Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Too Stupid to Safely Use the Bathtub Department)

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? Timothy Burke reads the Weakl Standard so we don't have to.

He concludes that we indeed have good reason to fear that our colleges are failing "if the research skills of certain conservatives [i.e., those who write for the Weekly Standard are any guide. Unless the author of the article in question didn’t go to college and is just trying to recycle Ross Douthat’s Privilege for a quick space-filler."

You see, he reads Joseph Lindsley, and dissolves into a puddle of laughter. Here's the Standard:

The Kindest Cut: Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be undergraduates. Many collegians will devote time to chugging pints, throwing darts, and doing just about anything that doesn't involve cracking the books. This seems a gross waste of resources, but, considering the often ridiculous content of those neglected textbooks and ignored lectures, some of these prodigal students just might be better off.... Swarthmoreans have to wait until next year to feast on "The Whole Enchilada: Debates in World History"...

And here's Burke, providing his reading list for:

The Whole Enchilada: Debates in World History:

  • The Old Testament, Genesis
  • Pietro Vannicelli, "Herodotus' Egypt and the Foundations of Universal History"
  • Ibn Khaldun, The Muqadimmah
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality"
  • Georg Hegel, "Introduction to the Philosophy of History"
  • Leopold von Ranke, "On Universal History"
  • M.C Lemon, "Marx on History"
  • Oswald Spengler, "The Decline of the West"
  • William H. McNeill, "Rise of the West"
  • Fernand Braudel, "The Structures of Everyday Life"
  • Immanuel Wallerstein, "The Essential Wallerstein"
  • Andre Gunder Frank and Barry K. Gills, "The World System: Five Hundred Years or Five Thousand?"
  • JM Blaut, "The Colonizer's Model of the World"
  • Janet Abu-Lughod, "Before European Hegemony"
  • Ashis Nandy, "History's Forgotten Doubles"
  • Kenneth Pomeranz, "The Great Divergence"
  • Philip Curtin, "Cross-Cultural Trade in World History"
  • Paul Lovejoy, "Transformations in Slavery"
  • Barbara Freese, "Coal: A Human History"
  • John Keegan, "The Face of Battle"
  • Francis Fukuyama, "The End of History and the Last Man"
  • Samuel Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations?"
  • Michael Mann, "The Sources of Social Power"
  • Jared Diamond, "Guns, Germs and Steel"
  • Larry Gonick, "The Cartoon Guide to the Universe"
  • Eric Hobsbawm, "The Age of Extremes"

If I were teaching Burke's course, I would can the Wallerstein, Gunder Frank and Gillis, and Blaut--not enough wheat among the chaff--and replace them with:

  • Some of the real Marx
  • Some Perry Anderson from "Passages" and "Lineages"
  • Some Adam Smith, some Montesquieu, and some Voltaire
  • Some W.A. Lewis and some Barry Eichengreen on the world economy
  • Eric Wolf, "Europe and the People without History"
  • Some Karl Polanyi
  • Something Weberian on self-governing cities

But all in all a very fine, very good, very demanding reading list.

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