard Hell, “Confessions of a Book Collector” (Village Voice)

Helen Vendler, “The Two Robert Lowells” (NYRB)

Derek Dunne, “Sign Here Please: ____________ Blank Forms from the Folger Collection” (The Collation)


Adrian Searle, Queer British Art 1861-1967 — strange, sexy, heartwrenching (Guardian)

Nico Muhly, Why Choral Music is Slow Food for the Soul (NY Times)

Ariel Levy, Catherine Opie, All-American Subversive (New Yorker)

Tom Crewe, Oh, you clever people! The Unrelenting Bensons (LRB)

Christopher Browning, Lessons from Hitler’s Rise (NYRB)

Andrew O’Hagan, On Robert Silvers (LRB)

Tony Sewell and Mike Grenier with Philip Dodds, Education Slow and Fast (Free Thinking, BBC Radio 3)


Kenneth K. Wong, Redefining the federal role in public education(Brookings)

Matthew M. Chingos and Kristin BlaggWho could benefit from school choice?(Brookings)

(Film) Paterson, written and directed by Jim Jarmusch

Walter Russell Meade, The Jacksonian Revolt(Foreign Affairs)

Ross Andersen, Welcome to Pleistocene Park(The Atlantic)

Kimberly Harrington, The Resistance will be brought to you by Pepsi(McSweeneys)


Greg Afinogenov, “Desperation Time” (N+1).

Ayana Mathis, “On Impractical Urges” (Guernica).

Charles Mills interviewed by Neil Roberts, “The Critique of Racial Liberalism” (Black Perspectives)


Dennis Duncan, “Index, A celebration of the” (TLS)

Paul B. Sturtevant, “Recovering a ‘Lost’ Medieval Africa: Interview with Chapurukha Kusimba, part I” (The Public Medievalist)

Colin Dickey, “Forging Nature” (The Los Angeles Review of Books)

John Rieder, “An Image of Africa from the Sky” (The Los Angeles Review of Books)

What We’re Reading: March 31

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 Maurois, translated by David Garnett, A Voyage to the Island of the Articoles (Turtle Point Press, 2012 re-issue)

Emily Temple, “Life Advice from Adrienne Rich” (LitHub)

Matthew Kirschenbaum, “#thanksfortyping” (Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing tumblr)

Tressie McMillan Cottom, “The Coded Language of For-Profit Colleges” (The Atlantic)

(Audio:) Terri Gross interviewed Tressie McMillan Cottom on her recent book, Lower Ed excerpt linked above – it’s worth a listen (Fresh Air)

(Video:) Mary Beard, “Women in Power” (LRB)


Ruth Bush, ‘Digitising Militant Glossy Magazines in francophone Africa,’ (Medium)

Sheila Fitzpatrick, ‘What’s Left?,’ (London Review of Books)

Edmund Gordon, ‘In Which Angela Carter Gives No F*cks: On the early reception of The Sadeian Woman and The Bloody Chamber,’ (Literary Hub via Oxford University)

Chris Hayes, ‘Policing the Colony: From the American Revolution to Ferguson,’ (The Nation)

Tim Parks, ‘The Expendable Translator,’ (New York Review of Books)


James Oakes, “The New Cult of Consensus” (Nonsite.org)

Samuel Freeman, “The Headquarters of Neo-Marxism” (NYRB)

Martin Filler “New York’s Vast Flop” (NYRB)

Frank Bruni “The Horror of Smug Liberals” (New York Times)


Roz Kaveney, “Fantasy ethics” (TLS)

Sophie Brown, “How to escape from prison” (TLS)

William Echikson, “‘Their message is urgent’: the Holocaust survivor and his 7,000 pieces of antisemitic propaganda” (The Guardian)

Larry Harnisch, “Traumatized Nixon” (The Los Angeles Review of Books)

Christopher Benfey, “A Well-Ventilated Utopia” (The New York Review of Books)


Susan McKay, “The Irish Border” (London Review of Books)
Megan Black “Interior Imperialism” (n+1)
Hannah Gais, “From a Darling” (Baffler)

Roxanne Panchasi, “Avec l’amour au piong” (FFFH)

Norman Rush, “A Burning Collection” (NYRB)