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  • We are celebrating National Library Week with Fantasies of the Library, a book that imagines the library as both the keeper of books and curator of ideas—as a platform of the future. The following excerpt from Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin's Introduction explains how and why the project came together. 

    Like libraries, there are many kinds of fantasies, so which should you expect to encounter? We have set out to create a book about the library as a curatorial space—a physical knowledge infrastructure organized as the veritable index of cultural and epistemological orders and aspirations, but also as a virtual domain of possibilities for other orders, logics, and dispositions. Whether the fantasy is best characterized by the ambition for a correct and complete ordering of knowledge, or by the attempt to remake inherited orders in pursuit of less authoritarian styles of learning, we leave up to you to decide. But, before you begin, we want to share with you a few remarks about the book itself.

    Posted at 01:42 pm on Thu, 13 Apr 2017 in information science, library
  • In the conclusion of Ivan Ascher's interview about Portfolio Society: On the Capitalist Mode of Prediction, the author discusses the definition of neoliberalism, the book's cover art, Donald Trump, and more.

    Since this book is published in Zone’s Near Futures Series, which is considering the consequences of neoliberalism: how do you define neoliberalism?

    Frankly, I tend to stay away from definitional debates over what constitutes neoliberalism properly so called. There is much to be said for recognizing neoliberalism as a distinct class project, and there is much to be said for recognizing it as a distinct form of rationality. Both strike me as reasonable approaches, so long as they help us acknowledge the continuities and discontinuities between our contemporary formations and what came before. I suppose I am closer to Wendy Brown’s line of thinking than to David Harvey’s, but I don’t think one always has to choose. My own contribution is to focus on one particular aspect of the story, which is financialization.

    Posted at 09:00 am on Wed, 12 Apr 2017 in history, political science
  • April is for poets! All month, we’ll be bringing you excerpts each week from one of our books to celebrate National Poetry Month.  

    And we know what you’re thinking… MIT Press publishes poetry?? Indeed we do, just with our very own twist!

    This week we're featuring an excerpt from Aesthetic Animism by David Jhave Johnston. This book explores the concept of digital poetry. Digital poems don't have authors or stanzas. They are found in ads, conceptual art, interactive displays, performative projects, games, or apps. Poetic tools include algorithms, browsers, social media, and data. Code blossoms into poetic objects and poetic proto-organisms. In his book, Johnston asks the reader to think about the difference between traditional poetry and digital poetry. 

    Posted at 03:15 pm on Mon, 10 Apr 2017 in literature & poetry, national poetry month
  • Ivan Ascher discusses his book, Portfolio Society: On the Capitalist Mode of Prediction, a bold extension of Marx’s Capital for the twenty-first century: at once a critique of modern finance and of the societies under its spell.

    You suggest the excesses of capitalism might not have led to ruin for so many. As you write, “While it may be that the pursuit of profit is a defining constant in the history of capitalism, the precise forms of exploitation and predation that it produces are not.” Could you discuss this point?

    What I meant is simply that we must distinguish between what is old and what is new in today’s financialized capitalism. While I take the pursuit of profit to be a constant in capitalism, almost by definition, I also think the specific terms under which this profit is pursued can vary. Specifically, where the wage relation was once the main site of both profit-making and political struggle, it now seems the credit relation has taken its place—at least in much of the global North.

    Posted at 04:41 pm on Tue, 04 Apr 2017 in history, political science
  • Great news! Annoucing a new collaboration with MIT Sloan Management Review. 

    MIT Sloan Management Review and MIT Press are teaming up to launch a new line of books exploring technology’s impact on management. When we launched MIT SMR's Frontiers section in the spring of 2016, we did so with the intention of leading the conversation about how technology is reshaping the practice of management. Combined advancements in data and analytics, cloud technology, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies promise to leave not a single management function untransformed in the years directly ahead. Digital is the organizational issue of our time.

    Posted at 02:30 pm on Tue, 04 Apr 2017 in MIT Sloan Management Review, MIT SMR
  • The University of Sydney School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry announced the winners of the David Harold Tribe Philosophy Prize on March 3rd. We are pleased to announce that Colin Klein, author of What the Body Commands, was one of the joint winners.

    Posted at 01:00 pm on Thu, 30 Mar 2017 in award
  • We are pleased to announce that the Foundation of Landscape Studies has awarded the 2017 John Brinkerhoff Jackson Book Prize to several titles, including Ecologies of Power by Pierre Bélanger and Alexander Arroyo.

    Posted at 11:30 am on Wed, 29 Mar 2017 in award
  • In the second part of Melinda Cooper's interview about her new book Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism, she discusses America's present moment. Revist part one here.

    It’s interesting to note in your work the many instances of American policy makers working across party lines to achieve legislation in a way that is impossible to imagine in the US at the present momentMoynihan and Nixon in the 1970s, Clinton and Gingrich in the 1990sbut do you think their work in some ways led to the gridlock and complete polarization we see today?

    I think the idea of “polarization” assumes that there are two poles. Really what you have is a center right (mostly represented by Democrats and a few pragmatic Republicans) and a far right that seems intent on jamming the parliamentary machine and sabotaging the whole process by which government decisions might be taken or funded. This is happening everywhere. And it tends to lead to the kind of far right authoritarianism of a Donald Trump, as executive power is the only way to unjam the machinery.

    Posted at 10:51 am on Wed, 22 Mar 2017 in political science
  • Innovating is for doers: you don’t need to wait for an earth-shattering idea, but can build one with a hunch and scale it up to impact. Luis Perez-Breva discusses his new book, Innovating: A Doer's Manifesto for Starting from a Hunch, Prototyping Problems, Scaling Up, and Learning to Be Productively Wrong. Catch his talk at the MIT Press Bookstore on Tuesday, March 21st at 5:30pm to hear more.

    Your book is a “doer’s manifesto.” Who are “doers”?

    There are many ways to look at them. A doer is anybody who thinks about trying something first before stressing out about whether this will be a dramatic multibillion dollar enterprise at the end of the day.  These are people who fix stuff when they see it’s broken (at your home or somewhere else), people whose first instinct when they see a problem is to put a few pieces together and see if they can make it make sense. It’s people who can only understand things when they connect their brain and their hands. We call them hackers, hobbyists, nerds, DIY enthusiasts.

    Posted at 04:12 pm on Fri, 17 Mar 2017 in Authors@MIT, business, Innovation, management
  • What do computers, cells, and brains have in common? Computers are electronic devices designed by humans; cells are biological entities crafted by evolution; brains are the containers and creators of our minds. But all are, in one way or another, information-processing devices. The power of the human brain is, so far, unequaled by any existing machine or known living being. In our final post celebrating Brain Awareness Week, Arlindo Oliveira discusses how advances in science and technology could enable us to create digital minds

    The field of Artificial Intelligence was started more than six decades ago, with the work of Alan Turing about computers and intelligence, in 1950, and a famous conference, in 1956, in Dartmouth College, where many well-known researchers met, including John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky, Allen Newell, Arthur Samuel, and Herbert Simon. Before these events, the idea that computers could display intelligent behavior had been only addressed in very vague, abstract, and philosophical terms. During the ensuing decades, Artificial Intelligence has seen several Springs of hope and Winters of discontent, as positive results alternated with negative ones. At times, artificially intelligent systems looked just around the corner, while at other times the whole enterprise seemed doomed by its sheer complexity.

    Posted at 09:00 am on Fri, 17 Mar 2017 in artificial intelligence, neuroscience, science
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Books, news, and ideas from MIT Press

The MIT PressLog is the official blog of MIT Press. Founded in 2005, the Log chronicles news about MIT Press authors and books. The MIT PressLog also serves as forum for our authors to discuss issues related to their books and scholarship. Views expressed by guest contributors to the blog do not necessarily represent those of MIT Press.