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Renato describes his accidental journey into entrepreneurship, the many mistakes and near disasters on his road to business success. We learn about the importance of being the guy who says “Yes”, and then figuring out how to to get things done. Anyone listening can learn from his journey, the importance of finding opportunities in setbacks, and bei…
 
The Art of Experiment: Post-Pandemic Knowledge Practices for 21st-Century Architecture and Design (Routledge, 2020) is a handbook for navigating our troubled and precarious times. In search of new knowledge practices that can help us make the world livable again, this book takes the reader on a journey across time—from the deep past to the unfoldin…
 
In 2007, the Museum at Eldridge Street opened at the site of a restored nineteenth-century synagogue originally built by some of the first Eastern European Jewish immigrants in New York City. Visitors to the museum are invited to stand along indentations on the floor where footprints of congregants past have worn down the soft pinewood. Here, many …
 
Owed (Penguin, 2020) is the second collection of poems by Dr. Joshua Bennett, poet, professor, and artist. This volume is a wide-ranging, celebratory book focused on what Bennett calls "the Black quotidian," including the poetry of the barbershop, plastic slip-covers on couches, and the benign struggle between a father and a son over a pair of long…
 
Though poverty and vagrancy as social phenomena greatly preoccupied authorities of Colonial Mexico, the social and individual lives of vagabonds and strangers of Spanish American early modernity remain elusive to the historian. In his new book, Fugitive Freedom: The Improbable Lives of Two Impostors in Late Colonial Mexico (University of California…
 
In A New Christian Identity: Christian Science Origins and Experience in American Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 2021) , Amy B. Voorhees contextualizes this American religious movement and argues that Christian Science allowed adherents to form new theological and spiritual identities in the technologically shifting landscape of the l…
 
Social networks existed and shaped our lives long before Silicon Valley startups made them virtual. For over two decades economist Matthew O. Jackson, a professor at Stanford University, has studied how the shape of networks and our positions within them can affect us. In this interview, he explains how network structures can create poverty traps, …
 
Much has long been made of the bold legislative action that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt marshalled forward in his first 100 days in office in the midst of the Great Depression. To take stock of the Biden presidency, Lilly and Susan asked three thoughtful political scientists—Dr. Jonathan Bernstein (Bloomberg Media), Dr. Nadia E. Brown (Purd…
 
In this episode, I interview Richard Kearney, professor of philosophy at Boston College, about his most recent book, Touch: Recovering Our Most Vital Sense. out through Columbia University Press. The basic premise of Touch is twofold: on the one hand, we have lost touch with our most basic sense, that of touch, the tactile; on the other hand, we mu…
 
In National Liberation in Postcolonial Southern Africa: A Historical Ethnography of SWAPO’s Exile Camps (Cambridge University Press, 2015), Christian Williams tells the stories of the many exiles that lived in camps established by the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) during Namibia’s three-decade liberation struggle. Through extensiv…
 
The three decades that followed World War II were an exceptionally fertile period for American essays. The explosion of journals and magazines, the rise of public intellectuals, and breakthroughs in the arts inspired a flowering of literary culture. At the same time, the many problems that confronted mid-century America--racism, sexism, nuclear thr…
 
What is the story of race in American fiction? In Redlining Culture: A Data History of Racial Inequality and Postwar Fiction (Columbia University Press, 2020), Richard Jean So, an assistant professor of English in the Department of English at McGill University, uses computational and quantitative methods, alongside close textual analysis, to demons…
 
The western travel narrative genre has a history long tied to voyeurism and conquest. A way to see the world—and its many unique people and places—through the eyes of mostly white and male travelers. In an increasingly globalized world, many writers are beginning to raise questions about the ethics of travel writing and its tropes, especially the w…
 
Our democracies repeatedly fail to safeguard the future. From pensions to pandemics, health and social care through to climate, biodiversity and emerging technologies, democracies have been unable to deliver robust policies for the long term. In Can Democracy Safeguard the Future? (Polity Press, 2021), Graham Smith, a leading scholar of democratic …
 
Dr. J. M. White’s new book, Unity in Faith?: Edinoverie, Russian Orthodoxy, and Old Belief, 1800-1918 (Indiana University Press, 2020) discusses the Russian Orthodox/Old Believer schism. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Russian government decided, largely for reasons of state, to bring the schismatic Old Believers back into the Orthod…
 
The rapid gentrification of Black and brown neighborhoods in urban areas by predominantly upper-class white and other white-adjacent peoples is largely facilitated by urban redevelopment and revitalization projects. These projects often usher in aesthetics that seek to attract those understood as desirable populations. But what happens when the aes…
 
Mehmet the Conqueror shook Europe to its foundations when he captured Constantinople in 1453 and, over the next decades, the Ottoman sultan continued his westward advance through the Balkans and the Mediterranean. But one Albanian fortress became an “unexpected bone in Mehmed’s throat” (xviii). David Hosaflook’s The Siege of Shkodra is the first En…
 
Apps have transformed dating from a mysterious adventure into a daily chore. Young, single, college-educated women are sick and tired of competing for a shrinking supply of guys. And marriage-material men, long expected to take the lead when it comes to asking women out, are suddenly balking at making the first move, fearing they'll come across as …
 
Economist, data journalist, and best-selling author Seth Stephens-Davidowitz uses data from the internet to gain new insights into the human psyche. In his new book Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are (HarperCollins, 2017), Seth has used Google searches to measure racism, self-induced aborti…
 
If health policy truly seeks to improve population health and reduce health disparities, addressing homelessness must be a priority. Homelessness is a public health problem. Nearly a decade after the great recession of 2008, homelessness rates are once again rising across the United States, with the number of persons experiencing homelessness surpa…
 
Successful word-coinages--those that stay in currency for a good long time--tend to conceal their beginnings. We take them at face value and rarely when and where they were first minted. Engaging, illuminating, and authoritative, Ralph Keyes's The Hidden History of Coined Words (Oxford University Press, 2021) explores the etymological underworld of…
 
Political Theorist and activist Dana Mill’s latest new book, Rosa Luxemburg (Reaktion Books, 2020), is part of an extensive series of books published by Reaktion Books, Ltd, which focuses both on the ideas or creations and the lives of many leading cultural figures of the modern period. These volumes are not long, but they are thorough, and they he…
 
Jürgen Melzer’s Wings for the Rising Sun: A Transnational History of Japanese Aviation (Harvard UP, 2020) traces the history of Japanese aviation from its origins with hot-air balloons in the 1870s until the end of the Pacific War in 1945. Melzer’s narrative centers around three themes: transnational technology transfer and Japan’s efforts to attai…
 
What is the power and significance of mindfulness and similar practices in conflict zones and conflict situations? Does a person need to challenge the norms and authority of the society and the attachment to nationality in order to seriously meditate? Is it possible to teach meditation and still encourage young people to serve in the military? What…
 
Jeremy Black, one of the most prolific and punchy of historians of modern Britain, has written a new account of a period on which he has previously published. A Brief History of Britain 1851-2021: From World Power to ? (Robinson, 2021) traces an arc of decline and opportunity, from the confidence that was reflected in the Crystal Palace’s Great Exh…
 
In the concluding episode, Richard K. Miller, Olin College of Engineering President Emeritus, discusses how Olin has shared the key learnings from this innovative higher ed start-up, hosting over 800 groups from around the world who’ve come to observe what makes Olin so successful, and his current focus on translating these lessons about the value …
 
David Brophy's translation of Muhammad Sadiq Kashghari's In Remembrance of the Saints: The Rise and Fall of an Inner Asian Sufi Dynasty (Columbia University Press, 2021) represents the first comprehensive translation of the text into English. The translation includes a detailed introduction that not only contextualizes the text and its author, but …
 
Listen to this interview of Christopher Thaiss, author of Writing Science in the Twenty-First Century (Broadview Press 2019). We talk about the research article, about writing styles, and about the uses of rhetoric to scientists. Interviewer: "Too many students learning to write in the sciences lack helpful feedback on their writing, and this cause…
 
John Garth's The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien: The Places That Inspired Middle-Earth (Princeton University Press, 2020) takes you to the places that inspired J. R. R. Tolkien to create his fictional locations in The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and other classic works. Written by renowned Tolkien expert John Garth, The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien featur…
 
This is a reassessment of British and Italian grand strategies during the First World War. Dr. Stefano Marcuzzi, Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute, tries to shed new light on a hitherto overlooked but central aspect of Britain and Italy's war experiences: the uneasy and only partial overlap between Britain's strategy for imperia…
 
This book began as a bet between a father and son: could Richard White, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University and renowned historian of the American West, tell a complete history of California through photographs taken by his son, the photographer Jesse Amble White? As he tells it, no - Richard White lost that bet to Jesse. But the resulting bo…
 
Twenty-first century media has increasingly turned to provocative sexual content to generate buzz and stand out within a glut of programming. New distribution technologies enable and amplify these provocations, and encourage the branding of media creators as "provocauteurs" known for challenging sexual conventions and representational norms. While …
 
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