Pardee School Faculty Share Their Summer Reading

In a time when everyone is sheltering in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, people are looking for things to do and ways to expand their horizons. Our professors are no different, so this summer we asked faculty at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University to share what they’ve been reading and have been sharing their submission on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter with the hashtag #GlobalSummerReading

Our faculty shared their thoughts on a wide range of literary works discussing diverse topics including the state of modern diplomacy, racism, and even the European eel.

Perhaps to no surprise, a number of our faculty’s summer reading revolved around politics, diplomacy, and international relations. Professors Vesko Garčević, Paul Hare, Jorge Heine, Jayita Sarkar, and Vivien Schmidt explored various aspects of these topics through their reading. Some of the works they recommended included Me the People – an assessment of what the success of populism means for democracy – War on Peace – an exploration of the collapse of American diplomacy and the last standard-bearers of traditional statecraft – and The Room Where It Happened – a comprehensive memoir of President Trump’s former national security advisor John Bolton.

Also popular among faculty’s summer reading were also novels on race and racism, including Colson Whitehead’s The Nickle Boys – read by Professor Perry Mehrling – and Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist – read by both Professor Timothy Longman and Jessica Stern. On the latter, Longman commented, “As someone who has studied racist discrimination and violence in place like South Africa and Rwanda, as well as the U.S., I think it is important to understand American racism in an international context. I appreciate Kendi’s emphasis not just on critiquing the status quo but on providing practical advice on how to improve race relations and fight inequality.”

Living through a global pandemic may deter some to read about such topics as a means of escape, and while many faculty did just that, one delved deep on the topic with her summer read. Professor Manjari Chatterjee Miller decided to read Albert Camus’s The Plague, which tells the story of an epidemic ravaging the people of a North African coastal town. Incredibly timely now despite being published in 1947, Miller calls the novel “depressing and prescient as it highlights human, societal, and institutional frailty in a devastating epidemic. But also strangely optimistic as pandemics don’t last forever.”

Faculty summer reading recommendations covered a plethora of other topics as well. As part of the #GlobalSummerReading campaign, some professors submitted recommendations for love stories, memoirs, as well as novels about the rise of German fascism, conservation, leadership. and global gender imbalances. To view all faculty submissions, click here.

If you have a summer reading suggestion of your own, share it on our Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with the latest insights from our faculty.