Stanford University

Year-End Staff Picks (Part I)

Take 40% off of our staff picks—and 25% off everything else on our site!

Staff Picks


To celebrate the end of the year we’ve picked out a few of our favorite titles to share with you. Browse all of our staff picks here and stay tuned to the blog for more posts explaining why we love these books. All of our recommended books, including those below, are now 40% off—and everything else on our site is 25% off through the first week of January!



The Manhattan Project »
A Theory of A City

The Manhattan Project

Emily-Jane Cohen, Executive Editor

This book combines fiction, fact, and argument in a truly unique way. David Kishik has come up with the philosophical equivalent of fan fiction, though what’s admired here is not just another author—Walter Benjamin—but the city of New York, to which the book is a paean. If you ♥ New York, its streets and its arts scene, and if you have an intellectual’s sense of humor, The Manhattan Project is a delightful and entertaining example of what can come from thinking outside the monograph.

ALSO SEE: Reviews of The Manhattan Project in the Los Angeles Review of Books and the Brooklyn Rail; an op-ed from the author on philosophy and the city in the New York Times; and this tweet from @NeinQuarterly.



How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate »

How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate

Margo Beth Fleming, Senior Editor

Many readers have told me that they loved this book and it’s one that I am proud to have published. Hoffman skillfully draws back the curtain on an aspect of the climate wars that too often goes overlooked. This book is perfect for the environmentalist in your life, or that friend who is looking for a fast read on current affairs.

ALSO SEE: A review of How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate from the Union of Concerned Scientists; listen the author’s interview on Michigan Radio; and read the author’s op-ed in The Chronicle of Higher Education.



The Emotional Politics of Racism »
How Feelings Trump Facts in an Era of Colorblindness

The Emotional Politics of Racism

Kalie Caetano, Digital Media Specialist

When it first debuted in 2015 Flavorwire hailed The Emotional Politics of Racism as one of its 10 must-read academic books of the year but its concerns may be even more salient today. In her book Paula Ioanide turns a critical lens on a variety of issues, from Abu Ghraib to police brutality, to explore the inner workings of racism, nativism, and imperialism in the U.S. It’s a wide-ranging and thoughtful read, of particular interest for the activists among us.

ALSO SEE: Flavorwire‘s 10 Must-Read Academic Books of 2015 as well as the author’s op-ed on racism and democracy in the New York Times.



Losing Afghanistan »
An Obituary for the Intervention

Losing Afghanistan

Michelle Lipinski, Senior Editor

In many ways, 2016 has been a difficult year to make sense of but I’m heartened by the work of anthropologists who continue to investigate the “human level” of some of our most pressing contemporary questions. With this in mind, I recommend Noah Coburn’s Losing Afghanistan, a fascinating, nuanced history of the international intervention in Afghanistan. Intimate in detail but expansive in scope, this book uncovers how individual lives were shaped socially and economically over the last 15 years in Afghanistan, and ultimately, what we might learn from the largest US-led intervention since WWII.

START READING: Chapter 1: Surveying the Intervention from Above.



American Terror »
The Feeling of Thinking in Edwards, Poe, and Melville

American Terror

Gigi Mark, Production Editor

One of my favorite books is American Terror by Paul Hurh, which is a fascinating discussion about the mind at the mercy of its own process, the thinking compulsion. Poe, Melville, and even Jonathan Edwards seem brand new to me. Hurh takes you on epistemological thrill rides. It’s really rare that a book is so precisely abstract and yet packs a visceral punch.

START READING: Introduction: Reopening Darkness.




Queer Theory »
The French Response

Queer Theory

Linnie Greene, Marketing and Sales Assistant

As a Francophile and theory-fiend, Bruno Perreau’s Queer Theory was the perfect marriage of my specific interests and the vast amount of history and culture I didn’t know. Particularly for those of us who aren’t currently enrolled in a gender studies class, this is a great reminder of the ways in which societies shift, resisting and embracing progress in turn. If my endorsement doesn’t sway you, might I point you towards JUDITH BUTLER’S (!) blurb on the book jacket?

START READING: An excerpt from the Introduction.


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