904 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Intellectual History about their New Books

New Books in Intellectual History New Books Network

    • Society & Culture

Interviews with Scholars of Intellectual History about their New Books

    Kaius Tuori, "Empire of Law: Nazi Germany, Exile Scholars and the Battle for the Future of Europe" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    Kaius Tuori, "Empire of Law: Nazi Germany, Exile Scholars and the Battle for the Future of Europe" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    In his new book Empire of Law: Nazi Germany, Exile Scholars, and the Battle for the Future of Europe (Cambridge UP, 2020), Kaius Tuori examines the inherent unity of European legal traditions that extend to ancient Rome. This book explores the invention of this tradition, tracing it to a group of legal scholars divided by the onslaught of Nazi terror and totalitarianism in Europe. As exiles in Britain and the US, its formulators worked to build bridges between the Continental and the Atlantic legal traditions, incorporating ideas such as rule of law, liberty, and equality to the European heritage. Others joined the Nazi revolution, which promoted its own idea of European unity. At the end of World War Two, natural law and human rights were incorporated into the European project. The resulting narrative of Europe, one that outlined human rights, rule of law, and equality, became consequently a unifying factor during the Cold War as the self-definition against the challenge of communism.
    Kaius Tuori is Professor of European Intellectual History at the Centre for European Studies at the University of Helsinki. 
    Craig Sorvillo is a PhD candidate in modern European history at the University of Florida. He specializes in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. He can be reached at craig.sorvillo@gmail.com or on Twitter @craig_sorvillo.
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    • 51 min
    Ithamar Theodor, "The Bhagavad-Gītā: A Critical Introduction" (Routledge, 2020)

    Ithamar Theodor, "The Bhagavad-Gītā: A Critical Introduction" (Routledge, 2020)

    Ithamar Theodor's The Bhagavad-Gītā: A Critical Introduction (Routledge, 2020) is a systematic and comprehensive introduction to one of the most read texts in South Asia. The Bhagavad-gītā is at its core a religious text, a philosophical treatise and a literary work, which has occupied an authoritative position within Hinduism for the last millennium. This book brings together themes central to the study of the Gita, as it is popularly known -- such as the Bhagavad-gītā's structure, the history of its exegesis, its acceptance by different traditions within Hinduism, and its national and global relevance. It highlights the richness of the Gita's interpretations, examines its great interpretive flexibility and at the same time offers a conceptual structure based upon a traditional commentarial tradition. With contributions from major scholars across the world, this book will be indispensable for scholars and researchers of religious studies, especially Hinduism, Indian philosophy, Asian philosophy, Indian history, literature and South Asian studies. It will also be of great interest to the general reader.
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    • 54 min
    Frederick Crews, "Freud: The Making of an Illusion" (Picador, 2018)

    Frederick Crews, "Freud: The Making of an Illusion" (Picador, 2018)

    The figure of Sigmund Freud has captivated the Western imagination like few others. One hundred and twenty-five years after the publication of Studies on Hysteria, the good doctor from Vienna continues to stir controversy in institutions, academic circles, and nuclear households across the world. 
    Perhaps Freud’s sharpest and most adamant critic, Frederick Crews has been debating Freud’s legacy for over thirty years. His latest work, Freud: The Making of an Illusion (Picador, 2018) challenges us with an extensive psychological profile of the legend here revealed as scam artist. What some analysts might argue to be a 750 page character assassination, Crews maintains is simply a recitation of facts which leaves readers to draw their own conclusions. One might wonder if the story of facts that is conveyed is not itself a counter myth.
    Was Freud a megalomaniacal, greedy, cocaine-addled opportunist and psychoanalysis a pseudoscience that has reigned tyrannically over twentieth century thought? Making use of Freud’s extensive letters to Martha Bernays, Crews paints a “damning portrait” (Esquire) of a money hungry, adulterous, and uncaring man. 
    How can this portrait be reconciled with the radically meaningful and deeply transformative process many of us know psychoanalysis to be? Is the tyranny of rationality preferable to the tyranny of myth? Does the unmaking of the myth of the man undo the gift of his work?
    In this interview Crews responds to questions of what it means to have an empirical attitude, how we should “test” the process of healing, what’s so tempting about Freud, and what should become of psychoanalysis today. Meticulously researched, the Crews of the Freud wars is back again, and he’s going in for the kill shot.

    Cassandra B. Seltman is a writer, psychoanalyst, and researcher in NYC. cassandraseltman@gmail.com
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    • 58 min
    S. Burrows and G. Roe, "Digitizing Enlightenment: Digital Humanities and the Transformation of 18th-Century Studies" (Liverpool UP, 2020)

    S. Burrows and G. Roe, "Digitizing Enlightenment: Digital Humanities and the Transformation of 18th-Century Studies" (Liverpool UP, 2020)

    Digitizing Enlightenment: Digital Humanities and the Transformation of 18th-Century Studies (Liverpool UP, 2020) explores how a set of inter-related digital projects are transforming our vision of the Enlightenment. The featured projects are some of the best known, well-funded and longest established research initiatives in the emerging area of ‘digital humanities’, a field that has, particularly since 2010, been attracting a rising tide of interest from professional academics, the media, funding councils, and the general public worldwide. Advocates and practitioners of the digital humanities argue that computational methods can fundamentally transform our ability to answer some of the ‘big questions’ that drive humanities research, allowing us to see patterns and relationships that were hitherto hard to discern, and to pinpoint, visualise, and analyse relevant data in efficient and powerful new ways.
    In the book’s opening section, leading scholars outline their own projects’ institutional and intellectual histories, the techniques and methodologies they specifically developed, the sometimes-painful lessons learned in the process, future trajectories for their research, and how their findings are revising previous understandings. A second section features chapters from early career scholars working at the intersection of digital methods and Enlightenment studies, an intellectual space largely forged by the projects featured in part one.
    Highlighting current and future research methods and directions for digital eighteenth-century studies, the book offers a monument to the current state of digital work, an overview of current findings, and a vision statement for future research.
    Simon Burrows is a Professor of History and Digital Humanities at Western Sydney University, Australia, where he is Leader of the Digital Humanities Research Group.
    Glenn Roe is Professor of French Literature and Digital Humanities in the Faculty of Letters at Sorbonne University, where he teaches into the UFR of French and Comparative Literature and is attached to the Centre d’étude de la langue et des littératures françaises (CELLF UMR 8599) and the LabEx OBVIL.
    Dr Alexandra Ortolja-Baird is a visiting researcher at the British Museum and teaches Digital Humanities at University College London.
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    • 1 hr 21 min
    Soraya de Chadarevian, "Heredity Under the Microscope: Chromosomes and the Study of the Human Genome" (U Chicago Press, 2020)

    Soraya de Chadarevian, "Heredity Under the Microscope: Chromosomes and the Study of the Human Genome" (U Chicago Press, 2020)

    “What are chromosomes? And what does it mean to treat them as visual objects?” asks Soraya de Chadarevian in her new book, Heredity Under the Microscope: Chromosomes and the Study of the Human Genome (University of Chicago Press, 2020). Considering this question as she follows the history of microscope-based practices in chromosomal research across a variety of contexts—from the medical clinic to the study of human variation—de Chadarevian offers readers a new history of postwar human genetics. This approach enables her to argue that cytogenetics was far from just “old fashioned biology that was eventually superseded by molecular approaches” and to show the continuities and interdependencies between different methods for studying our DNA.
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    • 52 min
    Jim Mason, "An Unnatural Order: The Roots of Our Destruction of Nature" (Latern Books, 2002)

    Jim Mason, "An Unnatural Order: The Roots of Our Destruction of Nature" (Latern Books, 2002)

    First published by Simon & Schuster in 1993 and then by Continuum in 1998, Jim Mason’s An Unnatural Order: The Roots of Our Destruction of Nature has become a classic. With a new Lantern edition expected in early 2021, the book explores, from an anthropological, sociocultural, and holistic perspective, how and why we have cut ourselves off from other animals and the natural world, and the toll this has taken on our consciousness, our ability to steward nature wisely, and the will to control our own tendencies.
    Jim Mason writes: “My own view is that the primal worldview, updated by a scientific understanding of the living world, offers the best hope for a human spirituality. Life on earth is the miracle, the sacred. The dynamic living world is the creator, the First Being, the sustainer, and the final resting place for all living beings—humans included. We humans evolved with other living beings; their lives informed our lives. They provided models for our existence; they shaped our minds and culture. With dominionism out of the way, we could enjoy a deep sense of kinship with the other animals, which would give us a deep sense of belonging to our living world.
    “Then, once again, we could feel for this world. We could feel included in the awesome family of living beings. We could feel our continuum with the living world. We could, once again, feel a genuine sense of the sacred in the world.”
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    • 1 hr 27 min

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