What We Are Reading Today: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

What We Are Reading Today: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
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Updated 17 November 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

What We Are Reading Today: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

Caste — beautifully written, original, and revealing — is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of America life today.

The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how “our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions,” said a review in goodreads.com.

It said that author Isabel Wilkerson gives “us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.”

She “points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity,” the review said.

Wilkerson analyzes the caste systems in place in India and Germany and how these are also applicable to America.


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.