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[Cross-posted from New Books in Journalism] ”We are not half a dozen provinces. We are one great Dominion,” Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald proudly declared. More than a century later, Canada has 10 provinces and three northern territories making it one of the biggest and richest countries on Earth. In the spirit of optimism that prevailed when the country celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1967, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau called for the founding of a “just society” in which every Canadian would enjoy fundamental rights.

But according to a recently published book, the country is retreating from Macdonald’s vision of one great country and from Trudeau’s call for a just society.

In Equal As Citizens: The Tumultuous and Troubled History of a Great Canadian Idea (Formac, 2014), author Richard Starr argues that Canada is losing its commitment to equal opportunity and sharing the country’s wealth. He traces the long history of Canada’s slow evolution toward a more equal society and its gradual retreat from that ideal. He shows that Canadians in richer provinces including Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia, now enjoy higher levels of government services, such as better health care and education, than those who live in poorer provinces such as Manitoba, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

More than 30 years ago, Canada’s politicians enshrined their commitment to equal opportunity and public services in the Canadian constitution, but Starr writes that those commitments have been forgotten. As a result, citizens in poorer provinces are paying higher taxes for lower levels of public services.

In this interview with the New Books Network, Richard Starr says he hopes his book will spark more discussion and debate about inequality in Canada.

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John TreschThe Romantic Machine: Utopian Science and Technology after Napoleon

September 5, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Science, Technology, and Society] John Tresch’s beautiful new book charts a series of transformations that collectively ushered in a new cosmology in the Paris of the early-mid nineteenth century. The Romantic Machine: Utopian Science and Technology after Napoleon  (University of Chicago Press, 2012) narrates the emergence of a new image of the machine, a [...]

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John ProteviLife, War, Earth: Deleuze and the Sciences

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[Cross-posted from New Books in Science, Technology, and Society] Right now, humanists across very different disciplinary fields are trying to create the kinds of cross-disciplinary conversations that might open up new ways to conceptualize and ask questions of our objects of study. John Protevi’s new book offers a wonderfully stimulating conceptual toolbox for doing just that. Life, War, Earth: [...]

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Ovamir Anjum Politics, Law, and Community in Islamic Thought: The Taymiyyan Moment

August 22, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Islamic Studies] In Politics, Law, and Community in Islamic Thought: The Taymiyyan Moment (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Ovamir Anjum explores a timely topic, even though his focus is hundreds of years in the past. In order to present his topic Professor Anjum asks a series of foundational questions, such as: How have Muslims understood ideal [...]

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David B. DennisInhumanities: Nazi Interpretations of Western Culture

August 8, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in History] I occasionally teach Western Civilization and you may have taken it in college. We all know the drill: Greeks-Romans-Dark Ages-Middle Ages-Renaissance-Reformation-Scientific Revolution-Enlightenment-Romanticism-Modernity. Or something like that. I teach Western Civilization as a “march of ideas”: Reason, Beauty, Freedom, Equality, Justice (caps intended) and the like. This way of telling the [...]

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David N. LivingstoneDealing with Darwin: Place, Politics, and Rhetoric in Religious Engagements with Evolution

August 6, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Science, Technology, and Society] David N. Livingstone’s new book traces the processes by which communities of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that shared the same Scottish Calvinist heritage engaged with Darwin and Darwinians in different local contexts. Dealing with Darwin: Place, Politics, and Rhetoric in Religious Engagements with Evolution (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014) locates [...]

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Bruce AckermanWe the People: Volume 3: The Civil Rights Revolution

August 2, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Law] Bruce Ackerman is the Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University. His book, We the People, Volume 3: The Civil Rights Revolution (Harvard UP, 2013) fills out the constitutional history of America’s “Second Reconstruction” period and makes a powerful argument that traditional understandings of the constitutional canon must be expanded to accurately reflect [...]

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Adam PhillipsBecoming Freud: The Making of a Psychoanalyst

July 28, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Psychoanalysis] For those who are savvy about all things psychoanalytic, be they analysts, analysands, or fellow travelers, the existence, presence, work, writing, and imprimatur of Adam Phillips is given long, as opposed to short, shrift. It is safe to say that his voice is singular in its mellifluousness and its range. I first encountered [...]

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Ari JoskowiczThe Modernity of Others: Jewish Anti-Catholicism in Germany and France

July 15, 2014

In 1873, the German scientist Rudolf Virchow declared in Parliament that liberals were locked in a Kulturkampf, a “culture war” with the forces of Catholicism, which he viewed as the chief hindrance to progress and modernity. Over the past two decades, historians have appropriated the term “culture war,” liberated it from its German origin and [...]

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Dr. Craig MartinSubverting Aristotle: Religion, History, and Philosophy in Early Modern Science

July 14, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Science, Technology, and Society] Craig Martin’s new book carefully traces religious arguments for and against Aristotelianism from the eleventh through the eighteenth centuries. Based on a close reading of a staggering array of primary sources, Subverting Aristotle: Religion, History, and Philosophy in Early Modern Science (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014) in turn subverts several [...]

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