Of the innumerable ways that science and humanity interact, few are as central or as significant as our interaction with microorganisms. Though these single-celled and “complete” living organisms have major impacts on many chemical and ecological processes, they are most often recognized for their ability to cause serious and sometimes fatal diseases. This book is a response to the current confusion and misunderstanding of microbes amongst the general public; written in narrative form, it will allow readers of all backgrounds to understand better the scientific concepts and terminology of how microbial or viral diseases are caused, to ask intelligent questions about the impact of diseases on our wellbeing, and to comprehend the reports about disease outbreaks that flood the media. The book begins by introducing the microbe, its history, and its basic science. Then Firshein describes seven critical microbial and viral diseases that plague our world, showing how each one illustrates the basic characteristics of infection. In this lively discussion of pathogenicity, he reveals the fascinating scientific relationship between human and microbe, and shows us how humanity can live with microorganisms.
Contentious debates over the benefits—or drawbacks—of a liberal education are as old as America itself. From Benjamin Franklin to the Internet pundits, critics of higher education have attacked its irrelevance and elitism—often calling for more vocational instruction. Thomas Jefferson, by contrast, believed that nurturing a student’s capacity for lifelong learning was useful for science and commerce while also being essential for democracy. In this provocative contribution to the disputes, Roth focuses on important moments and seminal thinkers in America’s long-running argument over vocational vs. liberal education.
Conflicting streams of thought flow through American intellectual history: W. E. B. DuBois’s humanistic principles of pedagogy for newly emancipated slaves developed in opposition to Booker T. Washington’s educational utilitarianism, for example. Jane Addams’s emphasis on the cultivation of empathy and John Dewey’s calls for education as civic engagement were rejected as impractical by those who aimed to train students for particular economic tasks. Roth explores these arguments (and more), considers the state of higher education today, and concludes with a stirring plea for the kind of education that has, since the founding of the nation, cultivated individual freedom, promulgated civic virtue, and instilled hope for the future.
“Multiverse” cosmologies imagine our universe as just one of a vast number of others. While this idea has captivated philosophy, religion, and literature for millennia, it is now being considered as a scientific hypothesis—with different models emerging from cosmology, quantum mechanics, and string theory. Beginning with ancient Atomist and Stoic philosophies, Rubenstein links contemporary models of the multiverse to their forerunners and explores the reasons for their recent appearance. One concerns the so-called fine-tuning of the universe: nature’s constants are so delicately calibrated that it seems they have been set just right to allow life to emerge. For some thinkers, these “fine-tunings” are evidence of the existence of God; for others, however, and for most physicists, “God” is an insufficient scientific explanation.
This extensively researched and delightfully illustrated book examines “the marriage movie”; what it is (or isn’t) and what it has to tell us about the movies—and ourselves. As long as there have been feature movies there have been marriage movies, and yet Hollywood has always been cautious about how to label them—perhaps because, unlike any other genre of film, the marriage movie resonates directly with the experience of almost every adult coming to see it. Here is “happily ever after”—except when things aren’t happy, and when “ever after” is abruptly terminated by divorce, tragedy . . . or even murder.
Basinger traces the many ways Hollywood has tussled with this tricky subject, explicating the relationships of countless marriages from Blondie and Dagwood to the heartrending couple in the Iranian A Separation, from Tracy and Hepburn to Laurel and Hardy (a marriage if ever there was one) to Coach and his wife in Friday Night Lights. The volume contains a treasure trove of movie stills, posters, and ads.
Connor’s tenth collection is framed by military encounters. In the first poem a young man grapples with a malfunctioning machine-gun, while the author grapples with the poem he is making from this event, memory or fantasy. In the surrealistic sequence that ends the book, a strange army invades a country collapsing into societal and semantic dissolution.
Connor’s abiding preoccupations continue into his eighties: his own life and the lives around him, passing time and its traps, poetry and its transfiguration of the commonplace. Yet all is not solemn as Connor extends his range into comic verse and dramatic dialogue. His new poems mix fantasy and reality in unexpected ways, always with the unobtrusive hand of a skilled craftsman.
In the United States at the height of the Cold War, roughly between the end of World War II and the early 1980s, a new project of redefining rationality commanded the attention of sharp minds, powerful politicians, wealthy foundations, and top military brass. Its home was the human sciences—psychology, sociology, political science, and economics, among others—and its participants enlisted in an intellectual campaign to figure out what rationality should mean and how it could be deployed.
How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind brings to life the people—Herbert Simon, Oskar Morgenstern, Herman Kahn, Anatol Rapoport, Thomas Schelling, and many others—and places, including the RAND Corporation, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Cowles Commission for Research and Economics, and the Council on Foreign Relations, that played a key role in putting forth a “Cold War rationality.” Decision makers harnessed this picture of rationality—optimizing, formal, algorithmic, and mechanical—in their quest to understand phenomena as diverse as economic transactions, biological evolution, political elections, international relations, and military strategy. Erickson and the other authors chronicle and illuminate what it meant to be rational in the age of nuclear brinkmanship.
In the middle of the 19th century, a group of political activists in New York City joined together to challenge a religious group they believed were hostile to the American values of liberty and freedom. Called the Know Nothings, they started riots during elections, tarred and feathered their political enemies, and barred men from employment based on their religion. The group that caused this uproar?: Irish and German Catholics—then known as the most villainous religious group in America, and widely believed to be loyal only to the Pope. It would take another hundred years before Catholics threw off these xenophobic accusations and joined the American mainstream.
The idea that the United States is a stronghold of religious freedom is central to our identity as a nation—and utterly at odds with the historical record. Gottschalk traces the arc of American religious discrimination and shows that, far from the dominant protestant religions being kept in check by the separation between church and state, religious groups from Quakers to Judaism have been subjected to similar patterns of persecution. Today, many of these same religious groups that were once regarded as anti-thetical to American values are embraced as evidence of our strong religious heritage—giving hope to today's Muslims, Sikhs, and other religious groups now under fire.
In recent years, the world has been rocked by major economic crises, most notably the devastating collapse of Lehman Brothers, the largest bankruptcy in American history, which triggered the breathtakingly destructive sub-prime disaster. What sparks these vast economic calamities? Why do our economic policy makers fail to protect us from such upheavals?
In Wrong, Grossman addresses such questions, shining a light on the poor thinking behind nine of the worst economic policy mistakes of the past 200 years, missteps whose outcomes ranged from appalling to tragic. Grossman tells the story behind each misconceived economic move, explaining why the policy was adopted, how it was implemented, and its short- and long-term consequences. In each case, he shows that the main culprits were policy makers who were guided by ideology rather than economics.
The philosophy of “presence” seeks to challenge current understandings of meaning and understanding. One can trace its origins back to Vico, Dilthey, and Heidegger, though its more immediate exponents include Jean-Luc Nancy, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, and such contemporary philosophers of history as Frank Ankersmit and Eelco Runia. The theoretical paradigm of presence conveys how the past is literally with us in the present in significant and material ways: Things we cannot touch nonetheless touch us. This makes presence a post-linguistic or post-discursive theory that challenges current understandings of “meaning” and “interpretation.”
Presence provides an overview of the concept and surveys both its weaknesses and its possible uses. In this book, editors Kleinberg and Ghosh bring together an interdisciplinary group of contributors to explore the possibilities and limitations of presence from a variety of perspectives—history, sociology, literature, cultural theory, media studies, photography, memory, and political theory. The book features critical engagements with the presence paradigm within intellectual history, literary criticism, and the philosophy of history.
Modern moral theories have crystallized around the logic of individual choices, abstracted from social and historical context. Yet most action, including moral theorizing, can equally be understood as a response, conscious or otherwise, to the social world out of which it emerges. In this novel account of moral agency, Springer accords central importance to how we intervene in activity around us. To notice and address what others are doing with their moral agency is to exercise what Springer calls critical responsiveness. Her account of this responsiveness steers critics away from both of the conventionally familiar ideals—justifying and expressing reactive attitudes on one hand, and prescribing and manipulating behavioral outcomes on the other. Good critical practice functions instead as a dynamic gestural engagement of attention, reaching further than expressive representation but not as far as causal control.
Central economic planning is often associated with failed state socialism, and modern capitalism celebrated as its antithesis. This book shows that central planning is not always, or even primarily, a state enterprise, and that the giant industrial corporations that dominated the American economy through the 20th century were, first and foremost, unprecedented examples of successful, consensual central planning at a very large scale. Adelstein explores the remarkable transformation undergone by business in the United States over the half-century following the Civil War—from small sole proprietorships and partnerships to massive corporations possessing many of the same constitutional rights as living men and women. Approaching this story through historical, philosophical, legal and economic lenses, he traces the big business boom to three historic developments: a major managerial achievement within the firms themselves; an ill-conceived and ill-timed attempt by legislators to rein in rapidly expanding firms; and the Supreme Court’s understated—but immensely consequential—decision granting constitutional rights to corporations separate from those of their owners.
Confucian political philosophy has recently emerged as a vibrant area of thought both in China and around the globe. This book provides an accessible introduction to the main perspectives and topics being debated today, and shows why Progressive Confucianism is a particularly promising approach. Students of political theory or contemporary politics will learn that far from being confined to a museum, contemporary Confucianism is both responding to current challenges and offering insights from which we can all learn.
The Progressive Confucianism defended here takes key ideas of the 20th-century Confucian philosopher Mou Zongsan (1909–1995) as its point of departure for exploring issues like political authority and legitimacy, the rule of law, human rights, civility, and social justice. The result is anti-authoritarian without abandoning the ideas of virtue and harmony; it preserves the key values Confucians find in ritual and hierarchy without giving in to oppression or domination. A central goal of the book is to present Progressive Confucianism in such a way as to make its insights manifest to non-Confucians, be they philosophers or simply citizens interested in the potential contributions of Chinese thinking to our emerging, shared world.
This book explores a new generation of Africans who are not only consumers of global musical currents, but also active and creative participants. Charry and an international group of contributors look carefully at youth culture and the explosion of hip hop in Africa, the embrace of other contemporary genres, including reggae, ragga, and gospel music, and the continued vitality of drumming. Covering Senegal, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and South Africa, this volume offers unique perspectives on the presence and development of hip hop and other music in Africa and their place in global music culture.
Esther Murphy was a brilliant New York intellectual who dazzled friends and strangers with an unstoppable flow of conversation. But she never finished the books she was contracted to write—a painful failure and yet a kind of achievement. The quintessential fan, Mercedes de Acosta had intimate friendships with the legendary actresses and dancers of the twentieth century. Her ephemeral legacy lies in the thousands of objects she collected to preserve the memory of those performers and to honor the feelings they inspired. An icon of haute couture and a fashion editor of British Vogue, Madge Garland held bracing views on dress that drew on her feminism, her ideas about modernity, and her love of women. Existing both vividly and invisibly at the center of cultural life, she—like Murphy and de Acosta—is now almost completely forgotten. In this biographical triptych, Cohen describes these women’s glamorous choices, complicated failures, and controversial personal lives with lyricism and empathy. At once a series of intimate portraits and a startling investigation into style, celebrity, sexuality, and the genre of biography itself, All We Know explores a hidden history of modernism and pays tribute to three compelling lives.
From the beginning of the 19th century through to 1960, Protestant missionaries were the most important intermediaries between South Africa’s ruling white minority and its black majority. Elphick's book reconfigures the narrative of race in South Africa by exploring the pivotal role played by these missionaries and their teachings in shaping that nation’s history. Providing historical context reaching back to 1652, Elphick concentrates on the era of industrialization, segregation, and the beginnings of apartheid in the first half of the 20th century.
The missionaries articulated a universalist and egalitarian ideology derived from New Testament teachings that rebuked the racial hierarchies endemic to South African society. Yet white settlers, the churches closely tied to them, and even many missionaries evaded or subverted these ideas. In the early years of settlement, the white minority justified its supremacy by equating Christianity with white racial identity. Later, they adopted segregated churches for blacks and whites, followed by segregationist laws blocking blacks’ access to prosperity and citizenship—and, eventually, by the ambitious plan of social engineering that was apartheid.
Extensively revised and updated for the second edition, this comprehensive collection presents 50 classic and contemporary readings, 33 of them new. The second edition retains the core readings and insights of the first edition while also updating its coverage in light of the many changes that have occurred over the last 20 years in the intellectual climate and in patterns of environmental concern. The selections are topically organized into sections on animals, biodiversity, ethics, images of nature, wilderness, and—new to this edition—aesthetics, climate change, and food. This thematic organization, in combination with coverage of current environmental issues, encourages students to apply what they learn in class to real-life problems.
Featuring insightful section introductions, discussion questions, and suggestions for further reading, this volume is ideal for use in environmental philosophy, environmental ethics, and environmental studies courses.
Long an icon of American musical and political life, Pete Seeger has written eloquently in books and for magazines, activist movements, and union newsletters. Although he has never written an autobiography, his life story is nowhere more personally chronicled than in the private writings, documents, and letters stored for decades in his family barn. In this book, we hear directly from Seeger through the widest array of sources—letters, notes to himself, published articles, rough drafts, stories, and poetry—creating the most intimate picture yet available of Seeger as a musician, an activist, and a family man—in his own words and from his own perspective.
From letters to his mother written when he was a 13-year-old desiring his first banjo to speculations on the future, this book covers the passions, personalities, and experiences of a lifetime of struggle—the pre-WWII labor movement, the Communist Party, Woody Guthrie, the blacklist, the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King, the struggle against the war in Vietnam, Bob Dylan, travels around the world, cleaning up the Hudson River, Granny D, Fidel Castro, Bill Clinton, and countless uncelebrated activists with whom Seeger has worked and sung. The portrait that emerges is not a saint, not a martyr, but a flesh-and-blood man, struggling to understand his gift, his time, and his place.
In January 1990, just months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Günter Grass made two New Year’s resolutions: the first was to travel extensively in the newly united Germany and the second was to keep a diary, to record his impressions of a historic time. Grass takes part in public debates, writes for newspapers, makes speeches, and meets emerging politicians. He talks to German citizens on both sides, listening to their bewilderment and their hopes for the future. Ideas for stories take root—his novels The Call of the Toad and Too Far Afield.
From Germany to Germany is also a personal record. Grass reflects on his family, remembers his boyhood, and comments on the books he is reading, the drawings he is making, and the sumptuous meals he cooks for family and friends. The picture that emerges—not only of the two Germanys struggling for a single identity but of a changed world after the end of the Cold War—is engrossing, passionate, and essential for anyone who wants to understand Europe’s new leading nation.
In a rundown Los Angeles apartment building—the titular Starlite Terrace—Roth unfurls the tragic linked stories of Rex, Moss, Gary and June, four neighbors, in a sort of burlesque of the Hollywood modern. In each of their singular collisions with fame, Roth’s dark prose presages a universal and mythical fate of desperation.
In “The Man at Noah’s Window,” Rex shares the story of his father, a supposed hand double for Gary Cooper in High Noon. In “Eclipse of the Sun,” Moss, who lives in fear of the next holocaust, awaits a visit from the long-lost daughter he has tracked down. In “Rider on the Storm,” Gary, a rock drummer and born-again Christian, who “almost played” on the Turtles’ 60s-hit “Happy Together,” strives to find escape from his personal guilt. And in “The Woman in the Sea of Stars,” June, a former Hollywood studio secretary whose husband once cheated on her with Marilyn Monroe, makes the best of a disconnected life until she emerges reborn through ashes strewn in the illuminated swimming pool of the Starlite Terrace.
In these four tales of wanna-bes and almost-weres, Roth's L.A. portraits unfold in rare style, and, in Winston’s translation, the hopeless, loveless perversion of an Ed Ruscha-inspired California becomes a compelling pageant of all-American grotesques that is not to be missed.