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Thom van DoorenFlight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction

Columbia University Press, 2014

by Carla Nappi on April 17, 2015

Thom van Dooren

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Thom van Dooren’s new book is an absolute must-read. (I was going to qualify that with a “…for anyone who…” and realized that it really needs no qualification.) Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction (Columbia University Press, 2014) is a beautifully written and evocative meditation on extinction. The book offers (and implicates us in) stories about five groups of birds – albatrosses, vultures, Little Penguins, whooping cranes, and Hawaiian crows – that build upon one another and collectively enable us to explore and re-imagine what, where, and how extinction is, and why that matters. Van Dooren emphasizes the importance of storytelling to understanding and inhabiting the world, and the book’s five “extinction stories” each bring to life the entanglements of avian, human, and other beings to ask readers to consider a series of questions that can best be explored, understood, and engaged through attentiveness to these entanglements. “What is lost,” van Dooren asks, “when a species, an evolutionary lineage, a way of life, passes from the world?” How does this loss mean, and what does it mean, within the particular multispecies community formed and shaped by that way of life? And how might storytelling, conceived as an act of witnessing, help draw us into new relationships and accountabilities within our multispecies communities? Flight Ways is deeply concerned with the ethical questions that emerge – and that must be sustained – in the course of thinking through these crucial questions, and it is committed to moving us away from a position of human exceptionalism as we work with and inside of that ethical troubling. Deeply interdisciplinary, van Dooren’s book brings together approaches in animal studies and the environmental humanities, but it speaks to and from many more fields.


Louis DeSipio and Rodolfo de la GarzaU.S. Immigration in the Twenty-First Century: Making Americans, Remaking America

April 12, 2015

In this week's podcast, we hear from an author and an editor. First, Louis DeSipio and Rodolfo de la Garza are authors of U.S. Immigration in the Twenty-First Century: Making Americans, Remaking America (Westview Press, 2015). DeSipio is professor of political science and Chicano/Latino studies at University of California, Irvine; de la Garza is Eaton […]

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Kimberly Phillips-FeinInvisible Hands: The Businessmen’s Crusade Against the New Deal

April 8, 2015

[Cross-posted with permission from Who Makes Cents? A History of Capitalism Podcast.] Today we'll focus on the history of resistance to the New Deal. In her book Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal (W. W. Norton, 2010), Kimberly Phillips-Fein details how many of the most prominent elites had their ideas and practices shaped by groups that […]

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Pasi SahlbergFinnish Lessons 2.0: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?

April 3, 2015

In late 2001 Finland became the darling of the education and policy communities, as its students toped the reading literacy, mathematics, and science PISA test rankings. While these results were somewhat of a surprise to Finns, the outcomes persisted throughout subsequent cross-national examinations. Policymakers and educators from across the world have since been fascinated as […]

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Natalia Mehlman PetrzelaClassroom Wars: Language, Sex, and the Making of Modern Political Culture

March 26, 2015

The intersection between Spanish-bilingual education and sex education might not be immediately apparent. Yet, as Natalia Mehlman Petrzela shows in her new book, Classroom Wars: Language, Sex, and the Making of Modern Political Culture (Oxford University Press, 2015), the meeting between these two paradigms of education firmly connects in California during the 1960s and 70s. […]

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Christopher J. PhillipsThe New Math: A Political History

March 26, 2015

Christopher J. Phillips’ new book is a political history of the “New Math,” a collection of curriculum reform projects in the 1950s & 1960s that were partially sponsored by the NSF and involved hundreds of mathematicians, teachers, professors, administrators, parents, and students. The New Math: A Political History (University of Chicago Press, 2015) explores the […]

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Robert PutnamOur Kids: The American Dream in Crisis

March 23, 2015

Robert Putnam is the author of Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis (Simon and Schuster, 2015). Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. He has written fourteen books including the best-seller, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Few political scientists command attention like Robert […]

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Akwugo EmejuluCommunity Development as Micropolitics: Comparing Theories, Policies, and Politics in America and Britain

March 9, 2015

Akwugo Emejulu has written Community Development as Micropolitics: Comparing Theories, Policies, and Politics in America and Britain (Policy Press, 2015). Emejulu is a lecturer at the Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, and co-director of the Center for Education for Racial Equality. What is community development exactly? Emejulu’s book integrates historical, theoretical, and […]

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Yasmine B. Kafai and Quinn BurkeConnected Code: Why Children Need to Learn Programming

March 7, 2015

Although the push to persuade everyone to learn to code is quite the current rage, the coding movement has roots that extend back for more than a few decades. In 1980 Seymour Papert published his book, Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas, arguing that learning to code would help children to better understand not only […]

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Thomas LeitchWikipedia U: Knowledge, Authority, and Liberal Education in the Digital Age

March 5, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Education] Wikipedia is one of the most popular resources on the web, with its massive collection of articles on an incredible number of topics. Yet, its user written and edited model makes it controversial in many circles. In Wikipedia U: Knowledge, Authority, and Liberal Education in the Digital Age (Johns Hopkins […]

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