rvenkat + cultural_history   48

How The West Was Won | Slate Star Codex
-- Without an historian's critical approval, this speculation is as good as others... I have no idea whether this well written post is correct.
blog  debates  industrial_revolution  enlightenment  history_of_ideas  cultural_evolution  cultural_history 
21 days ago by rvenkat
Jordan Peterson & Fascist Mysticism | by Pankaj Mishra | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
-- Mishra knows how to insult with style. He hates western intellectuals and elites and has fun *roasting* Peterson.

But the more I read Mishra, the more I get a feeling that he overfits his post-colonial narratives. Someone should start a new field of empirically driven post-colonial studies. Maybe there is one already and I just don't know about it.
post-colonialism  book_review  critique  right-wing_populism  alt-right  fascism  history_of_ideas  cultural_history  nybooks 
march 2018 by rvenkat
God’s Oppressed Children | by Pankaj Mishra | The New York Review of Books
As always, Mishra's review is informative and incisive; a great read and even better for the things I disagree with:)

I was half expecting an intersectional analysis of the Indian caste system but realized that the post-colonial thinkers back home may not have been marinating in that long enough. Interesting to see Indian post-colonial thought evolve over the years enough to begin criticizing Marxism and socialism.
caste_system  india  cultural_history  20th_century  post-colonialism  book_review  nybooks 
december 2017 by rvenkat
Kick Against the Pricks | by Laura Kipnis | The New York Review of Books
-- craftily written, it is the things that she leads the reader into but never says; the closest any piece has come to addressing moral agency.
book_review  feminism  labor  discrimination  cultural_history  contemporary_culture  gender_studies  marxism  nature-nurture  debates  agency  nybooks 
december 2017 by rvenkat
Cuisine and Empire - Rachel Laudan - Hardcover - University of California Press
Rachel Laudan tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of the world’s great cuisines—from the mastery of grain cooking some twenty thousand years ago, to the present—in this superbly researched book. Probing beneath the apparent confusion of dozens of cuisines to reveal the underlying simplicity of the culinary family tree, she shows how periodic seismic shifts in “culinary philosophy”—beliefs about health, the economy, politics, society and the gods—prompted the construction of new cuisines, a handful of which, chosen as the cuisines of empires, came to dominate the globe.

Cuisine and Empire shows how merchants, missionaries, and the military took cuisines over mountains, oceans, deserts, and across political frontiers. Laudan’s innovative narrative treats cuisine, like language, clothing, or architecture, as something constructed by humans. By emphasizing how cooking turns farm products into food and by taking the globe rather than the nation as the stage, she challenges the agrarian, romantic, and nationalistic myths that underlie the contemporary food movement.
culinary_history  cooking  material_basis_of_civilization  cultural_history  technology  book 
december 2017 by rvenkat
CESifo Group Munich - Shocking Racial Attitudes: Black G.I.s in Europe
Can attitudes towards minorities, an important cultural trait, be changed? We show that the presence of African American soldiers in the UK during World War II reduced anti-minority prejudice, a result of the positive interactions which took place between soldiers and the local population. The change has been persistent: in locations in which more African American soldiers were posted there are fewer members of the UK’s leading far-right party, less implicit bias against blacks and fewer individuals professing racial prejudice, all measured around 2010. We show that persistence has been higher in rural areas and areas with less subsequent in-migration.
causal_inference  cultural_history  discrimination  extremism  geography  britain  political_sociology  public_opinion  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Young Radicals by Jeremy McCarter | PenguinRandomHouse.com
Where do we find our ideals? What does it mean to live for them—and to risk dying for them? For Americans during World War I, these weren’t abstract questions. Young Radicals tells the story of five activists, intellectuals and troublemakers who agitated for freedom and equality in the hopeful years before the war, then fought to defend those values in a country pitching into violence and chaos.

Based on six years of extensive archival research, Jeremy McCarter’s dramatic narrative brings to life the exploits of Randolph Bourne, the bold social critic who strove for a dream of America that was decades ahead of its time; Max Eastman, the charismatic poet-propagandist of Greenwich Village, whose magazine The Masses fought the government for the right to oppose the war; Walter Lippmann, a boy wonder of socialism who forged a new path to seize new opportunities; Alice Paul, a suffragist leader who risked everything to win women the right to vote; and John Reed, the swashbuckling journalist and impresario who was an eyewitness to—and a key player in—the Russian Revolution.

Each of these figures sensed a moment of unprecedented promise for American life—politically, socially, culturally—and struggled to bring it about, only to see a cataclysmic war and reactionary fervor sweep it away. A century later, we are still fighting for the ideals these five championed: peace, women’s rights, economic equality, freedom of speech—all aspects of a vibrant American democracy. The story of their struggles brings new light and fresh inspiration to our own.
book  socialism  liberalism  20th_century  united_states_of_america  cultural_history 
june 2017 by rvenkat
Inglehart, R.: Modernization and Postmodernization: Cultural, Economic, and Political Change in 43 Societies. (Paperback)
Ronald Inglehart argues that economic development, cultural change, and political change go together in coherent and even, to some extent, predictable patterns. This is a controversial claim. It implies that some trajectories of socioeconomic change are more likely than others--and consequently that certain changes are foreseeable. Once a society has embarked on industrialization, for example, a whole syndrome of related changes, from mass mobilization to diminishing differences in gender roles, is likely to appear. These changes in worldviews seem to reflect changes in the economic and political environment, but they take place with a generational time lag and have considerable autonomy and momentum of their own. But industrialization is not the end of history. Advanced industrial society leads to a basic shift in values, de-emphasizing the instrumental rationality that characterized industrial society. Postmodern values then bring new societal changes, including democratic political institutions and the decline of state socialist regimes. To demonstrate the powerful links between belief systems and political and socioeconomic variables, this book draws on a unique database, the World Values Surveys. This database covers a broader range than ever before available for looking at the impact of mass publics on political and social life. It provides information from societies representing 70 percent of the world's population--from societies with per capita incomes as low as $300 per year to those with per capita incomes one hundred times greater and from long-established democracies with market economies to authoritarian states.

book  cultural_evolution  data  world_values_survey  world_trends  economic_history  cultural_history  liberalism  moral_values  the_civilizing_process  ?  human_progress  dmce  teaching 
june 2017 by rvenkat
Tamil — David Shulman | Harvard University Press
Spoken by eighty million people in South Asia and a diaspora that stretches across the globe, Tamil is one of the great world languages, and one of the few ancient languages that survives as a mother tongue for so many speakers. David Shulman presents a comprehensive cultural history of Tamil—language, literature, and civilization—emphasizing how Tamil speakers and poets have understood the unique features of their language over its long history. Impetuous, musical, whimsical, in constant flux, Tamil is a living entity, and this is its biography.

Two stories animate Shulman’s narrative. The first concerns the evolution of Tamil’s distinctive modes of speaking, thinking, and singing. The second describes Tamil’s major expressive themes, the stunning poems of love and war known as Sangam poetry, and Tamil’s influence as a shaping force within Hinduism. Shulman tracks Tamil from its earliest traces at the end of the first millennium BCE through the classical period, 850 to 1200 CE, when Tamil-speaking rulers held sway over southern India, and into late-medieval and modern times, including the deeply contentious politics that overshadow Tamil today.

Tamil is more than a language, Shulman says. It is a body of knowledge, much of it intrinsic to an ancient culture and sensibility. “Tamil” can mean both “knowing how to love”—in the manner of classical love poetry—and “being a civilized person.” It is thus a kind of grammar, not merely of the language in its spoken and written forms but of the creative potential of its speakers.

language  linguistics  cultural_history  tamil  book 
february 2017 by rvenkat
The Anatomy of Antiliberalism — Stephen Holmes | Harvard University Press
Liberal: spoken in a certain tone, heard more and more often lately, it summons up permissiveness, materialism, rootlessness, skepticism, relativism run rampant. How has liberalism, the grand democratic ideal, come to be a dirty word? This book shows us what antiliberalism means in the modern world—where it comes from, whom it serves, and why it speaks with such a forceful, if ever-changing, voice.

In the past, in a battle pitting one offspring of eighteenth-century rationalism against another, Marxism has been liberalism’s best known and most vociferous opponent. But with the fall of Communism, the voices of ethnic particularism, communitarianism, and religious fundamentalism—a tradition Stephen Holmes traces to Joseph de Maistre—have become louder in rejection of the Enlightenment, failing to distinguish between the descendants of Karl Marx and Adam Smith. Holmes uses the tools of the political theorist and the intellectual historian to expose the philosophical underpinnings of antiliberalism in its nonmarxist guise. Examining the works of some of liberalism’s severest critics—including Maistre, Carl Schmitt, Leo Strauss, and Alasdair MacIntyre—Holmes provides, in effect, a reader’s guide to antiliberal culture, in all its colorful and often seductive, however nefarious, variety. As much a mindset as a theory, as much a sensibility as an argument, antiliberalism appears here in its diverse efforts to pit “spiritual truths” and “communal bonds” against a perceived cultural decay and moral disintegration. This corrosion of the social fabric—rather than the separation of powers, competitive elections, a free press, religious tolerance, public budgets, and judicial controls on the police—is what the antiliberal forces see as the core of liberal politics. Against this picture, Holmes outlines the classical liberal arguments most often misrepresented by the enemies of liberalism and most essential to the future of democracy.

Constructive as well as critical, this book helps us see what liberalism is and must be, and why it must and always will engender deep misgivings along with passionate commitment.
political_science  cultural_history  cultural_cognition  law  liberalism  us_conservative_thought  book 
february 2017 by rvenkat
International Cognition and Culture Institute
The International Cognition & Culture Institute (ICCI) was founded in September 2008 thanks to an initial grant from the London School of Economics and Political Science and support from the Institut Jean Nicod (ENS, EHESS, CNRS) in Paris. Since 2015, the website is hosted by the Budapest CEU Social Mind Center.

The rationale for this Web Institute is twofold:

Scholars in the emerging cross-disciplinary field of cognition and culture studies are scattered around the world and few (if any) institutions has a sufficient number and variety of them for optimal research and teaching. It is in the very nature of this field to call for international and interdisciplinary collaborations.
A number of programs are, of course, already contributing to the networking made necessary by the emergence of this new field. We see our Web Institute, with no time limit and no fixed agenda, as complementary to these more focused initiatives.

The website of the International Cognition & Culture Institute has, as permanent features, a blog section meant to stimulate and a news section meant to inform. We also organize online workshops, book-clubs, and other events We of course welcome initiatives and suggestions. Successful web institutions typically evolve in directions that had not been foreseen, let alone planned, and we look forward to being observant participants in such an evolution.
cultural_evolution  cultural_history  cognitive_science  institute 
may 2016 by rvenkat
[1603.06371] The classical origin of modern mathematics
The aim of this paper is to study the historical evolution of mathematical thinking and its spatial spreading. To do so, we have collected and integrated data from different online academic datasets. In its final stage, the database includes a large number (N~200K) of advisor-student relationships, with affiliations and keywords on their research topic, over several centuries, from the 14th century until today. We focus on two different topics, the evolving importance of countries and of the research disciplines over time. Moreover we study the database at three levels, its global statistics, the mesoscale networks connecting countries and disciplines, and the genealogical level.
social_construction_of_knowledge  cultural_evolution  cultural_history  for_friends  teaching  epidemiology  networks  via:strogatz  social_networks 
april 2016 by rvenkat
The Culture of Narcissism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A book by Christopher Lasch on the normalization of what he calls "pathological narcissism" in 20th century American culture.
via:azimam  cultural_history  book 
june 2015 by rvenkat
The American Adam, Lewis
Intellectual history is viewed in this book as a series of "great conversations"—dramatic dialogues in which a culture's spokesmen wrestle with the leading questions of their times. In nineteenth-century America the great argument centered about De Crèvecoeur's "new man," the American, an innocent Adam in a bright new world dissociating himself from the historic past. Mr. Lewis reveals this vital preoccupation as a pervasive, transforming ingredient of the American mind, illuminating history and theology as well as art, shaping the consciousness of lesser thinkers as fully as it shaped the giants of the age. He traces the Adamic theme in the writings of Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Henry James, and others, and in an Epilogue he exposes their continuing spirit in the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ralph Ellison, J. D. Salinger, and Saul Bellow.
via:azimam  american_history  intellectualism  book  cultural_history 
june 2015 by rvenkat

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