Published this week

October 16, 2008

ART AND DESIGN

The Aesthetics of Uncertainty

By Janet Wolff, professor of performance, screen and visual cultures, University of Manchester

Columbia University Press, £20.50

ISBN 9780231140966

Wolff advances a postcritical aesthetics grounded in shared values that are negotiated in the context of community. She relates this approach to contemporary debates about a committed politics similarly founded on the abandonment of certainty.

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

How Life Began: Evolution's Three Geneses

By Alexandre Meinesz, professor of biology, University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis

University of Chicago Press, £14.50

ISBN 9780226519319

Meinesz elucidates three origins, or geneses, of life - bacteria, nucleated cells and multicellular organisms - and shows how evolution has sculpted life to its current biodiversity through four main events: mutation, recombination, natural selection and geological cataclysm.

BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT

The Venturesome Economy: How Innovation Sustains Prosperity in a More Connected World

By Amar Bhide, Glaubinger professor of business, Columbia University

Princeton University Press, £19.95

ISBN 9780691135175

Using studies of venture-capital-backed businesses to examine how technology advances in modern economies, this book explains why knowhow developed abroad enhances prosperity in the US, and why subsidising domestic research will do more harm than good.

GENERAL SCIENCE

The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation

By Steven Shapin, Franklin L. Ford professor of the history of science, Harvard University

University of Chicago Press, £15.00

ISBN 9780226750248

This is Shapin's story about who scientists are, who we think they are, and why our sensibilities about such things matter. He aims to show how the uncertainties attending scientific research make the virtues of individual researchers intrinsic to scientific work.

LITERATURE

Tudor Autobiography: Listening for Inwardness

By Meredith Anne Skura, Libbie Shearn Moody professor of English, Rice University

University of Chicago Press, £23.50

ISBN 9780226761879

Rejecting the search for the Early Modern self in life-writing, Skura instead asks what authors said about themselves, who wrote about themselves, how and why.

PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY

Thinking of Others: On the Talent for Metaphor

By Ted Cohen, professor of philosophy, University of Chicago

Princeton University Press, £17.95

ISBN 9780691137469

Using many literary examples, Cohen argues that we can engage with fictional characters just as intensely as we do with real people, and he looks at some of the ways literature itself takes up the question of interpersonal identification and understanding.

POLITICS

The Party Decides: Presidential Nominations Before and After Reform

By Marty Cohen, assistant professor of political science, James Madison University, David Karol, assistant professor of political science, University of California, Berkeley, Hans Noel, Robert Wood Johnson scholar in health policy research, University of Michigan, and John Zaller, professor of political science, University of California, Los Angeles

University of Chicago Press, £34.00 and £10.50

ISBN 9780226112367 and 2374

Tracing the evolution of American presidential nominations since the 1790s, this volume demonstrates how party insiders have sought since the country's founding to control nominations as a means of getting what they want from government.

History

Americans at the Gate: The United States and Refugees during the Cold War

By Carl J. Bon Tempo, assistant professor of history, State University of New York at Albany

Princeton University Press, £19.95

ISBN 9780691123325

The first comprehensive historical exploration of American refugee affairs from the mid-century to the present, this book explores the reasons behind remarkable changes to American refugee policy, laws and programs.

Bengal in Global Concept History: Culturalism in the Age of Capital

By Andrew Sartori, assistant professor of history, New York University

University of Chicago Press, £28.50 and 11.50

ISBN 9780226734934 and 4941

In this study, Sartori closely examines the history of political and intellectual life in 19th- and 20th-century Bengal to show how the cultural concept can take on a life of its own in different contexts.

Building the Devil’s Empire: French Colonial New Orleans

By Shannon Lee Dawdy, assistant professor of anthropology and social sciences, University of Chicago

University of Chicago Press, £18.00

ISBN 9780226138411

This is the first comprehensive history of the early years of New Orleans, tracing the city’s development from its origins in 1718 as an imperial experiment in urban planning through its revolt against Spanish rule in 1768.

The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam

By Jonathan Riley-Smith, professor of history, University of Cambridge

Columbia University Press, £14.50

ISBN 9780231146241

Riley-Smith returns to the story of the Crusades, explaining why and where they were fought and how deeply their narratives and symbolism became embedded in popular Catholic thought and devotional life.

Measuring the New World: Enlightenment Science and South America

By Neil Safier, assistant professor of history, University of British Columbia

University of Chicago Press, £23.50

ISBN 9780226733555

Through ephemeral monuments and geographical maps, from the Andes to the Amazon River, this book explores how the social and cultural worlds of South America contributed to the production of European scientific knowledge during the Enlightenment.

Theaters of Madness: Insane Asylums and Nineteenth-Century American Culture

By Benjamin Reiss, associate professor of English, Emory University

University of Chicago Press, £26.00 and £10.50

ISBN 9780226709635 and 9642

This book explores the

asylum’s place in the fabric of 19th-century life, reanimating a time when the treatment of the insane was a central topic in debates over democracy, freedom and modernity.

Politics

Democracy and Knowledge: Innovation and Learning in Classical Athens

By Josiah Ober, professor of political science, Stanford University

Princeton University Press, £17.95

ISBN 9780691133478

Combining a history of Athens with contemporary theories of collective action and rational choice, Ober examines Athenian democracy’s contribution to the ancient Greek city-state’s success, and demonstrates the lessons that Athenian political practices hold for us today.

Social sciences

Lifting Our Voices: The Journeys into Family Caregiving of Professional Social Workers

Edited by Joyce O. Beckett, professor emerita of social work, Virginia Commonwealth University

Columbia University Press, £46.95

ISBN 9780231140607

The contributors to this volume frankly discuss how a professional education either prepares or fails to equip an individual with the skills for successful intervention on behalf of a loved one.

To Know Where He Lies: DNA Technology and the Search for Srebrenica’s Missing

By Sarah Wagner, assistant professor of anthropology, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

University of California Press, £32.95 and £12.95

ISBN 9780520255746 and 5753

Wagner provides a powerful account of the innovative genetic technology developed to identify the eight thousand Bosnian Muslim men and boys found in mass graves and elsewhere, demonstrating how memory, imagination, and science come together to recover identities lost to genocide.

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