Bookville – Social Science

Better understand the world with this selection of Bookville social science picks.

All Books in this Collection

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  • Beryl



    Beryl Potter was a reserved working-class mother of three living a decent life, or so it seemed, when a harmless slip and fall marked the unravelling of everything that she had known about herself and the world around her. Over the course of six years, she endured unimaginable pain. As doctors raced to save her life, her limbs and eyesight were taken from her one by one. In the span of a few years, she lost nearly half her body, her financial security, her home, her husband, and any semblance of a recognizable future.

    A survivor of more than one hundred surgeries, a dangerous opioid addiction, and multiple suicide attempts, Beryl Potter devoted herself to bettering the lives of other people with disabilities and made a tremendous contribution to disability awareness from the 1970s to 1990s. In this unparalleled biography, Dustin Galer demonstrates how Beryl Potter seemed to crack the code of the social system that oppressed her. By wading into the weeds of her complicated life before and after her accident, Galer leaves readers with a complex portrait of a woman who defied and challenged gender and disability norms of her time, paving the way for disability justice.

  • Crisis and Contagion

    Crisis and Contagion


    Crisis and Contagion is a selection of fourteen interviews conducted by Ian McKay of the Wilson Institute at McMaster University. Interviews with Nancy Fraser, Mike Davis, Mack Penner, Andreas Malm, and Merrill Singer explore capitalism’s organic crisis and the ways it has made this and future pandemics inevitable. Nora Loreto, Tithi Bhattacharya, Chandrima Chakraborty, Merlin Chowkwanyun, and Sanjay Nepal discuss the experiences of ordinary people in the pandemic. J. Michael Ryan, Laura Spinney, Naomi Klein, and Noam Chomsky explore the long-term effects and likely historical legacy of a pandemic that has changed millions of lives–and, maybe, the trajectory of human civilization.

    These scholars propose that to understand the impact of Covid-19, we have to understand the conflictual history of capitalism–and to ward off future pandemics, we need to start building a post-capitalist alternative to the disease-generating and highly unequal global neoliberal order. As capitalist forces work to shove what we have learned from the Covid-19 pandemic down the memory hole, Crisis and Contagion offers a must-read for those wanting to seize this moment of change and revolution.

  • Decolonize Drag

    Decolonize Drag


    Although imagined as a queer subcultural practice, drag seems to be everywhere we look: from AI filters on TikTok to brunchtime entertainment, from state legislations to political rallies. Yet as drag enters the mainstream—largely due to the intense, global popularity of reality TV competition RuPaul’s Drag Race—some kinds of gender-based performance fall out of the purview of what we (could) call drag.

    Decolonize Drag details the ways that gender is used as a form of colonial governance to eliminate various types of expression, and tracks how contemporary drag, including that on Drag Race, both replicates and disrupts these institutional hierarchies. This book focuses on several gender performers that resist and laugh at colonial projects through their aesthetic practices. It also features the voice of Khubchandani’s drag alter ego, judgmental South Asian aunty LaWhore Vagistan. From the firsthand perspective of a drag artist, LaWhore describes encounters with depoliticized versions of drag that leave her disappointed and perplexed, and prompts Khubchandani for context and analysis.

    Their dynamic sets the tone for the book, investigating how drag—and gender more broadly—has been privatized and delimited so that it’s only available to certain people. Decolonize Drag argues for more abundance in and access to fashioning gender, and considers how drag changes meaning and efficacy as it shifts across geographies.

  • Frequently Asked White Questions

    Frequently Asked White Questions


    Are you a white person with questions about how race affects different situations, but you feel awkward, shy, or afraid to ask the people of colour in your life? Are you a racialized person who is tired of answering the same questions over and over? This book is for you: a basic guide for people learning about racial privilege. In Frequently Asked White Questions, Alex Khasnabish and Ajay Parasram answer ten of the most common questions asked of them by people seeking to understand how race structures our every day. Drawing from their lived experiences as well as live sessions of their monthly YouTube series Safe Space for White Questions, the authors offer concise, accessible answers to questions such as, “Is it possible to be racist against white people?” or “Shouldn’t everyone be treated equally?” With humour and compassion, this book offers relatable advice and a practical entry point into conversations about race.

  • We, the Others

    We, the Others


    Ungrateful, opportunistic, moochers, dangerous, incompatible with our values and our way of life…

    Every immigrant demographic has heard these descriptors at some point in their migration history. We, the Others explores the xenophobia, ethno-nationalism, and the fear of the “other” that is at the root of the belief that immigration is a polluting force.
    Gleaned from the author’s personal family history as the second-generation daughter of Greek immigrants, and from her research as a journalist and columnist covering identity politics and social issues in Quebec and Canada for the past 20 years, We, the Others courageously tackles this country’s history and practices, divisive legislation like Bill 21, and various nationalist movements that have influenced our immigration policies. It is also a poignant look at inter-generational struggles, conflicting loyalties and heartfelt questions of belonging.