New Books Network

Carol Benedict, “Golden-Silk Smoke: A History of Tobacco in China, 1550-2010” (University of California Press, 2011)
Carol Benedict‘s Golden-Silk Smoke: A History of Tobacco in China, 1550-2010 (University of California Press, 2011)is many things at the same time; among other things, it’s both an exceptionally rich account of an object (or set of objects) that were crucial to the history of China in the world, and... Read More
Vincent Carretta, “Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage” (University of Georgia Press, 2011)
Few people can claim to have created a literary genre… Phillis Wheatley did. By the time she was twenty, her name- taken from the slave ship that carried her to America and the family that bought her upon arrival- would be known throughout the world. Extraordinarily well-educated for a woman... Read More
Peter-Paul Verbeek, “Moralizing Technology: Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things” (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
“Guns don’t kill people; people do.” That’s a common refrain from the National Rifle Association, but it expresses a certain view of our relations to the things we make that also affects our thinking about the scope of ethics. On this traditional view, human persons are moral agents, and artifacts,... Read More
Scott Morgensen, “Spaces Between Us: Queer Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Decolonization” (University of Minnesota Press, 2011)
Here’s a study-guide prepared to accompany the interview. For as much as recent decades have witnessed a patriarchal backlash against the growing visibility of LGBTQ people in North American society, there is another, increasingly popular narrative embodied by Dan Savage’s ubiquitous internet promise: “It gets better.” As barriers to equal... Read More
Stephen Mumford, “Watching Sport: Aesthetics, Ethics and Emotion” (Routledge, 2011)
Here is a quiz. What is your idea of the perfect sports-watching experience: a) watching your team crush its rival in a one-sided, humiliating contest, or b) watching two top-quality opponents, neither of which you support, in an epic, closely fought match, highlighted by brilliant individual performances? Your answer to... Read More
David Stahel, “Operation Barbarossa and Germany’s Defeat in the East” (Cambridge UP, 2009)
This week’s podcast is an interview with David Stahel. I will be talking to him about his 2009 work, Operation Barbarossa and Germany’s Defeat in the East (Cambridge University Press, 2009). One of our previous guests, Matthias Strohn, recommended the book, and I am glad he did. Stahel’s book is... Read More
Theo van Leeuwen, “The Language of Colour: An Introduction” (Routledge, 2011)
Theo van Leeuwen comes to the academic discipline of social semiotics – the study of how meanings are conveyed – from his previous career as a film and TV producer. His interest in the makings of visual communication is hardly surprising. More surprising was his realisation that, after 10 years... Read More