The best books on identity politics 📚

Browse the best books on identity politics as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics

The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics

By Mark Lilla

Why this book?

Lilla’s goal in this book is to show how identity politics threatens the electoral prospects of the Democratic Party. He argues that the party has thrown citizenship—the “we” in political conversation—out the window in favor of “personal identities in terms of the inner homunculus, a unique little thing composed of parts tinted by race, sex, and gender,” and that this will be electorally disastrous for the Democrats. But Lilla’s arguments show that it is disastrous for our national conversation as well. When we give personal identity weight in an argument (Lilla is superb at eviscerating the shopworn phrase “speaking as…

From the list:

The best books on identity politics and political correctness in the university

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Book cover of The Assault on American Excellence

The Assault on American Excellence

By Anthony T. Kronman

Why this book?

Kronman is particularly good at describing the “tough” reasoning skills that underlie the thinking styles that have produced modern science and modern democracies. An example of these tough skills is what he calls the “ethic of depersonalization”: expressing arguments in a form available to all—a form not dependent on our emotions or personal experience. Identity politics, in contrast, gives weight to immutable demographic characteristics in ongoing political conversations.  It thus reverses centuries of progress in the intellectual march toward open, ecumenical inquiry, where personal characteristics do not trump rational argument.

From the list:

The best books on identity politics and political correctness in the university

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Breakdown of Higher Education: How It Happened, the Damage It Does, and What Can Be Done

The Breakdown of Higher Education: How It Happened, the Damage It Does, and What Can Be Done

By John M. Ellis

Why this book?

Ellis chronicles the history of how the university turned from an institution of open inquiry into a political monoculture that requires those in it to adhere to a particular ideology. Ellis is particularly good at showing how the strengths of the traditional university were turned into weaknesses and allowed it to be captured by the adherents of identity politics. Old-style independent scholars are hard to organize, Ellis points out, because they are just that—independent. But these truly independent scholars were no match for the politically organized groups that wanted to use the university to advance a political agenda.

From the list:

The best books on identity politics and political correctness in the university

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars

The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars

By Bradley Campbell, Jason Manning

Why this book?

Campbell and Manning are sociologists who trace how a new moral culture of victimhood has given rise to political correctness. The new moral culture combines the properties of the old culture of honor and the old culture of dignity in a uniquely toxic way. The new victimhood culture borrows from honor culture its extreme sensitivity to insult, but borrows from the culture of dignity the tendency to call upon authorities and institutions to resolve disputes, rather than deal with them on a personal level. The victimhood culture is what has spawned the repressive campus environment of micro-aggressions, deplatforming, and bias…

From the list:

The best books on identity politics and political correctness in the university

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

By Greg Lukianoff, Jonathan Haidt

Why this book?

This book is so different from the other books on my list. I just finished reading this book recently. I found it completely fascinating. It talks about how our newer generation has changed how we listen, talk and feel. I find that this is happening in relationships as well. This book is a weave of communication, how we take things way too personally and how this affects how we interact with others in life and how we relate to our feelings. I think this book can help how we listen, share and have internal boundaries. While reading this book I…

From the list:

The best books for creating inner and outer change in your life area

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Book cover of The Only Good Indians

The Only Good Indians

By Stephen Graham Jones

Why this book?

I haven’t seen evidence that the Elk-headed woman is actual folklore of the Blackfeet, though elk-based legends and anthropomorphic animals are certainly common across Native American stories. This horror novel is another example of a genre book weaving relationships with a literary flair but also a spare, gut-punch writing style as it explores themes of regret and revenge. By the end of chapter one, I knew it would end up on my favorite books list.

From the list:

The best books using mythology and lore in modern fiction

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