May 01, 2018

Ron Watson

Political Science/Health and Society professor Ron Watson likes keep his bookshelf diverse. Read his recommendations, ranging from political histories to science fiction.

Must-Read in Your Field(s)

Politics in Time: History, Institutions and Social Analysis

By Paul Pierson

Pierson delves into the concept of path dependency and why it is so important for understanding action/inaction in achieving social and political change.

Race, Ethnicity, and Health - A Public Health Reader

Thomas LaVeist and Lydia Isaac, editors

This edited volume offers an excellent overview of health disparities from a wide range of scholars and perspectives.

Favorite Book to Teach

American Government in Black and White

By Paula McClain and Steven Tauber

I love teaching this book in my introductory political science course, as it provides a more accurate portrayal than most textbooks of how race and racism have shaped American political life since the nation’s inception.

For Pure Enjoyment

Ready Player One

By Ernest Kline

The story takes place in the near future, where everyone plugs into an online virtual world called “the OASIS” to escape the awfulness of life in an unending economic recession—and to become the winner of a contest for untold riches launched by the deceased founder of the OASIS. Lots of references to nostalgic pop culture from my childhood in the ’70s and ’80s made this a fun read for me.

Book(s) that Change the Way You Think

There are actually four:

Roots: The Saga of an American Family

By Alex Haley

This book opened my eyes to the horrors of American slavery, and to the importance of honoring all of my ancestors and what they endured.

Stranger in a Strange Land

By Robert A. Heinlein

After reading this book, I never looked at religion the same way again.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Graham Coleman, Thupten Jinpa, Gyurme Dorje, editors

I found this book transformative. It taught me to be aware in my daily life of being overly attached to things that ultimately don’t matter.

Double Star

By Robert A. Heinlein

This is another classic from Heinlein, and reading it challenged my understanding of traditions, morality, and family.

Also In This Issue

  • Six Faculty Members Retire At Year’s End

  • Xilong “Tony” Zhu’13 standing at attention in military garb.

    Alumnus Swept Up In Homeland Security Snare

  • Scott Bierman

    Free Expression and the Marketplace of Ideas


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