Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday Reading

If you have a lot of time and a settled stomach, check out Subtopia's interview of geographer Stephen Graham on the subject of military urbanism. Check out his comments about the nostalgia for the military history of the city and the subsequent invisibility of urban violence. If you finish that, check out Traveling Wild's discussion of the history of wildness (that is to say, wild landscapes).

Jonathan Dresner's post about Akutagawa Ryonosuke's supposed pacifism has me thinking again about opposition and resistance in fascist states. Of course, I've discussed big A's reputation ad nauseam. As Jonathan writes, "Akutagawa died in 1927 kept him from becoming a victim of the changing political situation post-1931 and therefore kept his politics a bit under the radar." I wonder if the converse could be true: that his early death spared him from difficult decisions about opposition. Too many Germans figures, at least, opposed Nazism on narrow grounds rather than en toto.

Finally, the Robert Putnam article brought me back to a classic: Georg Simmel's Metropols and Mental Life. Alienation and anonymity in the city were persistent themes of sociology that they could be taken separately from any discussion of diversity. Hell, there was much less urban ethnic diversity 104 years ago. Has this theme dropped from contemporary sociology? Should it be revisited? Indeed, do we not all die alone in the city?


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