In the "Ethical Inquiry" series, we examine ethical questions, highlighting a broad array of opinion from journalism, academia, and advocacy organizations. Our intent is to illuminate and explore the complexity of some of the most vexing ethical questions of our time.

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Ethical Inquiry: December 2017

Recommended Books From the Year

For the December installment of "Ethical Inquiry" we are taking the opportunity to recommend some books published in the last year on topics related to the work of the Ethics Center and by people affiliated with the Center, as well as a few selections not as closely tied to our work that have impressed members of our staff.
(See our recommendations from 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016!)

The following are selections from works published in 2017:

by Ethics Center Affiliates

“But Abu Ibrahim, We’re Family!”

“But Abu Ibrahim, We’re Family!” by Lee Perlman

“But Abu Ibrahim, We’re Family!” is a series of case studies focused on the collaborations between Jewish and Palestinian professional theater artists in Israel. The book describes how the theater projects that the artists create reflects their own realities. Perlman analyzes the socio-political and socio-cultural significance of the joint projects produced by the Jewish and Palestinian artists. Lee Perlman is a member of the Peacebuilding and the Arts IMPACT Steering Committee. []

ghettosGhettos, Tramps, and Welfare Queens:  Down and Out on the Silver Screen, by Stephen Pimpare 

A lively account of how hundreds of American movies have portrayed poverty in the United States, from the era of silents to the present, by Stephen Pimpare of the Univeristy of New Hampshire at Manchester, a Faculty Fellow of the Ethics Center's national program ENACT: The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation. []

 by Brandeis faculty

toxicinequalityToxic Inequality: How America's Wealth Gap Destroys Mobility, Deepens the Racial Divide, and Threatens Our Future, by Thomas Shapiro   

Heller School faculty member Thomas Shapiro continues his groundbreaking research on the many ways – open and subtle – that economic disparities are baked in to American society. []


Why Irrational Politics Appeals: Understanding the appeal of Trump, by Mari Fitzduff

Heller School faculty member Mari Fitzduff examines Donald Trump’s elective allure and ascendancy to presidency from all perspectives. She looks closely at the process of electoral politics and political voting in the United States and questions the basis of voting behavior and political choices today. []

masculinityMasculinity and Aspiration in the Era of Global Neoliberal Education, by Derron Wallace

This collection, edited by Garth Stahl, Joseph Nelson, and Brandeis Professor of Education and Sociology Derron Wallace, looks at the ways young men approach aspiration and identity in a time where neoliberal discourse is utilized in education. The contributors use international comparison to investigate how boys are taught to approach masculinity. []

from Brandeis University Press

antisemiticmindInside the Antisemitic Mind: The Language of Jew-Hatred in Contemporary Germany, by Monika Schwarz-Friesel, Jehuda Reinharz

An empirical study of antisemitism in contemporary Germany. Monika Schwarz-Friesel and Director of the Tauber Institute Jehuda Reinharz, Brandeis University President Emeritus and Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History, demonstrate that hostility against Jews exists among all social classes, including intellectuals. It is a noticeable part of everyday discourse in mainstream European society. []


Jewish Families in Europe, 1939-Present: History, Representation, and Memory, edited by Joanna Beata Michlic, Sylvia Barack Fishman, fwd

This collection, edited by Director of the Project on Families, Children, and the Holocaust at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Joanna Beata Michlic, includes 13 essays on life in Europe for Jewish families and communities, focusing on the experiences of women, youth and children. It features a foreword written by Joseph and Esther Foster Professor in Judaic Studies and Co-Director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Sylvia Barack Fishman. []


Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court: From Brandeis to Kagan, by David G. Dalin, PhD '77

Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court traces the experiences of eight Jews who have served or who currently serve as justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Louis D. Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Elena Kagan. In 2016, David Dalin discussed Jewish justices and the expanding diversity of the Supreme Court as a panelist for the Louis D. Brandeis 100: Then and Now event series at Brandeis, and contributed an essay to the commemoration's collection.  []

On Ethics, Justice and Democracy

exitwestExit West, by Mohsin Hamid

An inventive and lyrical novel, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, that explores issues of displacement and immigration in a world much like but not quite like our own. []


On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, by Timothy Snyder

An eminent historian of the Holocaust looks, in the early months of the Trump administration, for ways to combat creeping authoritarianism. []


What do you think?

Suggestions for other selections from 2017 that we missed in our list?  Let us know.

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