300 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Intellectual History about their New Books

New Books in Intellectual History New Books Network

    • Society & Culture

Interviews with Scholars of Intellectual History about their New Books

    Douglas Murray, "The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity" (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2019)

    Douglas Murray, "The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity" (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2019)

    International bestselling author Douglas Murray examines in his latest book The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2019) the twenty-first century's most divisive issues: sexuality, gender, technology and race. He reveals the astonishing new culture wars playing out in our workplaces, universities, schools and homes in the names of social justice, identity politics and intersectionality.
    Murray argues that we are living through a postmodern era in which the grand narratives of religion and political ideology have collapsed. In their place have emerged a crusading desire to right perceived wrongs and a weaponization of identity, both accelerated by the new forms of social and news media. Narrow sets of interests now dominate the agenda as society becomes more and more tribal--and, as Murray shows, the casualties are mounting, threatening the real gains that have been made by these very struggles.
    Douglas Murray is an author and journalist based in Britain. He has been a contributor to the Spectator since 2000 and has been Associate Editor at the magazine since 2012. He has also written regularly for numerous other outlets including the Wall Street Journal, The Times, The Sunday Times, the Sun, Evening Standard and the New Criterion. He is a regular contributor to National Review and has been a columnist for Standpoint magazine since its founding.
    Kirk Meighoo is a TV and podcast host, former university lecturer, author and former Senator in Trinidad and Tobago. He hosts his own podcast, Independent Thought & Freedom, where he interviews some of the most interesting people from around the world who are shaking up politics, economics, society and ideas. You can find it in the iTunes Store or any of your favorite podcast providers. You can also subscribe to his YouTube channel. If you are an academic who wants to get heard nationally, please check out his free training at becomeapublicintellectual.com.
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    • 1 hr 14 min
    Phillipa Chong, “Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times” (Princeton UP, 2020)

    Phillipa Chong, “Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times” (Princeton UP, 2020)

    How does the world of book reviews work? In Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times (Princeton University Press, 2020), Phillipa Chong, assistant professor in sociology at McMaster University, provides a unique sociological analysis of how critics confront the different types of uncertainty associated with their practice. The book explores how reviewers get matched to books, the ethics and etiquette of negative reviews and ‘punching up’, along with professional identities and the future of criticism. The book is packed with interview material, coupled with accessible and easy to follow theoretical interventions, creating a text that will be of interest to social sciences, humanities, and general readers alike.
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    • 42 min
    Ariella Aisha Azoulay, "Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism" (Verso, 2019)

    Ariella Aisha Azoulay, "Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism" (Verso, 2019)

    Ariella Aisha Azoulay argues that the institutions that make our world, from archives and museums to ideas of sovereignty and human rights to history itself, are all dependent on imperial modes of thinking. Imperialism has segmented populations into differentially governed groups, continually emphasized the possibility of progress while trying to destroy what came before, and voraciously sought out the new by sealing the past away in dusty archival boxes and the glass vitrines of museums. By practicing what she calls potential history, Azoulay argues that we can still refuse the imperial violence that shattered communities, lives, and worlds, from native peoples in the Americas to the Congo ruled by Belgium s brutal King Léopold II, from dispossessed Palestinians in 1948 to displaced refugees in our own day.
    In Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism (Verso, 2019), Azoulay travels alongside historical companions - an old Palestinian man who refused to leave his village in 1948, an anonymous woman in war-ravaged Berlin, looted objects and documents torn from their worlds and now housed in archives and museums - to chart the ways imperialism has sought to order time, space, and politics. Rather than looking for a new future, Azoulay calls upon us to rewind history and unlearn our imperial rights, to continue to refuse imperial violence by making present what was invented as 'past' and making the repair of torn worlds the substance of politics.
    Ariella Aisha Azoulay is a professor of Modern Culture and Media and the Department of Comparative Literature at Brown University
    Yorgos Giannakopoulos is an Academy of Athens postdoctoral research fellow at King’s Collage London
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    • 51 min
    Sohaira Siddiqui, "Law and Politics Under the Abbasids: An Intellectual Portrait of al-Juwayni" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

    Sohaira Siddiqui, "Law and Politics Under the Abbasids: An Intellectual Portrait of al-Juwayni" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

    In her intimidatingly brilliant new book Law and Politics Under the Abbasids: An Intellectual Portrait of al-Juwayni (Cambridge University Press, 2019), Sohaira Siddiqui conducts a masterful analysis of how conditions of political change and fragmentation generate intellectual debates and fermentation on the often-conflictual interaction of certainty, continuity, and community in Muslim thought and practice. Focused on the thought and career of the prominent 11th-century Muslim scholar al-Juwayni (d. 1085), Siddiqui examines the hermeneutical choices, operations, and conundrums that go into the negotiation of epistemic certainty in the realms of law and theology with the imperative of historical change and dynamism. The distinguishing hallmark of this book is the way it conducts a thoroughly interdisciplinary examination of early Muslim intellectual thought by putting Islamic law, theology, and politics into a productive and rather profound conversation. The outcome is a study that combines philological prowess, analytical sophistication, and astonishing lucidity. Sure to spark important conversations in Islamic Studies and beyond, this book deserves to be taught in wide ranging undergraduate and graduate seminars as well.
    SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His academic publications are available here. He can be reached at sherali.tareen@fandm.edu. Listener feedback is most welcome.
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    • 47 min
    L. Benjamin Rolsky, "The Rise and Fall of the Religious Left" (Columbia UP, 2019)

    L. Benjamin Rolsky, "The Rise and Fall of the Religious Left" (Columbia UP, 2019)

    As someone who grew up watching All in the Family and Sanford and Son, I’ve long been familiar with Norman Lear and his work. What I didn’t know, as a young child sitting cross-legged in front of the TV set in the 1970s, was how prominent a political figure Lear was at the time. In his new book, The Rise and Fall of the Religious Left: Politics, Television, and Popular Culture in the 1970s and Beyond (Columbia University Press, 2019), Professor L. Benjamin Rolsky makes the case for understanding Lear as a key protagonist in the culture wars of the late 20th century. As a religious liberal, Lear was committed to engaging politics on explicitly moral grounds in defense of what he saw as the public interest. Other players in the culture wars—including television networks, Hollywood, the FCC, televangelists, and Ronald Reagan himself—had their own interpretations of what constituted the public interest. As a result, Rolsky’s interdisciplinary analysis concludes, prime-time television itself became a contested political space and the site of some of the definitive cultural clashes of our fractious times.
    Carrie Lane is a Professor of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton and author of A Company of One: Insecurity, Independence, and the New World of White-Collar Unemployment. Her research concerns the changing nature of work in the contemporary U.S. She is currently writing a book on the professional organizing industry. To contact her or to suggest a recent title, email clane@fullerton.edu.
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    • 1 hr 2 min
    Murad Idris, "War for Peace: Genealogies of a Violent Ideal in Western and Islamic Thought" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    Murad Idris, "War for Peace: Genealogies of a Violent Ideal in Western and Islamic Thought" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    Murad Idris, a political theorist in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics at the University of Virginia, explores the concept of peace, the term itself and the way that it has been considered and analyzed in western and Islamic political thought. War for Peace: Genealogies of a Violent Ideal in Western and Islamic Thought (Oxford University Press, 2018) traces the concept of peace, and the way it is often insinuated with other words and concepts, over more than 2000 years of political thought. Idris begins with Plato’s Laws as one of the early sources to consider the tension that seems to be constant in terms of the pursuit of violence in order to attain peace.
    War for Peace provides some important framing in thinking about peace, in large measure because the research indicates how rare it is for peace itself to be solitary, it is almost always lassoed to other words and concepts, and functions either as a binary opposition (e.g.: war and peace) or as part of a dyad combination (e.g.: peace and justice). We are urged to think about peace and the valence that is given to the word and the ideal—since the moral and the political understandings of peace are often entangled and part of what Idris is doing in his careful and thoughtful research is to tease out the political concept, apart from the often religious and moral ideal. This rich and complex analysis integrates a broad group of theorists—Plato, al-Farabi, Aquinas, Erasmus, Gentili, Grotius, Ibn Khaldun, Hobbes, Kant, and Sayyid Qutb)—all of whom were examining the role of peace within politics and political thought. And Idris structures these thinkers into chronological and theoretical groupings, to explore the ways in which they were responding to each other, across time, but also to understand how different thinkers were connecting peace to other concepts. War for Peace: Genealogies of a Violent Ideal in Western and Islamic Thought may leave the reader anxious but also enlightened in considering this idea and its perplexing place within the history of political thought.
    Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015).
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    • 1 hr 6 min

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