People all over the world make art and take pleasure in it, and they have done so for millennia. But acknowledging that art is a universal part of human experience leads us to some big questions: Why does it exist? Why do we enjoy it? And how do the world’s different art traditions relate to art and to each other?
Art Without Borders is an extraordinary exploration of those questions, a profound and personal meditation on the human hunger for art and a dazzling synthesis of the whole range of inquiry into its significance. Esteemed thinker Ben-Ami Scharfstein’s encyclopedic erudition is here brought to bear on the full breadth of the world of art. He draws on neuroscience and psychology to understand the way we both perceive and conceive of art, including its resistance to verbal exposition. Through examples of work by Indian, Chinese, European, African, and Australianartists, Art Without Borders probes the distinction between accepting a tradition and defying it through innovation, which leads to a consideration of the notion of artistic genius. Continuing in this comparative vein, Scharfstein examines the mutual influence of European and non-European artists. Then, through a comprehensive evaluation of the world’s major art cultures, he shows how all of these individual traditions are gradually, but haltingly, conjoining into a single current of universal art. Finally, he concludes by looking at the ways empathy and intuition can allow members of one culture to appreciate the art of another.
Lucid, learned, and incomparably rich in thought and detail, Art Without Borders is a monumental accomplishment, on par with the artistic achievements Scharfstein writes about so lovingly in its pages.
We live in a politicized time. Culture wars and increasingly partisan conflicts have reduced public discourse to shouting matches between ideologues. But rather than merely bemoaning the vulgarity and sloganeering of this era, says acclaimed author and editor Gregory Wolfe, we should seek to enrich the language of civil discourse. And the best way to do that, Wolfe believes, is to draw nourishment from the deepest sources of culture: art and religious faith.
Wolfe has been called “one of the most incisive and persuasive voices of our generation,” and this penetrating and wide-ranging book makes a powerful case for the importance of beauty and imagination to cultural renewal. He begins by tracing his own journey from a young culture warrior bent on attacking the modern world to a career devoted to nurturing the creation of culture through contemporary literature and art that renew the Western tradition. Along the way, Wolfe finds in Renaissance Christian humanists like Erasmus and Thomas More—and their belief that imagination and the arts are needed to offset the danger of ideological abstractions— a “distant mirror” in which to see our own times.
Beauty Will Save the World offers a revealing introduction to the artists and thinkers who are the Christian humanists of the modern era, from well-known figures like Evelyn Waugh and Wendell Berry to lesser-known authors like Shusaku Endo, Andrew Lytle, and Geoffrey Hill. A section on visual artists Mary McCleary, Fred Folsom, and Makoto Fujimura (accompanied by reproductions of their works) demonstrates that there are artists who can reimagine the Western tradition in strikingly contemporary terms. Finally, Wolfe pays tribute to the conservative thinkers who served as his mentors: Russell Kirk, Gerhart Niemeyer, Marion Montgomery, and Malcolm Muggeridge— all of whom rejected rigid ideology and embraced culture and tradition.
At a time when our public discourse has come to be dominated by warring factions with little regard for truth, Wolfe’s affirmation of beauty as a redemptive force is both refreshing and encouraging.
Kids in cages, family separations, thousands dying in the desert. Police violence and corruption. Environmental devastation. These are just some of the dramatic stories recounted by veteran journalist Miriam Davidson in The Beloved Border. This groundbreaking work of original reporting also gives hope for the future, showing how border people are responding to the challenges with compassion and creativity.
The book draws on a variety of sources to explain how border issues intersect and how the current situation, while made worse under the Trump administration, is in fact the result of decades of prohibition, crackdowns, and wall building on the border. Davidson addresses subjects such as violence in Mexico, particularly against the press; cross-border gun smuggling and legal gun sales; the rise in migrant detentions, deportations, and deaths since the crackdown began; controversy over humanitarian aid in the desert; border patrol crimes and abuses; and the legal, ethical, and moral issues raised by increased police presence and militarization on the border. The book also looks at the environmental impact of wall building and construction of a planned copper mine near Tucson, especially on the jaguar and other endangered species.
Davidson shares the history of sanctuary and argues that this social movement and others that have originated on the border are vanguards of larger global movements against the mistreatment of migrant workers and refugees, police brutality, and other abuses of human and natural rights. She gives concrete examples of positive ways in which border people are promoting local culture and cross-border solidarity through health care, commerce, food, art, and music. While death and suffering continue to occur, The Beloved Border shows us how the U.S.-Mexico border could be, and in many ways already is, a model for peaceful coexistence worldwide.
"Caring for Everything" brilliantly fosters the notion that all of us, regardless of our education, social or economic status, can sincerely make a difference and bring joy to others, ourselves, and the community in which we serve.
Humanity is by many measures the biggest success story in the animal kingdom; but what are the costs of this triumph? Over its three million years of existence, the human species has continuously modified nature and drained its resources. In Cataclysms, Laurent Testot provides the full tally, offering a comprehensive environmental history of humanity’s unmatched and perhaps irreversible influence on the world.
Testot explores the interconnected histories of human evolution and planetary deterioration, arguing that our development from naked apes to Homo sapiens has entailed wide-scale environmental harm. Testot makes the case that humans have usually been catastrophic for the planet, “hyperpredators” responsible for mass extinctions, deforestation, global warming, ocean acidification, and unchecked pollution, as well as the slaughter of our own species. Organized chronologically around seven technological revolutions, Cataclysms unspools the intertwined saga of humanity and our environment, from our shy beginnings in Africa to today’s domination of the planet, revealing how we have blown past any limits along the way—whether by exploding our own population numbers, domesticating countless other species, or harnessing energy from fossils. Testot’s book, while sweeping, is light and approachable, telling the stories—sometimes rambunctious, sometimes appalling—of how a glorified monkey transformed its own environment beyond all recognition.
In order to begin reversing our environmental disaster, we must have a better understanding of our own past and the incalculable environmental costs incurred at every stage of human innovation. Cataclysms offers that understanding and the hope that we can now begin to reform our relationship to the Earth.
Christ's Subversive Body offers a fascinating exploration of six historical examples of politically or culturally subversive usages of the body of Christ. Shining a light on the enabling potential of religious rhetoric, Solovieva examines how in moments of crisis or transition throughout Western history the body of Christ has been deployed in a variety of discourses, including recent neo- and theoconservative movements in the United States.
Solovieva’s survey includes the iconoclastic polemics of Epiphanius at the moment of struggles for supremacy between the Roman state and the Christian church, the mystical theologico-political alchemy of an anonymous treatise circulated at the Council of Constance, Lavater’s counter-Enlightenment visions of the afterlife expressd through physiognomy, Dostoevsky’s refashioning of ethical communities, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s attempts to provoke the “scandal” of Jesus’s mission once more in the modern world, and the elaboration of a political theology subordinating democratic dissent to the higher unity of a corporately conceived “unitary executive” in early twenty-first-century America.
Solovieva presents her findings not as an entry into theological or Christological debates but rather as a study in comparative discourse analysis. She demonstrates how these uses of Christ’s body are triggered by moments of epistemological, political, and representational crisis in the history of Western civilization.
Decency remains one of the most prevalent yet least understood terms in today’s political discourse. In evoking respect, kindness, courage, integrity, reason, and tolerance, it has long expressed an unquestioned duty and belief in promoting and protecting the dignity of all persons. Today this unquestioned belief is in crisis. Tribalism and identity politics have both hindered and threatened its moral stability and efficacy. Still, many continue to undertheorize its political character by isolating it from the effects of identity politics. Decency and Difference argues that decency is a primary source of the political tension that has long shaped the struggles for power, identity, and justice in the global arena. It distinguishes among basic, conservative, and liberal strands of decency to critically examine the many conflicting and competing applications of decency in global politics. Together these different strands reflect a long and uneven evolution from the British and American empires to a global network of justice. This powerful book exposes the gaps of decency and the disparate ways it is practiced, thus addressing the global challenge of configuring a diverse political ethic of decency.
This second volume of Eric Voegelin’s miscellaneous papers contains unpublished writings from the time of his forced emigration from Austria in 1938 until his death in 1985. The volume’s focus is on dialogue and discussion, presenting Voegelin in the role of lecturer, discussant, and respondent. “The Drama of Humanity” presents the Walter Turner Candler Lectures delivered in four parts at Emory University in 1967. This text, a small book in itself, addresses the themes of “The Contemporary Situation,” “Man in the Cosmos,” “The Epiphany of Man,” and “Man in Revolt,” providing the reader with a good introduction to Voegelin’s later work.
Another extensive text included in this volume is “Conversations with Eric Voegelin at the Thomas More Institute” in Montreal. These exchanges include lectures and discussions given by Voegelin between 1967 and 1976. A number of other sections offer insight into Voegelin’s intellectual development over a period of forty years. These include the complete “Foreword” to the second edition of The Political Religions, which is published here for the first time; “Notes on T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets;” the “Cycle Theory and Disintegrations;” “What Is Political Theory?;” “The Spiritual and Political Future of the Western World;” “Notes on ‘Civilization and Foreign Affairs;’” “Structures of Consciousness;” “The Beyond and Its Parousia;” and the 1983 “Responses at the Panel Discussion of ‘The Beginning of the Beginning.’”
Several lengthy excerpts from conference dialogues with other scholars are also included: “The West and the Meaning of Industrial Society,” “Natural Law in Political Theory,” and “Man in Political Institutions.” Volume 33 concludes with Voegelin’s “Autobiographical Statement at the Age of Eighty-Two,” his last public utterance on the course of his life and his life’s work. By choosing dialogue as the focus of this volume, Petropulos and Weiss are able to show not only the extent to which Voegelin engaged in an exchange of ideas but also his abiding concern for the practical and theoretical conditions necessary in order for this exchange to take place.
Smallpox, measles, and typhus. The scourges of lethal disease—as threatening in colonial Mesoamerica as in other parts of the world—called for widespread efforts and enlightened attitudes to battle the centuries-old killers of children and adults. Even before edicts from Spain crossed the Atlantic, colonial elites oftentimes embraced medical experimentation and reform in the name of the public good, believing it was their moral responsibility to apply medical innovations to cure and prevent disease. Their efforts included the first inoculations and vaccinations against smallpox, new strategies to protect families and communities from typhus and measles, and medical interventions into pregnancy and childbirth.
For All of Humanity examines the first public health campaigns in Guatemala, southern Mexico, and Central America in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Martha Few pays close attention to Indigenous Mesoamerican medical cultures, which not only influenced the shape and scope of those regional campaigns but also affected the broader New World medical cultures. The author reconstructs a rich and complex picture of the ways colonial doctors, surgeons, Indigenous healers, midwives, priests, government officials, and ordinary people engaged in efforts to prevent and control epidemic disease.
Few’s analysis weaves medical history and ethnohistory with social, cultural, and intellectual history. She uses prescriptive texts, medical correspondence, and legal documents to provide rich ethnographic descriptions of Mesoamerican medical cultures, their practitioners, and regional pharmacopeia that came into contact with colonial medicine, at times violently, during public health campaigns.
The Araweté are one of the few Amazonian peoples who have maintained their cultural integrity in the face of the destructive forces of European imperialism. In this landmark study, anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro explains this phenomenon in terms of Araweté social cosmology and ritual order. His analysis of the social and religious life of the Araweté—a Tupi-Guarani people of Eastern Amazonia—focuses on their concepts of personhood, death, and divinity.
Building upon ethnographic description and interpretation, Viveiros de Castro addresses the central aspect of the Arawete's concept of divinity—consumption—showing how its cannibalistic expression differs radically from traditional representations of other Amazonian societies. He situates the Araweté in contemporary anthropology as a people whose vision of the world is complex, tragic, and dynamic, and whose society commands our attention for its extraordinary openness to exteriority and transformation. For the Araweté the person is always in transition, an outlook expressed in the mythology of their gods, whose cannibalistic ways they imitate. From the Enemy's Point of View argues that current concepts of society as a discrete, bounded entity which maintains a difference between "interior" and "exterior" are wholly inappropriate in this and in many other Amazonian societies.
Scientists, theologians, and the spiritually inclined, as well as all those concerned with humanity's increasingly widespread environmental impact, are beginning to recognize that our ongoing abuse of the earth diminishes our moral as well as our material condition. Many people are coming to believe that strengthening the bonds among spirituality, science, and the natural world offers an important key to addressing the pervasive environmental problems we face.The Good in Nature and Humanity brings together 20 leading thinkers and writers -- including Ursula Goodenough, Lynn Margulis, Dorion Sagan, Carl Safina, David Petersen, Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams, and Barry Lopez -- to examine the divide between faith and reason, and to seek a means for developing an environmental ethic that will help us confront two of our most imperiling crises: global environmental destruction and an impoverished spirituality. The book explores the ways in which science, spirit, and religion can guide the experience and understanding of our ongoing relationship with the natural world and examines how the integration of science and spirituality can equip us to make wiser choices in using and managing the natural environment. The book also provides compelling stories that offer a narrative understanding of the relations among science, spirit, and nature.Grounded in the premise that neither science nor religion can by itself resolve the prevailing malaise of environmental and moral decline, contributors seek viable approaches to averting environmental catastrophe and, more positively, to achieving a more harmonious relationship with the natural world. By bridging the gap between the rational and the religious through the concern of each for understanding the human relation to creation, The Good in Nature and Humanity offers an important means for pursuing the quest for a more secure and meaningful world.
The major humanitarian crises of recent years are well known: the Shoah, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Rwandan genocide, the massacre in Bosnia, and the tsunami in Southeast Asia, as well as the bloody conflicts in South Sudan, Syria, and Afghanistan. Millions have been killed and many millions more have been driven from their homes; the number of refugees and internally displaced persons has reached record levels. Could these crises have been prevented? Why do they continue to happen? This book seeks to understand how humanity itself is in crisis, and what we can do about it.
Hollenbach draws on the values that have shaped major humanitarian initiatives over the past century and a half, such as the commitments of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders, as well as the values of diverse religious traditions, including Catholicism, to examine the scope of our responsibilities and practical solutions to these global crises. He also explores the economic and political causes of these tragedies, and uncovers key moral issues for both policy-makers and for practitioners working in humanitarian agencies and faith communities.
Humanity: Texts and Contexts is a record of the 2007 Singapore “Building Bridges” seminar, an annual dialogue between Muslim and Christian scholars cosponsored by Georgetown University and the Archbishop of Canterbury. This volume explores three central questions: What does it mean to be human? What is the significance of the diversity that is evident among human beings? And what are the challenges that humans face living within the natural world?
A distinguished group of scholars focuses on the theological responses to each of these questions, drawing on the wealth of material found in both Christian and Islamic scriptures. Part one lays out the three issues of human identity, difference, and guardianship. Part two explores scriptural texts side by side, pairing Christian and Islamic scholars who examine such themes as human dignity, human alienation, human destiny, humanity and gender, humanity and diversity, and humanity and the environment. In addition to contributions from an international cast of outstanding scholars, the book includes an afterword by Archbishop Rowan Williams.
Scientists, activists, state officials, NGOs, and others increasingly claim to speak and act on behalf of “humanity.” The remarkable array of circumstances in which humanity is invoked testifies to the category’s universal purchase. Yet what exactly does it mean to govern, fight, and care in the name of humanity? In this timely collection, leading anthropologists and cultural critics grapple with that question, examining configurations of humanity in relation to biotechnologies, the natural environment, and humanitarianism and human rights. From the global pharmaceutical industry, to forest conservation, to international criminal tribunals, the domains they analyze highlight the diversity of spaces and scales at which humanity is articulated.
The editors argue that ideas about humanity find concrete expression in the governing work that operationalizes those ideas to produce order, prosperity, and security. As a site of governance, humanity appears as both an object of care and a source of anxiety. Assertions that humanity is being threatened, whether by environmental catastrophe or political upheaval, provide a justification for the elaboration of new governing techniques. At the same time, humanity itself is identified as a threat (to nature, to nation, to global peace) which governance must contain. These apparently contradictory understandings of the relation of threat to the category of humanity coexist and remain in tension, helping to maintain the dynamic co-production of governance and humanity.
Contributors. Arun Agrawal, Joao Biehl , Didier Fassin, Allen Feldman, Ilana Feldman, Rebecca Hardin, S. Lochann Jain, Liisa Malkki, Adriana Petryna, Miriam Ticktin, Richard Ashby Wilson, Charles Zerner
In this bold exploration of the political theory of the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, Burt shows that God’s authority is no less inherently problematic and in need of justification than the legitimacy of secular government. He paints a surprising picture of the ambivalent, mutually dependent relationship between God and his peoples.
The Invention of Humanity
Siep Stuurman Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress HM821.S778 2017 | Dewey Decimal 305
For much of history, strangers were seen as barbarians, seldom as fellow human beings. The notion of common humanity had to be invented. Drawing on global thinkers, Siep Stuurman traces ideas of equality and difference across continents and civilizations, from antiquity to present-day debates about human rights and the “clash of civilizations.”
Islam exists in global history with its richly variegated cultural and social realities. When these specific cultural contexts are marginalized, Islam is reduced to an ahistorical religion without the ability to contribute to humanity. This limited understanding of Islam has been a contributing factor in many of the violent conflicts in the present day. Reflecting on Islam in Indonesia, the world’s third largest democracy, supporting the largest Muslim population, Ahmad Syafii Maarif argues for an understanding that is both faithful to Islam’s essential teachings and open to constantly changing social and cultural contexts. Building on this, he then addresses critical contemporary issues such as democracy, human rights, religious freedom, the status of women, and the future of Islam. Syafii Maarif’s insights offer inspiration to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Jesus in Asia:
R. S. Sugirtharajah Harvard University Press, 2018 Library of Congress BT304.94.S84 2018 | Dewey Decimal 232.095
Reconstructions of Jesus occurred in Asia long before the Western search for the historical Jesus began in earnest. This enterprise sprang up in seventh-century China and seventeenth-century India, encouraged by the patronage and openness of the Chinese and Indian imperial courts. While the Western quest was largely a Protestant preoccupation, in Asia the search was marked by its diversity: participants included Hindus, Jains, Muslims, Catholics, and members of the Church of the East.
During the age of European colonialism, Jesus was first seen by many Asians as a tribal god of the farangis, or white Europeans. But as his story circulated, Asians remade Jesus, at times appreciatively and at other times critically. R. S. Sugirtharajah demonstrates how Buddhist and Taoist thought, combined with Christian insights, led to the creation of the Chinese Jesus Sutras of late antiquity, and explains the importance of a biography of Jesus composed in the sixteenth-century court of the Mughal emperor Akbar. He also brings to the fore the reconstructions of Jesus during the Chinese Taiping revolution, the Korean Minjung uprising, and the Indian and Sri Lankan anti-colonial movements.
In Jesus in Asia, Sugirtharajah situates the historical Jesus beyond the narrow confines of the West and offers an eye-opening new chapter in the story of global Christianity.
John Stuart Mill and the Religion of Humanity introduces material that requires significant reevaluation of John Stuart Mill’s contribution to the development of the liberal tradition. Through his influence, the radical anti-Christianity of the French tradition was incorporated into the Anglo-American political tradition. Mill’s nontheological utilitarianism also involved the equally important insinuation of Comtean “altruism,” with its notion of the superiority of social morality over personal morality, into Anglo-American consciousness. Linda C. Raeder’s study carefully examines the nature of modern secular liberalism, the chief political carrier of the Millian form of secular religiosity in the American context.
Raeder explores the influence of James Mill, Jeremy Bentham, Claude-Henri Saint-Simon, and Auguste Comte on John Stuart Mill’s religious thought and aims. She treats Mill’s Three Essays on Religion, discusses his participation in the Mansel controversy, and offers a new interpretation of On Liberty and Utilitarianism, both of which were crucial instruments in the accomplishment of his religious mission.
Raeder contends that Mill’s religious aim was two-pronged—the undermining of Christian belief and the establishment of the allegedly superior social morality and spirituality embodied in the “Religion of Humanity” that he adopted, with revisions, from Comte. Mill intended his philosophical writings to assist in the realization of this aim, and they cannot adequately be comprehended without an awareness of their subterranean religious theme.
John Stuart Mill and the Religion of Humanity examines the religious thought and aspirations of the philosopher and shows that, contrary to the conventional view of Mill as the prototypical secular liberal, religious preoccupations dominated his thought and structured his endeavors throughout his life. For a proper appreciation of Mill’s thought and legacy, the depth of his animus toward traditional transcendent religion must be recognized, along with the seriousness of his intent to found a nontheological religion to serve as its replacement.
It might seem unlikely that a midwestern university located far from national media centers would be home to the world’s first journalism school, but the University of Missouri holds that distinction. Now celebrating its centennial, the School of Journalism, founded by a newsman who lacked a college education, is regarded as one of the highest-rated in the world.
Steve Weinberg, an alumnus and investigative reporter who returned to teach at Missouri, now covers—and uncovers—the many-faceted history of its School of Journalism, from the days of Walter Williams through the Dean Mills era. A Journalism of Humanity balances the dynamics of the university that set the school’s course with the external forces that shaped journalism and society. True to journalism, it reveals the school’s flaws as well as its virtues.
Bringing his investigative expertise to bear, Weinberg tells the school’s complex story through thematic chapters. He draws on internal documents and correspondence to uncover the politics of the school from its founding to the present—the struggles over resources as well as the constant battle to balance scholarly ambitions with professional mission. In the course of his chronicle, he depicts an institution ahead of its time in professional education but often lagging in dealing with social issues such as race and gender.
Weinberg’s account embraces faculty and staff members, students and alumni, supporters and detractors, as it covers all professional sequences taught at the school. It captures the freewheeling debate that has been a hallmark of the school and includes the perspectives of women, blacks, and gays, who all too often were marginalized. It also incorporates a wealth of insider detail, from a typical day at the school during the Williams era to tales of the “Missouri Mafia.”
Key players, significant programs, legal and ethical battles—all are covered in a candid history that makes captivating reading for those associated with the school or for anyone interested in the development of journalism education. A Journalism of Humanity is a story as big as its subject that looks back on a trailblazing century and forward toward a continuing dedication to journalistic excellence.
One Quarter of Humanity presents evidence about historical and contemporary Chinese population behavior that overturns much of the received wisdom about the differences between China and the West. James Lee and Wang Feng argue that there has been effective regulation of population growth in China through a variety of practices that depressed marital fertility to levels far below European standards, and through the widespread practices of infanticide and abortion. These practices and other distinctive features of the Chinese demographic and social system, they argue, led to a different demographic transition in China from the one that took place in the West.
This landmark two-volume translation from Russian of The Philosophy of Hegel as a Doctrine of the Concreteness of God and Humanity marks the first appearance in English of any of the works of Russian philosopher Ivan Aleksandrovich Il’in (Ilyin). Originally published in 1918, on the eve of the Russian civil war, Il'in's commentary on Hegel marked both an apogee of Russian Silver Age philosophy and a significant manifestation of the resurgence of interest in Hegel that began in the early twentieth century.
A. F. Losev accurately observed in the same year it appeared: “Neither the study of Hegel nor the study of contemporary Russian philosophical thought is any longer thinkable without this book of I. A. Il’in’s.” Some Hegel scholars may know this work through the abridged translation into German that Il’in produced himself in 1946. However, that edition omitted most of the original volume two. Noted Hegel scholar Philip T. Grier’s edition—with an introduction setting Il’in’s work in its proper historical, cultural, and philosophical contexts and annotation throughout—represents the first opportunity for non-Russian-speaking readers to acquaint themselves with the full scope of Il’in’s still provocative interpretation of Hegel.
Volume 1 is "The Doctrine of God." Volume 2 is "The Doctrine of Humanity."
The publication of volume 2 of Philip T. Grier’s translation of The Philosophy of Hegel as a Doctrine of the Concreteness of God and Humanity completes the first appearance in English of any of the works of Russian philosopher I. A. Il’in (Ilyin).
Most of the contents of volume 2 will be unknown even to those who have read the 1946 German version prepared by Il’in, because in that version he omitted eight of the original ten chapters. These omitted chapters provide an extended reflection on the central categories of Hegel’s moral, legal, and political philosophies, as well as of the philosophy of history. The topics examined are, in order: freedom, humanity, will, right, morality, ethical life, personhood and its virtue, and the state. Contained within these chapters are some notably insightful expositions of core doctrines in Hegel’s philosophy.
Il’in’s colleague A. F. Losev accurately observed in the same year the text first appeared: “Neither the study of Hegel nor the study of contemporary Russian philosophical thought is any longer thinkable without this book of I. A. Il’in’s.”
“Grieve well and you grow stronger.” Anthropologist Rebecca Louise Carter heard this wisdom over and over while living in post-Katrina New Orleans, where everyday violence disproportionately affects Black communities. What does it mean to grieve well? How does mourning strengthen survivors in the face of ongoing threats to Black life?
Inspired by ministers and guided by grieving mothers who hold birthday parties for their deceased sons, Prayers for the People traces the emergence of a powerful new African American religious ideal at the intersection of urban life, death, and social and spiritual change. Carter frames this sensitive ethnography within the complex history of structural violence in America—from the legacies of slavery to free but unequal citizenship, from mass incarceration and overpolicing to social abandonment and the unequal distribution of goods and services. And yet Carter offers a vision of restorative kinship by which communities of faith work against the denial of Black personhood as well as the violent severing of social and familial bonds. A timely directive for human relations during a contentious time in America’s history, Prayers for the People is also a hopeful vision of what an inclusive, nonviolent, and just urban society could be.
A historical account of ideology in the Global South as the postwar laboratory of socialism, its legacy following the Cold War, and the continuing influence of socialist ideas worldwide.
In the first decades after World War II, many newly independent Asian and African countries and established Latin American states pursued a socialist development model. Jeremy Friedman traces the socialist experiment over forty years through the experience of five countries: Indonesia, Chile, Tanzania, Angola, and Iran.
These states sought paths to socialism without formal adherence to the Soviet bloc or the programs that Soviets, East Germans, Cubans, Chinese, and other outsiders tried to promote. Instead, they attempted to forge new models of socialist development through their own trial and error, together with the help of existing socialist countries, demonstrating the flexibility and adaptability of socialism. All five countries would become Cold War battlegrounds and regional models, as new policies in one shaped evolving conceptions of development in another. Lessons from the collapse of democracy in Indonesia were later applied in Chile, just as the challenge of political Islam in Indonesia informed the policies of the left in Iran. Efforts to build agrarian economies in West Africa influenced Tanzania’s approach to socialism, which in turn influenced the trajectory of the Angolan model.
Ripe for Revolution shows socialism as more adaptable and pragmatic than often supposed. When we view it through the prism of a Stalinist orthodoxy, we miss its real effects and legacies, both good and bad. To understand how socialism succeeds and fails, and to grasp its evolution and potential horizons, we must do more than read manifestos. We must attend to history.
Ranging from math to literature to philosophy, Uncountable explains how numbers triumphed as the basis of knowledge—and compromise our sense of humanity.
Our knowledge of mathematics has structured much of what we think we know about ourselves as individuals and communities, shaping our psychologies, sociologies, and economies. In pursuit of a more predictable and more controllable cosmos, we have extended mathematical insights and methods to more and more aspects of the world. Today those powers are greater than ever, as computation is applied to virtually every aspect of human activity. Yet, in the process, are we losing sight of the human? When we apply mathematics so broadly, what do we gain and what do we lose, and at what risk to humanity?
These are the questions that David and Ricardo L. Nirenberg ask in Uncountable, a provocative account of how numerical relations became the cornerstone of human claims to knowledge, truth, and certainty. There is a limit to these number-based claims, they argue, which they set out to explore. The Nirenbergs, father and son, bring together their backgrounds in math, history, literature, religion, and philosophy, interweaving scientific experiments with readings of poems, setting crises in mathematics alongside world wars, and putting medieval Muslim and Buddhist philosophers in conversation with Einstein, Schrödinger, and other giants of modern physics. The result is a powerful lesson in what counts as knowledge and its deepest implications for how we live our lives.