Looking ahead to the books we can’t wait to publish this spring
The cover image for our spring 2023 catalog features a photo from The House at Capo d’Orso by Sebastiano Brandolini, forthcoming in May 2023. The book is part memoir, part architectural exploration, transporting readers to Brandolini’s family’s home on the Sardinian coast. We taste the sea air, feel the craggy rocks beneath our feet, and delight in the charms of Italy as we tour the immersive pages.
The House at Capo d’Orso is not only a study of architecture and life in the built environment, but of family life, and the way the Brandolini family adapted themselves to the house they built. This title—at once so personal, but still so universal—reveals a recurring theme of many books we will publish this spring. How do we affect the environment around us, and how does it affect us in turn?
“Many of the excellent new titles out this season from the MIT Press speak to the imperative to connect: human to human, human to animal, human to earth (and other planets), parent to child, person to knowledge, literature, and art,” writes Amy Brand, director and publisher of the MIT Press. “Human beings are pack animals after all, in both senses of the term. We thrive on offline community and social connection. We strive to be seen. In these laden times, the most dehumanizing forces in our world are those that impede our engagement with, and trust of, one another.”
This season we are looking forward to publishing works that connect us to other planets, connect us to the wildlife around us, and connect us to home as a physical structure and a temporal space. Featured below are these books and a few additional highlights from our spring publications. We invite you to download the entire catalog and browse all our new books and journals, and we thank you, as ever, for supporting our books and our mission.
Decolonizing Design: A Cultural Justice Guidebook by Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall
From the excesses of world expositions to myths of better living through technology, modernist design, in its European-based guises, has excluded and oppressed the very people whose lands and lives it reshaped. Decolonizing Design first asks how modernist design has encompassed and advanced the harmful project of colonization—then shows how design might address these harms by recentering its theory and practice in global Indigenous cultures and histories. For leaders and practitioners in design institutions and communities, Tunstall’s work demonstrates how we can transform the way we imagine and remake the world, replacing pain and repression with equity, inclusion, and diversity—in short, she shows us how to realize the infinite possibilities that decolonized design represents.
“A once-in-a-decade book. An inspiring, informative, and powerful blueprint that can enable any of us to engage with a topic of our time—decolonization.” —Rama Gheerawo, Royal College of Art; author of Creative Leadership
Tenacious Beasts: Wildlife Recoveries That Change How We Think about Animals by Christopher J. Preston
The news about wildlife is dire—more than 900 species have been wiped off the planet since industrialization. Against this bleak backdrop, however, there are also glimmers of hope and crucial lessons to be learned from animals that have defied global trends toward extinction: bears in Italy, bison in North America, whales in the Atlantic. In crisp, transporting prose, Christopher Preston reveals the mysteries and challenges at the heart of these resurgences. Tenacious Beasts is quintessential nature writing for the Anthropocene, touching on different facets of ecological restoration from Indigenous knowledge to rewilding practices. More important, perhaps, the book offers a road map—and a measure of hope—for a future in which humans and animals can once again coexist.
“In the midst of ecological crisis, Preston brings genuinely good news: a few of our fellow species are not only thriving, but demanding that we do better by the rest of life on Earth.” —Michelle Nijhuis, author of Beloved Beasts
More than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech by Meredith Broussard
The word “glitch” implies an incidental error, as easy to patch up as it is to identify. But what if racism, sexism, and ableism aren’t just bugs in mostly functional machinery—what if they’re coded into the system itself? In the vein of heavy hitters such as Safiya Umoja Noble, Cathy O’Neil, and Ruha Benjamin, Meredith Broussard demonstrates in More Than a Glitch how neutrality in tech is a myth and why algorithms need to be held accountable.
“Everyone who cares about the future of tech and society should read this book yesterday.” —Ruha Benjamin, author of Race after Technology and Viral Justice
The House at Capo d’Orso by Sebastiano Brandolini
Recalling the essays of Walter Benjamin, Bill Bryson, Rebecca Solnit, and Lawrence Weschler, Brandolini’s writing weaves literature, art history, and the transformation of Sardinia since the 1960s into a single fabric. How does a house shape experience? How does architecture establish a practice of living? Architect Sebastiano Brandolini invites readers on a meditative tour of his family’s house on the Sardinian coast, describing everything from the geology of the rocks beneath, to the history of the surrounding villages, to the way the shifting light measures the day. More than the story of a single summer home written by an accomplished architect, this is a study of how place, the built environment, and daily practice make up our lives, at the most minute level of detail.
Invention and Innovation: A Brief History of Hype and Failure by Vaclav Smil
The world is never finished catching up with New York Times best-selling author Vaclav Smil. In his latest and perhaps most readable book, Invention and Innovation, the prolific author—a favorite of Bill Gates—pens an insightful and fact-filled jaunt through the history of human invention. With clear-eyed insight, Smil offers an antidote to the chronic innovation hype that accompanies everything from new cures for diseases to AI. He reminds us that even after we go quite far along the invention-development-application trajectory, we may never get anything real to deploy. Or worse, even after we have succeeded by introducing an invention, its future may be marked by underperformance, disappointment, demise, or outright harm.
“Smil, the author of more than 40 books on scientific subjects and global matters, is always worth reading… An informative, entertaining package from a gifted, original thinker.” —Kirkus Reviews
Off-Earth: Ethical Questions and Quandaries for Living in Outer Space by Erika Nesvold
We’ve pinpointed the destination, refined the technology, designed the habitat, outfitted our space residents. Are we forgetting something? A timely reminder that it’s not just rocket science, this thought-provoking book explores the all-too-human issues raised by the prospect of settling in outer space. It’s worth remembering, Erika Nesvold suggests, that in making new worlds, we don’t necessarily leave our earthly problems behind. Accordingly, her work highlights the complex ethical challenges that accompany any other-worldly venture—questions about the environment, labor rights, and medical ethics, among others.