William Morris’s designs are still admired and revered, but his radical politics and utopian inclinations are less well known. Michael Robertson discusses the nineteenth-century Englishman’s insistence on craftsmanship, his critiques of industrialism, his turn toward socialism, and his utopian novel News From Nowhere. Michael Robertson, The Last Utopians: Four Late Nineteenth-Century Visionaries and Their Legacy … Continued


According to Margaret Hunter, growing numbers of white people are “shape shifting into Blackness”: they’re taking on or inhabiting aspects or characteristics of Blackness. Hunter discusses the emergence of three forms of Blackness tried on by whites in the post-civil rights era: cultural Blackness, political Blackness, and intellectual Blackness. Tamai, Dineen-Wimberly, and Spickard, eds., Shape … Continued


Do fictional narratives, like those found in novels, plays, and films, promote empathy? Does emotion-based empathy spur people to alleviate suffering in the real world? Namwali Serpell calls into question much of the conventional thinking about empathy in relation to art. Drawing on thinkers like Arendt and Brecht, Serpell points to fiction’s capacity to enlarge … Continued