July 2024 books: Playing at the World, Critical Perspectives on Ancient DNA, Something Completely Different, and more

Explore some of our most anticipated new releases for July 2024

This month: the first volume of two in an updated history of role-playing games; a comprehensive critical analysis of ancient DNA research; a study of architecture in Belgium; and more. Explore these books and a selection of our other new and soon-to-be-released titles below.

Playing at the World, Second Edition: The Invention of Dungeons & Dragons by Jon Peterson

This new edition of Playing at the World is the first of two volumes that update the 720-page original tome of the same name from 2012. This first volume is The Invention of Dungeons & Dragons, which explores the publication of that iconic game. (The second volume is The Three Pillars of Role-Playing Games, a deeper dive into the history of the setting, system, and character of D&D.) In this first volume, Jon Peterson distills the story of how the wargaming clubs and fanzines circulating around the upper Midwest in the 1970s culminated in Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson’s seminal role-playing game, D&D. It augments the research of the original editions with new insights into the crucial period in 1972–3 when D&D began to take shape.

You might also like Fifty Years of Dungeons & Dragons edited by Premeet Sidhu, Marcus Carter and José P. Zagal

Something Completely Different: Architecture in Belgium by Christophe van Gerrewey

Since the foundation of the country in 1830, architecture in Belgium has been an expression of the key issues of modern Western societies. In Something Completely Different, Christophe Van Gerrewey uses this small European country as a case study to describe, interpret, and criticize more universal spatial problems and behaviors. In seven wide-ranging essays, he looks at the activities of architects from the past two centuries to better understand political evolutions, social gaps, aesthetic considerations, housing and planning, transport and infrastructure, order and chaos, and culture and ecology. The result is a literary text full of surprises and discoveries, showing both the shortcomings and the merits of what architects do.

You might also like The City in the City: Architecture and Change in London’s Financial District by Amy Thomas

Critical Perspectives on Ancient DNA edited by Daniel Strand, Anna Källén and Charlotte Mulcare

This edited collection, Critical Perspectives on Ancient DNA, presents a critical enquiry into the much-hyped “ancient DNA revolution” in archaeology. Offering the first comprehensive and in-depth scholarly analysis of the practices and effects of archaeogenetics, editors Daniel Strand, Anna Källén, and Charlotte Mulcare, along with other renowned scholars from Europe and the United States, address a host of questions, such as: What happens with our understanding of the past when archaeology is married to genetic science? What cultural forms and historical narratives are generated by ancient DNA (aDNA) research, and what energies could they unleash?

You might also like CRISPR People: The Science and Ethics of Editing Humans by Henry T. Greely

Digital Ethology: Human Behavior in Geospatial Context edited by Tomáš Paus and Hye-Chung Kum

Countless permutations of physical, built, and social environments surround us in space and time, influencing the air we breathe, how hot or cold we are, how many steps we take, and with whom we interact as we go about our daily lives. Assessing the dynamic processes that play out between humans and the environment is challenging. Digital Ethology, edited by Tomáš Paus and Hye-Chung Kum, explores how aggregate area-level data, produced at multiple locations and points in time, can reveal bidirectional—and iterative—relationships between human behavior and the environment through their digital footprints.

You might also like Behavioral Insights by Michael Hallsworth and Elspeth Kirkman

Enacting Platforms: Feminist Technoscience and the Unreal Engine by James Malazita

In this first scholarly book on the Unreal game engine, James Malazita explores one of the major contemporary game development platforms through feminist, race, and queer theories of technology and media, revealing how Unreal produces, and is produced by, broader intersections of power. Enacting Platforms takes a novel critical platform studies approach, raising deeper questions: what are the material and cultural limits of platforms themselves? What is the relationship between the analyst and the platform of study, and how does that relationship in part determine what “counts” as the platform itself? Malazita also offers a forward-looking critique of the platform studies framework itself.

You might also like Feminist Designer: On the Personal and the Political in Design edited by Alison Place

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