What We’re Reading: The Nature of Trust

In anticipation of the beginning of the 2020-2021 fellowship year on the Nature of Trust, the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study (NDIAS) asked its incoming Fellows what they have been reading on the topic.

Here are eight thought-provoking books on Fellows’ reading lists that are sure to inspire conversation. If readers are looking for a new book to dive into this summer or fall, check these out. 

For those who would like to stay updated on NDIAS Nature of Trust programming throughout the year, including visits by National Book Award Winner Susan Choi and Hugo Award Winner Ted Chiang, subscribe to the NDIAS mailing list.

Chiang Stories Of Your Life

Stories of Your Life and Others
Ted Chiang
Penguin Random House, 2016

Collection of short stories that includes “Story of Your Life,” a science fiction exploration of determinism and choice through the lens of an alien language. The story was the basis of Arrival, a major motion picture starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner.

Susan Choi Trust Exercise

Trust Exercise
Susan Choi
Henry Holt and Company, 2019

Novel set in a highly competitive performing arts high school where two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, but their passion does not go unnoticed—or untoyed with—by anyone, especially not their charismatic acting teaching, Mr. Kingsley.

Katherine Cramer Politics of Resentment

The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker
Katherine Cramer
University of Chicago Press, 2016

Uses the rise of Scott Walker in Wisconsin as a case to illustrate rural consciousness, a phenomenon in which rural voters do not trust that liberal politicians will respect the values of their local communities.

Kendi Stamped

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
Ibram X. Kendi
Bold Type Books, 2019

Chronicles the story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history, using the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis.

Marantz Anti-Social

Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation
Andrew Marantz
Penguin Random House, 2019

Explores the origins and motivations of online extremists through a mixture of narrative and interviews with far-right content creators and Silicon Valley social media platform creators.

Rosenfeld Democracy and Truth

Democracy and Truth: A Short History
Sophia Rosenfeld
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018

Provides a historical narrative of how the values of democracy and truth have been in tension since the eighteenth century and how this tension manifests in today's post-truth environment.

Rothstein Color of Law

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
Richard Rothstein
Liveright Publishing, 2017

Argues that segregation in America—the incessant kind that continues to dog our major cities and has contributed to so much recent social strife—is the byproduct of explicit government policies at the local, state, and federal levels.

Mario Small Someone to Talk To

Someone To Talk To
Mario Luis Small
Oxford University Press, 2017

Argues for the counterintuitive conclusion that people are much more likely to confide about personal issues with people whom they are only weakly socially tied to as opposed to close friends and family members.

The NDIAS convenes an interdisciplinary group of faculty fellows, top doctoral candidates, and undergraduate scholars to study questions that require a joint focus, benefit from sustained research and discussion, and advance our understanding on core issues that affect our ability to lead valuable, meaningful lives. To learn more about the fellowship program and the Institute, please visit


Kristian Olsen / Fellowships, Outreach, and Operations Program Manager
Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study / University of Notre Dame / 574.631.2830 / @NotreDameIAS

About Notre Dame Research:

The University of Notre Dame is a private research and teaching university inspired by its Catholic mission. Located in South Bend, Indiana, its researchers are advancing human understanding through research, scholarship, education, and creative endeavor in order to be a repository for knowledge and a powerful means for doing good in the world. For more information, please see or @UNDResearch.

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