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We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what if we don’t understand what we’re looking at? Social media has made charts, infographics, and diagrams ubiquitous―and easier to share than ever. We associate charts with science and reason; the flashy visuals are both appealing and persuasive. Pie charts, maps, bar and line graphs, …
 
The city that sits on the River Foyle on the North side of the Irish isle in many ways has stood as a microcosm of the conflicts in Northern Ireland, even to the contestation over the name of Derry/Londonderry. In Derry City: Memory and Political Struggle in Northern Ireland (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020), Margo Shea examines the popular an…
 
Did the early Christians believe their myths? Like most ancient—and modern—people, early Christians made efforts to present their myths in the most believable ways. In How the Gospels Became History: Jesus and Mediterranean Myths (Yale University Press, 2019), M. David Litwa explores how and why what later became the four canonical gospels take on …
 
Undocumented youth activists are at the forefront of the present-day immigrant rights movement. This is especially true surrounding the activism of the recent SCOTUS decision on DACA issued on June 18, 2020. Professor Kevin Escudero’s book, Organizing While Undocumented: Immigrant Youth’s Political Activism Under the Law (New York University Press,…
 
With recent events having raised hopes that significant change may be afoot in North Korea, it is important to remember that DPRK society has in fact been undergoing steady transformation for a considerable period of time. Among the most important dimensions of this are the changes that have occurred in... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me…
 
The images featured in Splashes (RVB Press, 2018) are characteristic of Gabriel Jones’ approach to making images by capturing the “backdrop”, things behind the original subject. There is a performative element to this series in that Gabriel invited friends to pretend to pose at a party, he focused his camera towards them but not on them which allow…
 
By the third century BC, the once-modest settlement of Rome had conquered most of Italy and was poised to build an empire throughout the Mediterranean basin. What transformed a humble city into the preeminent power of the region? In The Rise of Rome: From the Iron Age to the Punic Wars(Harvard University Press, 2018), the Durham University historia…
 
Mahalia Jackson, the great mid-twentieth century gospel singer, thought of herself as an embodiment of the history of African Americans in the United States. She understood that her family’s background, as they moved from enslavement in Louisiana to farming in the same rural area to New Orleans at the beginning of the twentieth century and then her…
 
This episode proved remarkably popular, so we're reposting it as an NBN classic for those who missed it the first time. It is no easy task to survey and present a comprehensive history of philosophy of an entire intellectual tradition to a broad public audience without compromising on the scholarly rigor demanded by that history’s nuances. In an am…
 
If you’re a grad student facing the ugly reality of finding a tenure-track job, you could easily be forgiven for thinking about a career change. However, if you’ve spent the last several years working on a PhD, or if you’re a faculty member whose career has basically consisted of higher ed, switching isn’t so easy. PhD holders are mostly trained to…
 
Dismal spending on government health services is often considered a necessary consequence of a low per-capita GDP, but are poor patients in poor countries really fated to be denied the fruits of modern medicine? In many countries, officials speak of proper health care as a luxury, and convincing politicians to ensure citizens have access to quality…
 
In Knowledge and the Ends of Empire: Kazak Intermediaries and Russian Rule on the Steppe, 1731-1917 (Cornell University Press, 2017), Ian W. Campbell investigates the connections between knowledge production and policy formation on the Kazak steppes of the Russian Empire. Hoping to better govern the region, tsarist officials were desperate to obtai…
 
From the fourteenth through the nineteenth centuries Japanese monks created hundreds of maps to construct and locate their place in a Buddhist world. Expansively illustrated with multiple maps and illustrations, The Japanese Buddhist World Map: Religious Vision and the Cartographic Imagination (University of Hawai’i Press, 2021) by D. Max Moerman i…
 
In 1346, a catastrophic plague beset Europe and its neighbours. The Black Death was a human tragedy that abruptly halved entire populations and caused untold suffering, but it also brought about a cultural and economic renewal on a scale never before witnessed. The World the Plague Made is a panoramic history of how the bubonic plague revolutionize…
 
As the United Kingdom left the European Union, during a period of international and domestic turmoil, London found itself at a turning point. This critical moment presents an opportunity to look back, with a distinctive perspective, a focus on London in its national and, perhaps even more importantly, its international contexts, rather than on the …
 
Throughout his career, the internationally renowned Haitian anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot unsettled key concepts in anthropology, history, postcolonial studies, Black studies, Caribbean studies, and beyond. From his early critique of the West to the ongoing challenges he leveled at disciplinary and intellectual boundaries and formations, Tr…
 
Stories, Senses and the Charismatic Relation: A Reflexive Ethnography of Christian Experience (Routledge, 2020) offers a uniquely intimate and auto-ethnographic exploration of Christian experience, rendering a deep, phenomenological account of how devotional worlds become real – how they are experienced, shaped, constituted and performed by those w…
 
What is the oral tradition of Chinese storytelling about and what is the connection to the great Chinese novels? How to translate a Chinese classic such as the famed and defamed “Jin Ping Mei”? And how to handle the dilemma of steering one’s boat between enormous amounts of scholarship on the novel without drowning, and keeping up the tempo of tran…
 
Is planning for America anathema to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness? Is it true, as thinkers such as Friedrich Von Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Ayn Rand have claimed, that planning leads to dictatorship, that the state is economically inefficient, and that prosperity is owed primarily to the workings of a free market? To answer these ques…
 
The concept of the unconscious has a complicated place in the history of psychology. Many areas of study ignored or outright denied it for a long time, while psychoanalysis claimed it as one of its central tenets. More recently, many non-psychoanalytic researchers have addressed the unconscious, but under different names—automaticity, implicit memo…
 
In Black Software: The Internet and Racial Justice, from AfroNet to Black Lives Matter (Oxford Univeristy Press), Charlton McIlwain, Vice Provost for Faculty Engagement and Development and professor of media, culture, and communication at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, examines the intersection of racial justi…
 
Was Weimar doomed from the outset? In November 1918: The German Revolution (Oxford University Press, 2020), Robert Gerwarth argues that this is the wrong question to ask. Forget 1929 and 1933, the collapse of Imperial Germany began as a velvet revolution where optimism was as common as pessimism. A masterful synthesis told through diaries and memor…
 
From the New York Times to NPR, many major news organizations have strict policies about how reporters can conduct themselves in relation to the stories they cover. Journalists are discouraged from going to political events, advocating for causes related to the topics they cover, and publicly supporting candidates — all in the name of impartiality …
 
America's Other Muslims: Imam W.D. Mohammed, Islamic Reform, and the Making of American Islam explores the oldest and perhaps the most important Muslim community in America, whose story has received little attention in the contemporary context. Muhammad Fraser-Rahim explores American Muslim Revivalist, Imam W.D. Mohammed (1933–2008) and his contrib…
 
President Abraham Lincoln ordered the largest mass execution of Indigenous people in American history, following the 1862 uprising of hungry Dakota in Minnesota and suspiciously speedy trials. He also issued the largest commutation of executions in American history for the same act. But there is much more to the story of Lincoln’s interactions and …
 
The New Atlantic Order: The Transformation of International Politics, 1860-1933 (Cambridge UP, 2022) elucidates a momentous transformation process that changed the world: the struggle to create, for the first time, a modern Atlantic order in the long twentieth century (1860-2020). Placing it in a broader historical and global context, Patrick O. Co…
 
A Sephardi Sea: Jewish Memories Across the Modern Mediterranean (Indiana UP, 2022) tells the story of Jews from the southern shore of the Mediterranean who, between the late 1940s and the mid-1960s, migrated from their country of birth for Europe, Israel, and beyond. It is a story that explores their contrasting memories of and feelings for a Sepha…
 
How the Biosphere Works: Fresh Views Discovered While Growing Peppers (CRC Press, 2022) offers a simple and novel theoretical approach to understanding the history of the biosphere, including humanity’s place within it. It also helps to clarify what the possibilities and limitations are for future action. This is a subject of wide interest because …
 
A young sake bar owner, Yusuke Shimoki, arrives on the doorstep of Hannah Kirshner’s Brooklyn apartment “with a suitcase full of Ishikawa sake,” in Hannah’s words. That visit sparked a years-long connection between Hannah and the rural Japanese community of Yamanaka, a home for artisans and artists, hunters and farmers, and other ordinary Japanese …
 
Why isn’t there a queer subfield in philosophy? How has institutionalized philosophy continued to develop without a recognized specialization in queer philosophy? What would it mean to care queerly for philosophy? And how might that change not only the field, but the possibilities for living? These are just some of the questions raised by Kim Q. Ha…
 
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