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Lindsay Waters

Executive Editor for the Humanities

Photo of Lindsay Waters, Executive Editor for the Humanities

startquoteI seek books that develop a global humanism which reflects upon the limits of reductionism and escape from it. My main areas of acquisition are philosophy and literary studies, though I make forays into other disciplines. I work on the assumption that cultures today are undergoing a great shift, as they abandon a mode of thinking that quantifies and commodifies the world around us to the exclusion of spiritual values. Central to my list is the work of authors engaged in spiritual inquiry—Charles Taylor, John O’Malley, Robert Bellah, Sianne Ngai, and many others. In philosophy, a main line of inquiry builds on the transcendental thinking of Emerson and Thoreau and drives through books by Hilary Putnam, Willard Quine, John McDowell, James Conant, Robert Brandom, Elizabeth Anscombe, Wilfred Sellars, Amartya Sen, Stanley Cavell, and Nancy Bauer. In literary and cultural studies, the books I sponsor extend the reach of our “new histories” of French, German, American, and Chinese literature to include works by Greil Marcus, Wang Hui, Tommie Shelby, Catharine A. MacKinnon, and Namwali Serpell, among others. My “angel of history” is Walter Benjamin, whose writings have inspired a fusion of history, politics, and the arts and sparked a revival of aesthetics.endquote

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Who We Might Have Been, and Who We Will Become

Who among us hasn’t considered what our lives would be like if we had taken alternate paths, made different decisions? Storytellers of every stripe write of the lives we didn’t have, says Andrew H. Miller, author of On Not Being Someone Else: Tales of Our Unled Lives. As we live through a worldwide pandemic, the ideas of what might have been are even more appealing. Much like the adolescents on the verge of adulthood in Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People, Miller tells us, we wait to see what comes next.