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After the Imperial Turn
Thinking with and through the Nation
Antoinette Burton, ed.
Duke University Press, 2003
From a variety of historically grounded perspectives, After the Imperial Turn assesses the fate of the nation as a subject of disciplinary inquiry. In light of the turn toward scholarship focused on imperialism and postcolonialism, this provocative collection investigates whether the nation remains central, adequate, or even possible as an analytical category for studying history. These twenty essays, primarily by historians, exemplify cultural approaches to histories of nationalism and imperialism even as they critically examine the implications of such approaches.
While most of the contributors discuss British imperialism and its repercussions, the volume also includes, as counterpoints, essays on the history and historiography of France, Germany, Spain, and the United States. Whether looking at the history of the passport or the teaching of history from a postnational perspective, this collection explores such vexed issues as how historians might resist the seduction of national narratives, what—if anything—might replace the nation’s hegemony, and how even history-writing that interrogates the idea of the nation remains ideologically and methodologically indebted to national narratives. Placing nation-based studies in international and interdisciplinary contexts, After the Imperial Turn points toward ways of writing history and analyzing culture attentive both to the inadequacies and endurance of the nation as an organizing rubric.

Contributors. Tony Ballantyne, Antoinette Burton, Ann Curthoys, Augusto Espiritu, Karen Fang, Ian Christopher Fletcher, Robert Gregg, Terri Hasseler, Clement Hawes, Douglas M. Haynes, Kristin Hoganson, Paula Krebs, Lara Kriegel, Radhika Viyas Mongia, Susan Pennybacker, John Plotz, Christopher Schmidt-Nowara, Heather Streets, Hsu-Ming Teo, Stuart Ward, Lora Wildenthal, Gary Wilder


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An Artificial History of Natural Intelligence
Thinking with Machines from Descartes to the Digital Age
David W. Bates
University of Chicago Press, 2024
A new history of human intelligence that argues that humans know themselves by knowing their machines.

We imagine that we are both in control of and controlled by our bodies—autonomous and yet automatic. This entanglement, according to David W. Bates, emerged in the seventeenth century when humans first built and compared themselves with machines. Reading varied thinkers from Descartes to Kant to Turing, Bates reveals how time and time again technological developments offered new ways to imagine how the body’s automaticity worked alongside the mind’s autonomy. Tracing these evolving lines of thought, An Artificial History of Natural Intelligence offers a new theorization of the human as a being that is dependent on technology and produces itself as an artificial automaton without a natural, outside origin.

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Cartesian Poetics
The Art of Thinking
Andrea Gadberry
University of Chicago Press, 2020
What is thinking? What does it feel like? What is it good for? Andrea Gadberry looks for answers to these questions in the philosophy of René Descartes and finds them in the philosopher’s implicit poetics. Gadberry argues that Descartes’s thought was crucially enabled by poetry and shows how markers of poetic genres from love lyric and elegy to the puzzling forms of the riddle and the anagram betray an impassioned negotiation with the difficulties of thought and its limits. Where others have seen Cartesian philosophy as a triumph of reason, Gadberry reveals that the philosopher accused of having “slashed poetry’s throat” instead enlisted poetic form to contain thought’s frustrations.

Gadberry’s approach to seventeenth-century writings poses questions urgent for the twenty-first. Bringing literature and philosophy into rich dialogue, Gadberry centers close reading as a method uniquely equipped to manage skepticism, tolerate critical ambivalence, and detect feeling in philosophy. Helping us read classic moments of philosophical argumentation in a new light, this elegant study also expands outward to redefine thinking in light of its poetic formations.

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Thinking and Feeling beyond the Nation
Pheng Cheah
University of Minnesota Press, 1998

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Dying of Thinking
The Last Kingdom IX
Pascal Quignard
Seagull Books, 2023
A deeply contemplative work devoted to thinking from one of the foremost literary figures of contemporary France.

Dying of Thinking is the ninth volume of Pascal Quignard’s Last Kingdom series. It explores three themes: how thought and death coincide, how thought is close to melancholy, and how thought takes shelter near traumatism. One who thinks, Quignard shows us, “compensates” for a very ancient abandonment. Even as a dream is a meaning whose disorderly, condensed, paradoxical images intuit something which has preceded sleep and which returns in them, thought is a meaning which uses words that are written, re-transcribed, dissected, etymologized and neologized. Throughout the Last Kingdom series, Quignard has sought to experience another way of thinking, one that has nothing to do with philosophy, a way of attaching himself “literally” to texts and of progressing by decomposing the imagery of dreams. Dying of Thinking is the heart of this quest.

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Elemental Ecocriticism
Thinking with Earth, Air, Water, and Fire
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen
University of Minnesota Press, 2015

For centuries it was believed that all matter was composed of four elements: earth, air, water, and fire in promiscuous combination, bound by love and pulled apart by strife. Elemental theory offered a mode of understanding materiality that did not center the cosmos around the human. Outgrown as a science, the elements are now what we build our houses against. Their renunciation has fostered only estrangement from the material world.

The essays collected in Elemental Ecocriticism show how elemental materiality precipitates new engagements with the ecological. Here the classical elements reveal the vitality of supposedly inert substances (mud, water, earth, air), chemical processes (fire), and natural phenomena, as well as the promise in the abandoned and the unreal (ether, phlogiston, spontaneous generation).

Decentering the human, this volume provides important correctives to the idea of the material world as mere resource. Three response essays meditate on the connections of this collaborative project to the framing of modern-day ecological concerns. A renewed intimacy with the elemental holds the potential of a more dynamic environmental ethics and the possibility of a reinvigorated materialism.


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Thinking, Writing, Language, and Religion
Norman Fischer
University of Alabama Press, 2015
By what narrow path is the ineffable silence of Zen cleft by the scratch of a pen? The distilled insights of forty years, Norman Fischer’s Experience: Thinking, Writing, Language, and Religion is a collection of essays by Zen master Fischer about experimental writing as a spiritual practice.
Raised in a Conservative Jewish family, Fischer embraced the twin practices of Zen Buddhism and innovative poetics in San Francisco in the early 1970s. His work includes original poetry, descriptions of Buddhist practice, translations of the Hebrew psalms, and eclectic writings on a range of topics from Homer to Heidegger to Kabbalah. Both Buddhist priest and participant in avant-garde poetry’s Language movement, Fischer has limned the fertile affinities and creative contradictions between Zen and writing, accumulating four decades of rich insights he shares in Experience.
Fischer’s work has been deeply enriched through his collaborations with leading rabbis, poets, artists, esteemed Zen Buddhist practitioners, Trappist monks, and renowned Buddhist leaders, among them the Dalai Lama. Alone and with others, he has carried on a deep and sustained investigation into the intersection of writing and consciousness as informed by meditation.
The essays in this artfully curated collection range across divers, fascinating topics such as time, the Heart Sutra, God in the Hebrew psalms, the supreme “uselessness” of art making, “late work” as a category of poetic appreciation, and the subtle and dubious notion of “religious experience.” From the theoretical to the revealingly personal, Fischer’s essays, interviews, and notes point toward a dramatic expansion of the sense of religious feeling in writing.
Readers who join Fischer on this path in Experience can discover how language is not a description of experience, but rather an experience itself: shifting, indefinite, and essential.

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Feminism in Coalition
Thinking with US Women of Color Feminism
Liza Taylor
Duke University Press, 2022
In Feminism in Coalition Liza Taylor examines how US women of color feminists’ coalitional politics provides an indispensable resource to contemporary political theory, feminist studies, and intersectional social justice activism. Taylor charts the theorization of coalition in the work of Bernice Johnson Reagon, Audre Lorde, Barbara Smith, the Combahee River Collective, Gloria Anzaldúa, Cherríe Moraga, and others. For these activist-scholars, coalition is a dangerous struggle that emerges from a shared political commitment to undermining oppression and an emphasis on self-transformation. Taylor shows how their coalitional understandings of group politics, identity, consciousness, and scholarship have transformed how activists and theorists build alliances across race, class, gender, sexuality, faith, and ethnicity to tackle systems of domination. Their coalitional politics enrich current discussions surrounding the impetus and longevity of effective activism, present robust theoretical accounts of political subject formation and political consciousness, and demonstrate the promise of collective modes of scholarship. In this way, women of color feminists have been formulating solutions to long-standing problems in political theory. By illustrating coalition’s vitality to a variety of practical and philosophical interdisciplinary discussions, Taylor encourages us to rethink feminist and political theory.

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Gut Anthro
An Experiment in Thinking with Microbes
Amber Benezra
University of Minnesota Press, 2023

A fascinating ethnography of microbes that opens up new spaces for anthropological inquiry


The trillions of microbes in and on our bodies are determined by not only biology but also our social connections. Gut Anthro tells the fascinating story of how a sociocultural anthropologist developed a collaborative “anthropology of microbes” with a human microbial ecologist to address global health crises across disciplines. It asks: what would it mean for anthropology to act with science? Based partly at a preeminent U.S. lab studying the human microbiome, the Center for Genome Sciences at Washington University, and partly at a field site in Bangladesh studying infant malnutrition, it examines how microbes travel between human guts in the “field” and in microbiome laboratories, influencing definitions of health and disease, and how the microbiome can change our views on evolution, agency, and life.

As lab scientists studied the interrelationships between gut microbes and malnutrition in resource-poor countries, Amber Benezra explored ways to reconcile the scale and speed differences between the lab, the intimate biosocial practices of Bangladeshi mothers and their children, and the looming structural violence of poverty. In vital ways, Gut Anthro is about what it means to collaborate—with mothers, local field researchers in Bangladesh, massive philanthropic global health organizations, with the microbiome scientists, and, of course, with microbes. It follows microbes through various enactments in scientific research—microbes as kin, as data, and as race. Revealing how racial categories are used in microbiome research, Benezra argues that microbial differences need transdisciplinary collaboration to address racial health disparities without reifying race as a straightforward biological or social designation.

Gut Anthro is a tour de force of science studies and medical anthropology as well as an intensely personal and deeply theoretical accounting of what it means to do anthropology today.


Cover alt text:

Black background overlaid with a pink organic path suggestive of a human digestive system. Title appears within the guts as if being processed.


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Hans Jonas
The Integrity of Thinking
David J. Levy
University of Missouri Press, 2002
Hans Jonas: The Integrity of Thinking provides the first overall account of the work of Hans Jonas. While Jonas is not the best-known thinker of the twentieth century, David J. Levy shows that he is one of the most important. Levy covers the philosopher’s life and his contributions to the history of religion, philosophical biology, philosophical anthropology, ethics, and theology. Jonas’s work is situated in relationship to that of his first intellectual mentor, Martin Heidegger, as well as that of such related thinkers among his contemporaries as Eric Voegelin.
Setting Jonas’s work in the historical and philosophical context of his life and times, Levy summarizes Jonas’s original achievements in fields as apparently diverse as the history of ancient Gnosticism, the philosophical significance of biology, the problems of ethics in a technological age, and the mysteries of theology, while demonstrating the notable unity of theme and purpose that guided his various fields of inquiry.
Jonas’s work will become increasingly significant in the years ahead as we face the problems produced by current developments in technology such as biological engineering. Such issues were of particular interest for him, and he was unique among his philosophical contemporaries in devoting attention to them. His eloquent writings on these themes bring wisdom and common sense anchored in Jonas’s own historical and biographical experience of the fragility of human life and the common good. Having begun his academic life in Germany between the world wars, he later served in the British army throughout the struggle against Hitler and lost his mother at Auschwitz.
Unlike the scattered works, anthologies, and essays that are currently available, Hans Jonas: The Integrity of Thinking provides a much-needed single, coherent overview of the various fields to which Jonas’s attention was drawn, bringing out the unified, systematic quality of Jonas’s philosophical approach.

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The Joy of Playing, the Joy of Thinking
Conversations about Art and Performance
Charles Rosen and Catherine Temerson
Harvard University Press, 2020

Brilliant, practical, and humorous conversations with one of the twentieth-century’s greatest musicologists on art, culture, and the physical pain of playing a difficult passage until one attains its rewards.

Throughout his life, Charles Rosen combined formidable intelligence with immense skill as a concert pianist. He began studying at Juilliard at age seven and went on to inspire a generation of scholars to combine history, aesthetics, and score analysis in what became known as “new musicology.”

The Joy of Playing, the Joy of Thinking presents a master class for music lovers. In interviews originally conducted and published in French, Rosen’s friend Catherine Temerson asks carefully crafted questions to elicit his insights on the evolution of music—not to mention painting, theater, science, and modernism. Rosen touches on the usefulness of aesthetic reflection, the pleasure of overcoming stage fright, and the drama of conquering a technically difficult passage. He tells vivid stories about composers from Chopin and Wagner to Stravinsky and Elliott Carter. In Temerson’s questions and Rosen’s responses arise conundrums both practical and metaphysical. Is it possible to understand a work without analyzing it? Does music exist if it isn’t played?

Throughout, Rosen returns to the theme of sensuality, arguing that if one does not possess a physical craving to play an instrument, then one should choose another pursuit. Rosen takes readers to the heart of the musical matter. “Music is a way of instructing the soul, making it more sensitive,” he says, “but it is useful only insofar as it is pleasurable. This pleasure is manifest to anyone who experiences music as an inexorable need of body and mind.”


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Thinking with Deborah Bird Rose
Thom van Dooren and Matthew Chrulew, editors
Duke University Press, 2022
The contributors to Kin draw on the work of anthropologist Deborah Bird Rose (1946–2018), a foundational voice in environmental humanities, to examine the relationships of interdependence and obligation between human and nonhuman lives. Through a close engagement over many decades with the Aboriginal communities of Yarralin and Lingara in northern Australia, Rose’s work explored possibilities for entangled forms of social and environmental justice. She sought to bring the insights of her Indigenous teachers into dialogue with the humanities and the natural sciences to describe and passionately advocate for a world of kin grounded in a profound sense of the connectivities and relationships that hold us together. Kin’s contributors take up Rose’s conceptual frameworks, often pushing academic fields beyond their traditional objects and methods of study. Together, the essays do more than pay tribute to Rose’s scholarship; they extend her ideas and underscore her ongoing critical and ethical relevance for a world still enduring and resisting ecocide and genocide.

Contributors. The Bawaka Collective, Matthew Chrulew, Colin Dayan, Linda Payi Ford, Donna Haraway, James Hatley, Owain Jones, Stephen Muecke, Kate Rigby, Catriona (Cate) Sandilands, Isabelle Stengers, Anna Tsing, Thom van Dooren, Kate Wright

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Language Beyond Postmodernism
Saying and Thinking in Gendlin Philosophy
David Kleinberg-Levin
Northwestern University Press, 1997
Eugene Gendlin's contribution to the theory of language is the focus of this collection of essays edited by David Michael Levin. This compilation of critical studies—each followed by a comment from Gendlin himself—investigates how concepts grow out of experience, and explores relations between Gendlin's philosophy of language and experience and the philosophies of Wittgenstein, Dilthey, and Heidegger.

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The Law of Blood
Thinking and Acting as a Nazi
Johann Chapoutot
Harvard University Press, 2018

Winner of the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research

The scale and the depth of Nazi brutality seem to defy understanding. What could drive people to fight, kill, and destroy with such ruthless ambition? Observers and historians have offered countless explanations since the 1930s. According to Johann Chapoutot, we need to understand better how the Nazis explained it themselves. We need a clearer view, in particular, of how they were steeped in and spread the idea that history gave them no choice: it was either kill or die.

Chapoutot, one of France’s leading historians, spent years immersing himself in the texts and images that reflected and shaped the mental world of Nazi ideologues, and that the Nazis disseminated to the German public. The party had no official ur-text of ideology, values, and history. But a clear narrative emerges from the myriad works of intellectuals, apparatchiks, journalists, and movie-makers that Chapoutot explores.

The story went like this: In the ancient world, the Nordic-German race lived in harmony with the laws of nature. But since Late Antiquity, corrupt foreign norms and values—Jewish values in particular—had alienated Germany from itself and from all that was natural. The time had come, under the Nazis, to return to the fundamental law of blood. Germany must fight, conquer, and procreate, or perish. History did not concern itself with right and wrong, only brute necessity. A remarkable work of scholarship and insight, The Law of Blood recreates the chilling ideas and outlook that would cost millions their lives.


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Thinking, Culture, Speed
William E. Connolly
University of Minnesota Press, 2002
A surprising exploration of connections between culture, neuroscience, and our experience of time. Why would a political theorist venture into the nexus between neuroscience and film? According to William Connolly--whose new book is itself an eloquent answer--the combination exposes the ubiquitous role that technique plays in thinking, ethics, and politics. By taking up recent research in neuroscience to explore the way brain activity is influenced by cultural conditions and stimuli such as film technique, Connolly is able to fashion a new perspective on our attempts to negotiate-and thrive-within a deeply pluralized society whose culture and economy continue to quicken. In Neuropolitics Connolly draws upon recent brain/body research to explore the creative potential of thinking, the layered character of culture, the cultivation of ethical sensibilities, and the critical role of technique in all three. He then shows how a series of films--including Vertigo, Five Easy Pieces, and Citizen Kane--enhances our appreciation of technique and contests the linear image of time now prevalent in cultural theory. Connolly deftly brings these themes together to support an ethos of deep pluralism within the democratic state and a politics of citizen activism across states. His book is an original and rigorous study that attends to the creative possibilities of thinking in identity, culture, and ethics. William E. Connolly is professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at The Johns Hopkins University. His most recent books are Why I Am Not a Secularist (1999) and The Ethos of Pluralization (1995), and IdentityDifference (2002). His work The Terms of Political Discourse won the 1999 Benjamin Lippincott Award. Why would a political theorist venture into the nexus between neuroscience and film? According to William Connolly--whose new book is itself an eloquent answer--the combination exposes the ubiquitous role that technique plays in thinking, ethics, and politics. By taking up recent research in neuroscience to explore the way brain activity is influenced by cultural conditions and stimuli such as film technique, Connolly is able to fashion a new perspective on our attempts to negotiate-and thrive-within a deeply pluralized society whose culture and economy continue to quicken. In Neuropolitics Connolly draws upon recent brain/body research to explore the creative potential of thinking, the layered character of culture, the cultivation of ethical sensibilities, and the critical role of technique in all three. He then shows how a series of films--including Vertigo, Five Easy Pieces, and Citizen Kane--enhances our appreciation of technique and contests the linear image of time now prevalent in cultural theory. Connolly deftly brings these themes together to support an ethos of deep pluralism within the democratic state and a politics of citizen activism across states. His book is an original and rigorous study that attends to the creative possibilities of thinking in identity, culture, and ethics. William E. Connolly is professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at The Johns Hopkins University. His most recent books are Why I Am Not a Secularist (1999) and The Ethos of Pluralization (1995), and IdentityDifference (2002). His work The Terms of Political Discourse won the 1999 Benjamin Lippincott Award.

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Patterns, Thinking, and Cognition
A Theory of Judgment
Howard Margolis
University of Chicago Press, 1988
What happens when we think? How do people make judgments? While different theories abound—and are heatedly debated—most are based on an algorithmic model of how the brain works. Howard Margolis builds a fascinating case for a theory that thinking is based on recognizing patterns and that this process is intrinsically a-logical. Margolis gives a Darwinian account of how pattern recognition evolved to reach human cognitive abilities.

Illusions of judgment—standard anomalies where people consistently misjudge or misperceive what is logically implied or really present—are often used in cognitive science to explore the workings of the cognitive process. The explanations given for these anomalous results have generally explained only the anomaly under study and nothing more. Margolis provides a provocative and systematic analysis of these illusions, which explains why such anomalies exist and recur.

Offering empirical applications of his theory, Margolis turns to historical cases to show how an individual's cognitive repertoire—the available cognitive patterns and their relation to cues—changes or resists changes over time. Here he focuses on the change in worldview occasioned by the Copernican discovery: not only how an individual might come to see things in a radically new way, but how it is possible for that new view to spread and become the dominant one. A reanalysis of the trial of Galileo focuses on social cognition and its interactions with politics.

In challenging the prevailing paradigm for understanding how the human mind works, Patterns, Thinking, and Cognition is certain to stimulate fruitful debate.

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The Pensive Image
Art as a Form of Thinking
Hanneke Grootenboer
University of Chicago Press, 2020
Grootenboer considers painting as a form of thinking in itself, rather than a subject of philosophical and interpretive thought.
While the philosophical dimension of painting has long been discussed, a clear case for painting as a form of visual thinking has yet to be made. Traditionally, vanitas still life paintings are considered to raise ontological issues while landscapes direct the mind toward introspection. Grootenboer moves beyond these considerations to focus on what remains unspoken in painting, the implicit and inexpressible that manifests in a quality she calls pensiveness. Different from self-aware or actively desiring images, pensive images are speculative, pointing beyond interpretation. An alternative pictorial category, pensive images stir us away from interpretation and toward a state of suspension where thinking through and with the image can start.

In fluid prose, Grootenboer explores various modalities of visual thinking— as the location where thought should be found, as a refuge enabling reflection, and as an encounter that provokes thought. Through these considerations, she demonstrates that artworks serve as models for thought as much as they act as instruments through which thinking can take place. Starting from the premise that painting is itself a type of thinking, The Pensive Image argues that art is capable of forming thoughts and shaping concepts in visual terms.


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Politics without Vision
Thinking without a Banister in the Twentieth Century
Tracy B. Strong
University of Chicago Press, 2012

From Plato through the nineteenth century, the West could draw on comprehensive political visions to guide government and society. Now, for the first time in more than two thousand years, Tracy B. Strong contends, we have lost our foundational supports. In the words of Hannah Arendt, the state of political thought in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has left us effectively “thinking without a banister.”

Politics without Vision takes up the thought of seven influential thinkers, each of whom attempted to construct a political solution to this problem: Nietzsche, Weber, Freud, Lenin, Schmitt, Heidegger, and Arendt. None of these theorists were liberals nor, excepting possibly Arendt, were they democrats—and some might even be said to have served as handmaidens to totalitarianism. And all to a greater or lesser extent shared the common conviction that the institutions and practices of liberalism are inadequate to the demands and stresses of the present times. In examining their thought, Strong acknowledges the political evil that some of their ideas served to foster but argues that these were not necessarily the only paths their explorations could have taken. By uncovering the turning points in their thought—and the paths not taken—Strong strives to develop a political theory that can avoid, and perhaps help explain, the mistakes of the past while furthering the democratic impulse.
Confronting the widespread belief that political thought is on the decline, Strong puts forth a brilliant and provocative counterargument that in fact it has endured—without the benefit of outside support.  A compelling rendering of contemporary political theory, Politics without Vision is sure to provoke discussion among scholars in many fields.

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A Reflective Practitioner's Guide to (Mis)Adventures in Drama Education - or - What Was I Thinking?
Edited by Peter Duffy
Intellect Books, 2015
This collection of essays from many of the world’s preeminent drama education practitioners captures the challenges and struggles of teaching with honesty, humor, openness, and integrity. Collectively the authors possess some two hundred years of shared experience in the field, and each essay investigates the mistakes of best-intentions, the lack of awareness, and the omissions that pock all of our careers. The authors ask, and answer quite honestly, a series of difficult and reflexive questions: What obscured our understanding of our students’ needs in a particular moment? What drove our professional expectations?  And how has our practice changed as a result of those experiences? Modeled on reflective practice, this book will be an essential, everyday guide to the challenges of drama education.

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The Roots Of Thinking
Maxine Sheets-Johnstone
Temple University Press, 1990
"A significant contribution to the study of early humans, this book is a philosophical anthropology.... it makes genuinely novel, and highly persuasive, claims within the field itself." --David Depew In this ground-breaking interdisciplinary study about conceptual origins, Maxine Sheets-Johnstone shows that there is an indissoluble bond between hominid thinking and hominid evolution, a bond cemented by the living body. Her thesis is concretely illustrated in eight paleoanthropological case studies ranging from tool-using/tool-making to counting, sexuality, representation, language, death, and cave art. In each case, evidence is brought forward that shows how thinking is modeled on the body-specifically, how concepts are generated by animate form and the tactile-kinesthetic experience. Later chapters critically examine key theoretical and methodological issues posed by the thesis, Sheets-Johnstone demonstrates in detail how and why a corporeal turn in philosophy and the human sciences can yield insights no less extraordinary than those produced by the linguistic turn. In confronting the currently popular doctrine of cultural relativism and the classic Western metaphysical dualism of mind and body, she shows how pan-cultural invariants of human bodily life have been discounted and how the body itself has not been given its due. By a precise exposition of how a full-scale hermeneutics and a genetic phenomenology may be carried out with respect to conceptual origins, she shows how methodological issues are successfully resolved. "Ranging across the humanities and sciences, this thoroughly original book challenges both traditional metaphysics and contemporary cultural relativism. In their place, it persuasively develops a phenomenonological, tactile-kinesthetic account of the origins of thinking. This philosophical anthropology could not be more timely. It replaces the 'linguistic turn' with a promising new 'corporeal turn.'" --John J. Stuhr, University of Oregon "This work takes a much-needed stand in the inter-disciplinary field of philosophical anthropology. Sheets-Johnstone is well-read in the history of philosophy and in contemporary anthropology. The point of view she offers is inventive, insightful, well-established, and fruitful." --Thomas M. Alexander, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

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Sentient Flesh
Thinking in Disorder, Poiesis in Black
R. A. Judy
Duke University Press, 2020
 In Sentient Flesh R. A. Judy takes up freedman Tom Windham’s 1937 remark “we should have our liberty 'cause . . . us is human flesh" as a point of departure for an extended meditation on questions of the human, epistemology, and the historical ways in which the black being is understood. Drawing on numerous fields, from literary theory and musicology, to political theory and phenomenology, as well as Greek and Arabic philosophy, Judy engages literary texts and performative practices such as music and dance that express knowledge and conceptions of humanity appositional to those grounding modern racialized capitalism. Operating as critiques of Western humanism, these practices and modes of being-in-the-world—which he theorizes as “thinking in disorder,” or “poiēsis in black”—foreground the irreducible concomitance of flesh, thinking, and personhood. As Judy demonstrates, recognizing this concomitance is central to finding a way past the destructive force of ontology that still holds us in thrall. Erudite and capacious, Sentient Flesh offers a major intervention in the black study of life. 

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Sociology Hesitant
Thinking with W. E. B. DuBois, Volume 27
Ronald A. T. Judy, ed.
Duke University Press
This collection of essays reflects a new, distinctively rigorous engagement with W. E. B. DuBois’s theoretical and philosophical thought. It includes the first publication of DuBois’s important critical essay on the conceptual foundations of sociology as a science, “Sociology Hesitant.” Taking its title from that 1905 essay, Sociology Hesitant draws attention to the ways in which DuBois’s thinking about the “Negro problem” was an explicit effort to think about the problem of historical agency.
Spanning a wide array of disciplines, from German studies and sociology to literary criticism, philosophy, and anthropology, with contributions from some of the most outstanding scholars in these fields, Sociology Hesitant contributes to the recognition of DuBois as an important historical figure by focusing on the complexity of his theoretical work. These essays offer an extended interaction with the ideas and projects DuBois formulated in a series of essays written between 1887 and 1910 that take up intricate questions concerning the nature of methodology and the theory of knowledge. Using DuBois’s work as a point of departure, contributors explore current thinking about diverse subjects such as geopolitics and postcolonialism. Demonstrating that engaging the question of race requires rethinking the historical nature of theoretical understanding, this collection brings to light the notion that the struggle for equality is a struggle for freedom of thought in pursuit of truth.

Contributors. Kenneth Barkin, Nahum Chandler, Ronald Judy, David Krell, Charles Lemert, Sieglinde D. Lemke, Tommy Lott, Kevin Miles, Abdulkarim Mustapha, Ken Warren


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Surface Encounters
Thinking with Animals and Art
Ron Broglio
University of Minnesota Press, 2011

What it is like to be an animal? Ron Broglio wants to know from the inside, from underneath the fur and feathers. In examining this question, he bypasses the perspectives of biology or natural history to explore how one can construct an animal phenomenology, to think and feel as an animal other—or any other.

Until now phenomenology has grappled with how humans are embedded in their world. According to philosophical tradition, animals do not practice the self-reflexive thought that provides humans with depth of being. Without human interiority, philosophers have believed, animals live on the surface of things. But, Broglio argues, the surface can be a site of productive engagement with the world of animals, and as such he turns to humans who work with surfaces: contemporary artists.

Taking on the negative claim of animals living only on the surface and turning the premise into a positive set of possibilities for human–animal engagement, Broglio considers artists—including Damien Hirst, Carolee Schneemann, Olly and Suzi, and Marcus Coates—who take seriously the world of the animal on its own terms. In doing so, these artists develop languages of interspecies expression that both challenge philosophy and fashion new concepts for animal studies.


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The Terrible We
Thinking with Trans Maladjustment
Cameron Awkward-Rich
Duke University Press, 2022
In The Terrible We Cameron Awkward-Rich thinks with the bad feelings and mad habits of thought that persist in both transphobic discourse and trans cultural production. Observing that trans studies was founded on a split from and disavowal of madness, illness, and disability, Awkward-Rich argues for and models a trans criticism that works against this disavowal. By tracing the coproduction of the categories of disabled and transgender in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century and analyzing transmasculine literature and theory by Eli Clare, Elliott DeLine, Dylan Scholinski, and others, Awkward-Rich suggests that thinking with maladjustment might provide new perspectives on the impasses arising from the conflicted relationships among trans, feminist, and queer. In so doing, he demonstrates that rather than only impeding or confining trans life, thought, and creativity, forms of maladjustment have also been and will continue to be central to their development.

Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award recipient

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Thinking and Being
Irad Kimhi
Harvard University Press, 2018

Opposing a long-standing orthodoxy of the Western philosophical tradition running from ancient Greek thought until the late nineteenth century, Frege argued that psychological laws of thought—those that explicate how we in fact think—must be distinguished from logical laws of thought—those that formulate and impose rational requirements on thinking. Logic does not describe how we actually think, but only how we should. Yet by thus sundering the logical from the psychological, Frege was unable to explain certain fundamental logical truths, most notably the psychological version of the law of non-contradiction—that one cannot think a thought and its negation simultaneously.

Irad Kimhi’s Thinking and Being marks a radical break with Frege’s legacy in analytic philosophy, exposing the flaws of his approach and outlining a novel conception of judgment as a two-way capacity. In closing the gap that Frege opened, Kimhi shows that the two principles of non-contradiction—the ontological principle and the psychological principle—are in fact aspects of the very same capacity, differently manifested in thinking and being.

As his argument progresses, Kimhi draws on the insights of historical figures such as Aristotle, Kant, and Wittgenstein to develop highly original accounts of topics that are of central importance to logic and philosophy more generally. Self-consciousness, language, and logic are revealed to be but different sides of the same reality. Ultimately, Kimhi’s work elucidates the essential sameness of thinking and being that has exercised Western philosophy since its inception.


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Thinking and the I
Hegel and the Critique of Kant
Alfredo Ferrarin
Northwestern University Press, 2019

What is the relation between thinking and the I that thinks? And what is the relation between thought and reality? The ordinary view shared by modern philosophers from Descartes to Kant, as well as by common sense, is that there is only thought when someone thinks something, and thoughts and concepts are mental acts that refer to objects outside us.

In Thinking and the I: Hegel and the Critique of Kant, Alfredo Ferrarin shows that Hegel’s philosophy entails a radical criticism of this ordinary conception of thinking. Breaking with the habitual presuppositions of both modern philosophy and common sense, Ferrarin explains that thought, negation, truth, reflection, and dialectic for Hegel are not properties of an I and cannot be reduced to the subjective activity of a self-conscious subject. Rather, he elucidates, thought is objective for Hegel in different senses. Reality as a whole is animated by a movement of thought and an unconscious logic as a spontaneity that reifies itself in determinate forms. Ferrarin concludes the book with a comprehensive comparison of Hegel’s and Kant’s concepts of reason.

While it mainly focuses on Hegel’s Phenomenology, Science of Logic, and Encyclopaedia, this ambitious book covers all aspects of Hegel’s philosophy. Its originality and strength lie in its recovery of the original core of Hegel’s dialectic over and above its currently predominant transcendental, neopragmatist, or realist appropriations. It will be essential reading for all students of Hegel, Kant, and German idealism in general for years to come.


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Thinking in Henry James
Sharon Cameron
University of Chicago Press, 1989
Thinking in Henry James identifies what is genuinely strange and radical about James's concept of consciousness—first, the idea that it may not always be situated within this or that person but rather exists outside or "between," in some transpersonal place; and second, the idea that consciousness may have power over things and people outside the person who thinks. Examining these and other counterintuitive representations of consciousness, Cameron asks, "How do we make sense of these conceptions of thinking?"

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Thinking in Jazz
The Infinite Art of Improvisation
Paul F. Berliner
University of Chicago Press, 1994
A landmark in jazz studies, Thinking in Jazz reveals as never before how musicians, both individually and collectively, learn to improvise. Chronicling leading musicians from their first encounters with jazz to the development of a unique improvisatory voice, Paul Berliner documents the lifetime of preparation that lies behind the skilled improviser's every idea.

The product of more than fifteen years of immersion in the jazz world, Thinking in Jazz combines participant observation with detailed musicological analysis, the author's experience as a jazz trumpeter, interpretations of published material by scholars and performers, and, above all, original data from interviews with more than fifty professional musicians: bassists George Duvivier and Rufus Reid; drummers Max Roach, Ronald Shannon Jackson, and Akira Tana; guitarist Emily Remler; pianists Tommy Flanagan and Barry Harris; saxophonists Lou Donaldson, Lee Konitz, and James Moody; trombonist Curtis Fuller; trumpeters Doc Cheatham, Art Farmer, Wynton Marsalis, and Red Rodney; vocalists Carmen Lundy and Vea Williams; and others. Together, the interviews provide insight into the production of jazz by great artists like Betty Carter, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, and Charlie Parker.

Thinking in Jazz overflows with musical examples from the 1920s to the present, including original transcriptions (keyed to commercial recordings) of collective improvisations by Miles Davis's and John Coltrane's groups. These transcriptions provide additional insight into the structure and creativity of jazz improvisation and represent a remarkable resource for jazz musicians as well as students and educators.

Berliner explores the alternative ways—aural, visual, kinetic, verbal, emotional, theoretical, associative—in which these performers conceptualize their music and describes the delicate interplay of soloist and ensemble in collective improvisation. Berliner's skillful integration of data concerning musical development, the rigorous practice and thought artists devote to jazz outside of performance, and the complexities of composing in the moment leads to a new understanding of jazz improvisation as a language, an aesthetic, and a tradition. This unprecedented journey to the heart of the jazz tradition will fascinate and enlighten musicians, musicologists, and jazz fans alike.

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Thinking in Jewish
Jonathan Boyarin
University of Chicago Press, 1996
How does one "think" in Jewish? What does it mean to speak in English of Yiddish as Jewish, as a certain intermediary generation of immigrants and children of immigrants from Jewish Eastern Europe has done?

A fascination with this question prompted Jonathan Boyarin, one of America's most original thinkers in critical theory and Jewish ethnography, to offer the unexpected Jewish perspective on the vexed issue of identity politics presented here. Boyarin's essays explore the ways in which a Jewish—or, more particularly, Yiddish—idiom complicates the question of identity. Ranging from explorations of a Lower East Side synagogue to Fichte's and Derrida's contrasting notions of the relation between the Jews and the idea of Europe, from the Lubavitch Hasidim to accounts of self-making by Judith Butler and Charles Taylor, Thinking in Jewish will be indispensable reading for students of critical theory, cultural studies, and Jewish studies.

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Thinking in the Dark
Cinema, Theory, Practice
Pomerance, Murray
Rutgers University Press, 2015
Today’s film scholars draw from a dizzying range of theoretical perspectives—they’re just as likely to cite philosopher Gilles Deleuze as they are to quote classic film theorist André Bazin. To students first encountering them, these theoretical lenses for viewing film can seem exhilarating, but also overwhelming.
Thinking in the Dark introduces readers to twenty-one key theorists whose work has made a great impact on film scholarship today, including Rudolf Arnheim, Sergei Eisenstein, Michel Foucault, Siegfried Kracauer, and Judith Butler. Rather than just discussing each theorist’s ideas in the abstract, the book shows how those concepts might be applied when interpreting specific films by including an analysis of both a classic film and a contemporary one. It thus demonstrates how theory can help us better appreciate films from all eras and genres: from Hugo to Vertigo, from City Lights to Sunset Blvd., and from Young Mr. Lincoln to A.I. and Wall-E.
The volume’s contributors are all experts on their chosen theorist’s work and, furthermore, are skilled at explaining that thinker’s key ideas and terms to readers who are not yet familiar with them. Thinking in the Dark is not only a valuable resource for teachers and students of film, it’s also a fun read, one that teaches us all how to view familiar films through new eyes. 
Theorists examined in this volume are: Rudolf Arnheim, Béla Balázs, Roland Barthes, André Bazin, Walter Benjamin, Judith Butler, Stanley Cavell, Michel Chion, Gilles Deleuze, Jean Douchet, Sergei Eisenstein, Jean Epstein, Michel Foucault, Siegfried Kracauer, Jacques Lacan, Vachel Lindsay, Christian Metz, Hugo Münsterberg, V. F. Perkins, Jacques Rancière, and Jean Rouch.

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Thinking in the Past Tense
Eight Conversations
Alexander Bevilacqua and Frederic Clark
University of Chicago Press, 2019
If the vibrancy on display in Thinking in the Past Tense is any indication, the study of intellectual history is enjoying an unusually fertile period in both Europe and North America. This collection of conversations with leading scholars brims with insights from such diverse fields as the history of science, the reception of classical antiquity, book history, global philology, and the study of material culture. The eight practitioners interviewed here specialize in the study of the early modern period (c. 1400–1800), for the last forty years a crucial laboratory for testing new methods in intellectual history. The lively conversations don’t simply reveal these scholars’ depth and breadth of thought; they also disclose the kind of trade secrets that historians rarely elucidate in print. Thinking in the Past Tense offers students and professionals alike a rare tactile understanding of the practice of intellectual history. Here is a collectively drawn portrait of the historian’s craft today.

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Thinking, Language, and Experience
Hector-Neri Castañeda
University of Minnesota Press, 1989
Thinking, Language, and Experience was first published in 1989.Hector-Neri Castañeda’s intricate and provocative essays have been widely influential, especially his work in epistemology and ethics, and his theory on the relation of thought to action. The fourteen essays in Thinking, Language, and Experience -- half of them written expressly for this volume -- demonstrate the breadth and richness of his recent work on the unitary structure of human experience.A comprehensive, unified study of phenomena at the intersection between experience, thinking, language, and reality, this book focuses on singular reference -- that is, reference to individuals insofar as they are thought of as individuals: indicators, quasi-indicators, proper names, singular descriptions. Castañeda establishes a large number of new facts -- linguistic, semantic, psychological, and sociological -- about the workings of language in human experience, and from them develops a network of new theories, all grounded in his comprehensive Guise Theory.These theories offer a systematic account for: the structure of human experience and the world at large; the mental powers required to think of the world and to undergo experiences; self-consciousness; the language for thinking of other minds; perception and the interaction between indexical reference and perceptual fields; and the role of subjectivity in perception and intentional action.

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The Thinking of the Master
Bataille between Hegel and Surrealism
Peter Burger
Northwestern University Press, 2002
Mastery of many sorts emerges in new configurations in Peter Bürger's The Thinking of the Master as an idea developed by Hegel in the master/slave dialectic in his Phenomenology of Spirit as a quality embodied in the work of certain twentieth-century maître-penseurs, or "master thinkers"; and, not least, in the expertise of Bürger himself as he negotiates and clarified a critical intersection of contemporary French and German thought. The author of the classic Theory of the Avant-Garde, Bürger here considers what several seminal thinkers—among them Bataille, Barthes, Foucault, and Derrida—owe to Hegel's dialectic and measures their accomplishments against the avant-garde project. Succinct, witty, and instructive, each of his essays stands alone as a valuable exposition of a significant strain of postmodern thought.

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The Thinking of the Sensible
Merleau-Ponty's A-Philosophy
Mauro Carbone
Northwestern University Press, 2004
In this first English publication of a well-known and widely respected Italian scholar, readers will encounter the preeminent interpreter of the works of Maurice Merleau-Ponty engaged in a dialogue of critical concern to contemporary philosophy. In subtle and sensitive language eminently suited to the style and substance of Merleau-Ponty's own writings, Mauro Carbone fashions four essays around a central theme-the relations of the sensible and the intelligible, and of philosophy and non-philosophy-that occupied Merleau-Ponty in his later work.

An original and innovative interpretation of the ontology of Merleau-Ponty--and themselves a significant contribution to the field of Continental thought--these essays constitute a sustained exploration of what Merleau-Ponty detected, and greeted, as a "mutation within the relations of man and Being," which would provide him with the basis for a new idea of philosophy or "a-philosophy." In lucid, often elegant terms, Carbone analyzes key elements of Merleau-Ponty's thought in relation to Proust's Recherche, Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, the new biology of Von Uexküll, Rimbaud's Lettre du voyant, and Heidegger's conception of "letting-be." His work clearly demonstrates the vitality of Merleau-Ponty's late revolutionary philosophy by following its most salient, previously unexplored paths. This is essential reading for any scholar with an interest in Merleau-Ponty, in the questions of embodiment, temporality and Nature, or in the possibility of philosophy today.

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Thinking the US South
Contemporary Philosophy from Southern Perspectives
Edited by Shannon Sullivan
Northwestern University Press, 2021

Knowledge emerges from contexts, which are shaped by people’s experiences. The varied essays in Thinking the US South: Contemporary Philosophy from Southern Perspectives demonstrate that Southern identities, borders, and practices play an important but unacknowledged role in ethical, political, emotional, and global issues connected to knowledge production. Not merely one geographical region among others, the US South is sometimes a fantasy and other times a nightmare, but it is always a prominent component of the American national imaginary. In connection with the Global North and Global South, the US South provides a valuable perspective from which to explore race, class, gender, and other inter- and intra-American differences. The result is a fresh look at how identity is constituted; the role of place, ancestors, and belonging in identity formation; the impact of regional differences on what counts as political resistance; the ways that affect and emotional labor circulate; practices of boundary policing, deportation, and mourning; issues of disability and slowness; racial and other forms of suffering; and above all, the question of whether and how doing philosophy changes when done from Southern standpoints. Examining racist tropes, Indigenous land claims, Black Southern philosophical perspectives, migrant labor, and more, this incisive anthology makes clear that roots matter.


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Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition
Edited by Paul Lynch and Nathaniel Rivers
Southern Illinois University Press, 2015

Best known for his books We Have Never Been Modern, Laboratory Life, and Science in Action, Bruno Latour has inspired scholarship across many disciplines. In the past few years, the fields of rhetoric and composition have witnessed an explosion of interest in Latour’s work. Editors Paul Lynch and Nathaniel Rivers have assembled leading and emerging scholars in order to focus the debate on what Latour means for the study of persuasion and written communication.

Essays in this volume discern, rearticulate, and occasionally critique rhetoric and composition’s growing interest in Latour. These contributions include work on topics such as agency, argument, rhetorical history, pedagogy, and technology, among others. Contributors explain key terms, identify implications of Latour’s work for rhetoric and composition, and explore how his theories might inform writing pedagogies and be used to build research methodologies.

Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition shows how Latour’s groundbreaking theories on technology, agency, and networks might be taken up, enriched, and extended to challenge scholars in rhetorical studies (both English and communications), composition, and writing studies to rethink some of the field’s most basic assumptions.  It is set to become the standard introduction that will appeal not only to those scholars already interested in Latour but also those approaching Latour for the first time.


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Thinking with Kant’s Critique of Judgment
Michel Chaouli
Harvard University Press, 2017

Why read Kant’s Critique of Judgment today? Does this classic of aesthetic theory still possess the vitality to prompt those of us engaged with art and criticism to think more deeply about issues that move us, issues such as the force of aesthetic experience, the essence of art, and the relationship of beauty and meaning? It does, if we find the right way into it.

Michel Chaouli shows us one such way. He unwraps the gray packing paper of Kant’s prose to reveal the fresh and fierce ideas that dwell in this masterpiece—not just the philosopher’s theory of beauty but also his ruminations on organisms and life. Each chapter in Thinking with Kant’s Critique of Judgment unfolds the complexity of a key concept, to disclose its role in Kant’s thought and to highlight the significance it holds for our own thinking.

Chaouli invites all who are interested in art and interpretation—novice and expert alike—to set out on the path of thinking with the Critique of Judgment. The rewards are handsome: we see just how profoundly Kant’s book can shape our own ideas about aesthetic experience and meaning. By thinking with Kant, we learn to surpass the horizon of his thought and find ourselves pushed to the very edge of what can be grasped firmly. That is where Kant’s book is at its most thrilling.


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Thinking with Ngangas
What Afro-Cuban Ritual Can Tell Us about Scientific Practice and Vice Versa
Stephan Palmié
University of Chicago Press, 2023
A comparative investigation of Afro-Cuban ritual and Western science that aims to challenge the rationality of Western expert practices.
Inspired by the exercises of Father Lafitau, an eighteenth-century Jesuit priest and protoethnographer who compared the lives of the Iroquois to those of the ancient Greeks, Stephan Palmié embarks on a series of unusual comparative investigations of Afro-Cuban ritual and Western science. What do organ transplants have to do with ngangas, a complex assemblage of mineral, animal, and vegetal materials, including human remains, that serve as the embodiment of the spirits of the dead? How do genomics and “ancestry projects” converge with divination and oracular systems? What does it mean that Black Cubans in the United States took advantage of Edisonian technology to project the disembodied voice of a mystical entity named ecué onto the streets of Philadelphia? Can we consider Afro-Cuban spirit possession as a form of historical knowledge production?
By writing about Afro-Cuban ritual in relation to Western scientific practice, and vice versa, Palmié hopes to challenge the rationality of Western expert practices, revealing the logic that brings together enchantment and experiment.

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Thinking with Shakespeare
Essays on Politics and Life
Julia Reinhard Lupton
University of Chicago Press, 2011
What is a person? What company do people keep with animals, plants, and things? Such questions—bearing fundamentally on the shared meaning of politics and life—animate Shakespearean drama, yet their urgency has often been obscured. Julia Reinhard Lupton gently dislodges Shakespeare’s plays from their historical confines to pursue their universal implications. From Petruchio’s animals and Kate’s laundry to Hamlet’s friends and Caliban’s childhood, Lupton restages thinking in Shakespeare as an embodied act of consent, cure, and care. Thinking with Shakespeare encourages readers to ponder matters of shared concern with the playwright by their side. Taking her cue from Hannah Arendt, Lupton reads Shakespeare for fresh insights into everything from housekeeping and animal husbandry to biopower and political theology.

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Thinking with Sound
A New Program in the Sciences and Humanities around 1900
Viktoria Tkaczyk
University of Chicago Press, 2023
Thinking with Sound traces the formation of auditory knowledge in the sciences and humanities in the decades around 1900.
When the outside world is silent, all sorts of sounds often come to mind: inner voices, snippets of past conversations, imaginary debates, beloved and unloved melodies. What should we make of such sonic companions? Thinking with Sound investigates a period when these and other newly perceived aural phenomena prompted a far-reaching debate. Through case studies from Paris, Vienna, and Berlin, Viktoria Tkaczyk shows that the identification of the auditory cortex in late nineteenth-century neuroanatomy affected numerous academic disciplines across the sciences and humanities. “Thinking with sound” allowed scholars and scientists to bridge the gaps between theoretical and practical knowledge, and between academia and the social, aesthetic, and industrial domains. As new recording technologies prompted new scientific questions, new auditory knowledge found application in industry and the broad aesthetic realm. Through these conjunctions, Thinking with Sound offers a deeper understanding of today’s second “acoustic turn” in science and scholarship.

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Thinking with St. John Paul II
JP2 Lectures, 2020/2021
Darliusz Karlowicz
Angelicum University Press Fundacja Swietego Mik, 2021

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Thinking with Things
Toward a New Vision of Art
By Esther Pasztory
University of Texas Press, 2005

What is "art"? Why have human societies through all time and around the globe created those objects we call works of art? Is there any way of defining art that can encompass everything from Paleolithic objects to the virtual images created by the latest computer technology? Questions such as these have preoccupied Esther Pasztory since the beginning of her scholarly career. In this authoritative volume, she distills four decades of research and reflection to propose a pathbreaking new way of understanding what art is and why human beings create it that can be applied to all cultures throughout time.

At its heart, Pasztory's thesis is simple and yet profound. She asserts that humans create things (some of which modern Western society chooses to call "art") in order to work out our ideas—that is, we literally think with things. Pasztory draws on examples from many societies to argue that the art-making impulse is primarily cognitive and only secondarily aesthetic. She demonstrates that "art" always reflects the specific social context in which it is created, and that as societies become more complex, their art becomes more rarefied.

Pasztory presents her thesis in a two-part approach. The first section of the book is an original essay entitled "Thinking with Things" that develops Pasztory's unified theory of what art is and why we create it. The second section is a collection of eight previously published essays that explore the art-making process in both Pre-Columbian and Western societies. Pasztory's work combines the insights of art history and anthropology in the light of poststructuralist ideas. Her book will be indispensable reading for everyone who creates or thinks about works of art.


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Thinking with Tolstoy and Wittgenstein
Expression, Emotion, and Art
Henry W. Pickford
Northwestern University Press, 2015

In this highly original interdisciplinary study incorporating close readings of literary texts and philosophical argumentation, Henry W. Pickford develops a theory of meaning and expression in art intended to counter the meaning skepticism most commonly associated with the theories of Jacques Derrida.

Pickford arrives at his theory by drawing on the writings of Wittgenstein to develop and modify the insights of Tolstoy’s philosophy of art. Pickford shows how Tolstoy’s encounter with Schopenhauer’s thought on the one hand provided support for his ethical views but on the other hand presented a problem, exemplified in the case of music, for his aesthetic theory, a problem that Tolstoy did not successfully resolve. Wittgenstein’s critical appreciation of Tolstoy’s thinking, however, not only recovers its viability but also constructs a formidable position within contemporary debates concerning theories of emotion, ethics, and aesthetic expression.


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Thinking with Whitehead
A Free and Wild Creation of Concepts
Isabelle Stengers
Harvard University Press

Alfred North Whitehead has never gone out of print, but for a time he was decidedly out of fashion in the English-speaking world. In a splendid work that serves as both introduction and erudite commentary, Isabelle Stengers—one of today’s leading philosophers of science—goes straight to the beating heart of Whitehead’s thought. The product of thirty years’ engagement with the mathematician-philosopher’s entire canon, this volume establishes Whitehead as a daring thinker on par with Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, and Michel Foucault.

Reading the texts in broadly chronological order while highlighting major works, Stengers deftly unpacks Whitehead’s often complicated language, explaining the seismic shifts in his thinking and showing how he called into question all that philosophers had considered settled after Descartes and Kant. She demonstrates that the implications of Whitehead’s philosophical theories and specialized knowledge of the various sciences come yoked with his innovative, revisionist take on God. Whitehead’s God exists within a specific epistemological realm created by a radically complex and often highly mathematical language.

“To think with Whitehead today,” Stengers writes, “means to sign on in advance to an adventure that will leave none of the terms we normally use as they were.”


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Thinking With—Jean-Luc Nancy
Edited by Susanna Lindberg, Artemy Magun, and Marita Tatari
Diaphanes, 2023
A multifaceted engagement with the thought of Jean-Luc Nancy.
This book continues passionate conversation that Jean-Luc Nancy (1940–2021) was engaged in throughout his life with philosophers and artists from all over the world. The contributors take up Nancy’s philosophical question of truth as a praxis of a “with”—understanding truth without any given measure or comparison as an articulation of a with. It is a thinking responsible for the world from within the world, a language that seeks to respond to the ongoing mutation of our civilization. Contributors include Jean-Christophe Bailly, Rodolphe Burger, Marcia Sá Calvacante Schuback, Marcus Coelen, Alexander García Düttmann, Juan-Manuel Garrido, Martta Heikkilä, Erich Hörl, Valentin Husson, Sandrine Israel-Jost, Ian James, Apostolos Lampropoulos, Nidesh Lawtoo, Jérôme Lèbre, Susanna Lindberg, Michael Marder, Artemy Magun, Boyan Manchev, Dieter Mersch, Hélène Nancy, Jean-Luc Nancy, Aïcha Liviana Messina, Ginette Michaud, Helen Petrovsky, Jacob Rogozinski, Philipp Stoellger, Peter Szendy, Georgios Tsagdis, Marita Tatari, Gert-Jan van der Heiden, and Aukje van Rooden.

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To Keep the Republic
Thinking, Talking, and Acting Like a Democratic Citizen
Elizabeth C. Matto
Rutgers University Press, 2024
American democracy is at an inflection point. With voting rights challenged, election results undermined, and even the US Capitol violently attacked, many Americans feel powerless to save their nation’s democratic institutions from the forces dismantling them. Yet, as founders like Benjamin Franklin knew from the start, the health of America’s democracy depends on the actions its citizens are willing to take to preserve it. 
To Keep the Republic is a wake-up call about the responsibilities that come with being a citizen in a participatory democracy. It describes the many ways that individuals can make a difference on both local and national levels—and explains why they matter. Political scientist Elizabeth C. Matto highlights the multiple facets of democratic citizenship, identifies American democracy’s sometimes competing values and ideals, and explains how civic engagement can take various forms, including political conversation. Combining political philosophy with concrete suggestions for how to become a more engaged citizen, To Keep the Republic reminds us that democracy is not a spectator sport; it only works when we get off the sidelines and enter the political arena to make our voices heard.


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A Vocabulary of Thinking
Gertrude Stein and Contemporary North American Women's Innnovative Writing
Deborah M. Mix
University of Iowa Press, 2007
Using experimental style as a framework for close readings of writings produced by late twentieth-century North American women, Deborah Mix places Gertrude Stein at the center of a feminist and multicultural account of twentieth-century innovative writing. Her meticulously argued work maps literary affiliations that connect Stein to the work of Harryette Mullen, Daphne Marlatt, Betsy Warland, Lyn Hejinian, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. By distinguishing a vocabulary-which is flexible, evolving, and simultaneously individual and communal--from a lexicon-which is recorded, fixed, and carries the burden of masculine authority--Mix argues that Stein's experimentalism both enables and demands the complex responses of these authors.
    Arguing that these authors have received relatively little attention because of the difficulty in categorizing them, Mix brings the writing of women of color, lesbians, and collaborative writers into the discussion of experimental writing. Thus, rather than exploring conventional lines of influence, she departs from earlier scholarship by using Stein and her work as a lens through which to read the ways these authors have renegotiated tradition, authority, and innovation.
    Building on the tradition of experimental or avant-garde writing in the United States, Mix questions the politics of the canon and literary influence, offers close readings of previously neglected contemporary writers whose work doesn't fit within conventional categories, and by linking genres not typically associated with experimentalism-lyric, epic, and autobiography-challenges ongoing reevaluations of innovative writing.

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