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The Poetics of National Socialism

Hitler’s Mein Kampf was banned in Germany for almost seventy years, kept from being reprinted by the accidental copyright holder, the Bavarian Ministry of Finance. In December 2015, the first German edition of Mein Kampf since 1946 appeared, with Hitler’s text surrounded by scholarly commentary apparently meant to act as a kind of cordon sanitaire.

The Neoliberal Takeover of Higher Education

A new philosophy of higher education has taken hold in institutions around the world. Its supporters disavow the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake and argue that the only knowledge worth pursuing is that with more or less immediate market value. Every other kind of learning is downgraded, its budget cut. In Knowledge for Sale, Lawrence Busch challenges this market-driven approach.

Byung-Chul Han is one of the most widely read philosophers in Europe today, a member of the new generation of German thinkers that includes Markus Gabriel and Armen Avanessian. In The Agony of Eros, a bestseller in Germany, Han considers the threat to love and desire in today’s society. For Han, love requires the courage to accept self-negation for the sake of discovering the Other. In a world of fetishized individualism and technologically mediated social interaction, it is the Other that is eradicated, not the self.

The Detection of Gravitational Waves

Scientists have been trying to confirm the existence of gravitational waves for fifty years. Then, in September 2015, came a “very interesting event” (as the cautious subject line in a physicist’s email read) that proved to be the first detection of gravitational waves.

An Introduction with Readings

Vaccination has long been a familiar, highly effective form of medicine and a triumph of public health. Because vaccination is both an individual medical intervention and a central component of public health efforts, it raises a distinct set of legal and ethical issues—from debates over their risks and benefits to the use of government vaccination requirements—and makes vaccine policymaking uniquely challenging. This volume examines the full range of ethical and policy issues related to the development and use of vaccines in the United States and around the world.

On the night of September 26th, 2014, a group of student protestors was attacked by policemen in the Mexican town of Iguala. Forty-three of these students were then kidnapped and turned over to criminals who allegedly tortured and murdered them, and then burned their corpses. The families of the victims refused to accept the official story, which placed all blame on local actors and absolved the federal government of any culpability.

How Activism Transformed the Jewelry Industry

Gold mining can be a dirty business. It creates immense amounts of toxic materials that are difficult to dispose of. Mines are often developed without community consent, and working conditions for miners can be poor. Income from gold has funded wars. And consumers buy wedding rings and gold chains not knowing about any of this. In Dirty Gold, Michael Bloomfield shows what happened when Earthworks, a small Washington-based NGO, launched a campaign for ethically sourced gold in the consumer jewelry market, targeting Tiffany and other major firms.

What can artificial intelligence teach us about the mind? If AI’s underlying concept is that thinking is a computational process, then how can computation illuminate thinking? It’s a timely question. AI is all the rage, and the buzziest AI buzz surrounds adaptive machine learning: computer systems that learn intelligent behavior from massive amounts of data. This is what powers a driverless car, for example.

Selected Writings on Film by Annette Michelson

The celebrated critic and film scholar Annette Michelson saw the avant-garde filmmakers of the 1950s and 1960s as radically redefining and extending the Modernist tradition of painting and sculpture, and in essays that were as engaging as they were influential and as lucid as they were learned, she set out to demonstrate the importance of the underappreciated medium of film.

The Emergence of Video Games in America

Beginning with the release of the Magnavox Odyssey and Pong in 1972, video games, whether played in arcades and taverns or in family rec rooms, became part of popular culture, like television. In fact, video games were sometimes seen as an improvement on television because they spurred participation rather than passivity. These “space-age pinball machines” gave coin-operated games a high-tech and more respectable profile.

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