Books

Elizabeth Lunbeck’s The Americanization of Narcissism

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The The Americanization of Narcissism

Harvard University Press, 2014, 384 pages.

Historians have not handled psychoanalysis very well. The clumsy reductionism of much of the psychohistory movement is usually Exhibit A, though historians such as Dominick LaCapra and Joan Scott have been developing more nuanced ways of using psychoanalytic ideas for History. But the historiography of psychoanalysis has also had …

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Irina Sirotkina’s Shestoe chuvstvo avangarda: Tanets, dvizhenie, kinesteziia v zhizni poetov i khudozhnikov

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Irina Sirotkina
Shestoe chuvstvo avangarda: Tanets, dvizhenie, kinesteziia v zhizni poetov i khudozhnikov

By Irina Sirotkina

Izd. Evropeiskogo universiteta v Sankt-Peterburge, 2014, 280 pages

There are few topics in Russian history more appealing and perplexing than the avant-garde efflorescence of the first three decades of the twentieth century. The appeal is obvious, and the reason why so many historians (primarily of art) …

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Jamie Cohen-Cole’s The Open Mind: Cold War Politics and the Sciences of Human Nature

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The Open Mind: Cold War Politics and the Sciences of Human Nature

by Jamie Cohen-Cole

University of Chicago Press, 2014, 368 pages.

The Closed World of the Open Mind

In Jamie Cohen-Cole’s hands, the concept of the open mind becomes an effective historiographical tool with which to trace some of the intersections of the social sciences and American political culture …

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Book Forum—Lisa Stevenson’s “Life Beside Itself: Imagining Care in the Canadian Arctic”

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life beside itself cover

For our latest installment in the book forum series, we bring you a series of commentaries on Lisa Stevenson’s Life Beside Itself: Imagining Care in the Canadian Arctic (University of California Press, 2014).  As it takes us across the conceptual grounds of governance, (post)colonialism, biopolitics, violence, and suicide, this book illuminates care as an object of study in a way …

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Nicolas Langlitz’s Neuropsychedelia: The Revival of Hallucinogen Research Since the Decade of the Brain

neuropsychedlia
Neuropsychedelia: The Revival of Hallucinogen Research Since the Decade of the Brain

by Nicolas Langlitz

University of California Press, 2012, 336 pages.

Humphry Osmond wrote to Aldous Huxley in 1956 proposing the term “psychedelic,” coined from two Greek words to mean “mind manifesting.” The scholars, one a psychiatrist and the other a celebrated novelist and philosopher, were exuberant about the …

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Kristin Peterson’s Speculative Markets: Drug Circuits and Derivative Life in Nigeria

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speculative marketsSpeculative Markets: Drug Circuits and Derivative Life in Nigeria

by Kristin Peterson

Duke University Press, 2014, 256 pages.

Chemical Arbitrage

We tend to think of pharmaceuticals as chemical matter caught up in complicated legal and economic relationships, but it is probably more useful to think of them as legal artifacts oriented towards a potential (but by no means guaranteed) biochemical …