Books and literature

Recent work by Gunther and Schmitt (2004) on the hostile media effect offers a partial clarification of our findings. These authors conducted an experiment in which a purposefully crafted neutral text was presented to experts involved in the ongoing controversy over genetically modified organisms. For one randomized group of experts, this text was presented as […]


Much of this seems applicable to the movement to keep climate change under control by shifting away from fossil fuels: Any serious answer, to borrow the well-known phrase from William Faulkner that then-Senator Obama used in his remarkable speech on race during his 2008 campaign for the presidency, must begin with the recognition that “the […]


The people in the chaos cannot learn. They cannot understand what they are doing to the sea and the sky and the plants and the animals. They cannot understand that they are killing them, and that they will end by killing themselves. And there are so many of them, and each one of them is […]


The year is off to a rapidfire start. As part of the PhD, I need to do a second core seminar this year. I have chosen to take public policy because it accords well with my interests and experience, and apparently has a less onerous reading load than either comparative politics or international relations. I […]

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Donald Savoie’s 1999 book is the single-best account I have read of the functioning of Canada’s federal government. It focuses on the growth of the strength of ‘the centre’ of government over the previous thirty years, meaning the prime minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Privy Council Office, Department of Finance, and Treasury Board Secretariat. It discusses […]


William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White’s The Elements of Style includes advice on words and expressions that are problematic or often badly used. Where no alternative is listed, their advice is to avoid the use of that word or phrase. I plan to scan the divestment brief (and my own academic writing) with this list […]


Boyce Richardson’s Strangers Devour the Land is not an academic text, but rather a series of personal narratives interspersed with selections of courtroom testimony. The book describes the traditional lifestyle of the Cree of northern Quebec, and the influence the James Bay hydroelectric developments had upon their lives between the inception of the project in […]


The argument of this book is that the roots of the present [national unity] crisis lie in decisions made in the 1960s. More specifically, they lie with Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s ‘national unity’ strategy, at the centre of which was an attempt to implant a new Canadian identity. ‘National unity’, it was presumed, meant that all […]


Delbanco’s essay considers abolitionism as a general category of political vision, one impelled by “imprecatory prophets” whose contribution is, in part, to envision what their contemporaries regarded as “preposterous” and to make it seem possible. Abolitionists render a moral case against the existence and endurance of or or more of a society’s perceived wrongs, such […]


As part of my preparation for my August comprehensive exam, I read Pierre Trudeau’s 1968 collection of essays: Federalism and the French Canadians. Compared to the other texts on the list, it is short, clear, and accessible. While some of the controversies addressed are too obscure to be intelligible to someone who has never closely […]