New books from the MIT Press standing in a row: Virtually Amish, Sex Dolls at Sea, and the paperback edition of Infinite Playgrounds

June books: Virtually Amish, Sex Dolls at Sea, new paperbacks, and more

Explore a selection of our most anticipated new releases for June

This month: an exploration of how the Amish engage with digital technology, with lessons for the rest of us; a history of the sex doll; paperback editions of popular Press titles including The Infinite Playground by Bernard De Kovenand more. Explore these and a selection of our other new and soon-to-be-published titles below.

Cover of Virtually Amish by Lindsay Ems, showing a simple outline drawing of a horse and buggy against a blue background. The buggy has a cell phone charge icon on it wit the battery half-full; the back of the buggy emits a Wi-Fi signal.

Virtually Amish: Preserving Community at the Internet’s Margins by Lindsay Ems

The Amish are famous for their disconnection from the modern world and all its devices. But, as Lindsay Ems shows in Virtually Amish, Old Order Amish today are selectively engaging with digital technology. he Amish need digital tools to participate in the economy—websites for ecommerce, for example, and cell phones for communication on the road—but they have developed strategies for making limited use of these tools while still living and working according to the values of their community. The way they do this, Ems suggests, holds lessons for all of us about resisting the negative forces of what has been called “high-tech capitalism.”

“This compelling account of Amish resistance to digitization provides a surprising model for the rest of us.” —Adam Fish, University of New South Wales

You might also like The Good Drone: How Social Movements Democratize Surveillance by Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

Cover of The Infinite Playground by Bernard De Koven, featuring a drawing that depicts a variety of individuals playing on a blue field. Some ride bikes, hold boom boxes over their heads, fence, ride skateboards; while others juggle, play hopscotch, or play croquet.

Now in paperback: The Infinite Playground: A Player’s Guide to Imagination by Bernard De Koven

Bernard De Koven (1941–2018) was a pioneering designer of games and theorist of fun. He studied games long before the field of game studies existed. For De Koven, games could not be reduced to artifacts and rules; they were about a sense of transcendent fun. This book, his last, is about the imagination: the imagination as a playground, a possibility space, and a gateway to wonder. The Infinite Playground extends a play-centered invitation to experience the power and delight unlocked by imagination. It offers a curriculum for playful learning.

“This book is magical, sacred, beautiful, and inspired. It will reintroduce you to mysterious joys of play you may have long forgotten.” —Jane McGonigal, author of New York Times bestsellers Reality Is Broken and SuperBetter

You might also like Game Wizards: The Epic Battle for Dungeons & Dragons by Jon Peterson

Cover of Northern Sparks by Michael Century, depicting what appears to be an x-ray of an animal spine against a black background.

Northern Sparks: Innovation, Technology Policy, and the Arts in Canada from Expo 67 to the Internet Age by Michael Century

Understanding how experimental art catalyzes technological innovation is often prized yet typically reduced to the magic formula of “creativity.” In Northern Sparks, Michael Century emphasizes the role of policy and institutions by showing how novel art forms and media technologies in Canada emerged during a period of political and social reinvention, starting in the 1960s with the energies unleashed by Expo 67. Debunking conventional wisdom, Century reclaims innovation from both its present-day devotees and detractors by revealing how experimental artists critically challenge as well as discover and extend the capacities of new technologies.

Northern Sparks is a must-read for those who wonder how artists can still participate in such a contested space.” —Thierry Bardini, Université de Montréal

You might also like The Squares: US Physical and Engineering Scientists in the Long 1970s by Cyrus C. M. Mody

Cover of Sex Dolls at Sea by Bo Ruberg, depicting many line-drawings in blue ink of objects against a worn yellowing page. The objects include a vibrator; rope tied in a knot; a conch shell; a ship in a bottle; a dress form; anal beads; a compass; ferns; and more. The images are surrounding by a border consisting of two thin lines.

Sex Dolls at Sea: Imagined Histories of Sexual Technologies by Bo Ruberg

The sex doll and its high-tech counterpart the sex robot have gone mainstream, as both the object of consumer desire and the subject of academic study. But sex dolls, and sexual technology in general, are nothing new. Sex dolls have been around for centuries. In Sex Dolls at Sea, Bo Ruberg explores the origin story of the sex doll, investigating its cultural implications and considering who has been marginalized and who has been privileged in the narrative.

“Brilliantly researched and eminently readable, Bo Ruberg’s Sex Dolls at Sea will fundamentally change the way you think about histories of sexuality and technology.” —Lynn Comella, author of Vibrator Nation

You might also like Sex Sounds: Vectors of Difference in Electronic Music by Danielle Shlomit Sofer

Cover of the paperback edition of Publishing Manifestos by Michalis Pichler, featuring text on a bright orange background. The title appears in black font at the top, and from the center of the cover down toward the bottom appears the names of all the contributors in a lighter orange font.

Now in paperback: Publishing Manifestos: An International Anthology from Artists and Writers edited by Michalis Pichler

Independent publishing, art publishing, publishing as artistic practice, publishing counterculture, and the zine, DIY, and POD scenes have proliferated over the last two decades. So too have art book fairs, an increasingly important venue—or even medium—for art. Art publishing experienced a similar boom in the 1960s and 1970s, in response to the culture’s “linguistic turn.” Today, art publishing confronts the internet and the avalanche of language and images that it enables. The printed book offers artists both visibility and tangibility. Publishing Manifestos gathers texts by artists, authors, editors, publishers, designers, zinesters, and activists to explore this rapidly expanding terrain for art practice.

“Indispensable reading for radical artists’ publishing practice.” —Max Schumann, director of Printed Matter, Inc.

You might also like Publishing as Artistic Practice edited by Annette Gilbert

Cover of Life, Death, and Other Inconvenient Truths by Shimon Edelman. The cover shows the title, subtitle, and author's name in black, red, and grey font respectively, set against a yellow background with a variety of phrases filling the page including: Love only makes sense to the lovers; Language is how we influence others; War is fought at power's behest; Truth preservation calls for prudence; and more.

Now in paperback: Life, Death, and Other Inconvenient Truths: A Realist’s View of the Human Condition by Shimon Edelman

This book offers a guide to human nature and human experience—a reference book for making sense of life. In thirty-eight short, interconnected essays, Shimon Edelman considers the parameters of the human condition, addressing them in alphabetical order, from action (good except when it’s not) to love (only makes sense to the lovers) to thinking (should not be so depressing) to youth (a treasure). In a style that is by turns personal and philosophical, at once informative and entertaining, Edelman offers a series of illuminating takes on the most important aspects of living in the world.

“This work will be welcomed by any reader interested in the complexity of the human condition, and will especially appeal to students of the arts and literature, psychology, and ethics.” —Choice

You might also like The Body Fantastic by Frank Gonzalez-Crussi

Cover of Transforming Nuclear Safeguards Culture by Trevor Findlay. The cover is a photo in front of the UN building in New York, looking up at a sharp angle from the ground at a tall building with large windows filling half the cover image. In the foreground is a blue flag with a laurel leaf surrounding a cartoon drawing of an atom billowing in the wind.

Transforming Nuclear Safeguards Culture: The IAEA, Iraq, and the Future of Non-Proliferation by Trevor Findlay

In Transforming Nuclear Safeguards Culture, Trevor Findlay investigates the role that organizational culture may play in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, examining particularly how it affects the nuclear safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the paramount global organization in the non-proliferation field. Findlay seeks to identify how organizational culture may have contributed to the IAEA’s failure to detect Iraq’s attempts to acquire illicit nuclear capabilities in the decade prior to the 1990 Gulf War and how the agency has sought to change safeguards culture since then. In doing so, he addresses an important piece of the nuclear nonproliferation puzzle: how to ensure that a robust international safeguards system, in perpetuity, might keep non-nuclear states from acquiring such weapons.

You might also like Nuclear Weapons by Mark Wolverton

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