Philosophy & Critical Theory
Books in this online selection represent only a sliver of what we offer in the store. If you've got a particular book in mind and want to check on its availability, call us at 415-362-8193.

   
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Modernism in the Streets
A Life and Times in Essays
Marshall Berman
Both an intellectual biography and a protean collection of social criticism from the late, preeminent philosopher, urbanist and "Marxist with soul." I was skeptical when I got to his chapter on hip-hop (what could this old white man possibly have to say?) but it burned with insight and radical passion. —Recommended by Michael
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Whose Global Village?
Rethinking How Technology Shapes Our World
Ramesh Srinivasan
Whose Global Village seeks to inspire professionals, activists, and scholars alike to think about technology in a way that embraces the realities of communities too often relegated to the margins. We can then start to visualize a world where technologies serve diverse communities rather than just the Western consumer.
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Flaneuse
Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London
The "flaneur" has long been explicitly gendered male, but we city women know better. Elkin delves into the history of both the term and the act itself through literature, film, cultural criticism, and her own experience, leaving no doubt that a woman walking alone in the city has been—and still is—a subversive figure.—Recommended by Erin
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The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge
Abraham Flexner
A short, provocative book about why "useless" science often leads to humanity's greatest technological breakthroughs A forty-year tightening of funding for scientific research has meant that resources are increasingly directed toward applied or practical outcomes, with the intent of creating products of immediate value.
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We Gon' Be Alright
Notes on Race and Resegregation
Jeff Chang
In these provocative, powerful essays acclaimed writer/journalist Jeff Chang takes an incisive and wide-ranging look at the recent tragedies and widespread protests that have shaken the country.He argues that resegregation is the unexamined condition of our time, the undoing of which is key to moving the nation forward to racial justice and equity.
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I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts
Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams
Mark Dery
"I must not think bad thoughts. I must not think bad thoughts." These lyrics by the band X have been my mantra on many occasions as I trudged my way here and there. Lucky for us that Mark Dery goes deep into the territories that many of us shun, illuminating the absurdity, humor and truths found on the dark side. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights
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Nan Dòmi
An Initiate's Journey into Haitian Vodou
Mimerose Beaubrun
The first and only insider's account of Vodou's private, mystical, interior practice, a compelling story of initiation and transformation.
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The Trouble with Being Born
E. M. Cioran
Crotchety old man snarks about the pointlessness of life. Wonderful. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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The Grey Album
On the Blackness of Blackness
Kevin Young
Taking its title from Danger Mouse's pioneering mashup of Jay-Z's The Black Album and the Beatles' The White Album, Kevin Young’s encyclopedic book combines essay, cultural criticism, and lyrical chorus to illustrate the African American tradition of...
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A Little History of the World
E. H. Gombrich
In 1935, with a doctorate in art history and no prospect of a job, the 26-year-old Ernst Gombrich was invited by a publishing acquaintance to attempt a history of the world for younger readers. Amazingly, he completed the task in an intense six weeks...
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Nobody's Home
Essays
Dubravka Ugresic
"Every day and age has its rules. Currently, good behavior dictates that we be politically correct, evade conflicts, espouse tolerance, and make no hasty judgments. To be judgmental is viewed as one of the most reprehensible human traits. People are...
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The Gift of Death, Second Edition & Literature in Secret
Jacques Derrida
The Gift of Death, Jacques Derrida's most sustained consideration of religion, explores questions first introduced in his book Given Time about the limits of the rational and responsible that one reaches in granting or accepting death, whether by...
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Aesthetics and Politics
Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Bertolt Brecht, Georg Lukacs
An intense and lively debate on literature and art between thinkers who became some of the great figures of twentieth-century philosophy and literature. No other country and no other period has produced a tradition of major aesthetic debate to...
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The Absence of Myth
Writings on Surrealism
Georges Bataille
Georges Bataille was one of the most provocative and controversial writers of his time. These essays, the result of profound reflection in the wake of World War II, comprise his most incisive study of surrealism, insisting on its importance as a...

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