Book deals: October 2021 edition

A roundup of some of our recent book signings, slated for publication in 2022 and beyond

Let’s face it: The publishing world can be slow-moving. From peer review through editing and design, it takes time—sometimes a lot of it—to produce a polished book. But we’re too excited to keep every signing under wraps. We’re pleased to share details about a few of our latest acquisitions, including Tech Agnostic by Harvard’s atheist chaplain and author of New York Times bestseller Good Without God Greg Epstein, and In the Black Fantastic, writer and critic Ekow Eshun’s much-anticipated book on the forces that shape Afrofuturism. In case you missed it, you can browse several other new signings/forthcoming books in our summer 2021 edition.

Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to hear about these and other new releases as soon as they’re available.

Robert Prior, executive editor, has acquired Decolonizing Design: Reclaiming Our Sacred Personhood and Creating New Worlds by Aida Davis.

"Aida Davis"
Aida Mariam Davis

Decolonizing Design is a philosophical guide that transcends the status quo, reclaims the humanity of those who have been reduced to “marginalized” peoples, and delivers a vision for all of us to realize our potential and power. The book explores how colonial powers have systematically and surgically erased, exploited, reduced and dispossessed Black and Indigenous peoples and then inspires and envisions other worlds that are regenerative, full of joy, and affirm dignity.

Aida Mariam Davis is the Founder and CEO of Decolonize Design, a global consultancy leading a movement to create a more just and joyful world. Davis and her team offer an alternative diversity, equity, and inclusion framework grounded in belonging, dignity, and justice that seeks to abolish assimilation and promotes taking responsibility to challenge and confront racism and anti-Blackness head-on.

Decolonizing Design is scheduled for publication in Fall 2023.

Editorial director Gita Manaktala has signed Tech Agnostic: How Technology Became the World’s Most Powerful Religion, and Why it Desperately Needs a Reformation by Greg M. Epstein.

"Gren M Epstein"
Greg M. Epstein (photo credit Cody O’Loughlin)

A major humanist and interfaith leader argues that technology has become the largest and most influential secular religion in history and explains why we should refuse to accept this new theology on faith.

Long before social media, religion was there to help us cope with adversity. It provided companionship to the lonely, a confidant for the guilt-stricken, a loving coach and parent for the forsaken. Emerging from the cognitive architecture of our minds, religious belief persists across societies and cultures. This book will explore what happens when technology takes on the character of religious conviction — and explains what we must do to recognize and counter its worst effects.

Over his twenty-year career, Greg M. Epstein has become the world’s most prominent clergy person serving the rapidly growing nonreligious population. In the spring of 2021, he was unanimously elected president of Harvard University’s association of 40+ chaplains – especially notable for an atheist. Epstein is also a chaplain at MIT. His previous book, Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe (2009), was a New York Times bestseller.

Tech Agnostic is slated for publication in Spring 2024.

Victoria Hindley, acquisitions editor, has acquired In the Black Fantastic by Ekow Eshun with Michelle D. Commander and Kameelah L. Martin.

"A book spread"
A spread from the book. (Art by left: David Uzochukwu; Kristin-Lee Moolman. Right: David Uzochukwu)

In the Black Fantastic assembles art and imagery from across the African diaspora that embraces the mythic and the speculative. It brings vividly to life the forces that shape Afrofuturism, the cultural movement that conjures otherworldly visions out of everyday Black experience. Spanning photography, painting, sculpture, cinema, graphic arts, and architecture, In the Black Fantastic is both wildly imaginative and politically urgent; it shows how speculative fictions in Black art and culture are boldly reimagining perspectives on race, gender, identity, and the body.

Ekow Eshun is a writer and curator based in London. Formerly Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, he is the author of Black Gold of the Sun and Africa State of Mind. Michelle D. Commander is Associate Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NYC and author of Afro-Atlantic Flight: Speculative Returns and the Black Fantastic (2017); Kameelah L. Martin is the Director of the African American Studies Program at the College of Charleston NC and Dean of the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C.

In the Black Fantastic is scheduled for publication in Fall 2022.

Editorial director Gita Manaktala has also acquired world rights in all languages for Code-Dependent No More: How We Can Get Computers Back Under Our Control by Michael L. Littman.

This engaging guide will empower readers, even those without coding skills, to tell computers what we want them to do.

Littman is The Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science at Brown University, studying machine learning and decision making under uncertainty. He has earned multiple university-level awards for teaching and his research on reinforcement learning, probabilistic planning, and automated crossword-puzzle solving has been recognized with three best-paper awards and two influential paper awards. Littman is co-director of Brown’s Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative and a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the Association for Computing Machinery. He is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Leshner Leadership Institute for Public Engagement with Science, focusing on Artificial Intelligence.

Code-Dependent No More is scheduled for publication in Spring 2024.

Explore all of the MIT Press’s new and forthcoming books