In this special mega edition of Shoptalk, guess which performative utterance was said at which conference.
Reading after the University
If you want to support readers, the best hope will always be helping do away with economic compulsion and the division of labor.
The Dawn of Scientific Racism
In the 1740s, Bordeaux developed some of the first modern theories of racial difference, even as the city profited from the slave trade.
“At the End of Everything”: Talking with Shannon Mattern
"My first book was used by actual librarians, planners, architects. I realized, wow I can do work that matters beyond the academy."
“Our Lives Are at Stake”: Elaine Hsieh Chou on the Necessity of Asian American Writers
“Somehow, we are so present, and yet not even there. That surreal juxtaposition really pissed me off and fascinated me.”
Public Thinker: Lara Putnam Wants You to Knock on Your Neighbor’s Door
“Campaigns matter in part because of who meets whom, about the social networks that are shaped by that campaign as well as shaping it.”
“Just Use the Telephone, Please”: Hannah Zeavin on the Power of Teletherapy
“You can have really intense intimacy over distance, sometimes only because distance is there.”
The university has been changing, to be sure. But has the proportion of students who want to devote themselves to acts of humanistic creativity?
Imagination or Regulation? Challenging the Incorporation of Antiracism as a Response to Crisis
The way we talk about racial justice matters. In fact, corporation’s embrace of antiracist slogans can actually advance racism.
To Teach Shakespeare for Survival: Talking with David Sterling Brown and Arthur L. Little Jr.
“Nostalgia is not what Shakespeare represents for me; I don’t want to make Shakespeare great again. He doesn’t need that, and neither do we.”
Rereading the Revolt
In May 1381, rebels burned documents at Cambridge, then scattered the ashes to the wind. But why were universities targeted by the rebels?
Humanities: Let the Hypothesis Testing Begin
The humanities have a replication crisis of monumental proportions: so many theories have never been adequately tested or validated.
“There’s No There There”: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor on the Future of the Left
“We don't have a party. That doesn't mean we need one big organization. We may need a few big organizations. But we need organizations!”
How College Teaching Can Have a Future
Do we want a university built around managers and cops, or around students and their teachers?
Art and Culture in Schorske’s Century
With decades of creativity—that ended with World War I—Vienna jolted Western art and culture forward into high modernity. But how?
The Netanya-who?s: Gossip and Other Kinds of History
Benzion Netanyahu—father of the former prime minister—is not the protagonist; rather, it is his scholarship and the practice of history itself.
Public Thinker: Ainissa Ramirez on Putting the Story Back in Science
“We teach science as separate from the rest of the world. I want people who live in the world to see how they’re actually doing science.”
Academia Trained You—but the World Needs You
Does leaving the academy mean someone failed? Or does it mean, instead, that their scholarly strengths can now be made useful to the public?
B-Sides: Helen DeWitt’s “The Last Samurai”
Impossible to summarize, The Last Samurai is deeply political—anti-capitalist and thoroughly feminist—without ever becoming preachy or moralizing.
Meritocracy Is a Dystopia
Netflix Brazil’s 3% presents a desperate future city that nevertheless proclaims its citizens all have an equal shot at success. Sound familiar?