The Blog April 26, 2021

What We're Reading This Week

Credit: Alamy / The Guardian

Martin Crevier, University of Cambridge

Neal Ascherson, “Scribbles in a Storm,” London Review of Books

A review of Linda Colley’s The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions, and the Making of the Modern World (2021).

Jean-François Nadeau, “La prostitution, stratégie de survie dans le Montréal du XIXe siècle,” Le Devoir

Prostitution in early XIX century Montreal through Mary Anne Poutanen’s new book.

Philip Hoare, “Sperm whales in 19th century shared ship attack information,” The Guardian

Whales in the Northern Pacific communicated information about whaling attacks and adapted their collective behaviour. 

 

Liat Spiro, College of Holy Cross, Massachusetts

Charlotte Sleigh, “The abuses of Popper,” Aeon

From biology to economics, Sleigh traces the development, reception, articulations, uses, and abuses of Karl Popper's falsification theory of science to examine the role it has played in the rise of neoliberalism and climate scepticism.

Isabella M. Weber, Gregor Semienuk, Tom Westland, Junshang Liang, “What you exported matters: Persistence in productive capabilities across two eras of globalization,” Scholarworks@UMassAmherst

Having constructed a dataset of global commodity exports for the era of the “First Globalization,” Weber and co-authors demonstrate that the productive capabilities of a century ago strongly predict GDP per capita today.

 

Joseph Satish, University of Hyderabad

Renny Thomas, “Quantum physics and colonialism,” Physics Today

Thomas reviews the book The Making of Modern Physics in Colonial India by Somaditya Banerjee (Routledge, 2020). He commends the book for correcting the standard Euro-American view of twentieth century physics and for presenting the role of three Indian scientists who made significant contributions to the rise of quantum physics.

Harish Naraindas, “Can India Beat Corona the Way It Beat Smallpox?” The India Forum

Naraindas writes that “the eradication of smallpox in India in the 1970s may throw light on the evolving corona strategies. The attempts, then and now, operate against the backdrop of a destitute landscape, and increasingly a bigoted one, where some lives are more expendable than others.”

Vishvesh Kandolkar, “Restoring Basilica of Bom Jesus, and the Role of Archaeological Survey of India,” Economic & Political Weekly

Citing the case of the restoration of a centuries old cathedral in Goa, the author argues that “religious heritage buildings that are still in use by the community call for a different kind of restoration measures.” He writes that the authorities need “to take the local stakeholders into confidence and allow their participation in the protection of monuments.”

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