New Books Network

Pauline Turner Strong, “American Indians and the American Imaginary: Cultural Representation Across the Centuries” (Paradigm Publishers, 2012)
Pauline Turner Strong‘s new book American Indians and the American Imaginary: Cultural Representation Across the Centuries (Paradigm Publishers, 2012) traces the representations of Native Americans across various public spheres of the American imaginary. Based on historical and ethnographic research, she documents how representations of Native Americans have circulated through time and... Read More
John Osburg, “Anxious Wealth: Money and Morality Among China’s New Rich” (Stanford UP, 2013)
John Osburg‘s new book explores the rise of elite networks of newly-rich entrepreneurs, managers of state enterprises, and government officials in Chengdu. Based on extensive fieldwork that included hosting a Chinese TV show and spending many evenings in KTV clubs with businessmen who were entertaining clients, partners, and state officials, Anxious... Read More
Martha C. Howell, “Commerce Before Capitalism in Europe, 1300-1600” (Cambridge UP, 2010)
When I was an undergraduate, I was taught that merchants in early modern Western Europe were “proto-capitalists.” I was never quite sure what that meant. If it meant they traded property for money, yes. But that would make everyone who traded things for money over the past, say, 5,000 years,... Read More
Frans De Waal, “The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among Primates” (Norton, 2013)
Humans are quite a bit like chimpanzees, genetically speaking. Of course humans are quite a bit like fruit flies, genetically speaking. But when it comes to behavior, humans are much more like chimpanzees than fruit flies. And so the question arrises: what can we learn about ourselves from chimpanzees? According... Read More
Nancy Segal, “Born Together-Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twin Study” (Harvard UP, 2012)
Identical twins, separated at birth, raised in different families, and reunited in adulthood. In 1979, psychology researchers in Minnesota found some twins who had been reunited after a lifetime of separation, and brought them in to participate in a research study. And so began the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared... Read More
Dominic Pettman, “Human Error” (UMinnesota, 2011)/”Look at the Bunny” (Zero Books, 2013)
“The humans are dead.” Whether or not you recognize the epigram from Flight of the Conchords (and if not, there are worse ways to spend a few minutes than by looking here, and I recommend sticking around for the “binary solo”), Dominic Pettman‘s Human Error: Species-Being and Media Machines (University... Read More
Helen Longino, “Studying Human Behavior: How Scientists Investigate Aggression and Sexuality” (University of Chicago Press, 2013)
What explains human behavior? It is standard to consider answers from the perspective of a dichotomy between nature and nurture, with most researchers today in agreement that it is both. For Helen Longino, Clarence Irving Lewis Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, the “both” answer misses the fact that the... Read More