What have I just finished reading

1. Antonio Damasio. 1994 Descarte’s Error
Is it „I think therefore I Am” or „I Am therefore I think”? Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio reflects on the results of some natural experiments in which people lose parts of their brain and how this translates into changes in their behaviour.
2. Shamus Khan. 2011. Privilege
Billionaire creator of Khan Academy soliloquy about his ethnografic experience at the most elitist high school in the USA, St Paul’s. From teaching them how to dine and wine to going through Aristotle and Plato, from teaching them advanced classes in the humanities through learning how to think, the next elites of the USA were categorized democratic, in the sense that they are more open than ever to lower classes, their force coming now only only from social status, but from the fact that they think like no-one else.
3. Jaroslav Hasek. 1935. The Good Soldier Svejk
The funny and famous story of a Russian spy in the Czech Republic in the First World War.
4. Duiliu Zamfirescu. 1907. Tanase Scatiu
The Romanian traditional story of a bad marriage of a rich girl from the countryside.
5. Peter Turchin. 2009. Secular Cycles
Very well documented study of how population rises and falls in large time periods. Using previous studies and primary sources, the author builds the demographic-structural theory and presents case studies from France’s Plantagenet dinasty, Britain’s Tudor dinasty, Russia’s Romanov era, Roman Republic and Roman empire etc. Big enough societies have predictable ups and down over large enough periods of time.
6. Betty Friedan. 1963. The Feminine Mistique
Betty Friedan, 2nd wave feminist, starts an enquiry based on the question „Why would women want to cook and be housewives?”. She interviews a lot of women, probably working class women and finds out that when they are in groups, women all think the same: they want something more, they want a career, they are not happy with cooking, washing and feeding the children. At that time, Friedan hit the ball park with this study. Meanwhile, feminism went through the third wave and almost starts a counter-movement against Radical feminism.
7. Clifford Geertz. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures
A collection of essays from the cultural anthropologist who went to study the Balinese society and the Balinese people in Indonesia. What I remember from his story is that the Balinese men enjoy cock fighting, a cock being a prolongation of one’s personality that the children are called „First”, „Second”, and that the Balinse categorize the whole World into „Balinese” and „Not yet Balinese”.
8. Eric Wolf. 1982. Europe and The People Without History
The Colonialized World had to jump through hoops. This is the story of the world capitalism and globalization saw from the eyes of the loosers, oppressed people who had no choise but to accept the tems of the Spanish colonialism, Portugese colonialism, Dutch colonisalism, and British colonialism. A story of trade, early capitalism, and goods. We came to buy so cheap our coffee, cotton, corn, potatoes, tobbacco thanks to the early adventuriers and the big profit they made. How did the people without history get their own hubris? Eric Wolf wrote a fantastic piece of non-fiction.