Books & the Arts

Claudia Rankine’s Dialogue With America

In Just Us, the poet offers a searing assessment of racism and loneliness in today’s America. But while she’s pessimistic about the present, she’s also hopeful about the future.

Elias Rodriques

Richard Hofstadter’s Discontents

Why did the historian come to fear the very movements he once would have celebrated?

Jeet Heer

The Supreme Court’s War on Equality

In Supreme Inequality, Adam Cohen offers a damning indictment of Supreme Court  jurisprudence, reminding us of just how political the country's highest court is. 

Randall Kennedy

From the Magazine

Yaa Gyasi’s Family Chronicle

At the center of Gyasi's new novel are the unspoken bonds and tensions between mothers and daughters.

Lovia Gyarkye

America’s Unending Struggle Between Oligarchy and Democracy

A new history charts the three-centuries long contest between elites seeking to uphold a racial and economic order that benefits them alone and the forces of democracy seeking to dismantle their power.

Manisha Sinha

Can the American University Be Saved?

Covid-19 has revealed the glaring inequalities of higher ed in the United States and may push the system to the point of crisis.

Daniel Bessner

Literary Criticism

J.M. Coetzee’s States of Exile

In writing an allegory that is barely an allegory and a trilogy of novels that are often not novels, Coetzee appears to have made his own literary displacement total. 

Siddhartha Deb

Yaa Gyasi’s Family Chronicle

At the center of Gyasi's new novel are the unspoken bonds and tensions between mothers and daughters.

Lovia Gyarkye

Nicholson Baker’s Maddening Search for the Truth

Denied access to files about the use of chemical weapons during the Cold War, the novelist’s transformed his new book into a study of how America keeps its secrets.

Charlie Savage

History & Politics

The Inner Life of American Communism

Vivian Gornick’s and Jodi Dean’s books mine a lost history of comradeship, determination, and intimacy.

Corey Robin

Eric Posner’s Democracy for the Few

A conservative gadfly joins “the Resistance.”

Samuel Moyn

How Federal Housing Programs Failed Black America

In Race for Profit, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor shows how even those housing policies that sought to create more Black homeowners were stymied by racism and a determination to shrink the government’s presence.

Marcia Chatelain


Orlando Patterson and the Postcolonial Predicament

Out of the ruins of colonialism and empire, the sociologist insisted we could fashion a more egalitarian and liberated future.
Adom Getachew

When the socialist government of Michael Manley came to power in Jamaica in 1972, the charismatic new prime minister asked the up-and-coming Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson to become his special adviser for social policy and development. Only a decade after the country gained its independence from Britain, Jamaican voters elected… Continue Reading >

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Television and Films

The Perils of Creativity and Capitalism in ‘Tesla’

Michael Almereyda’s biopic of the eccentric inventor is a portrait of the the tensions that arise when art and commerce intersect.

Vikram Murthi

The Many Lives of Catherine the Great

A new Hulu show presents the life of the Russian empress as a narrative of lean-in empowerment. But was it?

Sophie Pinkham

The Political Use and Misuse of ‘Mulan’

Each new adaptation says more about its own time and place than the story’s ancient setting.

Han Zhang


How Silicon Valley Broke the Economy

The question of how to fix the tech industry is now inseparable from the question of how to fix the system of capitalism that the late 20th century gave us.
Adrian Chen

One of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs’s most audacious marketing triumphs is rarely mentioned in the paeans to his genius that remain a staple of business content farms. In 1982, Jobs offered to donate a computer to every K–12 school in America, provided Congress pass a bill giving Apple substantial tax… Continue Reading >


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