On Diversity


It could be argued—and esteemed historian of ideas Russell Jacoby does so here—that the less diversity there is, the more we talk about it.

But what does the term actually mean? Where does it come from? What are its intellectual precedents? Moreover, how do we square our recognition of the importance of diversity with the fact that the world is becoming more and more, well, homogeneous? In fine prose and lucid argument, Jacoby puts our volatile present into historical context. Examining diversity (or lack thereof) in language, fashion, childhood experience, political structure, and the history of ideas, Jacoby offers a surprising and penetrating analysis of our cultural moment, and invites his readers to participate in the most dangerous and liberating act: to stop and think.

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