Reading Is Critical

 Reading is critical, in both senses of the word. Crucial, of course, insofar as it is a cornerstone of communication, a primary means by which we receive information. But it is also an active form of resistance, a tactic in the struggle against ignorance, misinformation, and manipulation. To read is to become knowledgeable; to become knowledgeable is to become powerful. We invite visiting authors, booksellers, and members of our community to submit "Critical Reading" lists featuring books that are, in these senses, “critical.” Submit yours by emailing, and check each post for details on related events!

August 13th, 2019

Sharon Marcus is the Orlando Harriman Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She is a founding editor of Public Books and the author of the award-winning Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England and Apartment Stories: City and Home in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London. Marcus will discuss The Drama of Celebrity on Thursday, 9/26, 6pm at the Co-op....

Posted in: Reading Is Critical
November 21st, 2018

Marcia Bjornerud is professor of geology and environmental studies at Lawrence University. She is the author of Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth and a contributing writer for Elements, the New Yorker’s science and technology blog. Marcia Bjornerud will discuss Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World on November 27 at 6pm.


Posted in: Reading Is Critical
November 20th, 2018

By both its supporters and detractors, neoliberalism is usually considered an economic policy agenda. Neoliberalism's Demons argues that it is much more than that: a complete worldview, neoliberalism presents the competitive marketplace as the model for true human flourishing. And it has enjoyed great success: from the struggle...

Posted in: Reading Is Critical
October 17th, 2018

Keith Makoto Woodhouse is an assistant professor at Northwestern University, where he teaches in the History Department and the Environmental Policy and Culture Program. Woodhouse will discuss The Ecocentrists: A History of Radical Environmentalism on October 24 at 6pm.

Desert Solitaire, by Edward Abbey - Abbey was the...

Posted in: Reading Is Critical
October 6th, 2018

Ken Taylor is the co-founder and contributing editor of Lute & Drum, an online journal of poetry and poetics. He is the author of self-portrait as joseph cornell (Pressed Wafer, 2016) and the chapbooks: dog with elizabethan collar (selva oscura press, 2015) and first the trees, now this (Three Count Pour, 2013). His poetry has appeared...

Posted in: Reading Is Critical
October 5th, 2018

Bernard E. Harcourt is a contemporary critical theorist and social justice advocate. Intersecting contemporary critical, social, and political theory, Harcourt’s writings examine modes of governing in our punitive and surveillance society especially in the post 9/11 period and the digital age. Harcourt traces the birth of what he calls our “expository society” and recent turn to the paradigm of “counterinsurgency warfare” as a mode of governing. He is the author many books including Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age, The Illusion of...

Posted in: Reading Is Critical
July 11th, 2018

Steve Brusatte is a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he completed his doctorate at Columbia University. He writes frequently for Scientific American, including the May 2015 cover story on the evolution of tyrannosaurs. His academic research has been published by leading journals including Science and Nature (“Untangling the dinosaur family tree,” November 2017), and he authored a leading paleontology textbook, Dinosaur Paleobiology. He is also the “resident paleontologist” for BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs program. A native of the Chicago area, he now lives in Edinburgh with his wife, Anne...

Posted in: Reading Is Critical
July 3rd, 2018

    It is hard to imagine a more urgent moment for developing a language of critique and possibility that would serve to awaken our critical and imaginative senses and help free us from the tyrannical nightmare that has descended upon the United States under the rule of Donald Trump. In an age of social isolation, information overflow, a culture of immediacy, consumer glut, and spectacularized violence, reading critical books and thinking critically remain necessary if we are to take seriously the notion that a democracy cannot exist or be defended without informed and engaged citizens. This is especially true at a time when denial has become a national pastime matched only by the increasing normalization of one of the most alarming...

Posted in: Reading Is Critical
June 21st, 2018

Born in Chicago, Dr. John H. Flores is the son of Mexican immigrants, and his research centers on recovering the lost history of Mexican immigrant political activism in the United States. Flores teaches courses on immigration history and co-directs the Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University.

John H. Flores will discuss The Mexican Revolution in Chicago on ...

Posted in: Reading Is Critical
June 1st, 2018
Nathaniel Tarn is an American poet, essayist, anthropologist, and translator with some thirty books and booklets published in his various disciplines. Born in Paris, Tarn graduated in history and English as a Scholar of King’s College, Cambridge. He returned to Paris and, after some journalism and radio work, discovered anthropology at the Musée de l’Homme, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes, and the Collège de France. A Fulbright grant took him to Yale and the University of Chicago where Robert Redfield sent him to Guatemala for his doctoral fieldwork. He completed this work as a graduate student at the London School of Economics. In 1958, a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation sent him to Burma for 18 months after which he became Lecturer in South East Asian Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University...
Posted in: Reading Is Critical