Maya Jasanoff

Gandhi Was a Crank Before He Was a Saint
His morally nuanced early years in South Africa
June 07, 2014

Gandhi may have been non-violent, but he could hurt people nonetheless.

Hearts of Darkness
The incoherence of the British Empire
June 10, 2013

Was there ever really a British Empire? Cartographers certainly wanted you to think so.

The Known Unknowns
June 07, 2012

The Inner Life of Empires: An Eighteenth-Century HistoryBy Emma Rothschild (Princeton University Press, 483 pp., $35)  BY A RURAL SCOTTISH river on an early summer’s day in 1771, someone makes a catch: a package wrapped in cloth, and inside the cloth, a baby boy, and on his tiny sodden body “the marks of violence” that may have caused his death. It does not take long to identify a suspect, the infant’s mother, who works in a nearby household. She is brought to the local sheriff’s court, interrogated, and charged with the murder of her son. Every suspect, by definition, invites doubt.

The Trouble With Neutrality
September 14, 2011

A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War By Amanda Foreman (Random House, 958 pp., $35) The world’s biggest superpower has a problem. The citizens of a nation overseas have risen up against their tyrannical rulers, determined to claim liberty even if it takes a civil war. As the most powerful global advocate of freedom, the superpower has to admire the rebels’ cause. Should it help them? Humanitarians argue that intervention can prevent hundreds of thousands of civilians from suffering hideous state-sponsored subjugation.