New Books in Intellectual History

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Interviews with Scholars of Intellectual History about their New Books

Marshall Poe


    • Jan 3, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
    • daily NEW EPISODES
    • 59m AVG DURATION
    • 1,373 EPISODES


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    Latest episodes from New Books in Intellectual History

    Rommel Argamosa Curaming, "Power and Knowledge in Southeast Asia: State and Scholars in Indonesia and the Philippines" (Routledge, 2019)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 3, 2022 32:23

    Why did leading historians in both Indonesia and the Philippines become involved in projects to write national histories during the 1970s? How far were these projects essentially political undertakings to legitimate the Suharto and Marcos regimes respectively? In conversation with Duncan McCargo, Rommel Curaming discusses how he managed to interview key protagonists behind these controversial history-writing endeavors, many of whom were initially rather reluctant to talk about their roles. Examining two state-sponsored history writing projects in Indonesia and the Philippines in the 1970s, Power and Knowledge in Southeast Asia: State and Scholars in Indonesia and the Philippines (Routledge, 2019) illuminates the contents and contexts of the two projects and, more importantly, provides a nuanced characterization of the relationship between embodiments of power (state, dictators, government officials) and knowledge (intellectuals, historians, history). Known respectively as Sejarah Nasional Indonesia (SNI) and the Tadhana Project, these projects were initiated by the Suharto and Marcos authoritarian regimes against the backdrop of rising and competing nationalisms, as well as the regimes' efforts at political consolidation. The dialectics between actors and the politico-academic contexts determine whether scholarship and politics would clash, mutually support, or co-exist parallel with one another. Rather than one side manipulating or co-opting the other, this study shows the mutual need or partnership between scholars and political actors in these projects. This book proposes the need to embrace rather than deny the entwined power/knowledge if the idea is for scholarship to realize its truly progressive visions. Analyzing the dynamics of state-scholars relations in the two countries, the book will be of interest to academics in the fields on Southeast Asian history and politics, nationalism, historiography, intellectual history and the sociology of knowledge. Rommel A. Curaming is Senior Assistant Professor at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD). His areas of research include comparative historiography, history and memory of violence, historical theory, and knowledge politics in Southeast Asia, mainly Indonesia and the Philippines.  Eighteen books have appeared to date in the Routledge Rethinking Southeast Asia series, which was launched in 2000. The series includes a number of ground-breaking monographs by scholars including Bob Hadiwinata, Jun Honna, Michael Connors, David Streckfuss and Jess Melvin.  Duncan McCargo is an eclectic, internationalist political scientist and literature buff: his day job is directing the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies at the University of Copenhagen. Learn more here, here, here, and here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Thomas Schmidt, "The Book of Revelation and Its Eastern Commentators: Making the New Testament in the Early Christian World" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 3, 2022 70:48

    In The Book of Revelation and Its Eastern Commentators (Cambridge UP, 2021), T. C. Schmidt offers a new perspective on the formation of the New Testament by examining it simply as a Greco-Roman 'testament', a legal document of great authority in the ancient world. His work considers previously unexamined parallels between Greco-Roman juristic standards and the authorization of Christianity's holy texts. Recapitulating how Greco-Roman testaments were created and certified, he argues that the book of Revelation possessed many testamentary characteristics that were crucial for lending validity to the New Testament. Even so, Schmidt shows how Revelation fell out of favor amongst most Eastern Christian communities for over a thousand years until commentators rehabilitated its status and reintegrated it into the New Testament. Schmidt uncovers why so many Eastern churches neglected Revelation during this period, and then draws from Greco-Roman legal practice to describe how Eastern commentators successfully argued for Revelation's inclusion in the New Testaments of their Churches. Zach McCulley (@zamccull) is a historian of religion and literary cultures in early modern England and PhD candidate in History at Queen's University Belfast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Noam Sachs Zion, "Sanctified Sex: The Two-Thousand-Year Jewish Debate on Marital Intimacy" (Jewish Publication Society, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 31, 2021 71:59

    Sanctified Sex: The Two-Thousand-Year Jewish Debate on Marital Intimacy (Jewish Publication Society, 2021) draws on two thousand years of rabbinic debates addressing competing aspirations for loving intimacy, passionate sexual union, and sanctity in marriage. What can Judaism contribute to our struggles to nurture love relationships? What halakhic precedents are relevant, and how are rulings changing? The rabbis, of course, seldom agree. Underlying their arguments are perennial debates: What kind of marital sex qualifies as ideal—sacred self-control of sexual desire or the holiness found in emotional and erotic intimacy? Is intercourse degrading in its physicality or the highest act of spiritual/mystical union? And should women or men (or both) wield ultimate say about what transpires in bed? Noam Sachs Zion guides us chronologically and steadily through fraught terrain: seminal biblical texts and their Talmudic interpretations; Talmud tales of three unusual rabbis and their marital bedrooms; medieval codifiers and mystical commentators; ultra-Orthodox rabbis clashing with one another over radically divergent ideals; and, finally, contemporary rabbis of varied denominations wrestling with modern transformations in erotic lifestyles and values. Invited into these sanctified and often sexually explicit discussions with our ancestors and contemporaries, we encounter innovative Jewish teachings on marital intimacy, ardent lovemaking techniques, and the art of couple communication vital for matrimonial success. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Putin's Attempt to Hide the Crimes of Stalinism

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 30, 2021 51:41

    For the past 30 years, a group of Russian scholars have dedicated themselves to uncovering the crimes of Stalinism. Their organization, Memorial, has in that time made great strides in understanding the scale, nature and history of Stalin's repression. On 28 December 2021, Russia's highest court found that Memorial was in violation of the Russian Federation's law regarding "foreign agents" and ordered it to be closed.   In this interview, I talked with Benjamin Nathans about Memorial's history, work, and the reasons Putin decided to shut it down now. Nathans, a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, has worked with and for Memorial since the 1990s. For more about Memorial, go here.  Marshall Poe is the founder and editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at marshallpoe@newbooksnetwork.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Seth David Radwell, "American Schism: How the Two Enlightenments Hold the Secret to Healing our Nation" (Greenleaf, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 29, 2021 59:35

    Why are Americans so angry? American Schism: How the Two Enlightenments Hold the Secret to Healing our Nation (Greenleaf, 2021) explores history to find the answer to a divided America Two disparate Americas have always coexisted. In this thoroughly researched, engaging and story of our nation's divergent roots, Seth David Radwell clearly links the fascinating history of the two American Enlightenments to our raging political division. He also demonstrates that reasoned analysis and historical perspective are the only antidote to irrational political discourse. “Did my vision of America ever exist at all, or was it but a myth?” Searching for a fresh and distinctive perspective on the recent corrosion of our civic life, Radwell's very personal and yet broadly shared question propelled his search back to the nation's founding for a fresh and distinctive perspective on the recent corrosion of its civic life - and led to a surprising discovery. Today's battles reflect the fundamentally divergent visions of our country that emerged at the nation's founding and have been vying for prominence ever since. The founding principles that shaped the United States may be rooted in the Enlightenment era. But the origin of our dual Americas is a product of two distinct Enlightenments - Radical and Moderate. Radwell shows the impact of this schism on American history from the early expansion of the U.S. through Jim Crow and The Age of Trumpism. In an optimistic final section, Radwell lays out an analysis of our current governmental structure and a plan to move forward, arguing that it is only by embracing Enlightenment principles that we can build a civilized, progressive, and tolerant society - where Americans can firmly ground their different views in rationality. Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network's Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. We invite your comments and suggestions: reneeg@vanleer.org.il. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Isaac A. Kamola, "Making the World Global: U.S. Universities and the Production of the Global Imaginary" (Duke UP, 2019)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 29, 2021 99:25

    Following World War II the American government and philanthropic foundations fundamentally remade American universities into sites for producing knowledge about the world as a collection of distinct nation-states. As neoliberal reforms took hold in the 1980s, visions of the world made popular within area studies and international studies found themselves challenged by ideas and educational policies that originated in business schools and international financial institutions. Academics within these institutions reimagined the world instead as a single global market and higher education as a commodity to be bought and sold. By the 1990s, American universities embraced this language of globalization, and globalization eventually became the organizing logic of higher education.  In Making the World Global: U.S. Universities and the Production of the Global Imaginary (Duke UP, 2019), Isaac A. Kamola examines how the relationships among universities, the American state, philanthropic organizations, and international financial institutions created the conditions that made it possible to imagine the world as global. Examining the Center for International Studies, Harvard Business School, the World Bank, the Social Science Research Council, and NYU, Kamola demonstrates that how we imagine the world is always symptomatic of the material relations within which knowledge is produced. Dr. Kamola is currently an Associate Professor of Political Science and President of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) chapter at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Sara Katz is a postdoctoral associate in the history department at Duke University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Joseph J. Ellis, "The Cause: The American Revolution and Its Discontents, 1773-1783" (Liveright, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2021 49:22

    In one of the most “exciting and engaging” (Gordon S. Wood) histories of the American founding in decades, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Joseph J. Ellis offers an epic account of the origins and clashing ideologies of America's revolutionary era, recovering a war more brutal, and more disorienting, than any in our history, save perhaps the Civil War. For more than two centuries, historians have debated the history of the American Revolution, disputing its roots, its provenance, and above all, its meaning. These questions have intrigued Ellis―one of our most celebrated scholars of American history―throughout his entire career. With this much-anticipated volume, he at last brings the story of the revolution to vivid life, with “surprising relevance” (Susan Dunn) for our modern era. Completing a trilogy of books that began with Founding Brothers, The Cause: The American Revolution and Its Discontents, 1773-1783 (Liveright, 2021) returns us to the very heart of the American founding, telling the military and political story of the war for independence from the ground up, and from all sides: British and American, loyalist and patriot, white and Black. Taking us from the end of the Seven Years' War to 1783, and drawing on a wealth of previously untapped sources, The Cause interweaves action-packed tales of North American military campaigns with parlor-room intrigues back in England, creating a thrilling narrative that brings together a cast of familiar and long-forgotten characters. Here Ellis recovers the stories of Catherine Littlefield Greene, wife of Major General Nathanael Greene, the sister among the “band of brothers”; Thayendanegea, a Mohawk chief known to the colonists as Joseph Brant, who led the Iroquois Confederation against the Patriots; and Harry Washington, the enslaved namesake of George Washington, who escaped Mount Vernon to join the British Army and fight against his former master. Countering popular histories that romanticize the “Spirit of '76,” Ellis demonstrates that the rebels fought under the mantle of “The Cause,” a mutable, conveniently ambiguous principle that afforded an umbrella under which different, and often conflicting, convictions and goals could coexist. Neither an American nation nor a viable government existed at the end of the war. In fact, one revolutionary legacy regarded the creation of such a nation, or any robust expression of government power, as the ultimate betrayal of The Cause. This legacy alone rendered any effective response to the twin tragedies of the founding―slavery and the Native American dilemma―problematic at best. Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House's International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Melinda Baldwin, "Making 'Nature': The History of a Scientific Journal" (U Chicago Press, 2015)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 24, 2021 66:52

    Listen to this interview of Melinda Baldwin about her book Making 'Nature': The History of a Scientific Journal (U Chicago Press, 2015). Melinda is AIP Endowed Professor in History of Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland. We talk about Nature, naturally. Melinda Baldwin : "Yes, I think it will be surprising to many scientists today that Nature has really been thoroughly shaped by the journal's contributors and readership, and certainly to the people who view Nature's editorial staff as these all-powerful gatekeepers of scientific success. But, I love the list you just gave of all the people who are involved in making a journal — the referees, the editors, the authors, the readers, the publishing executives — because that can really be one of the things that we lose sight of when discussing modern scholarly communication: The professional advancement of scientists is so heavily dependent on being published in these peer-reviewed journals, and according to where a scientist works, things like tenure, promotion, and even just getting hired can depend heavily on getting into a particular type of journal, a prestigious journal that rejects many submissions. And so it can seem like the power to shape scholarly communication is only in the hands of the editors and in the hands of the anonymous referees who review papers. But looking at the history of scientific publication, you really see a story where a lot more figures are influential in shaping the way that the scientific journal has developed. And you see that, of course, with Nature, where it was definitely contributors' needs and interests that drove some significant changes in the format and the audience of the journal." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Michael K. Bourdaghs, "A Fictional Commons: Natsume Soseki and the Properties of Modern Literature" (Duke UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 22, 2021 54:06

    Modernity arrived in Japan, as elsewhere, through new forms of ownership. In A Fictional Commons: Natsume Soseki and the Properties of Modern Literature (Duke UP, 2021), Michael K. Bourdaghs explores how the literary and theoretical works of Natsume Sōseki (1867–1916), widely celebrated as Japan's greatest modern novelist, exploited the contradictions and ambiguities that haunted this new system. Many of his works feature narratives about inheritance, thievery, and the struggle to obtain or preserve material wealth while also imagining alternative ways of owning and sharing. For Sōseki, literature was a means for thinking through—and beyond—private property. Bourdaghs puts Sōseki into dialogue with thinkers from his own era (including William James and Mizuno Rentarō, author of Japan's first copyright law) and discusses how his work anticipates such theorists as Karatani Kōjin and Franco Moretti. As Bourdaghs shows, Sōseki both appropriated and rejected concepts of ownership and subjectivity in ways that theorized literature as a critical response to the emergence of global capitalism. Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    F. Bruce Gordon, "Zwingli: God's Armed Prophet" (Yale UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 22, 2021 31:04

    Zwingli: God's Armed Prophet (Yale, 2021) is a major new biography of Huldrych Zwingli--the warrior preacher who shaped the early Reformation. Zwingli (1484-1531) was the most significant early reformer after Martin Luther. As the architect of the Reformation in Switzerland, he created the Reformed tradition later inherited by John Calvin. His movement ultimately became a global religion. A visionary of a new society, Zwingli was also a divisive and fiercely radical figure.  Bruce Gordon presents a fresh interpretation of the early Reformation and the key role played by Zwingli. A charismatic preacher and politician, Zwingli transformed church and society in Zurich and inspired supporters throughout Europe. Yet, Gordon shows, he was seen as an agitator and heretic by many and his bellicose, unyielding efforts to realize his vision would prove his undoing. Unable to control the movement he had launched, Zwingli died on the battlefield fighting his Catholic opponents. Zach McCulley (@zamccull) is a historian of religion and literary cultures in early modern England and PhD candidate in History at Queen's University Belfast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Joseph Reagle on H. G. Wells's "World Brain" (1937)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 22, 2021 59:48

    In a series of talks and essays in 1937, H. G. Wells proselytized for what he called a World Brain, as manifested in a World Encyclopedia--a repository of scientifically established knowledge--that would spread enlightenment around the world and lead to world peace. Wells, known to readers today as the author of The War of the Worlds and other science fiction classics, was imagining something like a predigital Wikipedia. The World Encyclopedia would provide a summary of verified reality (in about forty volumes); it would be widely available, free of copyright, and utilize the latest technology. Of course, as Bruce Sterling points out in the foreword to this new edition of Wells's work, the World Brain didn't happen; the internet did. And yet, Wells anticipated aspects of the internet, envisioning the World Brain as a technical system of networked knowledge (in Sterling's words, a hypothetical super-gadget). Wells's optimism about the power of information might strike readers today as naïvely utopian, but possibly also inspirational. Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. To discuss and propose the book for an interview you can reach her at galina.limorenko@epfl.ch. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Hua Li, "Chinese Science Fiction During the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw" (U Toronto Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 21, 2021 54:07

    The late 1970s to the mid-1980s, a period commonly referred to as the post-Mao cultural thaw, was a key transitional phase in the evolution of Chinese science fiction. This period served as a bridge between science-popularization science fiction of the 1950s and 1960s and New Wave Chinese science fiction from the 1990s into the twenty-first century. Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw (University of Toronto Press, 2021) surveys the field of Chinese science fiction and its multimedia practice, analysing and assessing science fiction works by well-known writers such as Ye Yonglie, Zheng Wenguang, Tong Enzheng, and Xiao Jianheng, as well as the often-overlooked tech–science fiction writers of the post-Mao thaw. Exploring the socio-political and cultural dynamics of science-related Chinese literature during this period, Hua Li combines close readings of original Chinese literary texts with literary analysis informed by scholarship on science fiction as a genre, Chinese literary history, and media studies. Li argues that this science fiction of the post-Mao thaw began its rise as a type of government-backed literature, yet it often stirred up controversy and received pushback as a contentious and boundary-breaking genre. Topically structured and interdisciplinary in scope, Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw will appeal to both scholars and fans of science fiction. Hua Li is an associate professor at Montana State University. Clara Iwasaki is an assistant professor in the East Asian Studies department at the University of Alberta. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Alfred Mele, “Free Will: An Investigation” (Open Agenda, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 20, 2021 105:57

    Free Will: An Investigation is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Alfred Mele, the William H. and Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. This wide-ranging conversation examines free will and the different notions of free will that exist, the connections of free will with developments in neuroscience, social psychology and public opinion polls and Alfred Mele's key concern about how current and future insights might be directly applied to improve our world. Howard Burton is the founder of the Ideas Roadshow, Ideas on Film and host of the Ideas Roadshow Podcast. He can be reached at howard@ideasroadshow.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Jessica Hurley, "Infrastructures of Apocalypse: American Literature and the Nuclear Complex" (U Minnesota Press, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 20, 2021 64:56

    Since 1945, America has spent more resources on nuclear technology than any other national project. Although it requires a massive infrastructure that touches society on myriad levels, nuclear technology has typically been discussed in a limited, top-down fashion that clusters around powerful men. In Infrastructures of Apocalypse: American Literature and the Nuclear Complex (U Minnesota Press, 2020), Jessica Hurley turns this conventional wisdom on its head, offering a new approach that focuses on neglected authors and Black, queer, Indigenous, and Asian American perspectives. Exchanging the usual white, male “nuclear canon” for authors that include James Baldwin, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Ruth Ozeki, Infrastructures of Apocalypse delivers a fresh literary history of post-1945 America that focuses on apocalypse from below. Here Hurley critiques the racialized urban spaces of civil defense and reads nuclear waste as a colonial weapon. Uniting these diverse lines of inquiry is Hurley's belief that apocalyptic thinking is not the opposite of engagement but rather a productive way of imagining radically new forms of engagement. Infrastructures of Apocalypse offers futurelessness as a place from which we can construct a livable world. It fills a blind spot in scholarship on American literature of the nuclear age, while also offering provocative, surprising new readings of such well-known works as Atlas Shrugged, Infinite Jest, and Angels in America. Infrastructures of Apocalypse is a revelation for readers interested in nuclear issues, decolonial literature, speculative fiction, and American studies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Margarett MacMillan, “For the Love of History” (Open Agenda, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 17, 2021 66:50

    For the Love of History is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Margaret MacMillan, Professor of History at the University of Toronto and emeritus Professor of International History and the former warden of St Antony's College at the University of Oxford. This wide-ranging conversation examines her research on patriotism and nationalism, which are essential themes of her lifelong work on 19th and 20th history. Howard Burton is the founder of the Ideas Roadshow, Ideas on Film and host of the Ideas Roadshow Podcast. He can be reached at howard@ideasroadshow.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Izabela Wagner, "Bauman: A Biography" (Polity, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 17, 2021 59:21

    Global thinker, public intellectual, and world-famous theorist of ‘liquid modernity', Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017) was a scholar who, despite forced migration, built a very successful academic career and, after retirement, became a prolific and popular writer and an intellectual talisman for young people everywhere.  Izabela Wagner's Bauman: A Biography (Polity Press, 2020) is the first comprehensive biography of his life and work. Dr. Wagner, Professor of Sociology at Collegium Civitas in Warsaw, returns to Bauman's native Poland and recounts his childhood in an assimilated Polish-Jewish family and the school experiences shaped by anti-Semitism. Bauman's life trajectory is typical of his generation and social group: the escape from Nazi occupation and Soviet secondary education, communist engagement, enrolment in the Polish Army as a political officer, participation in WWII, and the support for the new political regime in the post-war Poland. Dr. Wagner sheds new light on Bauman's activity as a KBW political officer. His eviction in 1953 from the military ranks and his academic career reflect the dynamic context of Poland in 1950s and 1960s. His professional career in Poland was abruptly halted in 1968 by the anti-Semitic purges. Bauman became a refugee again - leaving Poland for Israel, and then settling down in Leeds in the UK in 1971. His work would flourish in Leeds, and after his retirement in 1991 he entered a period of enormous productivity which propelled him onto the international stage as one of the most widely read and influential social thinkers of our time. Vladislav Lilic is a doctoral candidate in Modern European History at Vanderbilt University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Julian E. Zelizer, "Abraham Joshua Heschel: A Life of Radical Amazement" (Yale UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 17, 2021 55:28

    “When I marched in Selma, I felt my legs were praying.” So said Polish-born American rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907–1972) of his involvement in the 1965 Selma civil rights march alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Heschel, who spoke with a fiery moralistic fervor, dedicated his career to the struggle to improve the human condition through faith. In Abraham Joshua Heschel: A Life of Radical Amazement (Yale UP, 2021), author Julian Zelizer tracks Heschel's early years and foundational influences—his childhood in Warsaw and early education in Hasidism, his studies in late 1920s and early 1930s Berlin, and the fortuitous opportunity, which brought him to the United States and saved him from the Holocaust, to teach at Hebrew Union College and the Jewish Theological Seminary. This deep and complex portrait places Heschel at the crucial intersection between religion and progressive politics in mid-twentieth-century America. To this day Heschel remains a symbol of the fight to make progressive Jewish values relevant in the secular world. Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network's Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at reneeg@vanleer.org.il Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Aaron Weinacht, "Nikolai Chernyshevskii and Ayn Rand: Russian Nihilism Travels to America" (Rowman and Littlefield, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2021 79:09

    Nikolai Chernyshevskii and Ayn Rand: Russian Nihilism Travels to America (Lexington, 2021) argues that the core commitments of the nihilist movement of the 1860's made their way to 20th century America via the thought of Ayn Rand. While mid-nineteenth-century Russian nihilism has generally been seen as part of a radical tradition that culminated in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the author argues that nihilism's intellectual trajectory was in fact quite different. Analysis of such sources as Nikolai Chernyshevskii's What is to Be Done? (1863) and Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged (1957), archival research in Rand's papers, and broad attention to late-nineteenth century Russian intellectual history all lead the author to conclude that nihilism's legacy is deeply implicated in one of America's most widely-read philosophers of capitalism and libertarian freedom. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Gloria Maité Hernández, "Savoring God: Comparative Theopoetics" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2021 47:11

    Gloria Maité Hernández's Savoring God: Comparative Theopoetics (Oxford UP, 2021) compares two mystical works central to the Christian Discalced Carmelite and the Hindu Bhakti traditions: the sixteenth-century Spanish Cántico espiritual (Spiritual Canticle), by John of the Cross, and the Sanskrit Rāsa Līlā, originated in the oral tradition. These texts are examined alongside theological commentaries: for the Cántico, the Comentarios written by John of the Cross on his own poem; for Rāsa Līlā, the foundational commentary by Srīdhara Swāmi along with commentaries by the sixteenth-century theologian Jīva Goswāmī, from the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava school, and other Gauḍīya theologians.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    2.7 The Novel of Revolutionary Ideas: Viet Thanh Nguyen and Colleen Lye

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2021 48:40

    Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning The Sympathizer and its sequel The Committed, joins esteemed scholar Colleen Lye of UC-Berkeley for a candid discussion about the Asian-American novel and the role of literature and theory in radical social movements. Colleen is drawn to the mix of philosophy and suspense in Viet's work and wonders if he considers himself a member of the theory generation (those writers for whom literary theory is not just a way of reading texts but an impetus to create new literary forms for grappling with ideas). Viet, schooled in deconstruction and postcolonial theory, accepts the designation with a caveat: If he is a novelist of ideas, then he is a novelist of revolutionary ideas. Inspired by Fanon's anticolonialism and Gayatri Spivak's concept of the double bind, Viet's defiantly politicizing aesthetic looks to place the colonial subject, particularly the Vietnamese refugee, at the center of multiple stories of American and French imperialism. Colleen and Viet reflect on the role of academic training in Viet's transformation from Asian-Americanist scholar into Asian-American novelist and discuss the peculiarities of immigrant Asian identity in terms of language. Mother tongues, bilingualism, orphaned language, and adopted language all become metaphors for how Asian-American writers must balance the loss of heritage and weight of expectation with the call to self-invention. Plus, Viet reveals the not-so-wholesome treats that enabled him to complete The Sympathizer! Mentioned in the Episode Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks Jean-Paul Sartre Nicholas Dames, "The Theory Generation" Maxine Hong Kingston, Woman Warrior John Okada, No-No Boy Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Flashpoints for Asian-American Studies W.E.B. DuBois, Double Consciousness Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Double Bind Ocean Vuong Transcript Available Here: https://noveldialogue.org/transcripts/ Aarthi Vadde is Associate Professor of English at Duke University. Email: aarthi.vadde@duke.edu. John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative. Email: plotz@brandeis.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Elizabeth McHenry, "To Make Negro Literature: Writing, Literary Practice, and African American Authorship" (Duke UP, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 15, 2021 65:16

    In To Make Negro Literature: Writing, Literary Practice, and African American Authorship (Duke UP 2021), Elizabeth McHenry locates a hidden chapter in the history of Black literature at the turn of the twentieth century, revising concepts of Black authorship and offering a fresh account of the development of "Negro literature" focused on the never published, the barely read, and the unconventional. Brittney Edmonds is an Assistant Professor of Afro-American Studies at UW-Madison. I specialize in 20th and 21st century African American Literature and Culture with a special interest in Black Humor Studies. Read more about my work at brittneymichelledmonds.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Benjamin A. Cowan, "Moral Majorities Across the Americas: Brazil, the United States, and the Creation of the Religious Right" (UNC Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 15, 2021 57:22

    This new history of the Christian right does not stop at national or religious boundaries. In Moral Majorities Across the Americas, Brazil, the United States, and the Creation of the Religious Right (UNC Press, 2021), Benjamin A. Cowan chronicles the advent of a hemispheric religious movement whose current power and influence make headlines and generate no small amount of shock in Brazil and the United States. These two countries, Cowan argues, played host to the principal activists and institutions who collaboratively fashioned the ascendant religious conservatism of the late twentieth century. Cowan not only unearths the deep historical connections between Brazilian and U.S. religious conservatives but also proves just how essential Brazilian thinkers, activists, and institutions were to engendering right-wing political power in the Americas. Cowan shows that both Protestant and Catholic religious warriors began to commune in the 1930s around a passionate aversion to mainstream ecumenicalism and moderate political ideas. Brazilian intellectuals, politicians, religious leaders, and captains of industry worked with partners at home and in the United States to build a united right. Together, activists engaged in a series of reactionary theological discussions. Their transnational, transdenominational platform fostered a sense of common cause and allowed them to develop a series of strategies that pushed once marginal ideas to the center of public discourse, reshaped religious demographics, and effected a rightward shift in politics across two continents. Ethan Besser Fredrick is a graduate student in Modern Latin American history seeking his PhD at the University of Minnesota. His work focuses on the Transatlantic Catholic movements in Mexico and Spain during the early 20th century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Andrew Piper, "Can We Be Wrong? The Problem of Textual Evidence in a Time of Data" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2021 46:35

    Can We Be Wrong? The Problem of Textual Evidence in a Time of Data (Cambridge UP, 2020) by Andrew Piper tackles the problem of generalization with respect to text-based evidence in the field of literary studies. When working with texts, how can we move, reliably and credibly, from individual observations to more general beliefs about the world? The onset of computational methods has highlighted major shortcomings of traditional approaches to texts when it comes to working with small samples of evidence. This Cambridge Element combines a machine learning-based approach to detect the prevalence and nature of generalization across tens of thousands of sentences from different disciplines alongside a robust discussion of potential solutions to the problem of the generalizability of textual evidence. It exemplifies the way mixed methods can be used in complementary fashion to develop nuanced, evidence-based arguments about complex disciplinary issues in a data-driven research environment. Andrew Piper is Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at McGill University. He directs .txtlab, a laboratory for cultural analytics at McGill, and is editor of the Journal of Cultural Analytics. Katie McDonough is Senior Research Associate, The Alan Turing Institute. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Margaret Jacobs, “Enlightened Entrepreneurialism” (Open Agenda, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2021 95:17

    Enlightened Entrepreneurialism is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Margaret Jacob, Distinguished Professor of History at UCLA. Topics examined during this extensive conversation include Margaret Jacob's motivations to become a historian and her comprehensive analysis of the history of the Industrial Revolution and interpretation of the major economic motivations on the ground, comparing daily life experiences in England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. A sophisticated understanding of the past naturally involves a composite approach that marries economic motivations with associated cultural factors of educational trends, religious influences and scientific and technological awareness, and more. Howard Burton is the founder of the Ideas Roadshow, Ideas on Film and host of the Ideas Roadshow Podcast. He can be reached at howard@ideasroadshow.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Cinthia Gannett and John Brereton, "Traditions of Eloquence: The Jesuits and Modern Rhetorical Studies" (Fordham UP, 2016)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2021 65:17

    Traditions of Eloquence: The Jesuits and Modern Rhetorical Studies (Fordham UP, 2016) explores the important ways Jesuits have employed rhetoric, the ancient art of persuasion and the current art of communications, from the sixteenth century to the present. Much of the history of how Jesuit traditions contributed to the development of rhetorical theory and pedagogy has been lost, effaced, or dispersed. As a result, those interested in Jesuit education and higher education in the United States, as well as scholars and teachers of rhetoric, are often unaware of this living 450-year-old tradition. Written by highly regarded scholars of rhetoric, composition, education, philosophy, and history, many based at Jesuit colleges and universities, the essays in this volume explore the tradition of Jesuit rhetorical education-that is, constructing "a more usable past" and a viable future for eloquentia perfecta, the Jesuits' chief aim for the liberal arts. Intended to foster eloquence across the curriculum and into the world beyond, Jesuit rhetoric integrates intellectual rigor, broad knowledge, civic action, and spiritual discernment as the chief goals of the educational experience. Consummate scholars and rhetors, the early Jesuits employed all the intellectual and language arts as "contemplatives in action," preaching and undertaking missionary, educational, and charitable works in the world. The study, pedagogy, and practice of classical grammar and rhetoric, adapted to Christian humanism, naturally provided a central focus of this powerful educational system as part of the Jesuit commitment to the Ministries of the Word. This book traces the development of Jesuit rhetoric in Renaissance Europe, follows its expansion to the United States, and documents its reemergence on campuses and in scholarly discussions across America in the twenty-first century. Traditions of Eloquence provides a wellspring of insight into the past, present, and future of Jesuit rhetorical traditions. In a period of ongoing reformulations and applications of Jesuit educational mission and identity, this collection of compelling essays helps provide historical context, a sense of continuity in current practice, and a platform for creating future curricula and pedagogy. Moreover it is a valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding a core aspect of the Jesuit educational heritage. Cinthia Gannett is Professor Emerita of English at Fairfield University where she directs the Core Writing Program. She is the author of a variety of articles in composition and has previously directed writing programs, writing centers, and Writing Across the Curriculum programs at the University of New Hampshire and Loyola University in Maryland. John C. Brereton is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and the Editor of The Origins of Composition Studies in the American College, 1875-1925. Tom Discenna is Professor of Communication at Oakland University whose work examines issues of academic labor and communicative labor more broadly. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Jeffrey J. Niehaus, "When Did Eve Sin?: The Fall and Biblical Historiography" (Lexham Press, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 13, 2021 24:10

    There's a small discrepancy between the divine proscription against forbidden fruit in Genesis 2 and Eve's re-telling of that prohibition to the serpent in Genesis 3. Jeffrey J. Niehaus, senior professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, explores the long history of interpretation about these two accounts in his new book, When Did Eve Sin: The Fall & Biblical Historiography (Lexham Press, 2020). In this short and punchy monograph, Niehaus lays out the two thousand year-old hermeneutical and theological tradition and explains why, based on a similar historiographical pattern, he's not convinced the prevailing view is the best reading of this ancient religious text. Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen's University Belfast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Menachem Kellner, "We Are Not Alone: A Maimonidean Theology of the Other" (Academic Studies Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 13, 2021 69:20

    Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed addressed Jews of his day who felt challenged by apparent contradictions between Torah and science. We Are Not Alone: A Maimonidean Theology of the Other (Academic Studies Press, 2021) uses Maimonides' writings to address Jews of today who are perplexed by apparent contradictions between the morality of the Torah and their conviction that all human beings are created in the image of God and are the object of divine concern, that other religions have value, that genocide is never justified, and that slavery is evil. Individuals who choose to emphasize the moral and universalist elements of Jewish tradition can often find support in positions explicitly held by Maimonides or implied by his teachings. We Are Not Alone offers an ethical and universalist vision of traditionalist Judaism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Kate Rigby, "Reclaiming Romanticism: Towards an Ecopoetics of Decolonisation" (Bloomsbury, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 10, 2021 78:02

    The earliest environmental criticism took its inspiration from the Romantic poets and their immersion in the natural world. Today the “romanticising” of nature has come to be viewed with suspicion. Written by one of the leading ecocritics writing today, Kate Rigby's book Reclaiming Romanticism: Towards an Ecopoetics of Decolonisation (Bloomsbury, 2020) rediscovers the importance of the European Romantic tradition to the ways that writers and critics engage with the environment in the Anthropocene era. Exploring the work of such poets as Wordsworth, Shelley and Clare, the book discovers a rich vein of Romantic ecomaterialism and brings these canonical poets into dialogue with contemporary American and Australian poets and artists. Kate Rigby demonstrates the ways in which Romantic ecopoetics responds to postcolonial challenges and environmental peril to offer a collaborative artistic practice for an era of human-non-human cohabitation and kinship. Eyad Houssami makes theatre and has participated in the revitalization of an ancient organic farm in southern Lebanon. He is editor of the Arabic-English book Doomed by Hope: Essays on Arab Theatre (Pluto/Dar Al Adab) and was editor-at-large of Portal 9, a bilingual literary and academic journal about urbanism. His doctoral research project at the University of Leeds and this work are supported by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council (grant number AH/R012733/1) through the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities. A Syrian multinational, he studied at Yale and earned a certificate in beekeeping from SOILS Permaculture Association Lebanon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Bryan M. Santin, "Postwar American Fiction and the Rise of Modern Conservatism: A Literary History, 1945–2008" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 10, 2021 61:29

    In Postwar American Fiction and the Rise of Modern Conservatism: A Literary History, 1945–2008 (Cambridge UP, 2021), Bryan M. Santin examines over a half-century of intersection between American fiction and postwar conservatism. He traces the shifting racial politics of movement conservatism to argue that contemporary perceptions of literary form and aesthetic value are intrinsically connected to the rise of the American Right. Instead of casting postwar conservatives as cynical hustlers or ideological fanatics, Santin shows how the long-term rhetorical shift in conservative notions of literary value and prestige reveal an aesthetic antinomy between high culture and low culture. This shift, he argues, registered and mediated the deeper foundational antinomy structuring postwar conservatism itself: the stable social order of traditionalism and the creative destruction of free-market capitalism. Postwar conservatives produced, in effect, an ambivalent double register in the discourse of conservative literary taste that sought to celebrate neo-aristocratic manifestations of cultural capital while condemning newer, more progressive manifestations revolving around racial and ethnic diversity. Interview by Christian B. Long. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Tim Hartman, "Kwame Bediako: African Theology for a World Christianity" (Fortress Press, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2021 71:36

    Kwame Bediako was one of the great African theologians of his generation. Challenging the assumption that Christianity is a Western religion, he presented a non-Western foundation for theological reflection, expanded the Christian theological imagination, and offered a path forward for post-Christendom theologies. Kwame Bediako: African Theology for a World Christianity (Fortress Press, 2022) is the first full-length introduction to Bediako's theology. It engages Bediako's central concerns with identity – specifically what it means to be African and Christian in the aftermath of the failures of colonialism – the relationship of theology and culture, and the need of indigenous expressions of Christian faith for the health of theological reflection worldwide. Challenging stereotypical perceptions of African Christianity and pressing readers to interrogate their own theological convictions in light of cultural and societal presuppositions, this book examines the gift of Bediako's work not just for Africa but for the world. Byung Ho Choi is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History & Ecumenics, focusing on World Christianity and history of religions at Princeton Theological Seminary. His research interest lies in Indonesia and the Muslim dominant regions of Southeast Asia, from the postcolonial approach to Christianity and the coexistence of various religions, including the study of Christianity and the Islamic faith in a Muslim dominant society that includes challenges of ethnic diversity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Jennifer Ferng and Lauren R. Cannady, "Crafting Enlightenment: Artisanal Histories and Transnational Networks" (Voltaire Foundation, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2021 52:03

    A ground-breaking volume examining the transnational conditions of the European Enlightenment, Crafting Enlightenment: Artisanal Histories and Transnational Networks (Voltaire Foundation, 2021) argues that artisans of the long eighteenth-century on four different continents created and disseminated ideas that revolutionized how we understand modern-day craftsmanship, design, labor, and technology. Starting in Europe, this book journeys through France across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas and then on to Asia and Oceania. Highlighting diverse identities of artisans, the authors trace how these historical actors formed networks at local and global levels to assert their own forms of expertise and experience. These artisans – some anonymous, eminent, and outside the margins – translated European Enlightenment thinking into a number of disciplines and trades including architecture, botany, ceramics, construction, furniture, gardening, horology, interior design, manuscript illustration, and mining. In each thematic section of this illustrated volume, two leading scholars present contrasting case studies of artisans in different geographic contexts. These paired chapters are also followed by shorter commentary that reflects on pertinent themes from both chapters. Emphasizing how and why artisanal histories around the world impacted civic and private life, commerce, cultural engagement, and sense of place, this book introduces new richness and depth to the conversations around the ambivalent and fragmented nature of the Enlightenment. Lauren R. Cannady, assistant clinical professor in University Honors at the University of Maryland, is a historian of early modern art and architecture with an interest in intellectual and cultural history.  Jennifer Ferng is Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Postgraduate Director at the University of Sydney. She received her PhD from MIT.  Alexandra Ortolja-Baird is Lecturer in Digital History and Culture at the University of Portsmouth. She tweets at @timetravelallie. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Leigh Eric Schmidt, "The Church of Saint Thomas Paine: A Religious History of American Secularism" (Princeton UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2021 73:07

    In his new book, The Church of Saint Thomas Paine: A Religious History of American Secularism (Princeton University Press, 2021), Dr. Leigh Eric Schmidt tells the surprising story of how freethinking liberals in 19th-century America promoted a secular religion of humanity centered on the deistic revolutionary Thomas Paine and how their descendants eventually became embroiled in the culture wars of the late 20th century. After Paine's remains were stolen from his grave in New York, and shipped to England in 1819, the reverence of his American disciples took a material turn in a long search for his relics. Paine's birthday was always a red-letter day for these believers in democratic cosmopolitanism and philanthropic benevolence, but they expanded their program to include a broader array of rites and ceremonies, particularly funerals free of Christian supervision. They also worked to establish their own churches and congregations in which to practice their religion of secularism. All of these activities raised serious questions about the very definition of religion and whether it included nontheistic fellowships and humanistic associations—a dispute that erupted again in the second half of the twentieth century. As right-wing Christians came to see secular humanism as the most dangerous religion imaginable, small communities of religious humanists, the heirs of Paine's followers, were swept up in new battles about religion's public contours and secularism's moral perils. Schmidt's book paints an engrossing account of an important but little-known chapter in American history, and reveals why the lines between religion and secularism are often much blurrier than we imagine. Dr. Leigh Eric Schmidt is the Edward C. Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis and joined the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics in 2011. He has appeared on NPR programs and other radio shows to discuss his many books, including this show, in 2018, to tell us about his book Village Atheists. He has also contributed to such notable media outlets as The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, London Times, Boston Globe, and a number of other titles you would no doubt recognize. Carrie Lynn Evans is a PhD student at Université Laval in Quebec City. carrie-lynn.evans@lit.ulaval.ca Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Book Talk 49: “The Good Life” with Dora Zhang

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2021 69:35

    “The good life” and “the American Dream “remain powerful animating principles in popular culture, politics, and also our individual psyches. I spoke with Professor Dora Zhang at the University of California at Berkeley who teaches a course on “the good life,” using mostly literary rather than philosophical texts. From Sophokles's Antigone (441 B.C.) to Bong Joon-ho's Parasite (2020); from Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary (1856) to Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun (1959), and from F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (1925) to the idea of “cruel optimism” advanced by literary critic Lauren Berlant, Zhang's course is not intended to leave students depressed about their prospects but motivated to rethink what they've been told to hope for and aspire to. I loved this conversation with a gifted and brilliant teacher, which was also a sort of homecoming for me since I had been a freshman student at the University of California at Berkeley some 30 years ago, where I discovered that my love of literature could become the basis of a career. Professor Zhang is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on Anglo-American and European modernist fiction, literature and philosophy, novel theory, affect theory, visual culture, aesthetics, and ecocriticism. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University and her B.A. in philosophy from the University of Toronto. Her book, Strange Likeness: Description and the Modernist Novel (University of Chicago Press, 2020), shows how description is far more than stage-setting or background in modernist novels. She's also published on Proust and photography, Woolf and the philosophy of language, the role of atmospheres in everyday life, and Roland Barthes's travels in China. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Shaoling Ma, "The Stone and the Wireless: Mediating China, 1861–1906" (Duke UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2021 67:02

    In this episode, I interview Shaoling Ma, professor of Humanities (Literature) at Yale-NUS about her new book, The Stone and the Wireless: Mediating China, 1861-1906 (Duke UP, 2021). In this fascinating book, Ma grapples with theoretical and historical questions of media and mediation in the late Qing. Calling on a diverse set of sources, including diplomatic records, science fiction novels, modern poetry, and telegraphic dispatches among many others, Ma's examines “mediation in terms of the discursive interactions with physical devices and material processes of communication” (49). By reading the treatment of documents and labor in Wu Jianren's New Story of the Stone against representations of the new, “stoney” lithographic practices of the Dianshizhai Pictorial, or showing how the Boxer crisis shaped understandings of telegraphy and transmission, The Stone and the Wireless enriches not only Chinese studies, but also speaks broadly to scholarship on media and technology. In her conclusion, Ma teases readers with an interpretation of a very recent Chinese sci-fi novel, convincingly making the case for the contemporary political relevance of her study. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Barbara Martin, "Dissident Histories in the Soviet Union: From De-Stalinization to Perestroika" (Bloomsbury, 2019)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2021 61:22

    In Dissident Histories in the Soviet Union: From De-Stalinization to Perestroika (Bloomsbury,, 2019), Barbara Martin traces the careers of four prominent figures: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Roy Medvedev, Aleksandr Nekrich and Anton Antonov-Ovseenko. Based on extensive archival research into these four authors, Martin provides a new account of dissident history writing in the Soviet Union from the post-Stalin Thaw through to the Brezhnev era and Perestroika. Dissident Histories illuminates the challenges associated with researching, writing and publishing Soviet history and the critical impact that this work had on intellectual life in the Soviet Union. Barbara Martin is a postdoctoral researcher within the Department of History at the University of Basel. Iva Glisic is a historian and art historian specialising in modern Russia and the Balkans. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Margherita Zanasi, "Economic Thought in Modern China: Market and Consumption, c.1500–1937" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2021 89:25

    In Economic Thought in Modern China: Market and Consumption, c.1500–1937 (Cambridge University Press, 2020), Margherita Zanasi argues that basic notions of a free market economy emerged in China a century and half earlier than in Europe. In response to the commercial revolutions of the late 1500s, Chinese intellectuals and officials called for the end of state intervention in the market, recognizing its power to self-regulate. They also noted the elasticity of domestic demand and production, arguing in favour of ending long-standing rules against luxury consumption, an idea that emerged in Europe in the late seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries. Zanasi challenges Eurocentric theories of economic modernization as well as the assumption that European Enlightenment thought was unique in its ability to produce innovative economic ideas. She instead establishes a direct connection between observations of local economic conditions and the formulation of new theories, revealing the unexpected flexibility of the Confucian tradition and its accommodation of seemingly unorthodox ideas. Margherita Zanasi is Professor of Chinese History at Louisiana State University. She has published widely on different aspects of modern China's history, including her first book Saving the Nation: Economic Modernity in Republican China (University of Chicago Press, 2005). She also serves as the editor of the journal Twentieth Century China.  Ghassan Moazzin is an Assistant Professor at the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of History at the University of Hong Kong. He works on the economic and business history of 19th and 20th century China, with a particular focus on the history of foreign banking, international finance and electricity in modern China. His first book, Foreign Banks and Global Finance in Modern China: Banking on the Chinese Frontier, 1870–1919, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Anustup Basu, "Hindutva as Political Monotheism" (Duke UP, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2021 65:19

    In Hindutva as Political Monotheism (Duke University Press, 2020), Professor Anustup Basu provides a genealogical study of Hindutva. The interview is a discussion upon the connection drawn by the author between the Hindu nationalism and Carl Schmitt's idea of political theology to portray the orientalist and Eurocentric nature of the Hindutva ideology. Further, the podcast is an enquiry into the ideas portrayed by Professor Basu throughout his book, ranging from complications that accompany the Hindutva insistence on the original varna system, the journey of Indian modernization, and the emergence of Hindutva 2.0 as advertised monotheism. As pointed out by the author, this book is not an answer to the present but an investigation of the present ground. Shruti Dixit is a PhD Divinity Candidate at CSRP, University of St Andrews, researching the Hindu-Christian Dialogue in Apocalyptic Prophecies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Devin J. Vartija, "The Color of Equality: Race and Common Humanity in Enlightenment Thought" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2021 72:54

    The Enlightenment is often either praised as the wellspring of modern egalitarianism or condemned as the cradle of scientific racism. How should we make sense of this paradox? The Color of Equality: Race and Common Humanity in Enlightenment Thought (U Pennsylvania Press, 2021) is the first book to investigate both the inclusive language of common humanity and the hierarchical language of race in Enlightenment thought, seeking to understand how eighteenth-century thinkers themselves made sense of these tensions. Using three major Enlightenment encyclopedias from England, France, and Switzerland, the book provides a rich contextualization of the conflicting ideas of equality and race in eighteenth-century thought. Enlightenment thinkers used physical features to categorize humanity into novel "racial" groups in a discourse that was imbued with Eurocentric aesthetic and moral judgments. Simultaneously, however, these very same thinkers politicized equality by putting it to new uses, such as a vitriolic denunciation of slavery and inhumane treatment that was grounded in the nascent philosophy of human rights. Vartija contends that the tension between Enlightenment ideas of race and equality can best be explained by these thinkers' attempt to provide a naturalistic account of humanity, including both our physical and moral attributes. Enlightenment racial classification fits into the novel inclusion of humanity in histories of nature, while the search for the origins of morality in social experience alone lent equality a normative authority it had not previously possessed. Eschewing straightforward approbation or blame of the Enlightenment, The Color of Equality demonstrates that our present-day thinking about human physical and cultural diversity continues to be deeply informed by an eighteenth-century European intellectual revolution with global ramifications. Alexandra Ortolja-Baird is Lecturer in Digital History and Culture at the University of Portsmouth. She tweets at @timetravelallie. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Kim Charnley, "Sociopolitical Aesthetics: Art, Crisis and Neoliberalism" (Bloomsbury, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2021 75:29

    Since the turn of the millennium, protests, meetings, schoolrooms, reading groups and many other social forms have been proposed as artworks or, more ambiguously, as interventions that are somewhere between art and politics. Kim Charnley's Sociopolitical Aesthetics: Art, Crisis and Neoliberalism (Bloomsbury, 2021) traces key currents of theory and practice, mapping them against the dominant experience of the last decade: crisis. Drawing upon leading artists and theorists within this field – including Hito Steyerl, Marina Vishmidt, Art & Language, Gregory Sholette, John Roberts and Dave Beech – Sociopolitical Aesthetics argues for a new interpretation of the relationship between socially-engaged art and neoliberalism. Kim Charnley explores the possibility that neoliberalism has destabilized the art system so that it is no longer able to absorb and neutralize dissent. As a result, the relationship between aesthetics and politics is experienced with fresh urgency and militancy. Kim Charnley speaks to Pierre d'Alancaisez about the political punditry of Artist Taxi Driver and the political sloganeering of Tim Etchells, the limits of institutional sociality in the work of Tania Bruguera, the various guises of institutional critique, and what these developments owe to the conceptual art practices of the 1970s. Dr Kim Charnley is an art historian and theorist at the Open University. The works we discuss: Chunky Mark / Artist Taxi Driver on YouTube, Twitter Tim Etchells, Revolution Tania Bruguera, 10,148,451 at Tate Modern Mark Storor's work with The Heart of Glass Andrea Fraser on institutionnel critique Hito Steyerl, November, 2014, Is the Museum a Battlefield, 2013 Art & Language, The Fox, 1975-76 Pierre d'Alancaisez is a contemporary art curator, cultural strategist, researcher. Sometime scientist, financial services professional. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Eric Berkowitz, "Dangerous Ideas: A Brief History of Censorship in the West from the Ancients to Fake News" (Beacon Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2021 35:35

    Eric Berkowitz has written a short history of a censorship, a large topic that has been a phenomenon since the advent of recorded history. In Dangerous Ideas: A Brief History of Censorship in the West from the Ancients to Fake News (Beacon Press, 2021), Berkowitz reviews the motives and methods of governments, religious authorities, and private citizens to quell freedom of thought and expression. One theme Berkowitz reveals is how ineffective many censorship efforts have been. For example, after the printing press multiplied the sources available to readers and the opportunities for the Church and governments to suppress books and pamphlets, the attempts to censor speech served to heighten interest and encourage more dissent, creating profitable black markets for forbidden topics. Some publishers actually encouraged authors to write something likely to be forbidden. Yet, Berkowitz forthrightly acknowledges the dangers under which free thinker have lived and continue to live in our contemporary world. The dangers of daring to express oneself are present not only in authoritarian polities but in our own, and Berkowitz's history seeks to reveal the common motives of censors and their targets. Ian J. Drake is Associate Professor of Jurisprudence, Montclair State University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Kevin Bruyneel, "Settler Memory: The Disavowal of Indigeneity and the Politics of Race in the United States" (UNC Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2021 53:13

    Kevin Bruyneel confronts the chronic displacement of Indigeneity in the politics and discourse around race in American political theory and culture, arguing that the ongoing influence of settler-colonialism has undermined efforts to understand Indigenous politics while also hindering conversation around race itself. By reexamining major episodes, texts, writers, and memories of the political past from the seventeenth century to the present, Bruyneel reveals the power of settler memory at work in the persistent disavowal of Indigeneity.  In Settler Memory: The Disavowal of Indigeneity and the Politics of Race in the United States (University of North Carolina Press, 2021), he also shows how Indigenous and Black intellectuals have understood ties between racism and white settler memory, even as the settler dimensions of whiteness are frequently erased in our discourse about race, whether in conflicts over Indian mascotry or the white nationalist underpinnings of Trumpism. Envisioning a new political future, Bruyneel challenges readers to refuse settler memory and consider a third reconstruction that can meaningfully link antiracism and anticolonialism. John Cable will begin a teaching appointment at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in January 2022. He earned the Ph.D. in history at Florida State University in 2020. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    John Maraldo, "Japanese Philosophy in the Making 2: Borderline Interrogations" (Chisokudo, 2019)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2021 64:46

    The second of three volumes of essays that engage Japanese philosophers as intercultural thinkers, this collection critically probes seminal works for their historical significance and contemporary relevance. Japanese Philosophy in the Making 2: Borderline Interrogations (Chisokudo, 2019) shows how the relational ethics of Watsuji Tetsurō serves as a resource for new conceptions of trust, dignity, and human rights; how forgiveness empowers the repentance and the sense of responsibility advocated by Tanabe Hajime, and how Kuki Shūzō's philosophy of contingency puts a fortuitous twist on normative ethics. The author also re-examines the controversy about Kyoto School wartime writings so as to uncover the covert side of today's empires, and reflects on the hidden consequences of seeing nature as the non-human world. Underlying these investigations is a consistent style that interrogates philosophers for what lies undisclosed and that exposes decisive questions that arise between us and them. Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Katarzyna Bartoszyńska, "Estranging the Novel: Poland, Ireland, and Theories of World Literature" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 26, 2021 31:39

    Katarzyna (Kasia) Bartoszyńska is an assistant professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies at Ithaca College. Her research and teaching focuses on the novel form and the theories connected to it, combining a formalist investigation of textual mechanics with an interest in studies of gender, sexuality, race, and world literature. Prof. Bartoszyńska is also active in Polish-English translation. She has translated several texts by Zygmunt Bauman, including Sketches in the Theory of Culture (Polity 2018), Of God and Man (Polity 2015), and Culture and Art (2021) and is currently completing a translation of a book about Bauman's work by Dariusz Brzeziński. In this interview, she discusses her new book Estranging the Novel: Poland, Ireland and Theories of World Literature (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021), a comparative study of two national literatures that also makes a serious intervention into the history of the novel as a literary form. Estranging the Novel: Poland, Ireland, and Theories of World Literature (Johns Hopkins UP, 2021) offers a new way of thinking about the development of the novel as a genre. The work pushes against the standard narrative of the novel's rise on two fronts, arguing that the focus on Anglo-French fiction, on the one hand, and realism, on the other, gives us an overly narrow sense of the novel's potential, and skews our readings of fiction from "other" parts of the world. Bartoszyńska uses three close readings of pairs of books from Poland and Ireland, spanning the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries, to demonstrate how mainstream theories of the novel fail to engage their most innovative features, because they do not conform to emerging conventions of realist fiction. Examining the features of these works that have been seen as deviations from the novel's teleology, such as satire, interlaced tales, or the use of the supernatural, she presents them as efforts to theorize the potential of the form and investigates the novel's world-building powers. Aidan Beatty is a historian at the Honors College of the University of Pittsburgh Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Jyotirmaya Sharma, "Elusive Nonviolence: The Making and Unmaking of Gandhi's Religion of Ahimsa" (Westland, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2021 43:33

    In Elusive Nonviolence: The Making and Unmaking of Gandhi's Religion of Ahimsa (Westland, 2021), Jyotirmaya Sharma argues that Gandhi acknowledged the absence of any serious tradition of non-violence in India. His uncompromising insistence on ahimsa, then, was a way of introducing non-violence as an Indian value by fabricating a tradition around it. Gandhi offered a unique interpretation of Hindu texts and philosophical practice while engaging with certain strands of European and American intellectual traditions. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Daniel Lee, "The Right of Sovereignty: Jean Bodin on the Sovereign State and the Law of Nations" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2021 64:13

    Sovereignty is the vital organizing principle of modern international law. Daniel Lee's book The Right of Sovereignty: Jean Bodin on the Sovereign State and the Law of Nations (Oxford UP, 2021) examines the origins of that principle in the legal and political thought of its most influential theorist, Jean Bodin (1529/30-1596). As the author argues in this study, Bodin's most lasting theoretical contribution was his thesis that sovereignty must be conceptualized as an indivisible bundle of legal rights constitutive of statehood. While these uniform 'rights of sovereignty' licensed all states to exercise numerous exclusive powers, including the absolute power to 'absolve' and release its citizens from legal duties, they were ultimately derived from, and therefore limited by, the law of nations. The book explores Bodin's creative synthesis of classical sources in philosophy, history, and the medieval legal science of Roman and canon law in crafting the rules governing state-centric politics. The Right of Sovereignty is the first book in English on Bodin's legal and political theory to be published in nearly a half-century and surveys themes overlooked in modern Bodin scholarship: empire, war, conquest, slavery, citizenship, commerce, territory, refugees, and treaty obligations. It will interest specialists in political theory and the history of modern political thought, as well as legal history, the philosophy of law, and international law. Tejas Parasher is Junior Research Fellow in Political Thought and Intellectual History at King's College, University of Cambridge. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Christos Tombras, "Discourse Ontology: Body and the Construction of a World, from Heidegger through Lacan" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2021 58:53

    We interview Dr. Christos Tombras, a supervising psychoanalyst with a Lacanian orientation, practicing in London. Dr. Tombras is a member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research, UK, and lectures, runs workshops and facilitates reading groups. His main research interest is in a dialogue between continental philosophy and psychoanalysis. He has published in both English and Greek. We discussed his book Discourse Ontology: Body and the Construction of a World, from Heidegger Through Lacan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). Lacan studied both Freud (of course) and Heidegger. Heidegger not only critiqued the scientific worldview, but he also specifically criticized Freud's work. Tombras provides a synthesis of (Lacan's return to) Freud and Heidegger, a discourse ontology. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Beatrice Gruendler, "The Rise of the Arabic Book" (Harvard UP, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 90:39

    How did it happen that, in the 13th century, Europe's largest library owned fewer than 2,000 volumes while Baghdad alone boasted of several libraries holding from 200,000 to 1,000,000 books each? In The Rise of the Arabic Book (Harvard UP, 2020), Beatrice Gruendler traces the story of the beginning of the revolution in book culture that happened in the first centuries of the Abbasid period in the Islamic lands of the Middle East. She does so by looking at the lives of people specializing and fulfilling different roles in a society that underwent a drastic technological revolution to accomodate them. Focusing on a range of social classes such as scholars and poets, craftsmen and traders, up to the large aristocratic book collectors, we read of the protagonists of this momentous revolution in knowledge, science, and book culture. Miguel Monteiro is a PhD student in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale University. Twitter @anphph Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Ross Kane, "Syncretism and Christian Tradition" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2021 50:36

    Syncretism, even though, is an unavoidable phenomenon of religion, has a range of connotations. In Christian theology, the use of syncretism shifted from a compliment during the Reformation to an outright insult in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The term has a history of being used as a neutral descriptor, a pejorative marker, and even a celebration of indigenous agency. Its differing uses indicate the challenges of interpreting religious mixture, which today relate primarily to race and revelation. Despite its pervasiveness across religious traditions, syncretism is poorly understood and often misconceived. Ross Kane argues that the history of syncretism's use accentuates broader interpretive problems, drawing attention to attempts by Christian theologians to protect the category of divine revelation from perceived human interference. Kane shows how the fields of religious studies, anthropology, and theology have approached syncretism with a racialized imagination still suffering the legacies of European colonialism. Kane's Syncretism and Christian Tradition (Oxford UP, 2020) examines how the concept of race figures into dominant religious traditions associated with imperialism and reveals how syncretism can act as a vital means of the Holy Spirit's continuing revelation of Jesus. Tiatemsu Longkumer is a Ph.D. scholar working on ‘Anthropology of Religion' at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong: India. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    James Garrison, "Reconsidering the Life of Power: Ritual, Body, and Art in Critical Theory and Chinese Philosophy" (SUNY Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2021 68:20

    Reconsidering the Life of Power: Ritual, Body, and Art in Critical Theory and Chinese Philosophy by James Garrison (SUNY Press 2021), argues that the tradition of Confucian philosophy can provide resources for theorists like Judith Butler and Michel Foucault in understanding what it is to be a subject in the social world. Garrison's interlocutors are intercultural, from Confucius to Kant, Arendt to Butler, Hegel to Nietzsche. His book argues that Confucianism offers a relational, discursive, bodily, and ritualistic conception of the self. Through philosophers like Mencius, Xún Zǐ, and Lǐ Zéhòu, Confucianism's emphasis on embodied aesthetic experiences presents new ways of thinking about how human beings can resist passivity in the face of society and instead learn how to consciously and bodily gain purposeful self-awareness. Malcolm Keating is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Yale-NUS College. His research focuses on Sanskrit philosophy of language and epistemology. He is the author of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy (Bloomsbury Press, 2019) and host of the podcast Sutras (and stuff). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Claire Weeda, "Ethnicity in Medieval Europe 950-1250: Medicine, Power and Religion" (Boydell and Brewer, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2021 59:44

    Students in twelfth-century Paris held slanging matches, branding the English drunkards, the Germans madmen and the French as arrogant. On Crusade, army recruits from different ethnic backgrounds taunted each other's military skills. Men producing ethnography in monasteries and at court drafted derogatory descriptions of peoples dwelling in territories under colonization, questioning their work ethic, social organization, religious devotion and humanness. Monks listed and ruminated on the alleged traits of Jews, Saracens, Greeks, Saxons and Britons and their acceptance or rejection of Christianity. Ethnicity in Medieval Europe 950-1250, Medicine, Power and Religion (Boydell and Brewer, 2021), provides a radical new approach to representations of nationhood in medieval western Europe, the author argues that ethnic stereotypes were constructed and wielded rhetorically to justify property claims, flaunt military strength, and assert moral and cultural ascendance over others. The gendered images of ethnicity in circulation reflect a negotiation over self-representations of discipline, rationality and strength, juxtaposed with the alleged chaos and weakness of racialized others. Interpreting nationhood through a religious lens, monks and schoolmen explained it as scientifically informed by environmental medicine, and ancient theory that held that location and climate influenced the physical and mental traits of peoples. Drawing on lists of ethnic character traits, school textbooks, medical treatises, proverbs, poetry and chronicles, this book shows that ethnic stereotypes served as rhetorical tools of power, crafting relationships within communities and towards others. Claire Weeda is a cultural historian at the Institute for History at Leiden University, Netherlands. Her main fields of interest include ethnic stereotyping, the history of the body, Greco-Arabic medicine, and organic politics in Europe, 1100-1500. Evan Zarkadas is a graduate student of European history at the University of Maine focusing on Medieval Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, medieval identity, and ethnicity during the late Middle Ages. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Ruth Gamble, "The Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje: Master of Mahamudra" (Shambala, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2021 61:00

    A scholarly yet accessible biography of the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, one of the great historical figures of Tibetan Buddhism.  Known for his mastery of teachings across sectarian lines, his treatises on medicine and astrology, and his work as spiritual advisor to the last Yuan emperor of China, Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339) is considered one of the most important and influential figures in Tibetan Buddhist history. First recognized as a tulku, or reincarnated Buddhist master, at the age of five, Rangjung Dorje became the Karma Kagyu lineage holder and instituted the reincarnation-based inheritance structure within Tibetan Buddhism that led to the formation of important lineages of tulkus such as the Dalai Lamas. In The Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje: Master of Mahamudra (Shambala, 2020), Ruth Gamble synthesizes her extensive research on Rangjung Dorje into a sweeping biography covering his life, legacy, and important selected writings. Included in her discussions are Rangjung Dorje's synthesis of Dzogchen and Mahāmudrā in his writings, his devotion to spreading the teachings of Buddha nature, and several works never before translated into English. As the most comprehensive work available on Rangjung Dorje, this book is an indispensable resource for scholars and Buddhist practitioners alike. Cuilan Liu is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work on Buddhism, Law, China, Tibet, and documentary filmmaking can be found here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

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