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intellectual history



  • The Gatekeeper

    by Adam Tooze

    Paul Krugman's career as a politically influential economist has reflected the political dead end of the Clinton-era ideal of technocratic governing. His new book suggests that the intellectual authority of the economics profession may no longer prevent active government or deficit spending. 



  • The Muslims Who Inspired Spinoza, Locke and Defoe

    by Mustafa Akyol

    "In this age of anxiety, anger and contestations between the West and the Islamic world, many epoch-shaping stories of intellectual exchanges between our cultures are often forgotten."



  • Why Weimar is an Imperfect Mirror

    by Helmut Smith

    Peter Gay's "Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider" became a key text for understanding the Weimar era as an allegory for understanding political conflict when it was published in 1968. But his psychoanalytical approach can be an impediment to understanding the historical specificity of the era. 



  • The Future of Conservatism?

    by Charlie Sykes

    "The Bulwark" columnist compares a recent task force for conservatism convened by former Governor Scott Walker to the legacy of the movement and finds it sorely lacking. 


  • A Ghost of Galileo in the English Civil War

    by John Heilbron

    An obscure English painting containing an image of Galileo's "Dialogues" launches a deep consideration of the political and intellectual stakes of free inquiry during the English Civil War.



  • J. M. Keynes and the Visible Hands

    by Kent Puckett

    John Maynard Keynes's disgust at the outcome of the peace negotiations at the end of the Great War led him to write a scathing and influential book about the economic impact of the Treaty of Versailles. Unfortunately, the account, which overstated the economic devastation imposed on Germany, fueled Hitler's propaganda and made the rest of Europe unable to perceive the threat of German rearmament. 



  • When Black Humanity is Denied

    by Edna Bonhomme

    Enlightenment institutions – the prison, science, and asylums – are organized through binaries that draw boundaries between people who are and are not able to exercise freedom. Black artistic work supports Black freedom by challenging those boundaries. 



  • The American Exception: How Faith Shapes Economic and Social Policy

    by Benjamin M. Friedman

    Historian Benjamin Friedman's new book examines the importance of changing religious ideas in American Protestantism as influences on the development of social and economic policy. Part of the concluding chapter is excerpted here. 



  • Caste Does Not Explain Race

    by Charisse Burden-Stelly

    A reviewer takes Isabel Wilkerson's book "Caste" to task for failure to examine the connections between racism and economic exploitation. 



  • An Inspiring History of the Enlightenment

    A new book focuses on the generation of the body of Enlightenment thought through debate and dispute which foreshadows many of today's debates about the merits of universal humanism and liberal democracy. 



  • New Black Intellectual Histories

    Brandon Byrd argues that researching the African American intellectual tradition requires methodological flexibility and innovation to understand how Black thinkers have worked to produce ideas while being excluded from the spaces where intellectual work has typically been done. 



  • Keynes and the Good Life

    by Jeffrey Sachs

    Keynes did not give us a checklist of dos and don’ts other than general ones: Don’t waste human talents and physical resources through wanton unemployment, avoidable wars, or breakdowns of social and trade relations.