Books & ideas

In the Summertime
A Summer Selection

by Mélanie Cournil , 7 August 2017

Books & Ideas is going on holiday for the summer and will resume its publication schedule in September. In the meantime, we present to you our second summer selection of our most recent reviews.


Vincent Vilmain, “The Birth of Race
Retracing the genealogy of the idea of human ‘races’, Claude-Olivier Doron returns to the role of the Enlightenment, and particularly Buffon, in the emergence of monogenistic racial thought. He examines how the idea of ‘race’ and the affirmation of universalism appeared concomitantly.
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Béatrice Damian-Gaillard, “Pornography Under the Lens
Alongside the usual reductive condemnations, studies on pornography have increased in the academic world. Florian Vörös examines the field’s key texts, which reveal the diversity of productions and uses of pornography and analyse the emotional experiences pornography awakens as well as the hierarchies it shapes and recreates.
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Isaac William Martin, “Deplorable, Yourself
Most analysts have portrayed Trump as the candidate of economically insecure white Americans. Sociologist Isaac Martin discards this “economic anxiety thesis” as inaccurate: most poor white people won’t vote on Tuesday. This explanation has much less to do with the data than with a long American tradition of blaming racism on the white poor.
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Vincent Boyer, “The Importance of Being a Dog
Do animals have a moral life in the same way as humans do? The philosopher Alice Crary argues that they are visible bearers of moral qualities, as literature suggests. But can values be the object of empirical observation?
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Neil Davie, “Guilty of Being Poor
In La Prison des Pauvres, Jacques Carré considers the history of poverty and poor relief in England between the 17th and early 20th centuries, focusing in particular on the complex evolution of the workhouse system. Often dreaded by paupers for its harsh discipline, it dominated English responses to poverty for several centuries, and was not abolished until after World War Two.
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Marie Gaille, “Immodest Modesty”"
The Renaissance reinvented modesty – that contradictory passion which reveals while hiding. In a masterful book, Dominique Brancher shows how this art of circumvention spanned a variety of knowledge, especially medical knowledge, in the sixteenth century.
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Samuel Hayat, “The Colonial Margins of Citizenship
By studying political and legal debates over citizenship through the prism of the colonial situation in the nineteenth century, in the metropole as well as the colonies, Silyane Larcher proposes a new genealogy of citizenship and asks us to rethink how the French Republic was constructed.
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Denis Matringe, “The Kamasutra and its Audiences
The Kamasutra, written in the third century, is not only an erotic work: it is also a treatise on the art of living for comfortable city-dwellers, whatever their caste or sexuality—and whether they are stallions, bulls, or hares, elephants, mares, or does.
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by Mélanie Cournil, 7 August 2017

To quote this article :

Mélanie Cournil, « In the Summertime. A Summer Selection », Books and Ideas , 7 August 2017. ISSN : 2105-3030. URL :

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