After a trip, some links!

May 21, 2022

I'm back!  I've been on a twelve-day trip across two continents and three countries--the UK, Germany, and Texas.  Now I'm in Dallas-Fort Worth airport, waiting for a flight home.  It feels like the summer starts tomorrow for me.  I'm hoping to keep posting stuff here every once in a while, at least once a week, maybe more...we'll see.  For now, anyway, just some links.


David Bell reviews Joan Wallach Scott’s new book On the Judgment of History—which sounds terrific—and also reflects himself on the crisis of the historical (not simply the historiographical) imagination in contemporary thinking.

“In this new and despairing state of affairs, it is perhaps also no surprise that many people have turned so harshly judgmental about so much of the past itself. If you believe that each successive historical age becomes more enlightened, then it is easier to attribute misdeeds in the past to their authors’ unfortunate lack of enlightenment relative to us. If you believe in progress as an inevitable force, it may not seem worth the trouble to develop elaborate condemnations of these misdeeds, since you can rest assured that the bright and happy future will see and judge them with ever-greater clarity. But if history appears to have no necessary direction to it, then there is less reason for charity toward a supposedly benighted past and no reason at all to have confidence in the way the future will judge it.”


“The center remains valuable ground to hold in France, but challenges from the periphery are mounting.” Troubling news about what Macron’s reelection in France tells us for the future of politics there.


An edifying portrait of Russia’s top central banker, Elvira Nabiullina.  She seems super-competent, immune from corruption, and smart.


This is indeed a great explainer, from April, regarding why so many economists were surprised by inflation. 


Such a cool piece on early urbanism, current debates in archaeology, and much more!!


Serious. “Not since the days of Jim Crow—when some states segregated African Americans in public places and others didn’t—have the rights of Americans been so clearly differentiated by state as they will be if, as expected, the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion.”


Really good piece puncturing one bit of recent hype about AI.


Ok: having read this I am as suspicious as ever, esp about the individual-centered focus of the piece (what about reforming institutions?), but I think this is actually thoughtful and I will think about it and if you’re an academic I think you should maybe read it too.


Take care, everyone!