Author Night Reading List
In partnership with Seminary Co-op Bookstores and other on-campus partners, International House was pleased to host some fascinating and insightful author programs during the 2021-2022 academic year through our Global Voices Lecture Series. See our Reading List below and follow the links to catch up on the discussions on our YouTube channel.
In the spring of 2013, approximately 12,000 children in Chicago received notice that their last day of school would be not only the final day of the year, but also the final day of their school’s very existence. The nation’s third largest school district would eventually shutter 53 schools, citing budget limitations, building underutilization, and concerns about academic performance. Of the thousands of displaced students, 94% were low-income and 88% were African-American, leading critics to accuse district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and Mayor Rahm Emanuel of racism. Ghosts in the Schoolyard tells the story of these school closings, from their unfolding to their aftermath, in Bronzeville, a historically significant African-American community on the South Side of Chicago. The book details the resistance efforts of the residents of Bronzeville, inspired by the legacy of a storied past and driven to fight back against the malfeasance and disregard of city political leaders.
Burning at Europe’s Borders by Isabella Alexander Nathani
Burning at Europe’s Borders invites readers inside the lives of the world’s largest population of migrants and refugees – the hundreds of thousands who are trapped in hidden forest camps and forgotten detention centers at Europe’s southernmost borders in North Africa. “Hrig,” the Arabic term for “illegal immigration,” translates to “burning.” It signifies a migrant’s decision to burn their papers, in order to avoid identification and repatriation on their long journeys to safer shores. But it also signifies their decision to burn their past lives, sacrificing themselves in hopes of reaching a future on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea. Alexander-Nathani examines this process of “burning,” traveling thousands of miles alongside those who have fled war and extreme poverty across the African continent only to find themselves trapped in Libya, Algeria, and Morocco.
In this intimate account of one of the world’s most productive inland fisheries, Troubling the Water explores how the rapid destruction of a single lake in Cambodia is upending the lives of millions. The abundance of Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake helped grow the country for millenia and gave rise to the Kingdom of Angkor. Fed by the rich, mud-colored waters of the powerful Mekong River, the lake owes its vast bounty to an ecological miracle that has captivated poets, artisans, and explorers throughout history.
All of Mumbai’s possessions and memories come to die at the Deonar garbage mountains. Towering at the outskirts of the city, the mountains are covered in a faint smog from trash fires. Over time, as wealth brought Bollywood knock offs, fast food and plastics to Mumbaikars, a small, forgotten community of migrants and rag-pickers came to live at the mountains’ edge, making a living by re-using, recycling and re-selling. In a narrative instilled with superstition and magical realism, Saumya Roy crafts a modern parable exploring the consequences of urban overconsumption.
After One Hundred Winters: In Search of Reconciliation on America’s Stolen Lands by Margaret D. Jacobs
Margaret D. Jacobs confronts the harsh truth that the United States was founded on the violent dispossession of Indigenous people and asks what reconciliation might mean in light of this haunted history. In this timely and urgent book, the settler historian tells the stories of the individuals and communities who are working together to heal historical wounds–and reveals how much we have to gain by learning from our history instead of denying it.
Tax the Rich!: How Lies, Loopholes, and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer by Morris Pearl & Erica Payne
The vast majority of Americans (71 percent) believe the economy is rigged in favor of the rich. Guess what? They’re right. How do you rig an economy? You start with the tax code. In this book, former BlackRock executive Morris Pearl, the millionaire Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, and Erica Payne, the organization’s founder, take readers on an engaging and enlightening insider’s tour of the nation’s tax code.
Racist anti-immigration policies, from the border wall to the Muslim ban, have left many Americans wondering: How did we get here? In a sweeping account, Reece Jones reveals that although the US is often mythologized as a nation of immigrants, it has a long history of immigration restrictions that are rooted in the racist fear of the “great replacement” of whites with non-white immigrants.
When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People: How Philosophy Can Save Us from Ourselves by Steven Nadler & Lawrence Shapiro
There is an epidemic of bad thinking in the world today. An alarming number of people are embracing crazy, even dangerous ideas. Steven Nadler and Lawrence Shapiro argue that the best antidote for bad thinking is the wisdom, insights, and practical skills of philosophy. This book provides an engaging tour through the basic principles of logic, argument, evidence, and probability that can make all of us more reasonable and responsible citizens.
Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly that we are a nation of immigrants. In this bold new book, historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz asserts this ideology is harmful and dishonest because it serves to mask and diminish the US’s history of settler colonialism, genocide, white supremacy, slavery, and structural inequality, all of which we still grapple with today.
For even more reading, check out some of the titles that we’ve covered at our biweekly Book Club for graduate students recently.