December books: Politically Red, A Heart Afire, The Unnaming of Kroeber Hall, and more

Explore some of our most anticipated new releases for December

This month: essays on how reading and writing are collective acts of political pedagogy; a biography of the pioneering children’s heart doctor Helen Taussig; a critical examination of the complex legacies of early Californian anthropology and linguistics; and more. Explore these books and a selection of our other new and soon-to-be-released titles below.

Politically Red by Eduardo Cadava and Sara Nadal-Melsió

“Reading is class struggle,” writes Bertolt Brecht. Marxism is not just a body of political and economic thought but also a practice of reading and writing, in which individual sentences give form to collective action and become social beings in their own right. Through a series of creative and interconnected readings of writings by, among others, Karl Marx, W. E. B. Du Bois, Rosa Luxemburg, Walter Benjamin, and Fredric Jameson, Eduardo Cadava and Sara Nadal-Melsió contextualize contemporary demands for social and racial justice by expanding our understanding of the relationship between literacy and class politics.

“More than simply original, Politically Red creates its own new genre of theoretical intervention into the ongoing struggle.” —Slavoj Žižek, International Director, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London

You might also like Yesterday’s Tomorrow: On the Loneliness of Communist Specters and the Reconstruction of the Future by Bini Adamczak

A Heart Afire: Helen Brooke Taussig’s Battle Against Heart Defects, Unsafe Drugs, and Injustice in Medicine by Patricia Meisol

In A Heart Afire, Patricia Meisol renders a moving portrait of the indomitable pediatrician and global patient activist Helen Taussig (1898–1986), who famously gathered and publicized evidence linking thalidomide to birth defects, leading to US drug safety laws. Taussig also developed the Blalock-Taussig shunt (along with Alfred Blalock) for infants with congenital heart defects. Spanning Taussig’s childhood in Boston, her struggle with dyslexia, her progressive hearing loss, her research contributions, and the founding of her own fledgling children’s heart clinic, this book chronicles Taussig’s ambition, tenacity, and formidable work ethic. As Meisol shows, Taussig not only saved lives, but also set a bold precedent for other women doctors in the twentieth century, who were largely excluded from medicine.

“This impressive piece of research is not just about one woman, but also about the health of a nation and global developments in science and medicine.” —Claire Brock, University of Leicester; author of British Women Surgeons and Their Patients, 1860–1918

You might also like Carbon Queen: The Remarkable Life of Nanoscience Pioneer Mildred Dresselhaus by Maia Weinstock

The Unnaming of Kroeber Hall: Language, Memory, and Indigenous California by Andrew Garrett

In January 2021, at a time when many institutions were reevaluating fraught histories, the University of California removed anthropologist and linguist Alfred Kroeber’s name from a building on its Berkeley campus. Critics accused Kroeber of racist and dehumanizing practices that harmed Indigenous people; university leaders repudiated his values. In The Unnaming of Kroeber Hall, Andrew Garrett examines Kroeber’s work in the early twentieth century and his legacy today, asking how a vigorous opponent of racism and advocate for Indigenous rights in his own era became a symbol of his university’s failed relationships with Native communities. Garrett argues that Kroeber’s most important work has been overlooked: his collaborations with Indigenous people throughout California to record their languages and stories.

“This compelling book offers a fair-minded yet passionate assessment of the controversy over one of early American anthropology’s most prominent figures.” —Orin Starn, Duke University, author of Ishi’s Brain: In Search of America’s Last “Wild” Indian

You might also like Conflicted American Landscapes by David E. Nye

The Hidden Powers of Ritual: The Journey of a Lifetime by Bradd Shore

The Hidden Powers of Ritual is an engaging introduction to ritual studies that presents ritual as an evolved form of human behavior of almost unimaginable significance to our species. Every day across the globe, people gather to share meals, brew caffeinated beverages, or honor their ancestors. In this book, Bradd Shore, a respected anthropologist, reaches beyond familiar “big-R” rituals to present life’s humbler, overshadowed moments, exploring everything from the Balinese pelebon to baseball to family Zoom sessions in the age of Covid to the sobering reenactment rituals surrounding the Moore’s Ford lynchings. In each ritual, Shore shows how our capacity to ritualize behavior is a remarkable part of the human story.

“Shore has a perspective on myth and ritual that few other American scholars have.” —Ronald L. Grimes, author of The Craft of Ritual Studies

You might also like Notebooks of a Wandering Monk by Matthieu Ricard

After Eating: Metabolizing the Arts by Lindsay Kelley

Food appears everywhere in the arts. But what happens after viewers carry food away in the intestinal networks activated by social practice art, the same way digestion turns food into a body? Exploring the emerging field of metabolic arts, After Eating claims digestion and metabolism as key cultural, creative, and political processes that demand attention. Taking an artist-centered approach to nutrition, Lindsay Kelley cultivates a neglected middle ground between the everyday and the scientific, using metabolism as a lens through which to read and write about art.

“Inhabiting Lindsay Kelley’s writing is always a nourishing affair, replete with metabolic surprises and sobering delights of a worldly kind. After Eating is a repast of playful and serious courses of past and current body art, bioart, and performance.” —Donna J. Haraway, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of California Santa Cruz

You might also like Energies in the Arts edited by Douglas Kahn

Demystifying the Academic Research Enterprise: Becoming a Successful Scholar in a Complex and Competitive Environment by Kelvin K. Droegemeier

The academic research enterprise is highly complex, involving multiple sectors of society and a vast array of approaches. In Demystifying the Academic Research Enterprise, Kelvin K. Droegemeier shows next-generation scholars across all disciplines how to become more productive earlier in their career, as well as how to help shape the academic research enterprise. The topics covered include public perceptions of scholarly work and its use in policy; understanding the big picture of funding and national priorities as well as identifying funding sources; research methods; collecting data and materials; writing grant proposals; publishing results; ethical conduct; bias and peer review; intellectual property and compliance regulations; partnerships and collaboration; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and the future of research.

“This book unveils the hidden curriculum of academia. It will be an excellent comprehensive resource for graduate programs, and for anyone interested in pursuing a career within or adjacent to academia.” —Sarah C. Fankhauser, Oxford College of Emory University

You might also like Find Your Path: Unconventional Lessons from 36 Leading Scientists and Engineers by Daniel Goodman

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