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.

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