July 12, 2017
Summer Books for Serious Readers
We asked our colleagues at The New School for summer book ideas for Urban Matters readers.
Here are some suggestions.
Rachel Meltzer, assistant professor of urban policy at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy
“My recommendations are: If Mayors Ruled the World by Benjamin Barber; and City Power: Urban Governance in a Global Age by Richard Schragger.
“Both books are, to a certain extent, about the organizing, political, and governing role of cities in an increasingly globalized world. The Barber book presents a fascinating set of case studies to make the point, from a political economic perspective, that cities can overcome nation-state obstacles and rigidities to make real differences on the ground. The Schragger book makes a historical-legal case for the unrealized potential of cities, under conditions where they are given the authority to govern effectively and productively. Great reads for people interested in the history and contemporary challenges of cities in governing and effecting change.”
David Howell, professor of economics and public policy and director of the Doctoral Program in Public and Urban Policy at The New School
"One of the great books in recent years on the rise and evolution of capitalism is Sven Beckert's Empire of Cotton: A Global History. Beckert shows how central the production of cotton and the manufacture and merchandizing of cotton textiles were to what he calls ‘war capitalism,’ slavery, colonialism, and much else. Beckert ranges from big picture profound pronouncements on the course of history to the most fascinating granular details of cotton plantations and textile factories, and the people who worked in them and ran them. I now use this book in two courses!"
Manjari Mahajan, Assistant Professor of International Affairs
"I am looking forward to reading two books, both of which interrogate how new technology and knowledge are being accompanied by changing modes of democratic governance. The first book, Reordering Life by Stephen Hilgartner, has a narrative mainly situated in the United States. It probes how the Human Genome Project and the modern life sciences have led to new institutional and cultural arrangements of property, exclusion, and control. The second book, Pharmocracy: Value, Politics and Knowledge of Global Biomedicine by Kaushik Sunder Rajan, examines the multinational pharmaceutical industry as it lands in India. The book puts a spotlight on struggles within Indian institutions around issues of access to medicines. The experience of the world’s largest democracy holds important insights for the United States; it underlines that debates around health are seldom about merely technical matters regarding medicines, insurance, and budgets. At stake are fundamental questions of democratic institutions and representation."
Erica Kohl-Arenas, assistant professor at the Milano School
“I am so excited to read Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor's book From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. She just gave a very powerful commencement speech at Hampshire College: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor Delivers Keynote at Hampshire College's 2017 Commencement Ceremony."
Maya Wiley, Senior Vice President for Social Justice at The New School and the Henry Cohen Professor of Urban Policy and Management at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy
“My book is Empire of Cotton: A Global History by Sven Beckert - a political economy of cotton at a global scale. I’m reading it for a global perspective on a driver of the slave trade.”