From The Hedgehog Review, Edward J. K. Gitre on A Failure to Communicate: Benjamin Braddock and the Aims of Education. In a critique of the pragmatic reduction of knowledge, Boyan Manchev defines the university as "locus of the unconditionally political". A study finds that academics generally lean one way or another early in life, bolstering theory that self-selection explains the large numbers of liberals in higher ed. Enlightened skepticism too easily turns to snark, leaving empathy and intellectual courage in short supply. A look at the most cited authors of books in the humanities. Can "neuro lit crit" save the humanities? We need to acknowledge the realities of employment in the humanities: It may be that the current dilemma is part of a long, cyclic history — or it may be something more serious is going on (and more). James Mulholland defends the "life of the mind" despite its economic risks. What should departments and deans be doing to help Ph.D.'s with a job search outside academe? Knowledge is a public good, and the growing strength of universities in China and elsewhere need not harm the West (and more). Phil Baty, who oversees a controversial international rating of universities, admits that the process had serious flaws, but argues rankings serve a legitimate purpose. End of university prestige: The growth of online learning is changing the way we think about higher education. Just how bad does a college have to be to lose accreditation? Fraud U: David Wolman on toppling a bogus-diploma empire. The Great College Hoax: Higher education can be a financial disaster — especially with the return on degrees down and student loan sharks on the prowl. Can we afford our state colleges? A "great books" college where liberty is a dirty word — not to the school's president.


From Mediations, Nicholas Brown (UIC): One, Two, Many Ends of Literature; Imre Szeman (McMaster): Marxist Literary Criticism, Then and Now; Neil Larsen (UC-Davis): Literature, Immanent Critique, and the Problem of Standpoint; and Leerom Medovoi (PSU): The Biopolitical Unconscious: Toward an Eco-Marxist Literary Theory. From Human Affairs, Istvan Danka (HEA): Practical Knowledge Versus Knowledge as Practice; and Emil Visnovsky (SAS): The "Practice Turn" in the Contemporary Socio-Human Sciences. It's been striking to see Christian Right wedge issues almost entirely disappear from Gov. Rick Perry's bag of political tricks as he runs for his third term — but fear not, ye Godly bigots of Texas! A review of The Age of Absurdity: Why Modern Life Makes It Hard to Be Happy by Michael Foley. Gerald Howard reviews Lonelyhearts: The Screwball World of Nathanael West and Eileen McKenney by Marion Meade. How the Christian Coalition and MoveOn helped save the Internet together: An excerpt from Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times by Paul Rogat Loeb (and more). Months after declaring independence, Kosovo is no longer in open warfare, but it remains a region of abject poverty, black markets, blood feuds and missing people. From Forbes, a look at the quirkiest cultural practices from around the world. From Adbusters, Douglas Haddow on the coming barbarism: Gen Y is the greatest threat to consumer capitalism yet; and Micah M. White on the birth of altermodern: Is postmodernity slipping into something new? Godfather of African publishing: In a recent memoir, British publisher James Currey looked back on a career spent introducing Western audiences to African and Arab writers, among them Tayeb Salih, Ghassan Kanafani and Naguib Mahfouz.


From The Guardian, what can Darwin teach us about morality? A debate. Only some species will adapt and evolve to survive climate change; evolutionary biologists are only just beginning to find out why, and now they must figure out which ones are most at risk. Daniel Dennet on Darwin's strange inversion of reasoning. Misunderstanding Darwin: A review of What Darwin Got Wrong by Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli Palmarini (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more). Where have all the werewolves gone: Did the arrival of Darwin's theory of evolution put paid to a widespread belief in half-human creatures? From New Scientist, Mark Buchanan on the evolution of evolution. Michael Ruse on explaining Richard Dawkins and Edward O. Wilson. Evolutionary theory predicts that species must compete to survive, but often the best chances for survival come when different species work together for the benefit of both. A review of Subjects of the World: Darwin's Rhetoric and the Study of Agency in Nature by Paul Sheldon Davies. A review of The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World by Shelley Emling. From Christianity Today, a review of The Great Dinosaur Discoveries by Darren Naish and Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life by Scott Sampson. Noted evangelical scholar Bruce Waltke is filmed endorsing evolution — and is promptly forced out of his job. Creationism and ID are products peculiar to US history, the response of Christian fundamentalists to the Founding Fathers’ separation of church and state. Despite the perception that evolutionary science has stripped the meaning from life, recent developments suggest that humans have a central role to play in the future of the universe.


From Eye of the Heart: A Journal of Traditional Wisdom, Graeme Castleman (La Trobe): The Primordial in the Symbols and Theology of Baptism; Samuel D. Fohr (Pitt): Spiritual Symbolism in the Grimms’ Tales; Roger Sworder (La Trobe): Three Short Essays in Astrophysiology; Charles Upton on Homer, poet of Maya; and Tom Bree on symbolism as marriage and the symbolism of marriage. A look at the world’s ugliest statues: When bad art and bad politics meet. A review of The Authenticity Hoax: How We Get Lost Finding Ourselves by Andrew Potter (and more). A review of Do They Think You're Stupid by Julian Baggini. A review of What is Posthumanism? by Cary Wolfe. Claire Barliant reviews The Last Supper: A Summer in Italy by Rachel Cusk. Three bad words: He was literally kicking my ass. The Yes Men Trick the World: Two college professors from the suburbs stole billions from a multibillion dollar chemical corporation and got away with it — and you can too. From The Federalist Debate, an essay on market fundamentalism and the abdication of politics. Pack Man: Charles Broadwick invented a new way of falling. How to con friends and influence people: Are they having a casual chat about a book or is this a sly attempt to make you buy it? Meet the actors paid to make you fall for crafty marketing tricks. A review of The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar. How many Americans does it take to slaughter a Third World child? The Weekly Standard celebrates William Stuntz, a gentleman-scholar at Harvard Law School (and more). Erin Sheley A review of Savage Century: Back to Barbarism by Therese Delpech. The return of the red bourgeoisie: An interview with artist Nada Prlja on the cultural context of communist Yugoslavia and its mutation into a consumer culture.


From Common-place, a special issue on "Hard Times", Thomas Augst (NYU): A Drunkard's Story: The market for suffering in antebellum America; Edward E. Baptist (Cornell): Toxic Debt, Liar Loans, and Securitized Human Beings: The Panic of 1837 and the fate of slavery; Oz Frankel (New School): Hard Facts for Hard Times: Social knowledge and social crisis in the nineteenth century; Roy Kreitner (Tel Aviv): When Banks Fail: Creating money and risk in antebellum America; Cathy Matson (Delaware): Flimsy Fortunes: Americans' old relationship with paper speculation and panic; and Sharon Ann Murphy (Providence): "Doomed to eat the bread of dependency"? Insuring the middle-class against hard times. A review of Securing the Fruits of Labor: The American Concept of Wealth Distribution 1765-1900 by James Huston. A review of The Rise and Fall of the American System: Nationalism and the Development of the American Economy, 1800-1837 by Songho Ha. A review of The Cost of Living in America: A Political History of Economic Statistics, 1880-2000 by Thomas A. Stapleford. The introduction to A History of the Federal Reserve Volume 2, Book 1, 1951-1969 by Allan Meltzer. The moral of the story: At annual meeting of American historians, panelists consider relevance of New Deal history to the current economic crisis — and find distinctly partisan lessons. From The Economist, a special report on America's economy: America’s economy is set to shift away from consumption and debt and towards exports and saving — its biggest transformation in decades. From The Wilson Quarterly, America’s enduring love affair with big spending is fetching up against some unromantic realities, but a lifelong saver assures us there are worse fates than socking it away for a rainy day.


From World History Connected, a special issue on Big History, including Fred Spier (Amsterdam): Big History: The Emergence of an Interdisciplinary Science?; Walter Alvarez (UC-Berkeley): A Geologial Perspective on Big History; Cynthia Stokes Brown (Dominican): What Is a Civilization, Anyway?; a short history of Big History: a review essay; and an interview with John McNeill, author of Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World. Donald Worster (Kentucky): Historians and Nature. Changing History: An article on four new ways to write the story of the world. Livia Szelpal (CEU): Transnational History: An American Perspective. A review of Cosmopolitan Islanders: British Historians and the European Continent by Richard J. Evans. Writing off the UK's last palaeographer: John Crace on why the study of ancient writings matters — and why history will be lost without it. A review of Consuming History: Historians and Heritage in Contemporary Popular Culture by Jerome de Groot. The Classics Rock: Eleven reasons Plutarch and Herodotus still matter. From CRB, a review of books on Herodotus. A review of The Way of Herodotus: Travels with the Man who Invented History by Justin Marozzi. Jacob Soll reviews Thucydides: The Reinvention of History by Donald Kagan (and more). A review of History Man: The Life of R.G. Collingwood by Fred Inglis (and more). A review of The History of Rhetoric and the Rhetoric of History by Nancy S. Struever. Working in the history lab: From slavery to Napoleon, many phenomena can't be studied in the lab, but we can still do experiments, say Jared Diamond and James Robinson. Big Tobacco and the historians: Jon Wiener on a tale of seduction and intimidation (and a response).


Rodger Morrison (Troy): Empathy from Avatars: Propositions for Improving Trust Development in Pseudo-Social Relationships with Avatars. From Fast Capitalism, a special issue on the narrative, visual and auditory power of biography. Two new studies — one sociological, another using brain scans — document and help explain our lack of empathy for perceived outsiders. Mind Hacks on an aesthetics of urban legends. An interview with Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, author of Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History. Unintended acceleration: Toyota's real problem is that it has become an American car company, learning from our home-grown automakers how to work the system in Washington (and a look at GM’s exploding pickup problem). Don't Cry for CNN: Thirty years ago, CNN, now in decline, was as revolutionary as Google; it had a pretty good run (and more). The worst movies ever made: Birdemic, The Room, and what makes a horrible film great. How Barbie Got Her Geek On: Computer engineers hijack vote on career for doll; little girls wanted anchorwoman. More and more and more and more on Contested Will Who Wrote Shakespeare? by James Shapiro. A team has developed a computer algorithm to recognize beauty. The Other Moon Landings: The Soviets lost the moon race but won a dram of glory with the first robotic craft to roam another world. Will the Supreme Court overturn health care reform? Fair play: It is not so much that cheats don’t prosper, but that prosperity does not cheat. An interview with George Prochnik, author of In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise. Paper Cuts: Why phone books are on the chopping block for greens, pols and pissed-off citizens.


From n+1, Carla Blumenkranz on American publishing (and more). Ghostwriters are the invisible force behind the publishing's biggest sensations; Jonathan Campbell reveals the secrets of his shadowy profession. How ghostwriting went from scandal-in-waiting to acceptable political reality. The Free-Appropriation Writer: Copying passages from another author used to be an unforgivable sin — but remix culture is coming to literature. In order for electronic books to live up to their billing, the system in which nonfiction writers get permission to use copyrighted material in new work has to be fixed. From The Futurist, the dawn of the postliterate age: Information technology, cybernetics, and artificial intelligence may render written language “functionally obsolete” by 2050; and Nicholas Carr on the rapid evolution of “text” and a less-literate future. An article on eye-tracking tablets and the promise of Text 2.0. Dennis Baron on the iPad: What is a Gutenberg moment, anyway? From NBCC, adventures in e-reading: An interview with Scott Lindenbaum, co-editor of Electric Literature; a panel; and more by Laurie Gold. Godfather of the E-Reader: Look past Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos to the forgotten Bob Brown and his 1930s reading machine. Don’t rear the e-reader: Books are evolving, not dying. More on The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future by Robert Darnton. What will the bookstore look like in 10 years? In 1999, one writer came up with a vision that is close to our print-on-demand fantasies. Edited out: The sickliest part of the books business is the shops that sell them. Linda Holmes, emphatically and forever, declines to care how books smell. Psychology of the bookplate: Alex Beam on why book owners mark their literary territory with personalized art.


From European Journal of Social Sciences, Mohammad Salim Al-Rawashdah (Balqa): The Political and Financial Implications of Globalization on Islamic Banking; A.M. Sultana, Jayum A. Jawan, and Ibrahim Hashim (UPSI): Influence of Purdah (Veil) on Education and Employment of Women in Rural Communities; and Mohammad Nayef Alsarayreh, Omar A.A. Jawabreh, and Mahmoud S. Helalat (Al-Balqa): The Influence of Terrorism on the International Tourism Activities. A university exhibit and a new book look at David Foster Wallace's life and work; Scott McLemee visits the relics. Zach Baron reviews Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace by David Lipsky (and more and more and more and more). Citizens unite in a web-savvy galaxy: A review of Communication Power by Manuel Castells. How do you go about updating a city that’s over 5,000 years old and is estimated to contain one-third of the entire world’s ancient monuments within its walls? That’s the question currently vexing the administrators of Luxor, in Upper Egypt. Desensitized by everything from Facebook to reality TV, people are sharing way too much personal information with their colleagues. Jo-Ann Mort on office-less work: What's a socialist to do? In just two years, Usain Bolt has demolished the 100-meter dash world records with times that are superhuman, literally thirty years ahead of what they historically should be — so what if the greatest athlete alive decided to actually get serious? More and more on The Politics of Happiness by Derek Bok. What the top US companies pay in taxes: How can it be that you pay more to the IRS than General Electric? Comics, that great corrupter and retarding influence on youth, evoke fear in librarians — fear of the adults, that is, not the children (and more).


From TNR, what does Palinspeak mean? Linguist John McWhorter investigates. Polarizing and profane, Andrew Breitbart is fast becoming the most powerful right-wing force on the Web. Glenn Beck gets progressively more paranoid: Fox News’ lunatic fringe, now even loonier. Right Mind: Meet Keith Ablow, Beck’s shrink. Glenn Beck Inc.: In his empire there's the ideology — and then there's the money machine. Partisan Historians: An article on the academics behind the progressivism-as-fascism meme. Identity politics leans Right: In the fight over curriculum, conservatives in Texas have more in common with liberals than they think. Mark Engler on (over)counting the Tea Partiers. Can the Mad Hatters of the Religious Right get an invitation to the Tea Party? Tea partiers don't really hate government spending — they just want in. Tea partiers, eat your hearts out: A group of liberals got together and proved that they, too, can have a tax rebellion, but theirs is a little bit different — they want to pay more taxes. Ryan Grim and Arthur Delaney go inside the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party. Ruth Marcus on how President Obama is making nobody happy. A look at why liberals have grown to love Joe Biden. Going after Joe Lieberman: How the Left’s war against one of America’s most famous politicians may have contributed to its undoing. Losing It: Jonathan Chait on political defeat and the Republican mind. A new documentary revisits Thomas Frank's Kansas, but forgets about what's the matter with it (and more). Thomas Frank on conservatives and the cult of victimhood. Are Americans too broken by corporate power to resist? Elite donors are pissed at Democrats — and that's a bad thing? An interview with with Irene Taviss Thomson, author of Culture Wars and Enduring American Dilemmas.

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