Current Affairs

To Describe a Life by Darby English

A quotation from the French philosopher and political activist Simone Weil is the first thing the reader encounters upon starting chapter one of To Describe a Life: Notes from the Intersection of Art and Race Terror by Professor Darby English. These words encapsulate the complex questions about self-identity, agency, and force that Darby English

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Racial Health Disparities in America

Michelle A. Gourdine— In 2012, Trayvon Martin, a seventeen-year-old boy dressed in a hoodie, carrying a bag of Skittles and iced tea while walking through a neighborhood where he “didn’t belong,” was approached and eventually shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a resident on “neighborhood watch.” Like so many African

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Do We Need More Google Cities?

Carlo Ratti— One of the lesser-known casualties of COVID-19 has been a new, large-scale urban development in Toronto, led by Google sibling company Sidewalk Labs. Several years in the making, the “Google City”—as it was sometimes dubbed in the media—ultimately came to a halt because of the ongoing recession, but

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The History of Racism in Ferguson

Mustafa Dikeç— The Department of Justice (DoJ) report following the investigation of Ferguson police department and municipal court was categorical: ‘Ferguson’s law enforcement practices are shaped by the City’s focus on revenue rather than by public safety needs.’ This emphasis on revenue generation led to unconstitutional policing and irregular practices

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Five Ways to Protect Democracy from Misinformation Online

Philip N. Howard— We need mandatory reporting on the ultimate beneficiaries of data. Citizens should easily be able to see which organizations are receiving and manipulating personal data. Social media companies should be able to report back to users on which advertisers, data-mining firms, and political consulting firms have made

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Bird Migration and the Pandemic

Mike Unwin— It’s late May 2020, and I’m sitting in my small back garden on the south coast of England. As I write, Common Swifts are screaming overhead in breakneck flypasts around the neighborhood. These supremely aerial birds are among the last of some fifty Afro-Palearctic migrant species to reach

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What Story Do Americans Want to Hear?

Rogers M. Smith— Political figures on all sides decry “fake news” today. But politics has always been driven more by stories than facts. As different as they are in all other regards, both of America’s last two presidents won wildly improbable electoral successes while telling compelling stories about their country

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Why Income Inequality Matters for Global Growth and Trade

Matthew C. Klein— The distribution of income has macroeconomic consequences. Under certain conditions, income concentration (rising inequality) can make society as a whole more prosperous. Other times, such as in the past few decades, however, high or rising inequality makes everyone worse off than they otherwise would be. The trade

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Land Tenure and Inequality

James C. Scott— A hypothetical case of customary land tenure practices may help demonstrate how difficult it is to assimilate such practices to the barebones schema of a modern cadastral map. The patterns I will describe are an amalgam of practices I have encountered in the literature of or in

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Books on the History of Race Relations

We have all heard the news, read the stories, watched the footage—America has reached a crossroads on racial injustice. The path forward may be challenging, but as a contributor to the global understanding of human affairs, we hope our books will help inform the public consciousness and promote tolerance for

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