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Action at a Distance
John Durham Peters
University of Minnesota Press, 2020

How are human actions shaped by the materiality of media? 

Contemporary media leads us more than ever to an ‘acting at a distance,’ an acting entangled with the materiality of communication and the mediality of transmission. This book explores this crucial phenomenon thereby introducing urgent questions of human interaction, the binding and breaking of time and space, and the entanglement of the material and the immaterial. 

Three vivid inquiries deal with histories and theories of mediality and materiality: John Durham Peters looks at episodes of simultaneity and synchronization. Christina Vagt discusses the agency of computer models against the backdrop of aesthetic theories by Henri Bergson and Hans Blumenberg, and Florian Sprenger discusses early electrical transmissions through copper wire and the temporality of instantaneity. 


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The Culture of Time and Space, 1880–1918
First Edition
Stephen Kern
Harvard University Press, 1983

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The Culture of Time and Space, 1880–1918
With a New Preface
Stephen Kern
Harvard University Press, 2003
Stephen Kern writes about the sweeping changes in technology and culture between 1880 and World War I that created new modes of understanding and experiencing time and space. To mark the book’s twentieth anniversary, Kern provides an illuminating new preface about the breakthrough in interpretive approach that has made this a seminal work in interdisciplinary studies.

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Jean-Luc Nancy
Seagull Books, 2020
In Doing, Jean-Luc Nancy, one of the most prominent and lucid articulators of contemporary French theory and philosophy, examines the precarious but urgent relationship between being and doing. His book is not so much a call to action as a summons to more vigorous thinking, the examination and reflection that must precede any effective action. The first section of the book considers this matter tersely: Jean-Luc Nancy’s quickness of language and grace of humor lead the reader carefully past the dangers of oversimplification, toward a general awareness of meaningful being. In the last section, Nancy examines the realities of terrorist actions—specifically those that shocked Paris a few years ago, and more generally the frightening world of politics without conscience, where conscience is the root of all thinking.

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Great Dialogue Nature Space
Yves R. Simon
St. Augustine's Press, 2000

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Henri Lefebvre on Space
Architecture, Urban Research, and the Production of Theory
Lukasz Stanek
University of Minnesota Press, 2010
In this innovative work, Lukasz Stanek frames a uniquely contextual appreciation of Henri Lefebvre’s idea that space is a social product. Stanek explicitly confronts both the philosophical and the empirical foundations of Lefebvre’s oeuvre, especially his direct involvement in the fields of urban development, planning, and architecture.

Countering the prevailing view, which reduces Lefebvre’s theory of space to a projection of his philosophical positions, Stanek argues that Lefebvre’s work grew out of his concrete, empirical engagement with everyday practices of dwelling in postwar France and his exchanges with architects and planners. Stanek focuses on the interaction between architecture, urbanism, sociology, and philosophy that occurred in France in the 1960s and 1970s, which was marked by a shift in the processes of urbanization at all scales, from the neighborhood to the global level. Lefebvre’s thinking was central to this encounter, which informed both his theory of space and the concept of urbanization becoming global.

Stanek offers a deeper and clearer understanding of Lefebvre’s thought and its implications for the present day. At a time when cities are increasingly important to our political, spatial, and architectural world, this reassessment proposes a new empirical, and practical, interpretation of Lefebvre’s ideas on urbanism.

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Hollow and Home
A History of Self and Place
E. Fred Carlisle
West Virginia University Press, 2017
Hollow and Home explores the ways the primary places in our lives shape the individuals we become. It proposes that place is a complex and dynamic phenomenon. Place refers to geographical and constructed places—location, topography, landscape, and buildings. It also refers to the psychological, social, and cultural influences at work at a given location. These elements act in concert to constitute a place.
Carlisle incorporates perspectives from writers like Edward S. Casey, Christian Norberg-Schulz, Yi-Fu Tuan, and Witold Rybczynski, but he applies theory with a light touch. Placing this literature in dialog with personal experience, he concentrates on two places that profoundly influenced him and enabled him to overcome a lifelong sense of always leaving his pasts behind. The first is Clover Hollow in Appalachian Virginia, where the author lived for ten years among fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-generation residents. The people and places there enabled him to value his own past and primary places in a new way. The story then turns to Carlisle’s life growing up in Delaware, Ohio. He describes in rich detail the ways the town shaped him in both enabling and disabling ways. In the end, after years of moving from place to place, Carlisle’s experience in Appalachia helped him rediscover his hometown—both the Old Delaware, where he grew up, and the New Delaware, a larger, thriving small city—as his true home.
The themes of the book transcend specific localities and speak to the relationship of self and place everywhere.

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In Space We Read Time
On the History of Civilization and Geopolitics
Karl Schlögel
Bard Graduate Center, 2016
History is usually thought of as a tale of time, a string of events flowing in a particular chronological order. But as Karl Schlögel shows in this groundbreaking book, the where of history is just as important as the when. Schlögel relishes space the way a writer relishes a good story: on a quest for a type of history that takes full account of place, he explores everything from landscapes to cities, maps to railway timetables. Do you know the origin of the name “Everest”? What can the layout of towns tell us about the American Dream? In Space We Read Time reveals this and much, much more.

Here is both a model for thinking about history within physical space and a stimulating history of thought about space, as Schlögel reads historical periods and events within the context of their geographical location. Discussions range from the history of geography in France to what a town directory from 1930s Berlin can say about professional trades that have since disappeared. He takes a special interest in maps, which can serve many purposes—one poignant example being the German Jewish community’s 1938 atlas of emigration, which showed the few remaining possibilities for escape. Other topics include Thomas Jefferson’s map of the United States; the British survey of India; and the multiple cartographers with Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference, where the aim was to redraw Europe’s boundaries on the basis of ethnicity. Moving deftly from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to 9/11 and from Vermeer’s paintings to the fall of the Berlin Wall, this intriguing book presents history from a completely new perspective.

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Investigations In Philosophy Of Space
Continental Thought Series V. 11
Elisabeth Ströker
Ohio University Press, 1987

The central contribution of Ströker’s investigations is a careful and strict analysis of the relationship between experienced space, Euclidean space, and non-Euclidean spaces. Her study begins with the question of experienced space, inclusive of mood space, space of action and perception, of practical activities and bodily orientations, and ends with the controversies of the proponents of geometric and mathematical understanding of space. Within the context of experienced space, Ströker includes historical discussions of place, topology, depth, perspectivity, homogeneity, orientation, and the questions of empty and full spaces. Her investigation concludes that any strict analysis of space must be founded upon an unavoidable ontology.

Philosophical Investigations of Space addresses a number of methodological controversies. It tests the limitations of a variety of scientific, phenomenological, geometric, and logical methods in order to demonstrate limitations of both methodology and underlying assumption. In addition to the richness of her historical and systematic discussion, Ströker’s work is a model of thoroughly documented philosophical scholarship and conceptual precision.


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Locating Filipino Americans
Rick Bonus
Temple University Press, 2000
The Filipino American population in the U.S.  is expected to reach more than two million by the next  century. Yet many Filipino Americans contend that years of formal and covert exclusion from mainstream political, social, and economic institutions on the basis of their race have perpetuated racist stereotypes about them, ignored their colonial and immigration history, and prevented them from becoming fully recognized citizens of the nation. Locating Filipino Americans shows how Filipino Americans counter exclusion by actively engaging in alternative practices of community building.

Locating Filipino Americans, an ethnographic study of Filipino American communities in Los Angeles and San Diego, present a multi-disciplinary cultural analysis of the relationship between ethnic identity and social space. Author Rick Bonus argues that alternative community spaces enable Filipino Americans to respond to and resist the ways in which the larger society has historically and institutionally rendered them invisible, silenced, and racialized. Bonus focuses on the "Oriental" stores, the social halls and community centers, and the community newspapers to demonstrate how ethnic identities are publicly constituted and communities are transformed. Delineating the spaces formed by diasporic consciousness, Bonus shows how community members appropriate elements from their former homeland and from their new settlements in ways defined by their critical stances against racism, homogenization, complete assimilation, and exclusionary citizenship. Locating Filipino Americans is one of the few books that offers a grounded approach to theoretical analyses of ethnicity and contemporary culture in the U.S.

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The Logic of Being
Realism, Truth, and Time
Paul M. Livingston
Northwestern University Press, 2017
In The Logic of Being, Paul Livingston examines the relationship of truth and time from a perspective that draws on Martin Heidegger’s thought and twentieth-century analytic philosophy. In his influential earlier work The Politics of Logic, Livingston elaborated an innovative “formal” or “metaformal" realism. Here he extends this concept into a “temporal realism” that accounts for the reality of temporal change and becoming while also preserving realism about logic and truth.

Livingston's formal and phenomenological analysis articulates and defends a realist position about being, time, and their relationship that understands that all of these are structured and constituted in a way that does not depend on the human mind, consciousness, or subjectivity. This approach provides a basis for new logically and phenomenologically based accounts of the structure of linguistic truth in relation to the appearance of objects and of the formal structure of time as given. 

Livingston draws on philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Davidson and Heidegger in this exploration. In it, readers and scholars will discover innovative connections between continental and analytic philosophy.

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Margins of Philosophy
Jacques Derrida
University of Chicago Press, 1982
"In this densely imbricated volume Derrida pursues his devoted, relentless dismantling of the philosophical tradition, the tradition of Plato, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger—each dealt with in one or more of the essays. There are essays too on linguistics (Saussure, Benveniste, Austin) and on the nature of metaphor ("White Mythology"), the latter with important implications for literary theory. Derrida is fully in control of a dazzling stylistic register in this book—a source of true illumination for those prepared to follow his arduous path. Bass is a superb translator and annotator. His notes on the multilingual allusions and puns are a great service."—Alexander Gelley, Library Journal

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Medieval Practices Of Space
Barbara A. Hanawalt
University of Minnesota Press, 2000

Interprets space and place in the medieval era.

Interprets space and place in the medieval era.

A glance at medieval maps tells us that cartographers of the Middle Ages divided space differently than we do today. In the great mappae mundi, for instance, Jerusalem takes center stage, with an image of the crucified Christ separating one place from another. The architects of medieval cathedrals manipulated space to clarify the roles and status of all who entered. Even in the most everyday context, space was allotted according to gender and class and was freighted with infinitely subtle meanings. The contributors to this volume cross disciplinary and theoretical boundaries to read the words, metaphors, images, signs, poetic illusions, and identities with which medieval men and women used space and place to add meaning to the world.Contributors: Kathleen Biddick, U of Notre Dame; Charles Burroughs, SUNY, Binghamton; Michael Camille, U of Chicago; Tom Conley, Harvard U; Donnalee Dox, U of Arizona; Jody Enders, U of California, Santa Barbara; Valerie K. J. Flint, U of Hull, UK; Andrzej Piotrowski, U of Minnesota; Daniel Lord Smail, Fordham U.Barbara A. Hanawalt is King George III Professor of British History at Ohio State University. Michal Kobialka is associate professor of theatre at University of Minnesota.

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The Nature of Space
Milton Santos
Duke University Press, 2021
In The Nature of Space, pioneering Afro-Brazilian geographer Milton Santos attends to globalization writ large and how local and global orders intersect in the construction of space. Santos offers a theory of human space based on relationships between time and ontology. He argues that when geographers consider the inseparability of time and space, they can then transcend fragmented realities and partial truths without trying to theorize their way around them. Based on these premises, Santos examines the role of space, which he defines as indissoluble systems of objects and systems of actions in social processes, while providing a geographic contribution to the production of a critical social theory.

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On Time and Being
Martin Heidegger
University of Chicago Press, 2002
On Time and Being charts the so-called "turn" in Martin Heidegger's philosophy away from his earlier metaphysics in Being and Time to his later thoughts after "the end of philosophy." The title lecture, "Time and Being," shows how Heidegger reconceived both "Being" and "time," introducing the new concept of "the event of Appropriation" to help give his metaphysical ideas nonmetaphysical meanings. On Time and Being also contains a summary of six seminar sessions that Heidegger conducted on "Time and Being," a lecture called "The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking," and an autobiographical sketch of Heidegger's intellectual history in "My Way of Phenomenology."

"This collection may well vie with Vom Wesen des Grundes and Identität and Differenz as definitive statements of Heidegger's ontology."—Library Journal

"The title of the English translation is that of the lead essay, the highly celebrated lecture which Heidegger gave in 1962 and which bears the same title as the never published 'third division' of the 'first half' of Being and Time. This lecture is perhaps the most significant document to be added to the Heideggerian corpus since the Letter of Humanism. . . . Stambaugh's translation is superb."—Stanley O. Hoerr and staff, The Review of Metaphysics


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The Perfect Wave
With Neutrinos at the Boundary of Space and Time
Heinrich Päs
Harvard University Press, 2014

Almost weightless and able to pass through the densest materials with ease, neutrinos seem to defy the laws of nature. But these mysterious particles may hold the key to our deepest questions about the universe, says physicist Heinrich Päs. In The Perfect Wave, Päs serves as our fluent, deeply knowledgeable guide to a particle world that tests the boundaries of space, time, and human knowledge.

The existence of the neutrino was first proposed in 1930, but decades passed before one was detected. Päs animates the philosophical and scientific developments that led to and have followed from this seminal discovery, ranging from familiar topics of relativity and quantum mechanics to more speculative theories about dark energy and supersymmetry. Many cutting-edge topics in neutrino research--conjectures about the origin of matter, extra-dimensional spacetime, and the possibility of time travel--remain unproven. But Päs describes the ambitious projects under way that may confirm them, including accelerator experiments at CERN and Fermilab, huge subterranean telescopes designed to detect high-energy neutrino radiation, and the Planck space observatory scheduled to investigate the role of neutrinos in cosmic evolution.

As Päs's history of the neutrino illustrates, what is now established fact often sounded wildly implausible and unnatural when first proposed. The radical side of physics is both an exciting and an essential part of scientific progress, and The Perfect Wave renders it accessible to the interested reader.


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Quantum Field Theory in Curved Spacetime and Black Hole Thermodynamics
Robert M. Wald
University of Chicago Press, 1994
In this book, Robert Wald provides a coherent, pedagogical introduction to the formulation of quantum field theory in curved spacetime. He begins with a treatment of the ordinary one-dimensional quantum harmonic oscillator, progresses through the construction of quantum field theory in flat spacetime to possible constructions of quantum field theory in curved spacetime, and, ultimately, to an algebraic formulation of the theory. In his presentation, Wald disentangles essential features of the theory from inessential ones (such as a particle interpretation) and clarifies relationships between various approaches to the formulation of the theory. He also provides a comprehensive, up-to-date account of the Unruh effect, the Hawking effect, and some of its ramifications. In particular, the subject of black hole thermodynamics, which remains an active area of research, is treated in depth.

This book will be accessible to students and researchers who have had introductory courses in general relativity and quantum field theory, and will be of interest to scientists in general relativity and related fields.

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Remapping Memory
The Politics of TimeSpace
Jonathan Boyarin, EditorAfterword by Charles Tilly
University of Minnesota Press, 1994

Remapping Memory was first published in 1994. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

The essays in this book focus on contested memories in relation to time and space. Within the context of several profound cultural and political conflicts in the contemporary world, the contributors analyze historical self-configurations of human groups, and the construction by these groups of the spaces they shape and that shape them. What emerges is a view of the state as a highly contingent artifact of groups vying for legitimacy-whether through their own sense of "insiderhood," their control of positions within hierarchies, or their control of geographical territories.

Boyarin's lead essay shows how the supposedly "objective" categories of space and time are, in fact, specific products of European modernity. Each case study, in turn, addresses the (re)constitution of space, time, and memory in relation to an event either of historical significance, like the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, or of cultural importance, like the Indian preoccupation with reincarnation. These ethnographic studies explore fundamental questions about the nature of memory, the limits of politics, and the complex links between them.

By focusing on personal and collective identity as the site where constructions of memory and dimensionality are tested, shaped, and effected, the authors offer a new way of understanding how the politics of space, time and memory are negotiated to bring people to terms with their history.

Contributors: Akhil Gupta, Stanford University;

Charles R. Hale, University of California, Davis; Carina Perelli, PEITHO, Montevideo, Uruguay; Jennifer Schirmer, Center for European Studies, Harvard; Daniel A. Segal, Pitzer College, Claremont, California; Lisa Yoneyama, University of California, San Diego.

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Selected Papers, Volume 6
The Mathematical Theory of Black Holes and of Colliding Plane Waves
S. Chandrasekhar
University of Chicago Press, 1991
This is the first of six volumes collecting significant papers of the distinguished astrophysicist and Nobel laureate S. Chandrasekhar. His work is notable for its breadth as well as for its brilliance; his practice has been to change his focus from time to time to pursue new areas of research. The result has been a prolific career full of discoveries and insights, some of which are only now being fully appreciated.

Chandrasekhar has selected papers that trace the development of his ideas and that present aspects of his work not fully covered in the books he has periodically published to summarize his research in each area.

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Space and the Production of Cultural Difference among the Akha Prior to Globalization
Channeling the Flow of Life
Deborah E. Tooker
Amsterdam University Press, 2012
Based on the author's extensive fieldwork among the Akha people prior to full nation-state integration, this illuminating study critically reexamines assumptions about space, power, and the politics of identity, so often based on modern, western contexts. Tooker explores the active role that spatial practices have played in maintaining cultural autonomy. The book expands current debates about power relations in the region from a mostly political and economic framework into the domains of ritual, cosmology, and indigenous meaning and social systems.

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Space, Place, and Gender
Doreen Massey
University of Minnesota Press, 1994
A leading feminist geographer puts forth new ways of thinking about space and place. In these days of global acceleration on the one hand and intensifying local nationalisms on the other, how should we be thinking about space and place? This new book brings together Doreen Massey's key writings on this debate. In it she argues that we have seen some problematical readings of both terms in recent years, and she proposes an alternative approach more adequate to the issues facing the social sciences today. Massey has organized these debates around the three themes of space, place, and gender. She traces the development of ideas about the social structure of space and place, and the relation of both to issues of gender and certain debates within feminism. Beginning with the economy and social structures of production, Massey develops a wider notion of spatiality as the product of intersecting social relations. On this basis she proposes an approach to "places" that is essentially open and hybrid while always provisional and contested. The themes intersect with much current thinking about identity within feminism and cultural studies. The chapters range from studies of the concepts of place employed in debates on uneven regional development and inner-city problems to arguments about the relationship between the conceptualization of space/place and the social construction of gender relations. "This book presents a collection of Massey's writings that have appeared over the last two decades. The volume is, however, more than a sum of its parts, in that Massey uses commentaries throughout the book to delineate an intellectual trajectory in Anglo geography that connects the concerns of economic geography with critiques and extensions by feminist and postcolonial writers. Massey builds a multifaceted argument of the richness of geographical analysis and its centrality for contemporary social theory debates." Professional Geographer "In a compilation of essays spanning over fifteen years, Space, Place and Gender, Doreen Massey explores the intricate and profound connection of space and place with gender and the construction of gender relations. Spaces and places are gendered, she argues, at once reflecting and affecting how gender is understood." Harvard Design Magazine Doreen Massey is professor of geography at the Open University in the United Kingdom. She is the author of five books, including Spatial Divisions of Labour (1984) and, with David Weild and Paul Quintas, High-Tech Fantasies (1991).

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Space, Time, and Gravity
The Theory of the Big Bang and Black Holes
Robert M. Wald
University of Chicago Press, 1992
Writing for the general reader or student, Wald has completely revised and updated this highly regarded work to include recent developments in black hole physics and cosmology. Nature called the first edition "a very readable and accurate account of modern relativity physics for the layman within the unavoidable constraint of almost no mathematics. . . . A well written, entertaining and authoritative book."

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Time and the Digital
Connecting Technology, Aesthetics, and a Process Philosophy of Time
Timothy Scott Barker
Dartmouth College Press, 2012
Eschewing the traditional focus on object/viewer spatial relationships, Timothy Scott Barker’s Time and the Digital stresses the role of the temporal in digital art and media. The connectivity of contemporary digital interfaces has not only expanded the relationships between once separate spaces but has increased the complexity of the temporal in nearly unimagined ways. Invoking the process philosophy of Whitehead and Deleuze, Barker strives for nothing less than a new philosophy of time in digital encounters, aesthetics, and interactivity. Of interest to scholars in the fields of art and media theory and philosophy of technology, as well as new media artists, this study contributes to an understanding of the new temporal experiences emergent in our interactions with digital technologies.

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Time Travel and Warp Drives
A Scientific Guide to Shortcuts through Time and Space
Allen Everett and Thomas Roman
University of Chicago Press, 2011

To see video demonstrations of key concepts from the book, please visit this website:

Sci-fi makes it look so easy. Receive a distress call from Alpha Centauri? No problem: punch the warp drive and you're there in minutes. Facing a catastrophe that can't be averted? Just pop back in the timestream and stop it before it starts. But for those of us not lucky enough to live in a science-fictional universe, are these ideas merely flights of fancy—or could it really be possible to travel through time or take shortcuts between stars?

Cutting-edge physics may not be able to answer those questions yet, but it does offer up some tantalizing possibilities. In Time Travel and Warp Drives, Allen Everett and Thomas A. Roman take readers on a clear, concise tour of our current understanding of the nature of time and space—and whether or not we might be able to bend them to our will. Using no math beyond high school algebra, the authors lay out an approachable explanation of Einstein's special relativity, then move through the fundamental differences between traveling forward and backward in time and the surprising theoretical connection between going back in time and traveling faster than the speed of light. They survey a variety of possible time machines and warp drives, including wormholes and warp bubbles, and, in a dizzyingly creative chapter, imagine the paradoxes that could plague a world where time travel was possible—killing your own grandfather is only one of them!

Written with a light touch and an irrepressible love of the fun of sci-fi scenarios—but firmly rooted in the most up-to-date science, Time Travel and Warp Drives will be a delightful discovery for any science buff or armchair chrononaut.


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Uncommon Sense
Understanding Nature's Truths Across Time and Culture
Anthony Aveni
University Press of Colorado, 2006
The divide between teaching “intelligent design” and evolution in U.S. schools has brought to the public eye a struggle that archaeoastronomer Anthony Aveni argues is as old as culture itself. All societies seek to understand the natural world, but their search is shaped by culturally distinct views and experiences. In Uncommon Sense, Aveni explores the common and conflicting ways that ancient and contemporary societies have searched for the literal truth about the natural world’s mysteries, from dinosaur bones to the Star of Bethlehem. Aveni demonstrates that a society’s approach to making sense of the natural world can serve as a working definition of its culture, so strongly does it resonate with fundamental values and assumptions.

In ten fascinating essays, Aveni examines topics that have absorbed scientists, religious figures, and ordinary citizens over the centuries. He traces the tug of war between astronomy and astrology, reveals the underpinnings of our notions of cartography and the representation of space and time, and much more.

Readers interested in science, history, and world cultures will revel in this celebration of different cultures’ common and uncommon questions and conclusions about the natural world.


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Violence and Splendor
Alphonso Lingis
Northwestern University Press, 2011
In subject and method, Alphonso Lingis’s work has always defied easy categorization, largely owing to the interplay of theory and praxis inherent in his research. Violence and Splendor is a series of reflections grouped into five areas of inquiry: “Spaces Within Spaces,” “Snares for the Eyes,” “The Sacred,” “Violence,” and “Splendor.” “Spaces Within Spaces” explores multiple spaces of our lives—the space of nomads, historical space, geological space, the cosmic space of religious ritual, and the metaphysical habitats of inmates of insane asylums. “Snares for the Eyes” analyzes the inner space of our bodies and the inner spaces of things.
“The Sacred” studies the ways death—the death of others and our own death—fascinates and energizes us. It exhibits the glory in violence and sacrilege. The book culminates in “Splendor,” a study of collective performances that create splendor. Concerning itself most immediately with philosophy, psychology, aesthetics, anthropology, and the theory of religion, Violence and Splendor bridges the discourses of continental philosophy and cross-cultural studies. Further drawing insights from both Western and non-Western traditions, it brings such diverse fields as psychology, art and aesthetics, botany, politics, history, zoology, and religious theory into a new and significant dialogue about the nature of humanity.

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Waiting for the Sky to Fall
The Age of Verticality in American Narrative
Ruth Mackay
The Ohio State University Press, 2016
Waiting for the Sky to Fall: The Age of Verticality in American Narrative by Ruth Mackay traces the figures of flight, grievous falls, and collapsing towers, all of which haunt American narratives before and after 9/11. Mackay examines how these events prefigure 9/11, exploring the narrative residue left by the “end” of horizontal space—when settlers reached America’s Pacific Coast, leaving nowhere westward on the continent to go. She then continues into the aftermath of the fall of the Twin Towers. This period of time marks an era of verticality: an age that offers a transformed concept of the limits of space, entwined with a sense of anxiety and trepidation.

With this study, Mackay asks: In what oblique ways has verticality leaked into American narrative? Why do metaphors of up and down recur across the twentieth century? With close readings of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Winsor McCay’s comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland, Upton Sinclair’s Oil! and its film rendering There Will Be Blood, Allen Ginsberg’s poetic dissections of the nuclear bomb, and Leslie Marmon Silko’s imagining of flight in Almanac of the Dead, this interdisciplinary study culminates with a discussion of Philippe Petit’s tightrope walk between the Twin Towers. Waiting for the Sky to Fall examines how vertical representation cleaves to, and often transforms the associations of, specific events that are physically and visually disorienting, disquieting, or even traumatic.

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