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Bestselling and award-winning science fiction authors talk about their new books and much more in candid conversations with host Rob Wolf. Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/science-fiction
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In Prophets and Prophecy in the Late Antique Near East (Cambridge UP, 2023), Jae Han investigates how various Late Antique Near Eastern communities—Jews, Christians, Manichaeans, and philosophers—discussed prophets and revelation, among themselves and against each other. Bringing an interdisciplinary, historical approach to the topic, he interrogat…
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“We’re not monsters, Mom. We’re goddesses—smart, fearless, and beautiful.” That’s the voice of Ava, the superpowered protagonist of Katherine Marsh’s captivating novel for children, Medusa (Clarion Books, 2024). Our discussion focuses on Marsh’s feminist retelling of the Medusa myth—and on the wider topic of the direction of children’s literature a…
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State-Building as Lawfare: Custom, Sharia, and State Law in Postwar Chechnya (Cambridge University Press, 2023) by Dr. Egor Lazarev explores the use of state and non-state legal systems by both politicians and ordinary people in postwar Chechnya. The book addresses two interrelated puzzles: why do local rulers tolerate and even promote non-state le…
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In 1971, the first lunar rover arrived on the moon. The design became an icon of American ingenuity and the adventurous spirit and vision many equated with the space race. Fifty years later, that vision feels like a nostalgic fantasy, but the lunar rover's legacy paved the way for Mars rovers like Sojourner, Curiosity, and Perseverance. Other rover…
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The Simple Art of Rice: Recipes from Around the World for the Heart of Your Table (Flatiron Books, 2023) is a cookbook celebrating the versatility of this grain. Its recipes are rooted in many cultures from around the globe, including Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Award-winning author Chef JJ Johnson, along with Danica Novgorodoff, produc…
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Cultural Approaches to Studying Religion: An Introduction to Theories and Method (Bloomsbury, 2023) examines the analytic tools of scholars in religious studies, as well as in related disciplines that have shaped the field including cultural approaches from anthropology, history, literature, and critical studies in race, sexuality, and gender. Each…
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In her new book, When Left Moves Right: The Decline of the Left and the Rise of the Populist Right in Postcommunist Europe (Oxford University Press, 2024), Maria Snegovaya argues that, contrary to the view that emphasizes the sociocultural aspects (xenophobia, anti-immigrant sentiment, etc.) of the rise of the populist right, especially in postcomm…
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How did Psalm 110:1 become so widely used as a messianic prooftext in the New Testament and early Christianity? Part of the explanation may be related to the first century’s Greco-Roman political and religious context. Tune in as we speak with Clint Burnett about his recent book Christ’s Enthronement at God’s Right Hand and its Greco-Roman Cultural…
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The Comic Book as Research Tool contributes to a growing body of work celebrating the visual methods and tools that aid knowledge transfer and welcome new audiences to social science research. Visual research methodological milestones highlight a trajectory towards the adoption of more creative and artistic media. As such, the book is dedicated to …
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This book analyses the way that changes in the comics industry, book trade and webcomics distribution have shaped the publication of long-form comics. The US Graphic Novel (Edinburgh UP, 2022) pays particular attention to how the concept of the graphic novel developed through the twentieth century. Art historians, journalists, and reviewers debated…
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What does living “precariously” mean in Casablanca? In 2014 it meant being labeled tcharmil (seeming to endanger public order) and swept up by the police, if you were an unemployed young man sporting a banda haircut and gathering with your mates on a street corner. Cristiana Strava witnessed this and other neglected aspects of urban vulnerability w…
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In this deep and incisive study, General David Petraeus, who commanded the US-led coalitions in both Iraq, during the Surge, and Afghanistan and former CIA director, and the prize-winning historian Andrew Roberts, explore over 70 years of conflict, drawing significant lessons and insights from their fresh analysis of the past. Drawing on their diff…
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Archival Film Curatorship: Early and Silent Cinema from Analog to Digital (Amsterdam UP, 2023) is the first book-length study that investigates film archives at the intersection of institutional histories, early and silent film historiography, and archival curatorship. It examines three institutions at the forefront of experimentation with film exh…
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The Irish and the Jews are two of the classic outliers of modern Europe. Both struggled with their lack of formal political sovereignty in the nineteenth-century. Simultaneously European and not European, both endured a bifurcated status, perceived as racially inferior and yet also seen as a natural part of the European landscape. Both sought to de…
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What does the Miss Tibet beauty pageant tell us about what it means to be Tibetan in a globalized world? And what understandings of Tibetan culture does it convey? In this episode, Kenneth Bo Nielsen talks to Pema Choedon about representations of Tibet and Tibetan culture on the global stage from the vantage point of the Miss Tibet beauty pageant. …
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Dani Rodrik (Harvard Kennedy School Economics Professor) joins the podcast to discuss his career, the best case for industrial policy, the labor market effects of globalization, and his vision of an ideal economic policy paradigm. Rodrik is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Gover…
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Today’s book is: 100 Years of Radio in South Africa, Volume 1: South African Radio Stations and Broadcasters Then & Now (Palgrave MacMillan, 2023), edited by Dr. Sisanda Nkoala (with Gilbert Motsaathebe). The book focuses on South African radio stations and broadcasters in the past and present. It brings together media scholars and practitioners to…
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The Middle East remains one of the world’s most complicated, thorny—and, uncharitably, unstable—parts of the world, as countless headlines make clear. Internal strife, regional competition and external interventions have been the region’s history for the past several decades. Robert Kaplan—author, foreign policy thinker, longtime writer on internat…
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In The Virus Touch: Theorizing Epidemic Media (Duke UP. 2023), Bishnupriya Ghosh argues that media are central to understanding emergent relations between viruses, humans, and nonhuman life. Writing in the shadow of the HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 global pandemics, Ghosh theorizes "epidemic media" to show how epidemics are mediated in images, numbers, an…
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A stevedore on the San Francisco docks in the 1940s, who eventually taught at the University of California at Berkeley, Eric Hoffer wrote philosophical treatises in his spare time while living in the railroad yards. The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements—the first and most famous of his books—was made into a bestseller when Pre…
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"What's life for if there's no time to play and explore?" In The Weirdness of the World (Princeton UP, 2024), Eric Schwitzgebel invites the reader to a walk on the wilder side of philosophical speculation about the cosmos and consciousness. Is consciousness entirely a material phenomenon? How much credence should we have in the existence of a world…
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Advancing Medical Posthumanism Through Twenty-First Century American Poetry (Palgrave MacMillan, 2024) places contemporary poetics in dialogue with posthumanism and biomedicine in order to create a framework for advancing a posthuman-affirmative ethics within the culture of medical practice. This book makes a case for a posthumanist understanding o…
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Enlightenment philosopher David Hume enjoyed a tremendous influence on intellectual history. What did Hume believe, why was it so controversial at the time, and why to many does it seem so common-sensical now? What can Humian thought explain, and where does it fall short? To discuss, Aaron Zubia, Assistant Professor at the University of Florida's H…
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The concept of the puruṣa, or person, is implicated in a wide range of ancient texts throughout the Indian subcontinent. In Puruṣa: Personhood in Ancient India, published in 2024 by Oxford University Press, Matthew I. Robertson traces the development of this concept from 1500 BCE to 400 CE: in the Ṛg Veda, the Brāhmaṇas, the Upaniṣads, Buddhist Pāl…
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When Sharde M. Davis turned to social media during the summer of racial reckoning in 2020, she meant only to share how racism against Black people affects her personally. But her hashtag, BlackintheIvory, went viral, fostering a flood of Black scholars sharing similar stories. Soon the posts were being quoted during summer institutes and workshops …
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China’s communist revolution has an intricate relationship with gender and religion. In Enchanted Revolution: Ghosts, Shamans, and Gender Politics in Chinese Communist Propaganda, 1942-1953 (Oxford UP, 2023), Xiaofei Kang moves the two themes to the center stage in the Chinese Revolution. It examines the Communist Party’s first anti-superstition ca…
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Between 1348 and 1350, Jews throughout Europe were accused of having caused the spread of the Black Death by poisoning the wells from which the entire population drank. Hundreds if not thousands were executed from Aragon and southern France into the eastern regions of the German-speaking lands. But if the well-poisoning accusations against the Jews…
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When I decided to try my hand at interviewing authors for the New Books Network, one of my dream guests was Steve Mentz. Steve’s work in the environmental humanities marries a rigorous archival work, pathbreaking close readings, and a fluent and innovative approach to scholarly writing. I think he’s charted a course for early modern ecocriticism th…
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Although we often think of friendship today as an indisputable value of human social life, for thinkers and writers across late mediaeval Christian society friendship raised a number of social and ethical dilemmas that needed to be carefully negotiated. On Amistà: Negotiating Friendship in Dante’s Italy (University of Toronto Press, 2023) analyses …
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In this episode of High Theory, Mackenzie Cooley talks about animals. The animal lies at the center of science and the human, from imperial conquest and Enlightenment thought to the creatures on our dinner plates and beside us at the table. The practices of animal breeding and the politics of making life are, in Mackenzie’s account, key to understa…
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In his new story collection Convergence Problems (DAW Books, 2024), Wole Talabi investigates the rapidly changing role of technology and belief in our lives as we search for meaning, for knowledge, for justice; constantly converging on our future selves. In “An Arc of Electric Skin,” a roadside mechanic seeking justice volunteers to undergo a proce…
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