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
Tong Lam, “A Passion for Facts: Social Surveys and the Construction of the Chinese Nation-State, 1900-1949” (University of California Press, 2011)
We tend to take for granted that we have bodies, that these bodies are knowable and measurable, and that we understand how to relate our own bodies to those of the people around us. To put it more simply: if I were to ask you how tall you were, how... Read More
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