Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stephen M. Feldman

Stephen M. Feldman is the Jerry W. Housel/Carl F. Arnold Distinguished Professor of Law and Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Wyoming. Feldman’s new book is Neoconservative Politics and the Supreme Court: Law, Power, and Democracy. His previous books include Free Expression and Democracy in America: A History, and American Legal Thought From Premodernism to Postmodernism: An Intellectual Voyage. Free Expression and Democracy was featured in a joint National Archives and First Amendment Center book forum and chosen as Book of the Month by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. American Legal Thought has been translated into Japanese and Chinese and was supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.

Earlier this month I asked Feldman what he was reading.  His reply:
I just finished reading Ann Patchett’s The Magician’s Assistant. To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. The protagonist, Sabine, is a devoted resident of Los Angeles. Her gay husband has recently died, and through an evolving series of odd events, she ends up visiting his estranged family (mother, sisters, and nephews) in Alliance, Nebraska. I have never lived in L.A., and I don’t live in Nebraska. But I grew up in New York, lived in San Francisco, and currently reside in Laramie, Wyoming, only a few hours from Alliance. Patchett’s comedic contrast between life on the coast and in the heartland is brilliant. Her depiction of life (and winter) in the heartland is sensitive and subtle, particularly when compared with today’s New York Times (November 19, 2012) article describing Wyoming as if everybody in the state is a white, male, Protestant conservative (I can attest that this gross oversimplification is untrue). The Magician’s Assistant leaves one contemplating family relationships, both nuclear and extended, as well as the meaning of magic in the real world.
Learn more about Neoconservative Politics and the Supreme Court at the New York University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue