Looking ahead to the books we can’t wait to publish this fall
2022 marks 60 years of the MIT Press. Since the Press’s founding in 1962, it has provided a unique lens on the interplay among science, design, technology, and culture. We strive to accelerate social progress and promote human understanding with our interdisciplinary and innovative books and journals.
The cover of our fall 2022 catalog depicts a multimedia ‘soundsuit’ by artist Nick Cave entitled Soundsuit 8:46; the piece is featured in our fall book In the Black Fantastic by Ekow Eshun. In the Black Fantastic—and the artists featured therein—exemplifies the kind of mission-driven, genre-bending work we are proud to be publishing in this sixth decade of our publishing program. Looking ahead to the next 60 years, the Press hopes to continue breaking barriers and publishing groundbreaking scholarship from diverse authors and voices.
“The Press changes with the times, constantly reinventing itself and reimagining the future,” said L. Rafael Reif, President of MIT. “We look forward to at least another six decades of reading, exploring, discovering and understanding.”
Featured below are a few highlights from our books publishing this fall. Read on or explore the entire fall catalog.
In the Black Fantastic by Ekow Eshun
A richly illustrated exploration of Black culture at its most wildly imaginative and artistically ambitious, In the Black Fantastic assembles art and imagery from across the African diaspora. Embracing the mythic and the speculative, it recycles and reconfigures elements of fable, folklore, science fiction, spiritual traditions, ceremonial pageantry, and the legacies of Afrofuturism. In works that span photography, painting, sculpture, cinema, graphic arts, music and architecture, In the Black Fantastic shows how speculative fictions in Black art and culture are boldly reimagining perspectives on race, gender and identity.
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.
Curious Minds: The Power of Connection by Perry Zurn and Dani S. Bassett
Curious about something? Google it. Look at it. Ask a question. But is curiosity simply information seeking? According to this exhilarating, genre-bending book, what’s left out of the conventional understanding of curiosity are the wandering tracks, the weaving concepts, the knitting of ideas, and the thatching of knowledge systems—the networks, the relations between ideas and between people. Curiosity, say Perry Zurn and Dani Bassett, is a practice of connection: it connects ideas into networks of knowledge, and it connects knowers themselves, both to the knowledge they seek and to each other.
Tornado of Life: A Doctor’s Journey through Constraints and Creativity in the ER by Jay Baruch
To be an emergency room doctor is to be a professional listener to stories. Each patient presents a story; finding the heart of that story is the doctor’s most critical task. More technology, more tests, and more data won’t work if doctors get the story wrong. When caring for others can feel like venturing into unchartered territory without a map, empathy, creativity, imagination, and thinking like a writer become the cornerstones of clinical care. In Tornado of Life, ER physician Jay Baruch shares these struggles in a series of short, powerful, and affecting essays that invite the reader into stories rich with complexity and messiness.
Methuselah’s Zoo: What Nature Can Teach Us about Living Longer, Healthier Lives by Steven N. Austad
Opossums in the wild don’t make it to the age of three; our pet cats can live for a decade and a half; cicadas live for seventeen years (spending most of them underground). Whales, however, can live for two centuries and tubeworms for several millennia. Meanwhile, human life expectancy tops out around the mid-eighties, with some outliers living past 100 or even 110. Is there anything humans can learn from the exceptional longevity of some animals in the wild? In Methuselah’s Zoo, Steven Austad tells the stories of some extraordinary animals, considering why, for example, animal species that fly live longer than earthbound species and why animals found in the ocean live longest of all.
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.