Columbia Ink

March 1, 2013Bookmark and Share
The Org: The Underlying Logic of the Office BY RAY FISMAN
The Org: The Underlying Logic of the Office
Fisman, the Business School’s Lambert Family Professor of Social Enterprise, and Tim Sullivan, editorial director of Harvard Business Review Press, look at why organizations are central to human achievement. Using case studies that include McDonald’s, Procter and Gamble, Google and even al-Qaeda, they explain the tradeoffs that every organization faces, arguing that everyday dysfunction is actually inherent to the very nature of an organization. The Org diagnoses the root causes of this dysfunction, beginning with the economic logic of why organizations exist in the first place and then explaining their structure from the lowly cubicle to the executive suite.
Perpetual War: Cosmopolitanism from theViewpoint of Violence BY BRUCE W. ROBBINS Perpetual War: Cosmopolitanism from the Viewpoint of Violence
Duke University Press Books
In his new book, Robbins takes stock of the “new cosmopolitanism,” a movement that emphasizes allegiance to the good of humanity as a whole, even if it conflicts with loyalty to the interests of one’s country. Robbins, the Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities, rethinks his own commitment to the movement and reflects on the responsibilities of American intellectuals today. By engaging with thinkers such as Noam Chomsky, Edward Said and W. G. Sebald, he explores the paradoxes of detaching and belonging that they embody. Robbins contends that in this era of seemingly endless U.S. warfare, cosmopolitanism is a necessary resource in the struggle against military aggression.
The Black Hole of Empire: History of aGlobal Practice of Power BY PARTHA CHATTERJEE The Black Hole of Empire: History of a Global Practice of Power
Princeton University Press
When Siraj, the ruler of Bengal, overran the British settlement of Calcutta in 1756, he allegedly jailed 146 European prisoners in a cramped prison, and 123 died of suffocation. While never independently confirmed, the story of “the black hole of Calcutta” was widely circulated and seen by the British public as an atrocity committed by savage colonial subjects. Chatterjee, a professor of anthropology, explores how this supposed tragedy was central to the belief in the “civilizing” force of British imperial rule and territorial control in India. In a challenge to conventional truisms of imperial history, nationalist scholarship and liberal views of globalization, Chatterjee argues that empire is a necessary and continuing part of the history of the modern state.
Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality inAmerican Life BY BARBARA J. FIELDS Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life
Fields, a professor of history, and her co-author sociologist Karen E. Fields, tackle the myth of a postracial society. They argue that the assumption that racism grows from a perception of human difference is incorrect. In reality, they say, the practice of racism produces the illusion of race through a process they call “racecraft.” This phenomenon is intimately entwined with other forms of inequality in American life and so pervasive in American history, economics, politics, and everyday life that it goes unnoticed. The authors argue that the promised postracial age has not dawned because Americans have failed to develop an appropriate language for thinking about and discussing inequality.