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Franklin Roosevelt, the Isolationists, and the Road to World War II, by Nicholas Wapshott BOOK REVIEW BY CARL L. BANKSTON III The complicated strategic struggle between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and those who believed the United States could and should stay out of World War II has been repeatedly explored,...
Why Didn't School Desegregation Work? BY CARL L. BANKSTON III After well over a half-century of efforts to desegregate American schools, many schools and even school districts continue to be concentrations of racial and ethnic minority students. Why is this? In academic and activist circles, the common answer is the “failure...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III The recent controversy over Ayaan Hirsi Ali's speech at Yale reminded me of a review I published back in 2011 of Paul Berman's book The Flight of the Intellectuals. I'm posting the review here: Two criticisms lie at the heart of Paul Berman’s The Flight of...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III The recent controversy over Ayaan Hirsi Ali's speech at Yale reminded me of a review I published back in 2011 of Paul Berman's book The Flight of the Intellectuals. I'm posting the review here: Two criticisms lie at the heart of Paul Berman’s The Flight of...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III In the review section of the Sunday New York Times, the economist and Nobel Laureate Joseph E.Stiglitz remarks that “study after study has exposed the myth that America is a land of opportunity.” We do not have equal opportunity in this country, he argues, because...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III If one of the purposes of a book review is to inspire readers to take up the original work, Elizabeth Povinelli’s sneering ad hominem attack on anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon months ago can at least be credited with contributing to my interest in obtaining a...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III If one of the purposes of a book review is to inspire readers to take up the original work, Elizabeth Povinelli’s sneering ad hominem attack on anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon months ago can at least be credited with contributing to my interest in obtaining a...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III Many of my academic colleagues are dedicated to the proposition that the United States is racist to the core. That, in fact, is the thesis of the influential book Racist America: Roots, Current Realities, and Future Reparations, by former American Sociological Association president Joe R....
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III Nearly a quarter of a century after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the specter of Karl Marx continues to haunt our presses and blog posts. Supporters and opponents present Marxism as a modern ideology and a coherent body of thought. Jonathan Sperber's Karl Marx:...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III As Tulane University President Scott Cowen enters his last year before retirement, I want to acknowledge his contributions to the university. President Cowen is a talented and charismatic individual who has worked tirelessly for the institution he has headed since 1999. Although Tulane's recovery from...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III In college I knew a young woman who had studied the languages of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional world and taught herself to write elvish runes. At about the same time, I used to listen to the jazz-rock fusion band, Magma, led by eccentric French musician Christian Vander. Vander’s lyrics were...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III Jared Diamond’s last two books aimed at accounting for the rise and fall of civilizations. Guns, Germs, and Steel offered a geographic and environmental theory of why complex societies arose in some parts of the world and not others and why Europe eventually dominated the...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III Irene White was kind enough to send me the link to her blog on President Obama’s accreditation reforms for higher education. As you will see if you look at her piece, she discusses how accreditation generally works now and then describes the main points of...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III Irene White was kind enough to send me the link to her blog on President Obama’s accreditation reforms for higher education. As you will see if you look at her piece, she discusses how accreditation generally works now and then describes the main points of...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III People with views on charter schools often seem to be divided into two opposing teams. Supporters tend to argue that charter schools can completely transform American education and provide a remedy for every real or perceived ill in our system of public schooling. Opponents portray...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III The Chronicle of Higher Education notes that the U.S. Supreme Court is being urged to take up Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s appeal of a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that ruled a voter-supported state constitutional ban on racial preferences in higher education unconstitutional...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III The National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education has a new study just out on the effect of charter schools on racial integration. As the study observes in its introduction, many school desegregation advocates have argued that if families have freedom of choice...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III My university is now considering a proposal to make “public service” and “civic engagement” part of the tenure consideration process. I have written about the civic engagement crusade on several occasions (see here, here, here, and here). In particular, I have pointed out how making...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III Like most other people who have family incomes below $450,000, I was happy that Congress avoided the looming large increase in my taxes, even though, like most other people, I will be paying more in payroll taxes in the coming year. Short-term self-interest aside, though,...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III The PBS Newshour showed an interesting, although somewhat oversimplified and misleading, segment on the spending vs. saving dilemma. Considering this question from the perspective of holiday buying, Newshour reporter Paul Solman looked at whether the health of the economy requires consumer splurging or austerity and...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III I was disappointed to read that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District has upheld the firing of Crystal Dixon from her position as interim vice president for human resources at the University of Toledo. Dixon, as I noted some time ago, was...
Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650-1750 BY CARL L. BANKSTON III By the end of the European middle ages, a Christianized version of Aristotelian philosophy had achieved the status of the official interpretation of the world and of the place of human beings in the world.  According to Aristotelian scholasticism,...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III Scott Cowen, the president of my university, has an opinion piece on the “fiscal cliff” issue on the Huffington Post website. Among his other qualities, President Cowen is certainly indefatigable, and I can’t imagine where he finds the time in his breathtaking schedule to write...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III One of the greatest philosophical dilemmas posed by the development of the modern scientific view of the world concerns the place of human beings in this view. Scientific thinking is based on determinism, an understanding of all things as material objects linked in chains of...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III There is a very small but symbolically interesting controversy at my university over this year’s recently announced commencement speaker, the Dalai Lama. The controversy does not concern religion, but international politics. It seems that some of our Chinese students have expressed concern over the choice,...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III During the recent presidential election and in our current “fiscal cliff” debates over tax and spending policies, I’ve heard frequent reference to the economic boom years of the 1990s. Many have pointed out that the United States had higher tax rates and also high economic...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III I recently received a call from the Tulane Students for Justice in Palestine for a candlelight vigil "to remember and honor those who have died or been injured in the recent Israeli bombings of Palestinian land." What struck me as strange about this call is...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III Steven T. Asma has an interesting article on fairness versus favoritism at The Chronicle of Higher Education website. Favoritism, acting on behalf of our friends, neighbors, and kin, is a deeply rooted human instinct, Asma points out, and one that contradicts abstract ideas of fairness....
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III Aloysisus P. Martinich, who holds an endowed chair in philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, is an internationally recognized authority on the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. His previous works include The Two Gods of Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes on Religion and Politics (1992) and...
BY CARL L. BANKSTON III Mark Basseley Youssef, also known as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and best known as Sam Bacile, has been sentenced to a year in jail after admitting that he violated his probation in a 2010 bank fraud case. Whoever he really is, he achieved notoriety when his...