In Spring a young man’s fancy turns to love. Rapidly aging academics such as myself, however, have to decide which readings to assign. This semester I’m teaching Organizations and Management to students in Duke’s MMS certificate program and Markets and Moral Order to a small group of seniors at the Kenan Institute for Ethics. Both classes were a lot of fun last year (perhaps not for the students). I’ve rearranged the running order in the Orgs course a bit, as the flow was wrong last time.
My colleague Lane Kenworthy reviews Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland, proving in the process that he is a faster reader (and writer) than me. Is Perlstein right about what happened during these years? Did America harden into two warring camps? I think an argument can be made that something very different occurred: the developments of the 1960s coupled with (and accentuated by) Nixon’s political tactics opened up new fissures that left the political landscape not more crystallized, but more clouded.
Because Eric Rauchway’s book on The Great Depression and New Deal makes inordinately heavy demands on the reader, is filled with hard-to-remember facts, and spends too much of its absurd length wistfully discussing fashions in men’s suits and hats of the period, I have been looking for a brief video to show in its place to undergrads in my social theory class. It’s good to finally have found it.
While at a conference in Germany over the weekend, I was initially quite chuffed by the greeting on my hotel-room TV: But I quickly learned I am quite unable to compete on this front: Somewhat more substantively, the conference, on norms and values, was attended by a bunch of interesting philosophers and political science types of a generally soft rat-choice disposition. As it happens, this week Aaron Swartz is writing about Jon Elster’s recent book, Explaining Social Behavior: More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences.