October books: Body Am I, The Leak, Seeing Science, and more

Explore a selection of our most anticipated new releases for October

This month: stories of phantom limbs, rubber hands, and other phenomena; how the discovery of a harmless leak of radiation at Brookhaven National Laboratory sparked a media firestorm; stunning visualizations of science; and more. Explore these and a selection of our other new and soon-to-be-published titles below.

The cover of Spatializing Justice, showing a bright yellow background and several thin boxes with the title.

Spatializing Justice: Building Blocks by Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman

Spatializing Justice calls for architects and urban designers to do more than design buildings and physical systems. Architects should take a position against inequality and practice accordingly. With these thirty short, manifesto-like texts—building blocks for a new kind of architecture—Spatializing Justice offers a practical handbook for confronting social and economic inequality and uneven urban growth in architectural and planning practice, urging practitioners to adopt approaches that range from redefining infrastructure to retrofitting McMansions.

You might also like Design after Capitalism: Transforming Design Today for an Equitable Tomorrow by Matthew Wizinsky

The cover of Whiteness, with a graphic white mask sitting on a black background.

Whiteness by Martin Lund

This volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series examines the socially constructed phenomenon of whiteness, tracing its creation, its changing formation, and its power to privilege and protect people who are perceived as white. Whiteness, author Martin Lund explains, is not one single idea but a shifting, overarching category, a flexible cluster of historically, culturally, and geographically contingent ideals and standards that enable systems of hierarchical classification. Lund discusses words used to talk about whiteness, from white privilege to white fragility; the intersections of whiteness with race, class, and gender; whiteness in popular culture; and such ideas as “colorblindness” and “reverse racism,” which, he argues, actually uphold whiteness.

You might also like Gender(s) by Kathryn Bond Stockton

The cover of Seeing Science, featuring a macro image of an orange, shaggy molecule on a black background.

Seeing Science: The Art of Making the Invisible Visible by Jack Challoner

We live among patterns of delicate beauty and exquisite chaos that our eyes can’t detect; we are surrounded by invisible particles and shifting fields of matter that permeate all of space. Our very cells are intricate molecular machines, and the story of our origins stretches back through an unimaginable amount of time. How can we see the richness of what lies beyond our sensory perception? Scientists have developed visualization tools that can make the invisible visible. This bountifully illustrated book demonstrates the power of images to represent the unseeable, offering stunning visualizations of science that range from the microscopic to the incredibly vast.

“A worthy addition to any science collection, featuring stunning full-color images with broad appeal for multiple levels of engagement.” —Jennifer Moore, Library Journal

You might also like Water: A Visual and Scientific History by Jack Challoner

Cover of Ambulance Chasers, showing the title diagonally from left middle to right upper, on a black background

Ambulance Chasers by Abraham Adams

Ambulance Chasers offers a series of photographic diptychs by the artist Abraham Adams: on the left, the faces of personal injury lawyers photographed from roadside billboards; on the right, the landscapes they survey. The gesture is a double rotation: each photograph is imagined as the spectator of the other, and in each pairing, the exorbitant promises of the animated lawyers are deflated by their juxtaposition with an often featureless roadside landscape. The ambulance chasers smile, grin, grimace, scowl; their hair is neatly coiffed, slicked back, unnaturally dark. They gaze at country roads, busy highways, empty intersections, blue skies, building sites, and parking lots. They offer assistance—at a price. Adams’s conceptual performance and art historian David Joselit’s text tell a story of American precarity.

“Strange, provocative, unique, opaque—to say the least—but also strong and enigmatic, Ambulance Chasers makes an important statement about the visual landscape of twenty-first-century America.” —Shelley Rice, New York University

You might also like Tokyoids: The Robotic Face of Architecture by François Blanciak

Cover of The Anthropocene Cookbook, featuring the title on a black background with a grey-and-black horizontal striped border. The outline of an ant in grey sits on the bottom right corner of the cover.

The Anthropocene Cookbook: Recipes and Opportunities for Future Catastrophes by Zane Cerpina and Stahl Stenslie

In the age of the Anthropocene—an era characterized by human-caused climate disaster—catastrophes and dystopias loom. The Anthropocene Cookbook takes our planetary state of emergency as an opportunity to seize the moment to imagine constructive change and new ideas. How can we survive in an age of constant environmental crises? How can we thrive? The Anthropocene Cookbook answers these questions by presenting a series of investigative art and design projects that explore how art, food, and creative thinking can prepare us for future catastrophes. This cookbook of ideas rethinks our eating habits and traditions, challenges our food taboos, and proposes new recipes for humanity’s survival.

“Through thought-provoking projects and commentary, Cerpina and Stenslie encourage us to think and reflect in order to spark our collective imagination.” —Stephanie Tharp, University of Michigan; coauthor of Discursive Design

You might also like Tomorrow’s Parties: Life in the Anthropocene edited by Jonathan Strahan

The cover of Body Am I, featuring the title and a close-up of a male Grecian statue's face. The face is pixelated, and depicts the eyes looking both toward the left and right of the image.

Body Am I: The New Science of Self-Consciousness by Moheb Costandi

The body is central to our sense of identity. It can be a canvas for self-expression, decorated with clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, tattoos, and piercings. But the body is more than that. Bodily awareness, says scientist-writer Moheb Costandi, is key to self-consciousness. In Body Am I, Costandi examines how the brain perceives the body, how that perception translates into our conscious experience of the body, and how that experience contributes to our sense of self. Along the way, he explores what can happen when the mechanisms of bodily awareness are disturbed, leading to such phenomena as phantom limbs, alien hands, and amputee fetishes.

“A deeply enjoyable review of the latest scientific findings that makes you realize that you actually knew nothing before about your own body.” —Frederique de Vignemont, Jean Nicod Institut; author of Mind the Body

You might also like Musical Bodies, Musical Minds: Enactive Cognitive Science and the Meaning of Human Musicality by Dylan van der Schyff, Andrea Schiavio and David J. Elliott

The cover of The Leak, showing the title in black and subtitle in red on a white background. On the righthand top corner is the outline of a water droplet, with an image of a nuclear reactor inside.

The Leak: Politics, Activists, and Loss of Trust at Brookhaven National Laboratory by Robert P. Crease

In 1997, scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory found a small leak of radioactive water near their research reactor. Brookhaven was—and is—a world-class, Nobel Prize–winning lab, and its reactor was the cornerstone of US materials science and one of the world’s finest research facilities. The leak, harmless to health, came from a storage pool rather than the reactor. But its discovery triggered a media and political firestorm that resulted in the reactor’s shutdown, and even attempts to close the entire laboratory. A quarter century later, the episode reveals the dynamics of today’s controversies in which fears and the dismissal of science disrupt serious discussion and research of vital issues such as vaccines, climate change, and toxic chemicals. This compelling exposé reveals the gaps between scientists, politicians, media, and the public that have only gotten more dangerous since 1997.

“Anyone who wants to understand why more than one million Americans have died of COVID should read this brilliant book.” —Robert Birgeneau, University of California, Berkeley

You might also like Nuclear Choices for the Twenty-First Century: A Citizen’s Guide by Richard Wolfson and Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress

Cover of the Pentagon, Climate Change, and War, with a black and white image of a line of 7 naval ships sailing in the ocean—approaching the camera with the farthest ship to the left of the image, and the closest ship to the right—spewing black smoke.

The Pentagon, Climate Change, and War: Charting the Rise and Fall of U.S. Military Emissions by Neta C. Crawford

The military has for years (unlike many politicians) acknowledged that climate change is real, creating conditions so extreme that some military officials fear future climate wars. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Defense—military forces and DOD agencies—is the largest single energy consumer in the United States and the world’s largest institutional greenhouse gas emitter. In this eye-opening book, Neta Crawford traces the U.S. military’s growing consumption of energy and calls for a reconceptualization of foreign policy and military doctrine. Only such a rethinking, she argues, will break the link between national security and fossil fuels.

“In this important and meticulously researched book, Crawford untangles the complex relationship between the military and its dependence on fossil fuels, warning that the United States faces greater risk from climate change than from lost access to oil—or from most military conflicts.” —Linda J. Bilmes, Harvard University; co-author of The Three Trillion Dollar War

You might also like They Knew: The US Federal Government’s Fifty-Year Role in Causing the Climate Crisis by James Gustave Speth

Cover of What Not, with an illustration of a green baby with red irises. The baby has the symbol for Pi etched on its forehead, and it is holding both hands aloft with its first three fingers held up. Its umbilical cord is wrapped around its body, floating in the air.

What Not by Rose Macaulay

In a near-future England, a new government entity—the Ministry of Brains—attempts to stave off idiocracy through a program of compulsory selective breeding. Kitty Grammont, who shares the author’s own ambivalent attitude to life, gets involved in the Ministry’s propaganda efforts, which are detailed with an entertaining thoroughness. However, when Kitty falls in love with the Minister for Brains, a man whose genetic shortcomings make a union with her impossible, their illicit affair threatens to topple the government. Because it ridiculed wartime bureaucracy, the planned 1918 publication of What Not—whose alphabetical caste system would directly influence Aldous Huxley’s 1932 dystopia Brave New World—was delayed until after the end of World War I.

“One of the wittiest, most ironical, and altogether funniest books that have appeared these many years.” The Daily Telegraph (1919)

You might also like Nordenholt’s Million by J. J. Connington

Explore more of the MIT Press’s new and upcoming releases