New Books Network

Nara Milanich, “Paternity: The Elusive Quest for the Father” (Harvard UP, 2019)
Nara Milanich’s Paternity: The Elusive Quest for the Father (Harvard University Press, 2019) explains how fatherhood, long believed to be impossible to know with certainty, became a biological “fact” that could be ascertained with scientific testing. Though the advent of DNA testing might seem to make paternity less elusive, Milanich’s... Read More
Amira Mittermaier, “Giving to God: Islamic Charity in Revolutionary Times” (U California Press, 2019)
In her stunning new book, Giving to God: Islamic Charity in Revolutionary Times (University of California Press, 2019), Amira Mittermaier, Associate Professor of Religion and Anthropology at the University of Toronto, conducts a dazzling and at many times moving ethnography of an Islamic economy of giving and charity in Egypt. By... Read More
Nicholas Shea, “Representation in Cognitive Science” (Oxford UP, 2018)
In order to explain thought in natural physical systems, mainstream cognitive science posits representations, or internal states that carry information about the world and that are used by the system to guide its behavior. Naturalistic theories of representation provide explanations of what information, or content, these internal states carry, and... Read More
Thomas S. Mullaney, “The Chinese Deathscape: Grave Reform in Modern China” (Stanford UP, 2019)
The Chinese landscape is dramatically changing. Modernization has drastically altered Chinese infrastructure, urban zones, waterways, and even rural spaces. These changes have also affected Chinese burial practices and the resting places of the deceased. In The Chinese Deathscape: Grave Reform in Modern China (Stanford University Press, 2019), collaborators explore the various... Read More
Anthony Kaldellis, “Romanland: Ethnicity and Empire in Byzantium” (Harvard UP, 2019)
Though commonly used today to identify a polity that lasted for over a millennium, the label “Byzantine empire” is an anachronism imposed by more recent generations. As Anthony Kaldellis explains in Romanland: Ethnicity and Empire in Byzantium (Harvard University Press, 2019), this has contributed to the denial of the ethnic... Read More
Francesca Trivellato, “The Promise and Peril of Credit” (Princeton UP, 2019)
In 1647, the French author Étienne Cleirac asserted in his book Les us, et coustumes de la mer that the credit instruments known as bills of exchange had been invented by Jews. In The Promise and Peril of Credit: What a Forgotten Legend about Jews and Finance Tells Us about... Read More
Aaron Rock-Singer, “Practicing Islam in Egypt: Print Media and Islamic Revival” (Cambridge UP, 2019)
Discussions of Middle East politics will inevitably bring Islamism to the table and with it, questions of how Islam in its current iterations came to be. In most cases, the Islamic revival is emphasized as a major turning point in 20th-century Islam. In the case of Egypt, there’s even more... Read More