What We Are Reading Today: Metazoa

What We Are Reading Today: Metazoa
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Updated 14 November 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Metazoa

What We Are Reading Today: Metazoa

Author: Peter Godfrey-Smith

Combining science, philosophy, and his own observations gleaned from “watery hours” spent scuba diving, Peter Godfrey-Smith examines the origins of animal consciousness.
In his work, Other Minds, the author focused on octopuses; here, the book’s “tentacular form” shows him considering several animal groups as he investigates the puzzle of how subjective awareness came to exist.
A review in goodreads.com said: “This is no dry, academic treatise; Godfrey-Smith takes care to keep the work accessible by summarizing key points, explaining the work of relevant scientists and philosophers, and punctuating the text with memorable facts.”
The book “is enlivened by the wit and affection with which the author often regards his subjects of study,” said the review.
“An astonishing range of creatures are considered and a fascinating argument advanced about how evolutionary innovations can give rise to animal minds.”
Animals are classified as either protozoan (one-celled organisms like amoebas) or metazoans.


What We Are Reading Today: Gangsters and Other Statesmen by Danilo Mandic

Updated 03 December 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Gangsters and Other Statesmen by Danilo Mandic

What We Are Reading Today: Gangsters and Other Statesmen by Danilo Mandic

Separatism has been on the rise across the world since the end of the Cold War, dividing countries through political strife, ethnic conflict, and civil war, and redrawing the political map. Gangsters and Other Statesmen examines the role transnational mafias play in the success and failure of separatist movements, challenging conventional wisdom about the interrelation of organized crime with peacebuilding, nationalism, and state making.

Danilo Mandic conducted fieldwork in the disputed territories of Kosovo and South Ossetia, talking to mobsters, separatists, and policymakers in war zones and along major smuggling routes. In this timely and provocative book, he demonstrates how globalized mafias shape the politics of borders in torn states, shedding critical light on an autonomous nonstate actor that has been largely sidelined by considerations of geopolitics, state-centered agency, and ethnonationalism. Blending extensive archival sleuthing and original ethnographic data with insights from sociology and other disciplines, Mandic argues that organized crime can be a fateful determinant of state capacity, separatist success, and ethnic conflict.

Putting mafias at the center of global processes of separatism and territorial consolidation, Gangsters and Other Statesmen raises vital questions and urges reconsideration of a host of separatist cases in West Africa, the Middle East, and East Europe.