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Upcoming Reading Group Topics


The Age of the Strongman: How the Cult of the Leader Threatens Democracy Around the World

by Gideon Rachman

October 28, 2022, 8:00 am - 9:00 am  

This is the most urgent political story of our time: authoritarian leaders have become a central feature of global politics. Since 2000, self-styled strongmen have risen to power in capitals as diverse as Moscow, Beijing, Delhi, Brasilia, Budapest, Ankara, Riyadh, and Washington. These leaders are nationalists and social conservatives, with little tolerance for minorities, dissent, or the interests of foreigners. At home, they claim to be standing up for ordinary people against globalist elites; abroad, they posture as the embodiments of their nations. And everywhere they go, they encourage a cult of personality. What’s more, these leaders are not just operating in authoritarian political systems but have begun to emerge in the heartlands of liberal democracy. From Putin, Trump, and Bolsonaro to Erdoğan, Orbán, and Xi, an intimate look at the rise of strongman leaders around the world.

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Chip War: The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology

by Chris Miller

December 2, 2022, 8:00 am - 9:00 am  

You may be surprised to learn that microchips are the new oil—the scarce resource on which the modern world depends. Today, military, economic, and geopolitical power are built on a foundation of computer chips. Virtually everything—from missiles to microwaves, smartphones to the stock market—runs on chips. Until recently, America designed and built the fastest chips and maintained its lead as the #1 superpower. Now, America's edge is slipping, undermined by competitors in Taiwan, Korea, Europe, and, above all, China. Today, as Chip War reveals, China, which spends more money each year importing chips than it spends importing oil, is pouring billions into a chip-building initiative to catch up to the US. At stake is America's military superiority and economic prosperity. Economic historian Chris Miller explains how the semiconductor came to play a critical role in modern life and how the U.S. become dominant in chip design and manufacturing and applied this technology to military systems.

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Four Treasures of the Sky

by Jenny Tinghui Zhang

December 16, 2022, 8:00 am - 9:00 am  

Daiyu never wanted to be like the tragic heroine for whom she was named, revered for her beauty and cursed with heartbreak. But when she is kidnapped and smuggled across an ocean from China to America, Daiyu must relinquish the home and future she imagined for herself. Over the years that follow, she is forced to keep reinventing herself to survive. From a calligraphy school, to a San Francisco brothel, to a shop tucked into the Idaho mountains, we follow Daiyu on a desperate quest to outrun the tragedy that chases her. As anti-Chinese sentiment sweeps across the country in a wave of unimaginable violence, Daiyu must draw on each of the selves she has been―including the ones she most wants to leave behind―in order to finally claim her own name and story.

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Exploring Leading Foreign Policy Issues

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