Welcome to the 2015 edition of the Summer Syllabus™. For those who came in late, this is my wrap up of the most interesting things I read online over the past twelve months. This year’s list is really long, for some reason. Next year I promise to be more selective. Looking back I can pick out a few themes that have caught my attention this year but which I wouldn’t necessarily have predicted: cultural appropriation, nerd hubris (still! see last year), capitalism and public anthropology. I’ve also been fascinated by the various college-based social justice movements that are emerging on some US campuses that I suspect nobody really understands regardless of where they sit on the political spectrum or how much insider conviction they bring to their arguments.
My reading recommendations are not an endorsement of the opinions contained within – if a piece of writing makes me think about an issue in a different way then I may included it even if it also makes my blood boil. And if you read nothing else on this list, I recommend you have a look at: God Tier: Facebook moms run the meme game, The Chinese Lingerie Venders of Egypt, and The 40-Year-Old Reversion.
Architecture and aesthetics
- Opinion: What’s Wrong With Shipping Container Housing? Everything.
- In praise of dirty, sexy cities: the urban world according to Walter Benjamin
- Why are so many people moved by this wedding photograph? | Jonathan Jones
Authors and fiction
- On Edgar Allan Poe by Marilynne Robinson
- Aminatta Forna: don’t judge a book by its author
- The Middle of Things: Advice for Young Writers – The New Yorker
- Baudelaire, Balzac, Dumas, Delacroix & Hugo Get a Little Baked at Their Hash Club (1844-1849)
- The return of Helen Demidenko: from literary hoaxer to political operator | Jeff Sparrow
- Nine Inherited Disorders
- Anecdote of the Jar – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- The Virtues of Know-Nothing Criticism – The Los Angeles Review…
- Fairytales are not just for fun
- My Daughter Doesn’t Watch Movies. She Lives Them for Years at a Time.
- In the Great Green Room: Margaret Wise Brown and Modernism
- Paris Review – A Humorist at Work, Fran Lebowitz
- Noel Gallagher Is Esquire’s December Cover Star
- Lost at sea: the man who vanished for 14 months
Children and parenthood
- The seismic changes of having a baby | Eva Wiseman
- A City Run by Children
- I am grateful, now fuck off.
- Forget conscious uncoupling: the way forward for families is platonic parenting
- How a PhD in linguistics prepared me for motherhood
- The Rise of ‘Mama’
- The 40-Year-Old Reversion
- Why Little Kids in Japan Are So Independent
- Why are Europeans obsessed with dressing up as Native Americans?
- In defence of cultural appropriation
- No, Westerners Practicing Yoga Are Not Guilty of “Cultural Appropriation”
- Is learning a minority/indigenous language of another culture a form of cultural appropriation?
The curious thing that is happening on US campuses
- How Trigger Warnings Are Hurting Mental Health on Campus
- Not a Very P.C. Thing to Say
- Rundle: what ‘political correctness’ means in 2015 –
- Against Charity | Jacobin
- LRB · Amia Srinivasan · Stop the Robot Apocalypse: The New Utilitarians
- I spent a weekend at Google talking with nerds about charity. I came away … worried.
Ethics and the examined life
- White stigma
- The Structure of Gratitude
- Trade your gun for milk: enter the scarcity games – Will Wiles – Aeon
- How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life
- Intellectual character of conspiracy theorists – Quassim Cassam – Aeon
- How friendship became a tool of the powerful | William Davies
- Can Reading Make You Happier?
- The Chinese Lingerie Venders of Egypt
- LRB · Nick Richardson · Short Cuts: The kind of party that people put their dicks in pigs at
- Japan’s Cute Army – The New Yorker
- Facebook Adé
- Take Nothing, Leave Nothing
- Poor Little Rich Women
- God Tier: Facebook moms run the meme game — The Message — Medium
- What ISIS Really Wants
- Mad Men: Inside the men’s rights movement—and the army of misogynists and trolls it spawned
- Game of Fear: The Story Behind GamerGate
- The Dickonomics of Tinder — Matter — Medium
- When It Comes to Promiscuity, Are Women the New Men?
- Where are all the women hermits? – Rhian Sasseen – Aeon
- Men explain Lolita to me
- Werner Herzog Motivational Posters are the Best Thing on the Internet
- The Time I Had a Sexting Three-Way Thanks to My Friend Who Was Holding My Phone as I Drove
- Prankster Replaces Pet Names With New Labels In Local Pet Store
- How I became a player in the dark and mysterious politics of cassowary conservation | First Dog on the Moon
- AFL Club Songs Ranked by Ambition and Boastfulness
- List: Nihilistic Password Security Questions.
- Just Checking In — The Message — Medium
- Trapped Inside a Tom Waits Song – The New Yorker
- Mother Still Searching For Preschool That Focuses Exclusively On Her Son
- A Guy In Melbourne Is Turning Crappy Anti-Abbott Graffiti Into Modern Art
- Management theories from Roman slave-owners – Jerry Toner – Aeon
- The Book of Mormon: the Great American Bible – The New Yorker
- All’s Fair in Love and Classified Ads: Three Centuries of Public Spouse Shaming
- The troubled history of the foreskin | Mosaic
- The Woman Who Froze in Fargo
- Hold the post: there’s no such thing as a dead letter
- The Forgotten Story of … the Chinese Goldfields Aussie Rules leagues | Patrick Skene
- Medieval technology, indistinguishable from magic – Elly Truitt – Aeon
- The Lost Man
- Cold War dollhouses from the Socialist paradise of East Germany
- Remarkable HD Footage of Berlin from July 1945
- LRB · Avies Platt · A Lazarus beside Me: An Encounter with Yeats
- The Gift of the Daguerreotype
- The First Global Fairy Census Wants To Hear About Your Close Encounters
- Queen Elizabeth II once terrorized King Abdullah — by driving him around
- A Plea for Culinary Modernism | Jacobin
- Punch Line – The New Yorker
- What “Serial” Really Taught Us – The New Yorker
- Exclusive: Jay, Key Witness from ‘Serial’ Tells His Story for First Time, Part 1 – The Intercept
- Surfing, Drowning, Diving — The Message — Medium
- Wired Style: A Linguist Explains Vintage Internet Slang – The Toast
- What if we talked about monolingual White children the way we talk about low-income children of color?
- The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur
- Tomorrowland: How Silicon Valley Shapes Our Future – SPIEGEL ONLINE
- Are You A Disruptor?
- The Sound of TED: A Case for Distaste | The American Reader
- Who wrote this amazing, mysterious book satirizing tech startup culture?
- Meeting Ayn Rand on the Las Vegas Strip
- ‘Cultural Marxism’: a uniting theory for rightwingers who love to play the victim | Jason Wilson
- Rundle: Prince Philip knighthood may be Abbott’s finest service to the Liberal Party –
- Tony Abbott’s terrible government is YOUR fault –
- What the climate movement must learn from religion | George Marshall
- The end of capitalism has begun
- ‘Neoliberalism’ and ‘Capitalism’ – what’s the difference?
- Sharman Stone should be ashamed to call herself a Liberal –
- We Made Drew Magary a Trump Supporter for a Weekend
- An American expat explains the Adam Goodes controversy and Australia’s problem with racism
- Gay Asia should resist liberal assimilation
- Students in South Africa Protest Slow Pace of Change
- The Darkness Before the Right
- After Capitalism
Research and higher education
- Crowdfunded science: harnessing the wisdom of the crowd, or selling out?
- anthropologies: Busting apart the silos of knowledge production
- Hellz yes National Anthropology Day is ON
- Bonfire of the Humanities | The Nation
- Academic publishing and scholarly communication: a status report | Harvard Magazine Jan-Feb 2015
- A very Stalinist management model
- Correcting the bias against interdisciplinary research
- The Awesomest 7-Year Postdoc or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tenure-Track Faculty Life
- Laurie Taylor on academics v administrators
- Biological ANthropology Developing Investigators Troop: The Elevator Talk
- Brand Anthropology: New and Improved, with Extra Diversity! – Neuroanthropology
- anthropologies: What’s wrong with anthropology?
- The three things I learned at the Purdue Conference for Pre-Tenure Women: on being a radical scholar
- Conflict Over Sociologist’s Narrative Puts Spotlight on Ethnography
- Integration of social science into research is crucial
- LRB · Marina Warner · Learning My Lesson
- How did science come to speak only English? – Michael D Gordin – Aeon
- The Trip Treatment – The New Yorker
- Do you genes determine your entire life? | Julian Baggini
- The Whole30: A quick note on scientific evidence vs. non-scientific arguments.
- Scientists Show Future Events Decide what Happens in the Past.
- Staring into someone’s eyes for ten minutes is like tripping, without the drugs
- Can civilisation reboot without fossil fuels? – Lewis Dartnell – Aeon
- Reign of the robots: how to live in the machine age
- A.I. Has Grown Up and Left Home – Issue 20: Creativity – Nautilus
- Fear of Modernity and Technology Is Fueling a Return to Medievalism
- In the Wake of Charlie Hebdo, Free Speech Does Not Mean Freedom From Criticism « The Hooded Utilitarian
- Joe Sacco: On Satire – a response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks
- What’s the Real Reason Al Qaeda Attacked ‘Charlie Hebdo’?
- A Jihadism Anti-Primer | Middle East Research and Information Project
- The Dangers of Clarity: Don’t Let Terrorism Define Us
- Yuval Noah Harari: the theatre of terror