Cultural Studies

RECENT REVIEWS

Precious Windows into an Opaque Period

Precious Windows into an Opaque Period

IN BOSTON 2015, my mother, the daughter of a Newsweek correspondent, recalls her childhood in Soviet Russia during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Having left that country for France in elementary sch...

The Reluctant Angeleno

The Reluctant Angeleno

IN “STREET HAUNTING,” the most charming account of running an unnecessary errand in the English language, Virginia Woolf writes of her ecstatic nighttime stroll in search of a lead pencil: As we ...

The Return of the Repressed

The Return of the Repressed

HERE IS AN ALTERNATE HISTORY of American English: For whatever reason, circa 1920, a revolutionary leader wants to change the English alphabet for the Cyrillic one, and somehow he manages to achieve t...

Paris: A Tale of Two Cities

Paris: A Tale of Two Cities

THE REIGN OF THE IRRATIONAL and rejection of reason; a mystical embrace of one’s own people and fatal dehumanization of others; the repudiation of tolerance and embrace of martyrdom; the cult of dea...

Spoiler Alerts: Three Books on Trash

Spoiler Alerts: Three Books on Trash

IN CONSIDERING THE SUBJECT OF MESSINESS, let’s start with my apartment. I should tell you, in the interest of transparency, that while I was writing this piece I was moved to get rid of the followin...

In Church in Charleston

In Church in Charleston

THE DAY of the funeral for Clementa Pinckney, who was shot and killed while leading a bible study in Charleston, South Carolina, in June, Jessica Lynne and I gathered online to mourn. That afternoon,...

Jody D. Armour's "Nigga Theory"

Jody D. Armour's "Nigga Theory"

Jody D. Armour is the Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at USC and author of Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism, and his latest work revolves around a Fall 2014 article published in the Ohio State Jour...

From Tehrangeles to Kashmir

From Tehrangeles to Kashmir

IF SOMEONE ASKED YOU what Los Angeles has in common with Kashmir, you might prepare yourself for the punch line of an off-color joke. The answer, in fact, is that both are among the many unlikely outp...

The Gentrification of Boston’s South End

The Gentrification of Boston’s South End

REASONABLE PEOPLE will agree on the evils of racism, sexism, and the destruction of the social safety net in 21st-century America. But as a political issue, gentrification, which at its worst can wrea...

Texts for Nothing

Texts for Nothing

My ambition is to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a book — what everyone else does not say in a book. — Friedrich Nietzsche  Yes, everything’s already been said. But not by yo...

Reading “Between the World and Me” in Context

Reading “Between the World and Me” in Context

WHEN I FIRST AGREED to review Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me I did so with the enthusiasm that comes from knowing a capable writer was going to engage issues of race in America and know...