Social Research Special Issue Explores “Books That Matter” Through Essays by Leading Intellectuals

New York, July 7, 2022—Social Research: An International Quarterly, which was founded in 1934 as the journal of The New School for Social Research at The New School and which explores global issues and ideas of enduring interest, today published “Books That Matter II,” featuring 21 essays by leading intellectuals about the books that have been of special significance and inspiration to them. In this issue authors reflect on the novels, poems, and scholarly works that have been of great importance in their own intellectual lives. The essays illustrate the transformative impact literature can have on readers.

Each issue of Social Research focuses on a single theme and examines current critical and enduring social issues, political transitions, and many other subjects that are best understood when addressed from many different disciplines and perspectives. The themes of the two most recent issues were The Global Rise of Xenophobia and its much-needed opposite, Hospitality.  The journal is edited by Arien Mack, who was a long-time faculty member at The New School of Social Research and has been the journal’s editor for more than 50 years.

The essays in “Books That Matter II” are written by 21 distinguished authors who work in many different fields. Authors include Dwight A. McBride, President and University Professor at The New School and a noted authority on the life and work of poet Phillis Wheatley—the first African-American author of a published book of poetry—as well as other distinguished members of The New School faculty. Other contributors to the issue are at Columbia, Georgetown, Yale, NYU, Open Society Foundations and other institutions. The books featured in the issue cover a wide range of subjects and writers, including storytellers like Italo Calvino, James Joyce, and Lewis Carroll; poet Phillis Wheatley; and theorists like Thomas Hobbes, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Max Weber.

“This issue is based not on a special theme but rather on the conviction that words matter, books and ideas matter—and some books, special ones, deeply affect our lives and how we think and what we think about,” said Mack. “I expect that our readers will find the selections as fascinating as the reasons they were chosen for.”

List of Contributors and Book Selections:

Seyla Benhabib, Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Professor of Philosophy Emerita, Yale University
Thomas Hobbes on My Mind
Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes

Akeel Bilgrami, Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University
The Political Possibilities of Moral Realism
The Radical Enlightenment, Margaret C. Jacob; Natural Supernaturalism, M. H. Abrams

Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of the History of Religions, University of Chicago
My Life in Wonderland
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Lewis Carroll

Nancy Fraser, Henry A and Louise Loeb Professor of Political and Social Science, The New School
Why Black Reconstruction Matters
Black Reconstruction in America, 1860–1880, W. E. B. Du Bois

Teresa Ghilarducci, Director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, The New School
How to Think about Our Children’s Children
Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World, Daniel Sherrell

Bernard E. Harcourt, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science, Columbia University
Being and Becoming: Rethinking Identity Politics
Combahee River Collective Statement; How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor; The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation, Stuart Hall

William Hirst, Malcolm B. Smith Professor of Psychology, The New School
Breaking from the Past: Bartlett's Role in Rethinking Memory
Remembering: A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology, Frederic Bartlett

Michael Kazin, Professor of History, Georgetown University
First, Connect: Michael Walzer’s The Company of Critics
The Company of Critics: Social Criticism and Political Commitment in the Twentieth Century, Michael Walzer

Paul A. Kottman, Professor of Comparative Literature and Chair of Liberal Studies, The New School
Dark Times, Again: The Limits of Weber’s Vocation Lectures, a Century Later
Charisma and Disenchantment: The Vocation Lectures, Max Weber

Steven Lukes, Professor Emeritus, NYU
Joyce’s Ulysses: Social Science, Fiction, and Reality
Ulysses, James Joyce

Elzbieta Matynia, Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies, The New School
Tribute to a Bridge
The Bridge on the Drina, Ivo Andrić
Dwight A. McBride, President and University Professor, The New School
A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats: Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects (1773)
Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, Phillis Wheatley
James Miller, Professor of Liberal Studies and Politics, The New School
When I Was One-Dimensional
One-Dimensional Man, Herbert Marcuse
Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus, Open Society Foundations
Varieties of German Guilt and Their Consequences
The Question of German Guilt, Karl Jaspers
Naomi Oreskes, Henry Charles Lea Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University
The Bloody Autumn of Butcher’s Crossing
Butcher’s Crossing, John Williams
Kenneth Prewitt, Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs, Columbia University
Robert Merton and the Sociology of Science
The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations, Robert K. Merton
Marci Shore, Associate Professor, Yale University
With Eyes Wide Open: An Antidote to Memory Politics
The Dead Man in the Bunker: Discovering My Father, Martin Pollack
Ann Laura Stoler, Willy Brandt Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and History, The New School
On Being Shorn of Grace: Sentiments of Inequality
Landscape for a Good Woman: A Story of Two Lives, Carolyn Kay Steedman
Joel Towers, Co-Director of the Tishman Environment and Design Center and University Professor, The New School
Make Them Endure, Give Them Space
Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
Sherry Turkle, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, MIT
Living the In-Between with Victor Turner’s The Ritual Process
The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure, Victor Turner
James Walkup, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Rutgers University
Character: Taking a Fresh Look
Dynamics of Character: Self-Regulation in Psychopathology, David Shapiro

Founded in 1919, The New School was established to advance academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. A century later, The New School remains at the forefront of innovation in higher education, inspiring approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students to challenge the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The university welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and public programs that encourage open discourse and social engagement. Through our online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.


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Media Contacts:

The New School
Merrie Snead
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