June 6, 2008

more books on the decline of America and the rise of everyone else

Fareed Zakaria, The Post-American World. Norton.
Alexandra Harney, The China Price: the true cost of Chinese competitive advantage. Penguin.

Reviewed by David M. Shribman in the Boston Globe.

Zakaria's book is a balanced look at the good and bad of exporting capitalism and democracy around the world. Z may have "more intellectual range and insights than any other public thinker in the West."

China: our thirst for cheap goods is wrecking their lives (economically and health-wise) and will probably eventually have global implications.

Posted by otto0114 at 6:37 AM

June 1, 2008

Cultural politics - and trends in geopolitics

The Big Sort: why the clustering of like-minded America is tearing us apart.
Bill Bishop with Robert G. Cushing. Houghton Miff 2008.

Reviewed by Scott Stossel in the NYT Book Review on May 18.

Less dialog, as media and activities allow us to self-select into niches where we never have to engage with opposite viewpoints.

The return of history and the end of dreams, by Robert Kagan.
Reviewed by David E. Sanger, same issue of NYT.

"The world is normal again [after the Cold War] and repressive governments are on the rise."
This would be a good counterpoint to Fukayama. Which reminds me, I saw on some academic blog a list of teaching materials for counterpointing Samuel Huntington. Good for fall - although I plan to have my hands full with the elections in the political geography module.

Posted by otto0114 at 12:17 PM

May 9, 2007

books about language

In addition to reading more things by the Language God Steven Pinker, here are some other books about language I'd probably enjoy (in my copious spare time):

When you catch an adjective, kill it: the parts of speech, for better and/or worse. Ben Yagoda.

The fight for English: how the language pundits ate, shot, and left. David Crystal.

I think they are both 2006.

Posted by otto0114 at 11:00 AM

April 2, 2007

the new faces of gentrification

Great article in yesterday's Boston Globe - a sort of a review of current books and scholarship about urban politics and gentrification. The article is by Sudhir Venkatesh, a sociologist at Columbia, and challenges the (outdated) notion that gentrification equals well-off whites displacing poor blacks. It's more complicated than that nowadays, more like a mosaic of financial interests, political clout (or lack thereof), public and private entrepreneurship, and local/state/federal investment.

New work includes William Julius Wilson's _There Goes the Neighborhood_, Lance Freeman's _There Goes the Hood_, and Mary Pattilo's _Black on Black_, the latter of which Venkatesh critiques for the "unorthodox methodology" of participant observation, but considers to be a follow-on to WEB DuBois, which is a pretty big compliment. If I should end up in Chicago, or teaching planning, these would be worth reading, and probably worth reading in any case for ideas about civic engagement.

Posted by otto0114 at 8:58 AM

March 25, 2007

architorture of the rich and famous

Something I'd like to read when I get a moment - The Edifice Complex: how the rich and powerful - and their architects - shape the world.
Deyan Sudjic. Penguin. 2006?

More time than usual to prepare for a trip. That feels weird. It's an anomaly: the next couple of trips will be hectic. I am not used to all this travel - and I don't really like it. I am cleaning off all the little slips of paper from my desk, and trying to get organized for once. I HAVE to do some writing while I'm away, and I'm trying to set that up.

Posted by otto0114 at 7:44 PM

February 11, 2007

busman's holiday, from AAG newsletter

Some geography-related books I'd like to read, that UMN either doesn't have yet, or that would have to be recalled:

Beyond the metropolis: urban geography as if small cities mattered. B. Ofori-Amoah. 2007
I there's a lot to say about small cities, and I think the processes that operate there are very different than in large cities. Scale really matters.

Nature and national identity after communism: globalizing the ethnoscape. K.Z.S. Schwartz. 2006.

Globaloney: unraveling the myths of globalization. M. Veseth. 2006.
Always good to have an alternate perspective from the anti-neoliberal, handwringing left.

Posted by otto0114 at 2:18 PM

November 25, 2006

residential growth and change

Author: John S. Adams
Title:Hoyt, H. 1939: The structure and growth of residential
neighborhoods in American cities. Washington, DC: Federal Housing
ource:Progress in Human Geography; Jun2005, Vol. 29 Issue 3, 321-325, 5p

I don't want to read this right now but I might someday.

Posted by otto0114 at 5:26 PM

July 8, 2006

whence neoliberalism?

On the plane over, I read an excellent review of what may be an excellent book: Reading Leo Strauss by Steven Smith. Smith argues that to make Strauss the progenitor of US establishment neoconservatism is to misunderstand his ideas about the relationship (efficacy, say) between the academy and political structures.

Fair enough. I'm interested in the genesis of policy, so when I get a chance, I'd like to check this out. Meanwhile, I am perpetually covered in a fine film of sweat, and am looking forward to the cooler days of August. Mid-to-high 80s for the foreseeable future.

Posted by otto0114 at 3:11 PM

June 23, 2005

to read when there's time

Imagined cities : urban experience and the language of the novel / Robert Alter. New Haven : Yale University Press, 2005.

PN3352.C5 A48 2005 Wilson in process.

The review in the NYTBR last Sunday really intrigued me. There's not much writing about urban geography in literature that I'm aware of. Jed Perl suggests that Alter is saying how artistic experience/interpretation mirrors the city. How individualistically colored is the artist's take on urbanism?

Perl writes, "one can even argue that if it were not for the city, artists woud never have discovered the country, for landscape is a type of painting that was first imagined in the cities, and the pastoral is surely one of the most insistently urban of all literary modes."

The Ethical Brain by Michael S. Gazzaniga. This "neuroscientist argues that ethical behavior is a function of society, not one of brain chemistry." I am reading about ethics again to find newer, better readings for my course on ethics and law of construction. Something like this might be an interesting counterpoint to classical theories of moral philosophy.

Posted by otto0114 at 3:34 PM

December 15, 2004

another book

Here's another book worth reading over the break, if it's not too heavy (books for break are selected for portability).

_On Becoming a Professional Geographer_. Wilson Library has two copies, both on shelf: G65 .O5 1989.

Posted by otto0114 at 4:48 PM

more books - ignore

The European Union: how does it work?
Eliz. Bomberg and Alexander Stubb
JN30.E9417 2003

My research has taken me away from the EU this term. I should get back to it over the break - but not while I'm on vaca, so we'll let this one go back.

Also, _Illuminations_. I finished neither the Theses on History nor Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction (which I MUST have read in college, but have no memory of). These are good to read, but not now.

That's enough for today. Most of the books I have out are for this blasted seminar paper.

Posted by otto0114 at 8:07 AM

December 13, 2004

lightening the book load

I am looking around the house and thinking it would be smart to start returning books I'm not likely to need before second semester. First, they could be recalled while I'm away; and 2) it's a hassle bringing a shopping bag of books back to the library. (I always smile when I see people doing it though.)

Here's one I'll need to get back to:

Fields of Battle: Terrain in Military History. Peter Doyle and Matthew R. Bennett eds.
UA 990.F54 2002.

Posted by otto0114 at 11:38 AM

December 5, 2004

it's all about the narrative

I've been thinking a lot about narrativity this semester because of my course in historical geography, for which many of the readings were based on narrative methods. (I'm pretty sure I had some interest in this last year, too, but I can't remember what the context was - the memory seminar?)

Then, this past week, we got into a debate about the validity of narrativity as a geographical method. William Cronon, a historian, wrote a very geographical book about Chicago that was popularly and critically well-received, thereby annoying radical geographers whose work hasn't gotten the same purchase. They crabbed about his book in their journal of radical geography, and Cronon's rejoinder stressed his post-modernist belief in the value of narrative.

So imagine my delight when William Safire's column in today's NYT took up the history of narrativity. Some things about it I'd like to read someday:

Roland Barthes, 1966, some sort of essay which contains the sentence "Numberless are the world's narratives": the birth of narratology.

1966, Robert Scholes and Robert Kellogg, _The Nature of Narrative_.

Then there is a journal called _Narrative_ of the Society for the Study of Narrative Literature.

Is it a coincidence that the object of biography in A.S. Byatt's book _The Biographer's Tale_ is called Scholes Destry-Scholes? Sure, it'a a play on "scholar" - but does it have a relationship to this study of narrative?

Posted by otto0114 at 12:32 PM