From Cercles, a special issue on Defining Americanization, including Olivier Richomme (Lyon): The role of “ethno-racial” classification in the Americanization process; Bruce Plourde (Temple): Frontier as Symptom: Captain Kirk, Ahab, and the American Condition; John D. Schwetman (Minnesota-Duluth): The American Cosmopolitan: Deracination in the Works of Jack Kerouac and Toni Morrison; and J. A. Zumoff (CUNY): The Americanization of the American Communist Party in the Early 1920s. Thomas Meany revisits George Santayana's ambivalent thoughts about his prosperous adopted home — America. Dwight McDonald's Against the American Grain, against the odds, still has something to say. Christopher Lasch’s Culture of Narcissism offered an indictment of American life that displeased both the right and the left. Here's a day in America according to a (baffled) foreigner. From National Review, an exceptional debate: Richard Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru on the Obama administration’s assault on American identity (and a response and a reply). Real America: Abe Sauer on the gunmen among us. Why are some Americans becoming violent shoppers? Stefany Anne Golberg on America's eclectic ways of mourning the dead. Let there be no mistake, the old world of America is over. From Scott Brown's populist bait-and-switch to Harvey Weinstein's "indie" push for an Inglourious Basterds Oscar, we have become a polarized nation of desperate believers. Americans just aren’t equipped for the 21st century. Joe Biden is right to insist that America has little in common with Rome or Britain before their empires collapsed. Joel Kotkin on America's dubious decline (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more on The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050).

The mystery of Zomia: In the lawless mountain realms of Asia, Yale professor James Scott finds a case against civilization (and Joel Robbins reviews Scott's The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia). From Irrawaddy, taking over the airwaves: Private FM radio stations are shooting up all over Burma. Sex, drugs and inner tubes: As Laos opens to tourists, some fear it may be losing its soul — others are merely losing their bikinis. Laos steps into the globalized world — but Vientiane is now inextricably linked with Beijing. What is behind the latest crackdown on democracy activists in Vietnam? In the rapidly developing Cambodia, forcible evictions are an all-too-common way to make room for the new. From Asia Times, a special investigation on drugs and disaffection in southern Thailand. A review of Singapore: A Biography by Mark Ravinder Frost and Yu-mei Balasingamchow. A review of Constructing Singapore: Elitism, Ethnicity and the Nation-Building Project by Michael D. Barr and Zlatko Skrbiss. It's not just politics and racial discrimination: Malaysia's brain drain appears to be picking up speed. From Aliran Monthly, a review of Malaysia at the Crossroads by Jeyakumar Devaraj; and an interview with Andrew Aeria on the divide between east and west Malaysia (and more). From Inside Indonesia, an article on the ongoing challenge of the Papua dilemma. Death in Freeport: 21st Century colonialism flourishes in West Papua. A review of The Next Front: Southeast Asia and the Road to Global Peace with Islam by Christopher S. Bond and Lewis M. Simons (and an excerpt). What's behind Asean's arms race? William Boot looks at the regional rivalry for energy resources while China's growing shadow drives massive spending on weapons in Southeast Asia.

David R. Wenger (Freiburg): The Impotent State: Between Self-assertion Strategies and Illusions of Control. From The New Criterion, a special issue on The New Statism and the Assault on Individual Liberty. The first chapter from A Brief History of Liberty by David Schmidtz and Jason Brennan (and more). A review of Liberal Loyalty: Freedom, Obligation, and the State by Anna Stilz. The many faces of liberalism: Samuel Brittan reviews books on the political philosophy that has shaped our world, from personal freedom to free markets. From Rationality, Markets, and Morals, Frank Dietrich (Leipzig): Individual Interest and Political Legitimacy; and Horacio Spector (UTDT): Value Pluralism and the Two Concepts of Rights. Where are the polyarchists gone?: Tony Curzon Price on the liberty/equality axis. Marc F. Plattner (NED): Populism, Pluralism, and Liberal Democracy. From Public Reason, Christopher Jay (UCL): Keeping Truth Safe From Democracy. The Grasping Hand: Peter Sloterdijk on how the modern democratic state pillages its productive citizens (and Axel Honneth on Peter Sloterdijk). Samuel Bowles (SFI): Machiavelli's Mistake: Why Good Laws are no Substitute for Good Citizens. Small places matter more than big ones: Ron Johnston's investigations into the impact of geography on democracy have revealed that people in the same class position tend to support different parties depending on where they live. From Telos, democracy and modernization will provide popular sovereignty and progress only if they eschew further abstraction from localities, communities and families and instead uphold the "good life" and the common good in which all can share. A review of Politics for the Greatest Good: The Case for Prudence in the Public Square by Clarke D. Forsythe.

Shennette Garrett-Scott (Texas): A Historiography of African American Business. From Americana, Angela Nelson (BGSU): The Repertoire of Black Popular Culture. An interview with author, scholar and MacArthur “genius” winner Charles Johnson on charting a new course in post-academic life. An interview with Zachery R. Williams, author of In Search of the Talented Tenth: Howard University Public Intellectuals and the Dilemmas of Race, 1926-1970. An interview with Cornel West on Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, A Memoir. Is Harlem no longer black? It depends on where you set the boundaries. A review of Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Trauma and Violence in the Lives of Young Black Men by John A. Rich (and more and more). From Contexts, William Julius Wilson on framing race and poverty; and the emancipation of slaves is a century-and-a-half in America’s past — many would consider it ancient history. Bigots I have loved: Perhaps Faulkner was mistaken and the past really is past — bigotry little more than a rusty whip handle unearthed at the site of a Mississippi plantation. Has the Supreme Court been mainly a friend or a foe to African Americans? A review of Jesus, Jobs, and Justice: African American Women and Religion by Bettye Collier-Thomas. A review of Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist by Nancy Goldstein. Saving Detroit from itself: As the Motor City falls into greater collapse, a group of frustrated black nationalists are taking its protection into their own hands. An article on rethinking Malcolm X's inflammatory rhetoric. Race in the South in the Age of Obama: James Fields is an African-American Democratic state legislator in a nearly all-white Alabama county that voted overwhelmingly against Barack Obama — is he an anomaly or the future?