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Most Read Posts of January 2016
Critical Condition: Replacing Critical Thinking with Creativity. Patrick Finn. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 2015.
In this book Patrick Finn expands upon his 2011 TEDx Talk, ‘Loving Communication’, to suggest that critical thinking implies disapproval and unnecessary judgement originating from a particular mode of Classical thought. Jodie Matthews argues that Finn’s discussion is dependent upon a crudely drawn straw man and neglects to consider thinking critically as a necessary corollary, rather than antithesis, to thinking creatively. If you are interested in this review, you may also like to read Patrick Finn’s response, also published on LSE Review of Books.
Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene. McKenzie Wark. Verso. 2015.
This book draws upon the work of science fiction authors from the USA and from Russia to reflect upon ‘the Anthropocene’ – the term used to denote a new geological epoch defined by the accelerated influence of humans upon the earth – and one of its most defining issues: climate change. While acknowledging that science fiction could offer a productive means of addressing the possibility of impending environmental catastrophe, Jim Harper finds that this book does not convincingly bridge the gap between theory and praxis.
Gender and Sexuality in Muslim Cultures. Gul Ozyegin (ed.). Ashgate. 2015.
This edited collection presents nineteen contributions from a range of scholars utilising diverse approaches and methodologies to explore the ways in which gender, sexuality and religion are being continually constructed and reconstructed within contemporary and Ottoman societies. In drawing on core theoretical texts in gender and sexuality studies, the book serves as a useful introduction to the field, and also utilises its case studies to challenge received assumptions about dynamics surrounding gender and sexuality in Muslim cultures, writes Nehaal Bajwa.
Who is Charlie? Xenophobia and the New Middle Class. Emmanuel Todd. Polity. 2015.
This book presents Emmanuel Todd’s controversial reading of the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ protests of January 2015. For Todd, the protests were primarily mobilised by an elitist bloc within French society that has tolerated deep-rooted structures of economic and social inequality. While Andrew McCracken highlights the significant methodological weaknesses that leave Todd’s analysis ultimately flawed and unconvincing, he concurrently points towards some of its more suggestive insights.
Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise. Penny Harvey and Hannah Knox. Cornell University Press. 2015.
This book not only shows why roads matter, but also attends to the material processes that bring roads into being through two South American case studies. Luke Heslop praises this book for showing how attention to the complexities of infrastructure projects sheds new light on the parameters of ‘the political’ as it is typically understood.
To mark Anne-Marie Slaughter’s visit to LSE on Monday 25 January 2016 to discuss new book Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work Family, we recommended 10 Must-Read Books on Gender in the Workplace.
Following the release of the first title published by the relaunched Left Book Club, Syriza, LSE RB managing editor Rosemary Deller spoke to the figures who instigated the relaunch, Jan Woolf and Neil Faulkner, to discuss the past and present incarnations of the LBC.
You May Have Missed…
The Country of First Boys. Amartya Sen. The Little Magazine and Oxford University Press. 2015.
This book offers a collection of thirteen essays that could be read as a ‘best of’ set of Sen’s reflections on Indian society, economics, culture, policy and intellectual thought. Writing on Sen’s defence of the importance of reasoned argument and plurality, Rishita Nandagiri praises this clarion call against injustice for its accessibility, dry wit and engaging conversational style. If you are interested in this review, you may also like to listen to a podcast of Professor Sen in conversation with Professor Lord Nicholas Stern at LSE, held on 6 November 2015.
Prime Ministers in Greece: The Paradox of Power. Kevin Featherstone and Dimitri Papadimitriou. Oxford University Press. 2015.
This book offer the first in-depth study of prime ministers and governments in Greece, covering the period since the fall of the Greek Colonels’ regime in 1974. Although the book does not provide the most up-to-date evaluation of the current debt crisis, it is a well-substantiated and compelling insight into the ‘paradox of power’ experienced by successive Greek prime ministers and their governments, writes Alexandros Nafpliotis. Interested in Greek politics & economics? Follow LSE’s Hellenic Observatory @HO_LSE and watch the new video https://youtu.be/E_roF6bwctA celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016.
Coming Up in February…
Look out for reviews of Richard and Daniel Susskind’s The Future of the Professions, Ben Judah’s This is London: Life and Death in the World City and Judith Butler’s Notes Towards a Performative Theory of Assembly.
The end of the month welcomes LSE’s 8th Space for Thought Literary Festival. Staged between 22 – 27 February 2016, this year’s theme is ‘Utopias’, inspired by the five-hundred year anniversary of Thomas More’s formative work.