Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Anthony Kennedy

I've listened to about half of a Cato discussion with Helen Knowles about Anthony Kennedy's judicial philosophy, interesting enough to flag her book for future reading.

POW: Mia Bay and Pamela Newkirk

The National Constitution Center put up an interesting discussion between journalism professor Pamela Newkirk and historian Mia Bay, on the life and historical memory of Ida B Wells. I think it worth promoting because
1) I consider myself relatively well versed in American history and I didn't know who she was.
2) Her story is the story of Jim Crow, of the rollback of the rights gained after the civil war. This is an era that doesn't get a lot of play in the narrative of American history, it goes against type. The general narrative is the story of progress- rights gained, biases and bigotries outgrown, of freedom gained. The years after Reconstruction saw the reverse- rights lost, terror imposed, freedom lost. It's not surprising people don't like to dwell on it, but they should at least be aware of it.

The biography Mia Bay references is here.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

POW: Georgi Derluguian

I found an outstanding lecture from 2004 by Georgi Derluguian, given at the U of C. He discusses Chechnya and the origins of the conflict there. There are a lot of ideas here on how the physical realities of living in a mountain range affect society (multiple languages, isolation) as well as specific details (didn't convert to Islam until late 17th century, the population was built by people fleeing the great invasions crossing the plains to the north, one of the early Chechen leaders was the former Soviet chief of the Air Force responsible for the bombing campaigns in Afghanistan). There is also an idea that the whole region of the Soviet Union went through a reversion, a demodernization process. "Look at the hats!"

Here is his book.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

POW: Simon Schama

Carnegie has put up an excellent discussion with Simon Schama related to his new book, The America Future: A History. Schama's conversation is a work of art unto itself.