In Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code (Polity), African American studies professor Ruha Benjamin introduces her concept of the “New Jim Code,” how new technology has a built-in range of discriminatory designs that explicitly perpetuate racial hierarchies through their designers’ inherent biases. Benjamin advocates for a deep scrutiny of new technologies, which have the power to obscure their own flawed designs even while claiming to be a tool for equality.

Professor of politics Nolan McCarty examines the 2016 election cycle through the lens of the United States’ complex and partisan election process in Polarization: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press). McCarty considers problematic circumstances — from gerrymandering to the primary nomination process — and argues that, given those conditions, the 2016 election results were natural, not the distinct break from tradition that many perceived them to be.