Reads
The Fifth or Sixth Human

The Fifth or Sixth Human

Der dritte oder der vierte Mensch, by the German sociologist Alfred Weber, hardly qualifies as a classic of the literature. It was published in 1953 as the first phase of the Cold War was winding down and much of the value that it retains is due to the way that it reflects the mindset of a particular moment in history. More»

White Room, Black Curtains

White Room, Black Curtains

Once you’ve seen the original photograph, this exercise in “Photoshopping” is understandable. But my first-year university students, trying to make sense of Claudia Rankine’s brilliant book Citizen have not. To them, it’s just a perplexing image of white people from long ago, turning around to look at the camera in front of the dark shape of a tree looming against an even darker sky. More»

Framing the Foreign

Framing the Foreign

In his first edition of Ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy, Yale’s Michael H. Hunt hoped that in describing the primacy of ideological assumptions in foreign policymaking, he could contribute to the post-Vietnam critique of American overreach in world affairs More»

Origins of American Globalisation

Origins of American Globalisation

Spreading the American Dream is about the folklore of capitalism on a global stage. Or as an article in The National Interest once pithily described the mentality: “the multilingual, globe-trotting, advanced-degree holding, CNN-watching, Hilton Hotel-staying, international organization-employed cadres who go from trouble spot to trouble spot imposing the neoliberal state- and nation-building agenda on recalcitrant and often ungrateful natives.” More»

Greed is the Word

Greed is the Word

The only wheels which political economy sets in motion are greed, and the war amongst the greedy – competition. More»

Summer Reading for Imperialists

Summer Reading for Imperialists

Daniel Silva’s series of thriller novels featuring Gabriel Allon, an Israeli spy, are a phenomenon among bestsellers. Millions of English-language copies from this have been sold in the sixteen years this series has been in print, and translations are available in dozens of languages. A new novel appears near-annually, and in a short time, hits the top of the New York Times bestseller lists. More»

Punk is History

Punk is History

People warned me about punk, two in particular. The first was Judith, who was two years older than me and whose father taught computer science at the liberal arts college in eastern Washington state where my father was the dean of the faculty. More»

Looking for Judith Butler

Looking for Judith Butler

I enjoyed Molly Fischer’s recent piece about Judith Butler for New York magazine, but I think it misses something significant about her ongoing relevance. Fischer concludes by suggesting that discourse about gender has moved beyond the performative theories Butler expounded in Gender Trouble. But Butler still remains wildly relevant on college campuses, particularly for undergraduates. More»

From Mumbai with Love

From Mumbai with Love

Ten Pakistanis carried out a new form of terrorism when they landed on the shores of Mumbai in a rubber raft on November 26, 2008, armed with automatic weapons, makeshift explosives, and satellite phones. Or so the story goes. In ensuing months, counter-terrorism experts from all over the world expressed fear that a “Mumbai-style attack” would soon occur in their cities.  More»

Fundamental Ideas of Fascism

Fundamental Ideas of Fascism

Like every concrete political conception, Fascism is thought and action. It is action with an inherent doctrine which, arising out of a given system of historic forces, is inserted in it and works on it from within. It has therefore a form co-related to the contingencies of time and place; but it has at the same time an ideal content which elevates it into a formula of truth in the history of thought. More»

Bin Laden Was Here

Bin Laden Was Here

Seymour Hersh occupies a peculiar place in the American media landscape. As the guy who broke the story of the massacre at My Lai in 1969, and having been instrumental in exposing the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in 2004, Hersh is second only to Woodward and Bernstein in the firmament of investigative journalism. More»

The Envy of Privilege

The Envy of Privilege

One cannot help but wonder what author Andrew Solomon would have achieved had he been born into different circumstances. He sits across from me on a French-style couch in his private library, arms extended, seemingly afloat on a swell of cushions. More»