Scott McLemee

Scott McLemee is the Intellectual Affairs columnist for Inside Higher Ed. In 2008, he began a three-year term on the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle. From 1995 until 2001, he was contributing editor for Lingua Franca. Between 2001 and 2005, he covered scholarship in the humanities as senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education. In 2005, he helped start the online news journal Inside Higher Ed, where he serves as Essayist at Large, writing a weekly column called Intellectual Affairs. His reviews, essays, and interviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Nation, Newsday, Bookforum, The Common Review, and numerous other publications. In 2004, he received the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle. He has given papers or been an invited speaker at meetings of the American Political Science Association, the Cultural Studies Association, the Modern Language Association, and the Organization of American Historians.

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Most Recent Articles

November 15, 2017
Scott McLemee reviews The Acceleration of Cultural Change: From Ancestors to Algorithms, in which social networks, big data, memes and the like are presented as extreme cases of the creative and disruptive potentials or our tool-oriented species.
November 8, 2017
Scott McLemee examines The Trump Presidency: Outsider in the Oval Office, the first book about Trump's first year in office to be published by a scholarly press.
November 1, 2017
In We Demand: The University and Student Protests, Roderick A. Ferguson's understanding of the campus activism of the 1960s and ’70s rests on a clear sense of the university as a crucial part of the social machine, writes Scott McLemee.
October 25, 2017
Scott McLemee highlights a half dozen catch-phrases that have significantly overstayed their welcome.
October 11, 2017
Claire D. Clark’s The Recovery Revolution traces the history of therapies that help drug users recover from addiction, sometimes with contradictory and controversial practices, Scott McLemee writes.
October 4, 2017
In one of her essays Joan Didion recalls living in the 1960s in “a part of Hollywood that had once been expensive and was now described by one of my acquaintances as a ‘senseless-killing neighborhood.’” In context this is one of many little details evoking a mood of anomie (of disintegration, personal and cultural) with a hint of the Manson family somewhere upwind, performing its psychedelic-apocalyptic rituals to prepare for whatever the Beatles have commanded of them.
September 27, 2017
Nathan Kravis’s On the Couch: A Repressed History of the Analytic Couch From Plato to Freud examines why that piece of furniture ever entered the analytic tradition and how its efficacy and centrality have now come under scrutiny, writes Scott McLemee.
September 20, 2017
Without expecting it, and even without recognizing it at first, I found myself standing in front of the Unabomber’s cabin a couple of years ago. Not in its original setting, of course. When the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Theodore Kaczynski outside Lincoln, Montana in 1996, it seized as evidence not only his papers and bomb-making materials but the building itself, which is now on display at the Newseum in downtown Washington, DC as part of an exhibition on the media and the FBI.
September 13, 2017
For the moment, anyway, the subtitle of Debora Diniz’s Zika: From the Brazilian Backlands to Global Threat (Zed, distributed by University of Chicago Press) looks like the warning sign, glimpsed in a rear-view mirror, for a danger no longer on the road ahead.
September 6, 2017
The digital-humanities aspect is hardly the most interesting thing about Emily Skidmore's True Sex: The Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (NYU Press), but it's the whole project's sine qua non.

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