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Today I talked to Laurie Frankel about her new novel One, Two, Three (Henry Holt, 2021). The little town of Bourne made national news seventeen years before when its water turned green and people started to get sick. The Mitchell triplets were born that year, after the factory closed, the town began to wither along with its citizens, and their fath…
 
Shawn Wilhite is author of this outstanding new commentary on one of the most important early Christian documents. We don't know who wrote the Didache, when it was written, or who it was written for, but Wilhite's work demonstrates how the text sets out teaching about ethics, sacraments and eschatology that seemed so authoritative that some readers…
 
Robinson Woodward-Burns is the author of Hidden Laws: How the State Constitutions Stabilize American Politics, published by Yale University Press in 2021. Hidden Laws explores the relationship between both state and national constitutional development, debates, and reform. A sprawling study of American constitutional history, Woodward-Burns’s book …
 
The Bible is not only a book but also a collection of books. It has many authors but also at the same time many editors. It has not only been translated from one language to another but also translated with different doctrinal and methodological frameworks. It is not only a product of history but also a product of conglomeration of cultures, religi…
 
There's a lot of hype about robots; some of it is scary and some of it utopian. In this accessible book, two robotics experts reveal the truth about what robots can and can't do, how they work, and what we can reasonably expect their future capabilities to be. It will not only make you think differently about the capabilities of robots; it will mak…
 
Cosmological Conundrums is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Justin Khoury, Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania. This thoughtful, extensive conversation gives a window into the world of a practicing cosmologist, the often-considerable gap between formal scientific positions and personal scientific…
 
Examining the Green Party Taiwan (GPT) since its establishment through the aftermath of the most recent national elections in January 2020, Dafydd Fell’s Taiwan’s Green Parties: Alternative Politics in Taiwan (Routledge, 2021) focuses on Taiwan’s most important movement party over the last two and a half decades. Despite its limited electoral impac…
 
Diplomatic relationships between Indigenous sovereigns and colonial and settler governments were defined by language. In some cases, cultural divides were narrowed using common metaphors. In others, objects such as wampum belts were employed as visual records of past agreements. Speeches were carefully recorded, copied, and cited in later negotiati…
 
Actuarial thinking is everywhere in contemporary America, an often unnoticed byproduct of the postwar insurance industry’s political and economic influence. Calculations of risk permeate our institutions, influencing how we understand and manage crime, education, medicine, finance, and other social issues. In Insurance Era: Risk, Governance, and th…
 
In Part II of our discussion with Ben Nelson, he shares information on the outcomes for the first Minerva graduates and how Minerva has diversified its business model with new partners for its platform and an extension to high school. He also provides his perspective on the changes likely to unfold in higher education over the coming decade and les…
 
In the first complete English translation of a monumental 14th century Sanskrit philosophical text, the Jewel of Reflection on the Truth about Epistemology (Bloomsbury 2020), Stephen Phillips introduces modern readers to a classic of Indian philosophy. The author of the Jewel, Gaṅgeśa, is a comprehensive examination of epistemology and its interrel…
 
Yiddish in Israel: A History (Indiana UP, 2020) challenges the commonly held view that Yiddish was suppressed or even banned by Israeli authorities for ideological reasons, offering instead a radical new interpretation of the interaction between Yiddish and Israeli Hebrew cultures. Author Rachel Rojanski tells the compelling and yet unknown story o…
 
In the first complete English translation of a monumental 14th century Sanskrit philosophical text, the Jewel of Reflection on the Truth about Epistemology (Bloomsbury 2020), Stephen Phillips introduces modern readers to a classic of Indian philosophy. The author of the Jewel, Gaṅgeśa, is a comprehensive examination of epistemology and its interrel…
 
Historian Kevin Starr described Carey McWilliams as "the finest nonfiction writer on California—ever" and "the state's most astute political observer." But as Peter Richardson argues in American Prophet: The Life and Work of Carey McWilliams (University of California Press, 2019), McWilliams was also one of the nation's most versatile and productiv…
 
In 1884, sixty-eight prisoners convicted of terrorism and revolutionary activity were transferred to a new maximum-security prison at Shlissel'burg Fortress near St. Petersburg. Inhuman conditions in the prison caused severe mental and physical deterioration among the prisoners, and over half died. However, the survivors fought back to reform the p…
 
As governments and corporations mine our “entrenched culture of sharing” to invade privacy (down to Target creating an algorithm to figure out which shoppers are in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy) what happens to democracy? Can democracy survive with no (or very little privacy)? What if the citizenry cares little about privacy and or is unwilling t…
 
Focusing on the world of Norwegian Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) in the aftermath of significant reforms, Aleksandra Bartoszko's book Treating Heroin Addiction in Norway: The Pharmaceutical Other (Routledge, 2021) casts a critical light on the intersections between medicine and law, and the ideologies infusing the notions of "individual choic…
 
Horror fans are attracted to movies designed to scare us, but others shudder already at the thought of the sweat-drenched nightmares that terrifying movies often trigger. The fear of sleepless nights and the widespread beliefs that horror movies can have negative psychological effects and display immorality make some of us very, very nervous about …
 
Minna Salami's book Sensuous Knowledge: A Black Feminist Approach for Everyone (Amistad/HarperCollins, 2021) is a collection of thought provoking essays that explore questions central to how we see ourselves, our history, and our world. -What does it mean to be oppressed? -What does it mean to be liberated? -Why do women choose to follow authority …
 
Kristian Petersen’s new edited volume Muslims in the Movies: A Global Anthology (Ilex Foundation and Harvard University Press, 2021), introduces the subject of Muslims and film. The volume contains nineteen chapters that engage a range of film industries, including Hollywood and Bollywood, but also movies from the Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria, I…
 
How important is Islam to Indonesia’s identity? How different is Salafism from a more mainstream Sunni Islam? Why is it popular with mostly young Indonesian Muslims? And what effect does it have on Indonesian identity and democracy? In this episode, Chris Chaplin joins Petra Desatova to discuss his new book Salafism and the State: Islamic Activism …
 
Often seen as an outlier in science, Gaia has run a long and varied course since its formulation in the 1970s by atmospheric chemist James Lovelock and microbiologist Lynn Margulis. Gaian Systems: Lynn Margulis, Neocybernetics, and the End of the Anthropocene (U Minnesota Press, 2020) is a pioneering exploration of the dynamic and complex evolution…
 
The scientists affiliated with the early Royal Society of London have long been regarded as forerunners of modern empiricism, rejecting the symbolic and moral goals of Renaissance natural history in favor of plainly representing the world as it really was. In Aesthetic Science, Alexander Wragge-Morley challenges this interpretation by arguing that …
 
Rewriting Buddhism: Pali Literature and Monastic Reform in Sri Lanka, 1157–1270 (UCL Press, 2020) is the first intellectual history of premodern Sri Lanka’s most culturally productive period. This era of reform (1157–1270) shaped the nature of Theravada Buddhism both in Sri Lanka and also Southeast Asia and even today continues to define monastic i…
 
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