New Books Network

Ann M. Blair, “Too Much To Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age” (Yale University Press, 2010)
Chewing on raw turnips and sand, keeping both feet in a tub of cold water, reading with just one eye open (to give the other a chance to rest) and sleeping only every other night: no, I am not describing the typical life of a pre-tenure professor trying to get... Read More
Allen Buchanan, “Better than Human: The Promise and Perils of Enhancing Ourselves” (Oxford UP, 2011)
Popular culture is replete with warnings about the dangers of technology. One finds in recent films, literature, and music cautions about the myriad ways in which technology threatens our very humanity; most frequently, the lesson is that the attempt to harness technology for the betterment of the world always backfires.... Read More
Suman Seth, “Crafting the Quantum: Arnold Sommerfeld and the Practice of Theory, 1890-1926” (MIT Press, 2010)
Though Einstein, Planck, and Pauli have become household names in the history of science, the work of Arnold Sommerfeld has yet to reach the same level of wide recognition outside the field of theoretical physics and its history. In Crafting the Quantum: Arnold Sommerfeld and the Practice of Theory, 1890-1926... 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
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
Erik Mueggler, “The Paper Road: Archive and Experience in the Botanical Exploration of West China and Tibet” (University of California Press, 2011)
First things first: this is an outstanding book. In the course of The Paper Road: Archive and Experience in the Botanical Exploration of West China and Tibet (University of California Press, 2011), Erik Mueggler weaves together the stories of two botanists traveling through western China and Tibet in a lyrically-written... Read More
Marta Hanson, “Speaking of Epidemics in Chinese Medicine: Disease and the Geographic Imagination in Late Imperial China” (Routledge, 2011)
Marta Hanson‘s book is a rich study of conceptions of space in medical thought and practice. Ranging from a deep history of the geographic imagination in China to an account of the SARS outbreak of the 21st century, Hanson’s book maps the transformations of medicine and healing in late imperial... Read More