Two recent, one I’ve been negligent about:
- Ira Katznelson, Fear Itself: I’ve been excited about this since first hearing about it, and it looks fantastic. Expanding on his argument in When Affirmative Action Was White, Katznelson expands on how a reform program deeply compromised by white supremacists nonetheless preserved liberal democracy in a period in which fears about its survival were pervasive (and not necessarily irrational.) This raises historical, political, and ethical questions of great interest, and Katznelson’s judgment about these questions is usually sound. I can’t wait to finish and get to a proper write-up.
- Rose Corrigan, Up Against A Wall — A very rich and fascinating study of what has and hasn’t been achieved by reforms to sexual assault laws. There are lot of interesting empirical findings with significant theoretical import. For example, contrary to the frequently made argument that rights discourse can be debilitating and disempowering, Corrigan funds that state agencies have complied with laws requiring the dispensing of emergency contraception at high rates in South Carolina because rape crisis centers have been very conscious about informing victims of their rights, while compliance has been spottier in more favorable contexts because of a failures to mobilize. The book is full of insights like this; I don’t always agree with her take but I learned an enormous amount.
- Tracy Lightcap, The Politics of Torture — Another book I need to give a more detailed write-up, but I’ve been negligent in mentioning that longtime friend of LGM Tracy Lightcap has an excellent comparative study explaining why the Bush torture regime happened and why it could easily happened again. Evidently, intervening events haven’t made him look any less prescient.