From the Los Angeles Review of Books, the academy in peril: A symposium on Blow Up the Humanities by Toby Miller (and more). Remy Smida reviews Game Theory and the Humanities: Bridging Two Worlds by Steven J. Brams. A group of digital humanists foresees a new phase of scholarly e-publishing; Scott McLemee gets a peek into their crystal ball. Richard Utz on how the English professoriate should embrace, accompany critically, and shape the new discourses its students sorely need to communicate and compete: blogs, video essays, Web comics, digital archives, data visualization, and the like. From n+1, Alva Edwards visits MLA 2013. Academe is complicit: In the wake of Aaron Swartz's death, Timothy Burke asks why so many scholars have failed to consider the ethical arguments for open access — or to act on them. Grading the glitterati professoriat: What students thought of the teaching of celebrities who have stepped inside the classroom. Can an element of secular transcendence be returned to the American college curriculum? A review of College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be by Andrew Delbanco. Toby Miller did not take a straight path into academia; he reflects on how his atypical trajectory shaped his views of the insular scholarly world.
Will Kymlicka (Queen’s): Multiculturalism: Success, Failure, and the Future. Benjamin M. Eidelson (Yale): The Majoritarian Filibuster. Our need to elevate the president into a monarchical figure not only causes us to persistently misunderstand the world around us, but is also detrimental to the habits of self-government. The Galapagos gave Darwin a free rein and ample inspiration; now, Rebecca Willis finds, they are tightly policed — and make you think about the destruction of species. Nate Silver contemplates Obama's place in history, statistically: Winning a second term is something of a prerequisite for presidential greatness, at least as historians have evaluated the question, but it is no guarantee of it. Because most people lie to themselves about death instead of worrying about it, we are neglecting a radical possibility brought by advancing technology: our imminent nonexistence might not be as inevitable as we think. A rape a minute, a thousand corpses a year: Rebecca Solnit on hate crimes in America (and elsewhere). From Arena, the triumph of reason? Guy Rundle on “medievalism” and reason in the US election.
From the Oxonian Review, complete with dreadlocks and cigarette: Charne Lavery reviews Moving Spirit: The Legacy of Dambudzo Marechera in the 21st Century. Electric fences are going up around Kenya's forested mountaintops — is this the only way to keep Africa's water flowing? Carla Nappi interviews Catherine Higgs, author of Chocolate Islands: Cocoa, Slavery, and Colonial Africa. Ruled by Morocco for decades, some say Western Sahara shares commonalities with the occupied Palestinian territories (and Angel L. Martinez on the long, lonely journey of Sahrawi activism). Rick Rowden on the myth of Africa's rise: Why the rumors of Africa's explosive growth have been greatly exaggerated (and a response). Augusta Conchiglia on Thomas Deltombe, Manuel Domergue and Jacob Tatsitsa’s Kamerun!, the first full account of France’s hidden colonial war in West Africa. Joanna Lewis reviews Re-imagining the Dark Continent in Fin de Siecle Literature by Robbie McLaughlan. Christina M. Russo on the perils and rewards of protecting Congo’s gorillas. Most of Africa spent two generations under colonial rule; contrary to some recent commentaries highlighting the benefits of colonialism, it is this intense experience that has significantly retarded economic development across the continent.
Oran R. Young (UCSB): Arctic Stewardship: Maintaining Regional Resilience in an Era of Global Change. Superstar in Green: Portland cohousing developer Eli Spevak builds sustainable homes around an ethos of sharing. Eric Posner on how Aaron Swartz's cause wins in the end — the protests against his prosecution will promote open access. Martin Boer on the debt-equity conundrum. From Jacobin, Alyssa Battistoni on life after emergency: Do disasters act as turning points, or wake-up calls, or teachable moments? Not long ago Tajik police were forcing men to shave their beards, convinced a terrorist lurked behind every whisker — now the health minister has recommended salons stop trimming Tajikistan’s chins lest dirty razors spread HIV. Turkey's facial hair implants are growing as men shell out for virile image. Freedom from everything: Hito Steyerl on freelancers and mercenaries. Has Nate Silver forever changed statistics? Nate Cohn reviews Naked Statistics by Charles Wheelan. Gary Gutting on the joy of Zadie Smith and Thomas Aquinas. The November 2012 elections revealed that the Republicans believe in nothing, while the Democrats believe in Nothing.
Pui Yee June Chan (Hong Kong): Consequentializing and Deontology. Amos Schurr, Ilana Ritov, Yaakov Kareev and Judith Avrahami (HUJ): Is That the Answer You Had in Mind? The Effect of Perspective on Unethical Behavior. From the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, Richard Rowland (Reading): Moral Error Theory and the Argument from Epistemic Reasons; and Russ Shafer-Landau (Wisconsin): Evolutionary Debunking, Moral Realism and Moral Knowledge. How did morality originate? Dennis L. Krebs and Kaleda K. Denton review Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame by Christopher Boehm. Doves devoured, the serpent remains: A review essay on the need for a scientific critique of ethics by Paul Christopher Gray. Michael Shermer on the is-ought fallacy of science and morality. From FiveBooks, an interview with David Edmonds on ethical problems. Dina Mendonca reviews Moralism: A Study of a Vice by Craig Taylor. Is morality rational? Michael Hauskeller investigates. Jaana Woiceshyn on why income inequality is moral. Micah Mattix on the morality of modern cycling. Reading Jane Austen as a moral philosopher: Thomas Rodham keenly observes Jane Austen’s exacting ethical expertise.