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Reading List July 21, 2019

The World’s Top 50 Thinkers

Twenty percent of them are Boston Review contributors!
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Earlier this week, Prospect magazine released their annual list of the “world’s top 50 thinkers,” featuring the scientists, philosophers, and writers who they consider to be reshaping our times.

From famed philosopher Martha Nussbaum to Dani Rodrik and Gabriel Zucman–the economic powerhouses behind our latest issue–we were thrilled to discover that twenty percent of those shortlisted are Boston Review contributors!

Congratulations to the ten thinkers below who write on populism and patriotism, postcolonialism and privacy, and who all share a penchant for disruptive ideas. These are “minds that want to change the world,” Prospect writes, “rather than merely explain why the world is as it is.”

—Rosie Gillies


Beyond Racism and Misogyny
by Kimberlé W. Crenshaw

Praised by Prospect for her coining of the term “intersectionality,” Crenshaw’s 1991 essay puts this very idea in the spotlight as she outlines what it means to be “a black woman experiencing both racial and sexual subordination.”

• • •

Rescuing Economics from Neoliberalism
by Dani Rodrik

Deftly arguing against the ideas and the practices that have produced growing economic insecurity and inequality, this essay makes clear why Rodrik was applauded for his ability “to demolish neoliberal political doctrines.” 

• • •

Loyalty to Humanity
by Anthony Appiah

Originally published in 1994, Appiah’s response to Martha Nussbaum’s claim that “patriotism is a morally irrelevant characteristic” is now live on our website for the first time ever!

• • •

The Logic of Misogyny
by Kate Manne

The philosopher takes us on a tour of different types of misogyny, arguing that they all “enforce the patriarchal order by lifting men up and taking down women”—and therefore differ in substantial ways from sexism.

• • •

As American as Trump
by Cas Mudde

Mudde was hailed by Prospect for his ability to see populism coming before anyone else, and this essay is a prime example: in 2016 Mudde argued that Trump was quintessentially American—at a time when many were still convinced he was an aberration.

• • •

Is Privacy Bad for Women?
by Martha C. Nussbaum

Honored for her ability to “to take philosophy and rigorously apply it to our lives,” Nussbaum’s essay on the puzzle of privacy is no exception as she investigates the Indian constitutional tradition and what it can teach about sex equality.

• • •

How to Think About Empire
an interview with Arundhati Roy

The novelist’s “fearsome eloquence” is on full display in this interview where she discusses censorship, storytelling, and her problem with the term postcolonialism.

• • •

Beyond Interpretation
by Amina Wadud

The Muslim philosopher is included on Prospect’s list for her innovations in Islamic feminism, which are the center of attention here as she argues that traditional interpretations of the Qur’an are gender-exclusionary and marginalize women.

• • •

Economics After Neoliberalism
a forum including Gabriel Zucman

One of the youngest scholars on the “Top 50 Thinkers” list, Zucman is also the co-author of Boston Review’s most popular essay of the year—and our forthcoming issue!

• • •

The Utilitarian Calculus of Rwanda

by Angus Deaton

The Nobel Prize winner’s essay (as part of our forum on altruism with Peter Signer) ruffled a few feathers, provoking a reply from Rwanda’s health minister, Agnes Binagwaho, and an additional counter-response from Deaton.

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