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Fifty Years Since MLK

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 15:19:05 +0000

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Since his death on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King’s legacy has influenced generations of activism. Edited and with a lead essay by Brandon Terry, this volume explores what this legacy can and cannot do for activism in the present.

King spent the months leading up to his death organizing demonstrations against the Vietnam War and planning the Poor People’s Campaign, a “multiracial army of the poor” that would march on Washington in pursuit of economic justice. Thus the spring of 1968 represented a hopeful, albeit chaotic set of possibilities; King, along with countless other activists, offered both ethical and strategic solutions to the multifaceted problems of war, racism, and economic inequality. With a critical eye on both the past and present, this collection of essays explores that moment of promise, and how, in the fifty years since King’s death, historical forces have shaped what we claim as a usable past in fighting the injustices of our time.

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Strange Attractor

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 18:09:00 +0000

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After seven years of silence, the acclaimed Strange Attractor Journal returns with a characteristically eclectic collection of high weirdness from the margins of culture. Covering previously uncharted regions of history, anthropology, art, literature, architecture, science, and magic since 2004, each Journal has presented new and unprecedented research into areas that scholarship has all too often ignored.

Featuring essays from academics, artists, enthusiasts, and sorcerers, Journal Five explores matters including the folklore of foghorns; the occult origins of the dissident surrealist secret society the Acéphale; the pleasures of heathen falconry; the dark cosmological mysteries of Bremen’s Haus Atlantis; a provisional taxonomy of animals with human faces; a twentieth-century crucifixion on Hampstead Heath, and an unpublished horror script by David MacGillivray and Ken Hollings.

Journal Five sees Strange Attractor continuing in its mission to celebrate unpopular culture.

Join us.
 

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The Honoured Dead

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 15:07:00 +0000

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London Cemeteries in Old Photographs

Since they were established in the 1830s, London’s great cemeteries have inspired countless artists and photographers to record their quiet beauty and solemn majesty. 

Not just resting places for the city’s honoured dead, they also serve as great repositories of social, architectural, and geographic history, reflecting our changing attitudes to the great inevitable.

Featuring over 170 images, along with comprehensive notes, The Honoured Dead presents a rarely seen collection of archival postcards, drawings, and photographs gathered over many years by author and former funeral director Brian Parsons.

As well as the celebrated “Magnificent Seven” necropolises—Highgate, Kensal Green, West Norwood, Abney Park, Nunhead, Brompton, and Tower Hamlets—the book also documents cemeteries and burial sites throughout Greater London and its environs, some of them now themselves buried by time.

Providing a unique perspective on London’s past, and its shifting visual representation, The Honoured Dead is a collection to be remembered with flowers.

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The Essential Tversky

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 18:57:04 +0000

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Amos Tversky (1937–1996) was a towering figure in the cognitive and decision sciences. His work was ingenious, exciting, and influential, spanning topics from intuition to statistics to behavioral economics. His long and extraordinarily productive collaboration with his friend and colleague Daniel Kahneman was the subject of Michael Lewis’s best-selling book, The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds. The Essential Tversky offers a selection of Tversky’s best, most influential and accessible papers, “classics” chosen to capture the essence of Tversky’s thought.

The impact of Tversky’s work is far reaching and long-lasting. In 2002, Kahneman, who drew on their joint work in his much-praised 2013 book, Thinking, Fast and Slow (and who contributes an afterword to this collection), was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for work done with Tversky. In The Undoing Project, Lewis (who contributes a foreword to this collection) describes his discovery that Tversky and Kahneman’s thinking laid the foundation for Moneyball, his own ode to number-crunching. The papers collected in The Essential Tversky cover topics that include cognitive and perceptual bias, misguided beliefs, inconsistent preferences, risky choice and loss aversion decisions, and psychological common sense. Together, they offer nonspecialist readers an introduction to one of the most brilliant social science thinkers of the twentieth century.

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The Mobile Workshop

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 19:39:02 +0000

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The Tsetse Fly and African Knowledge Production

The tsetse fly is a pan-African insect that bites an infective forest animal and ingests blood filled with invisible parasites, which it carries and transmits into cattle and people as it bites them, leading to n’gana (animal trypanosomiasis) and sleeping sickness. In The Mobile Workshop, Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga examines how the presence of the tsetse fly turned the forests of Zimbabwe and southern Africa into an open laboratory where African knowledge formed the basis of colonial tsetse control policies. He traces the pestiferous work that an indefatigable, mobile insect does through its movements, and the work done by humans to control it.

Mavhunga’s account restores the central role not just of African labor but of African intellect in the production of knowledge about the tsetse fly. He describes how European colonizers built on and beyond this knowledge toward destructive and toxic methods, including cutting down entire forests, forced “prophylactic” resettlement, massive destruction of wild animals, and extensive spraying of organochlorine pesticides. Throughout, Mavhunga uses African terms to describe the African experience, taking vernacular concepts as starting points in writing a narrative of ruzivo (knowledge) rather than viewing Africa through foreign keywords. The tsetse fly became a site of knowledge production—a mobile workshop of pestilence.

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The Heart of the Brain

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 18:47:02 +0000

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The Hypothalamus and Its Hormones

As human beings, we prefer to think of ourselves as reasonable. But how much of what we do is really governed by reason? In this book, Gareth Leng considers the extent to which one small structure of the neuroendocrine brain—the hypothalamus—influences what we do, how we love, and who we are.

The hypothalamus contains a large variety of neurons. These communicate not only through neurotransmitters, but also through peptide signals that act as hormones within the brain. While neurotransmitter signals tend to be ephemeral and confined by anatomical connectivity, the hormone signals that hypothalamic neurons generate are potent, wide-reaching, and long-lasting. Leng explores the evolutionary origins of these remarkable neurons, and where the receptors for their hormone signals are found in the brain. By asking how the hypothalamic neurons and their receptors are regulated, he explores how the hypothalamus links our passions with our reason. The Heart of the Brain shows in an accessible way how this very small structure is very much at the heart of what makes us human.

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Critical Theory and Interaction Design

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 18:57:02 +0000

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Why should interaction designers read critical theory? Critical theory is proving unexpectedly relevant to media and technology studies. The editors of this volume argue that reading critical theory—understood in the broadest sense, including but not limited to the Frankfurt School—can help designers do what they want to do; can teach wisdom itself; can provoke; and can introduce new ways of seeing. They illustrate their argument by presenting classic texts by thinkers in critical theory from Althusser to Žižek alongside essays in which leaders in interaction design and HCI describe the influence of the text on their work. For example, one contributor considers the relevance Umberto Eco’s “Openness, Information, Communication” to digital content; another reads Walter Benjamin’s “The Author as Producer” in terms of interface designers; and another reflects on the implications of Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble for interaction design. The editors offer a substantive introduction that traces the various strands of critical theory.

Taken together, the essays show how critical theory and interaction design can inform each other, and how interaction design, drawing on critical theory, might contribute to our deepest needs for connection, competency, self-esteem, and wellbeing.

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Jeffrey Bardzell, Shaowen Bardzell, Olav W. Bertelsen, Alan F. Blackwell, Mark Blythe, Kirsten Boehner, John Bowers, Gilbert Cockton, Carl DiSalvo, Paul Dourish, Melanie Feinberg, Beki Grinter, Hrönn Brynjarsdóttir Holmer, Jofish Kaye, Ann Light, John McCarthy, Søren Bro Pold, Phoebe Sengers, Erik Stolterman, Kaiton Williams., Peter Wright

Classic texts
Louis Althusser, Aristotle, Roland Barthes, Seyla Benhabib, Walter Benjamin, Judith Butler, Arthur Danto, Terry Eagleton, Umberto Eco, Michel Foucault, Wolfgang Iser, Alan Kaprow, Søren Kierkegaard, Bruno Latour, Herbert Marcuse, Edward Said, James C. Scott, Slavoj Žižek

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Situations and Syntactic Structures

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 18:57:02 +0000

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Rethinking Auxiliaries and Order in English

Research in syntax has found that there is a hierarchical ordering of projections within the verb phrase across languages (although researchers differ with respect to how fine grained they assume the hierarchy to be). In Situations and Syntactic Structures, Gillian Ramchand explores the hierarchy of the verb phrase from a semantic perspective, attempting to derive it from semantically sorted zones in the compositional semantics. The empirical ground is the auxiliary ordering found in the grammar of English. The “situation” in the title refers to the semanticists’ notion of eventuality that is the central element of the ontology of the formal semantics of verbal meaning. Ramchand discusses the semantic notion of situations in relation to the hierarchical ordering evidenced in syntactic structures and tries to bridge semantic and syntactic ontologies. She proposes and formalizes a new theory of semantic zones, and presents an explicitly semantic and morphological analysis of all the auxiliary constructions of English that derive their rigid order of composition without recourse to lexical item–specific ordering statements.

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Re-Reasoning Ethics

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 19:09:03 +0000

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The Rationality of Deliberation and Judgment in Ethics

In Re-Reasoning Ethics, Barry Hoffmaster and Cliff Hooker enhance and empower ethics by adopting a non-formal paradigm of rational deliberation as intelligent problem-solving and a complementary non-formal paradigm of ethical deliberation as problem-solving design to promote human flourishing. The non-formal conception of reason produces broader and richer ethical understandings of human situations, not the simple, constrained depictions provided by moral theories and their logical applications in medical ethics and bioethics. Instead, it delivers and vindicates the moral judgment that complex, contextual, and dynamic situations require.

Hoffmaster and Hooker demonstrate how this more expansive rationality operates with examples, first in science and then in ethics. Non-formal reason brings rationality not just to the empirical world of science but also to the empirical realities of human lives. Among the many real cases they present is that of how women at risk of having children with genetic conditions decide whether to try to become pregnant. These women do not apply the formal principle of maximizing expected utility (as advised by genetic counselors) and instead imagine scenarios of what their lives could be like with an affected child and assess whether they could accept the worst of these scenarios.

Hoffmaster and Hooker explain how moral compromise and a liberated, extended, and enriched reflective equilibrium expand and augment rational ethical deliberation and how that deliberation can rationally design ethical practices, institutions, and policies.

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Drawing on Architecture

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 20:47:01 +0000

Open Access Content OA content exists for this title:  no Copy The Object of Lines, 1970–1990 Prior to the 1970s, buildings were commonly understood to be the goal of architectural practice; architectural drawings were seen simply as a means to an end. But, just as the boundaries of architecture itself were shifting at the end of the twentieth century, the perception of architectural drawings was also shifting; they began to be seen as autonomous objects outside the process of building. In Drawing on Architecture, Jordan Kauffman offers an account of how architectural drawings—promoted by a network of galleries and collectors, exhibitions and events—emerged as aesthetic objects and ultimately attained status as important cultural and historical artifacts, and how this was both emblematic of changes in architecture and a catalyst for these changes.Kauffman traces moments of critical importance to the evolution of the perception of architectural drawings, beginning with exhibitions that featured architectural drawings displayed in ways that did not elucidate buildings but treated them as meaningful objects in their own right. When architectural drawings were seen as having intrinsic value, they became collectible, and Kauffman chronicles early collectors, galleries, and sales. He discusses three key exhibitions at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York; other galleries around the world that specialized in architectural drawings; the founding of architecture museums that understood and collected drawings as important cultural and historical artifacts; and the effect of the new significance of architectural drawings on architecture and architectural history.Drawing on interviews with more than forty people directly involved with the events described and on extensive archival research, Kauffman shows how architectural drawings became the driving force in architectural debate in an era of change. Contributors Jordan Kauffman Pre-pub available:  Pre-pub unavailable Hide buy buttons and binding specs:  Show the buying buttons as normal [...]