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Archive for December, 2013

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Interview with Nancy Warner, Coauthor of “This Place, These People”

Nancy Warner, This Place, These People

The following is an interview with Nancy Warner whose photographs accompany text by David Stark in This Place, These People: Life and Shadow on the Great Plains. To view photographs and excerpts from the book click here, here, and here.

Question: What is your own personal relationship to rural Nebraska? How did this shape the project and your choices as a photographer?

Nancy Warner: Coauthor David Stark is my cousin. Our great-grandfather, August Stark, filed a claim under the Homestead Act in Elkhorn Township, Cuming County Nebraska in 1865. Part of that farm is still in our family. I made the first photographs in this series in the old house on the Stark farm place. After that, relatives and people in the area helped me find other places to photograph. The combination of my own emotional connection with such places, dramatic lighting, and richly textured surfaces inspired me from the beginning.

Q: The images and words in the book do not have a direct relationship in the sense that the photos do not necessarily illustrate the words and the words do not explain the photographs. How did you and David conceive of the words and images as working together in the book?

NW: David and I paired the photographs with the text based on the voices themselves: the sounds, rhythms, and emotions that seemed best to set off the feeling of each photograph. We were inspired, in part, by the photo texts of Wright Morris.

Q: Was there a particular rationale for not including photographs of the people who contributed their thoughts about life in rural Nebraska?

NW: The focus of this photographic project has been the buildings themselves. The people are present in their voices, and in the stories told by the photographs. As Wright Morris says in The Inhabitants, “In all my life I’ve never seen anything so crowded,so full of something, as the rooms of a vacant house.”

Q: You cite the photographs of Solomon Butcher and Wright Morris as inspiring your photographs. To what extent do you see these photographs as part of a longer tradition of depicting rural America?

NW: The photographers mentioned in the afterword are only a few of the many who have recorded life on the Great Plains since the middle of the nineteenth century. Solomon Butcher stands out for me in part because, as David says in the afterword, “While Solomon Butcher’s photographs portray objects in familial surroundings, Nancy Warner’s photographs portray objects in abandonment. Almost 150 years after Butcher persuaded the homesteaders to pose outdoors with their possessions, Nancy goes into the decaying buildings to photograph what’s left behind.” Many of Wright Morris’s photographs also feature interiors and the objects they contain.

Q: Many of the photographs capture images of decay and desolation but to what extent do you see the photographs as preserving or providing a documentation of a way of life that is fading?

NW: David’s afterword describes the settlement of the area and changes in farming practices that led to the abandonment of the farm houses. Farming is still very much alive in Cuming County today, but there are fewer small family farms. One way of life is fading, but the farming way of life continues to evolve. The emotions evoked by the photographs help to keep these places and a simpler time alive in the memories of readers.

Q: What has been the reaction of the photographs and the book among people in rural Nebraska?

NW: The book has been well-received in Nebraska. Since the book has come out and articles about it have been published, I’ve heard from many Midwesterners who’ve thanked me for doing it and told me stories about their own home places. The people in Cuming county are proud to have been part of the different stages of the project, and consider the book their own.

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

David Stark on Farming in the Great Plains from “This Place, These People”

In the following passages, which are accompanied by the photographs of Nancy Warner, David Stark from This Place, These People: Life and Shadow on the Great Plains look more closely at the changing practices of farming and their impact on the Great Plains:

David Stark, Nancy Warner, This Place, These People

To the city dweller, there’s something curious in the language of Great Plains farm­ers: they almost never refer to farms. instead, they refer to places: “the stark place,” “the Ott place,” or “the old Feyerherm place.” A place is a farm; but it is more than that, for it is inhabited. It has fields, but it also has buildings, barns, a house, corncribs, farm animals, dogs, and people. crops are grown and animals are raised on farms. But a farm place is more than a setting for agricultural activity. Curtains are mended, windows are re­paired, kids are diapered, and families are raised. That’s what it means to be a place.

David Stark, Nancy Warner, This Place, These People

In the sixty years since mid-century, that pattern has changed. The next time you fly over the plains, look down, and you will see fewer than two farm places per square mile. on many sections you will see only one, and on some sections you will see none at all. The farm places—those clumps of buildings, driveways, and trees—are disappearing. It’s not that agriculture is in decline. in fact, more and more of the land is being farmed. But less and less of it is on places.

David Stark, Nancy Warner, This Place, These People

Drive down a typical Nebraska country road and you may see coming over the low rise of a gently rolling hill a 32-row planter, crawling across the landscape like a giant mechanized insect. or turn to the other side. There’s a chemical sprayer, trailing dust while racing at breakneck speed, its arms extended like the wings of some dragonfly ready for flight.

In the not so distant past, seed corn was dis­persed by a 4-row planter. Today, a 12-row or 18-row planter is on the smaller side—for there are 24-row, 32-row, and 36-row planters. in one pass, the even more gargantuan 48-row planter can cover 120 feet—more than a third the length of a football field.

These high-tech planters have onboard comput­ers with GPS guidance systems. an equipment operator will manually guide a planter around the perimeter of a field. When the planter reaches the starting point, as one of my cousins explained, “The computer beeps, you flip a switch, take your hands off the steering wheel, and it runs itself.” a planter on autopilot can plant seeds on the “a to B straight line” with remarkable precision. With a tolerance of only an inch or so, there are no gaps or overlaps between one passage of the field and the next. Because no further guidance is needed, the equipment operator can use the onboard computer to check on market prices, look for options on grain futures, buy shares of meat-packing firms (as a hedge on falling cattle prices), or just surf the web and play video games.

(more…)

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

VIDEO: Frederic Wehrey on “Sectarian Politics in the Gulf”

In the following video, Frederic Wehrey discusses his new book Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprisings.

Wehrey argues that sectarianism in the region has largely been the product of the institutional weaknesses of Gulf states, leading to excessive alarm by entrenched Sunni elites and calculated attempts by regimes to discredit Shiʿa political actors.

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Aloys Store and Transfer — More Images from “This Place, These People”

Continuing our feature on This Place, These People: Life and Shadow on the Great Plains, photographs by Nancy Warner, text by David Stark, here are some images from Aloys Store and Transfer in Aloys, Nebraska. (Click here for more images and voices from the book) Also, from the book here is a description of its fate:

After a while, we saw that the money was in
running trucks. We kept the bar open.
It was fun, but you can’t live on that. Finally
we stopped pumping gas. Now we have twelve
trailers hauling cattle.

We tore down the old buildings last year in July.
We put up everything on Craigslist. Folks from
Omaha got some of the stuff.

When we tore up the foundations, we found
old car parts, crankshafts, beer bottles, any kind
of old metal thrown into the concrete.

We don’t use it, but we kept the truck scale.
That’s a perfectly straight piece of concrete.
No point in destroying that.

—Bruce

David Stark, This Place, These People

David Stark, This Place, These People

David Stark, This Place, These People

David Stark, This Place, These People

David Stark, This Place, These People

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Katerina Kolozova on the Real in Contemporary Philosophy

Cut of the Real, Katerina KolozovaWith Cut of the Real: Subjectivity in Poststructuralist Philosophy, by Katerina Kolozova, now available, we are reposting her essay on the idea of the real in contemporary philosophy:

What Baudrillard called the perfect crime has become the malaise of the global(ized) intellectual of the beginning of the 21st century. The “perfect crime” in question is the murder of the real, carried out in such way as to create the conviction it never existed and that the traces of its erased existence were mere symptom of its implacable originary absence. The era of postmodernism has been one of oversaturation with signification as a reality in its own right and also as the only possible reality. In 1995, with the publication of The Perfect Crime, Baudrillard declared full realization of the danger he warned against as early as in 1976 in his book The Symbolic Exchange and Death. The latter book centered on the plea to affirm reality in its form of negativity, i.e., as death and the trauma of interrupted life. And he did not write of some static idea of the “Negative,” of “the constitutive lack” or “absence” as conceived by postmodernism and epistemological poststructuralism. The fact that, within the poststructuralist theoretical tradition, the real has been treated as the “inaccessible” and “the unthinkable” has caused “freezing” of the category (of the real) as immutable, univocal and bracketed out of discursiveness as an unspoken axiom.

(more…)

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Words and Images from “This Place, These People”

The following are photographs by Nancy Warner from This Place, These People: Life and Shadow on the Great Plains. Warner’s photographs are juxtaposed with the voices of Nebraska farm people, recorded by sociologist David Stark:

David Stark, Nancy Warner, This Place, These People

We wrapped a chain around that house
and hitched it to a tractor, but we couldn’t
bring it down.

We’d pulled off the boards about waist high
and cut notches on all these beams
here and here and here, wrapped the chain
all around it at the notches.

The tractor died, the house didn’t.

That tractor groaned and wheezed, but it died
and we couldn’t get it started again. It was
a tough old tractor, but an even tougher house.

That was about five years ago. There’ve been
wind storms you would think would’ve done it,
but nothin’s bringing that house down.

It’s still there.

— Les

We had chairs lined up across the way—
not too close, we didn’t want anybody
to get hurt. I don’t know how many chairs,
but it must have been a bunch because
all kinds of people were here.
I can’t think now who was all here.
I know the neighbors came over
for the big show. Nothing happened.

—Ferny

David Stark, Nancy Warner, This Place, These People

I’m proud to be a farm girl.
I’m proud to have been raised on a farm.
Some people don’t think highly of that.
There’s a pretty strong negative reaction.
It’s a dismissive attitude, that’s what I’d say.
It’s not hidden, you can feel it.

I work in the capital.

This county, Cuming County, is the number
one corn-producing county in the whole world.
Or maybe it’s not exactly number one, but it
must be pretty high.

Where are you from? I go, I was raised
on a farm. They go, Ohhhh, long like that,
and then silence.

It’s not all negative. The nice way to put it
would be indifference. I can understand it.
It’s far from their experience and they just
can’t relate to it.

—Katie

(more…)

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

New Book Tuesday: Cut of the Real, Beyond Sinology, The Devil’s Advocates, and More New Titles

The following books are now available:

Cut of the Real, Katerina KolozovaCut of the Real: Subjectivity in Poststructuralist Philosophy
Katerina Kolozova

Beyond Sinology: Chinese Writing and the Scripts of Culture
Andrea Bachner

Text to Tradition: The Naisadhīyacarita and Literary Community in South Asia
Deven M. Patel

Carrie
Neil Mitchell

The Thing
Jez Conolly

The Lovelorn Ghost and the Magical Monk: Practicing Buddhism in Modern Thailand (Now available in paper)
Justin Thomas McDaniel

Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History (Now available in paper)
Andrew J. Nicholson

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Book Giveaway: This Place, These People: Life and Shadow on the Great Plains

“This marvelous book offers us a glimpse of the ghost of the Great Plains as it makes a last appearance. We ought to be immensely grateful to David Stark and Nancy Warner for inviting us to their deeply moving séance.” — Ted Kooser, former U.S. Poet Laureate

This Place, These People: Life and Shadow on the Great Plains, David Stark, Photographs by Nancy Warner

This week we will be featuring This Place, These People: Life and Shadow on the Great Plains, by David Stark, with photographs by Nancy Warner, on our blog, twitter, and facebook.

We are also offering a FREE copy of This Place, These People: Life and Shadow on the Great Plains to a lucky winner.

To enter our Book Giveaway, simply e-mail pl2164@columbia.edu with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select one winner on Friday, December 20 at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word!

You can also read an excerpt and view photographs from This Place, These People: Life and Shadow on the Great Plains

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Gary Francione on the Animal Abolition Movement

Gary Francione, author of Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation was recently interviewed on Russia Today to discuss the animal abolition movement.

In the interview argues that even though animals do not have the same cognitive abilities of humans, they are sentient and our treatment of animals, used for food or clothing, is not moral. He also challenges the notion that it is okay to eat animals or wear them if they’re treated humanely before they’re killed.

Friday, December 13th, 2013

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

With the second installment to Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy opening this weekend, Oxford University Press author Brian Attebery reflects on the appeal of Tolkien’s fiction, both in terms of its insight into our selves as hobbits–”small, ridiculous, incomplete, and interconnected”–and also its naturalistic meditative qualities that, despite being rooted in a fantastic world, help us to better understand and appreciate our own.

In what ways will technology continue to reshape our familiar, longstanding institutions? The Canada Post announced this week that it will be halting door-to-door delivery in urban homes within the next five years. To some, this news may seem utterly expected, and to others, a jarring indicator of the systemic changes we might expect as the digital revolution marches forward. McGill-Queen’s University Press author Robert M. Campbell briefly delineates the history and cultural importance of Canada Post, one of the country’s first federal departments, in an excerpt from his book, The Politics of Postal Transformation.

Mandela was not a Hallmark card,” asserts From the Square. But despite the complexity of Mandela’s character, politics, and history, individuals around the world may perhaps feel inclined to sentimentalize the gravity of his remarkable struggles and accomplishments. NYU Press author Alan Wieder examines Mandela not only as a politician and humanitarian, but also as a revolutionary whose message was not always “peace and love.”

Beacon Broadside offers up a similar sentiment with author Jeanne Theoharis, who compares the legacies of Rosa Park and Nelson Mandela. And her book, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, “sought to…rescue Rosa Parks from the narrow pedestal she exists upon.” Such sentimentalization, as some worry might become the case with Mandela, “paradoxically diminished the scope and importance of her political work and functions, across the political spectrum, to make us feel good about ourselves as a nation. It misses the lifelong activist who worked against injustice in both the North and South and paid a heavy price for her political work but kept struggling to address contemporary racial and social inequalities until her death in 2005.”

Cambridge University Press, which publishes The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, has collected and posted on fifteeneightyfour a few pithy excerpts from Hemingway’s correspondences that they hope will both inspire and inform us on “how to make it in the publishing industry.” Thanks, fifteeneightyfour! One choice snippet includes:

“You have to keep absolutely on a printers tail–not just in general–because a general publication date means nothing to them.”

“Is online porn really at the center of modern life? And what effect does this have on real sexual relations?” Margaret Grebowicz, Stanford University Press author of Why Porn Matters and Columbia University Press author of Beyond the Cyborg, explores just this question, explaining: “Just as Google Maps changes the way human inhabit space, internet porn changes the way they inhabit sex.” She argues that, by occupying the same space as our social media accounts, photo albums, and other equally innocuous and personal digital artifacts, Internet porn becomes “just another vehicle for ‘honest’ sexual expression for and by the masses.”

Thanks again for reading this week’s roundup! Have a great weekend, and leave any thoughts in the comments!

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Excerpt from Natsume Soseki’s Light and Dark, Part II

Light and Dark

This week our featured book is Light and Dark: A Novel by Natsume Sōseki, translated with an introduction by John Nathan. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book, its author, and its translator on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. Today, we have an excerpt of short chapters ten through fifteen of Light and Dark. Read chapters one through nine here.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Light and Dark!

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks Shortlisted for a Best Business Book of 2013!

Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks, August TurakInterest and excitement for August Turak’s Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning and Authenticity continues to grow.

The book was recently shortlisted by 800-CEO-READ as one of the best business books of 2013 for the management category. As explained in the nomination, “the book’s message is clear and as business-centric as they come: you don’t need to be focused on money to make money, but instead be clear about your purpose.”

Turak was also recently interviewed for the podcast Entrepreneur of Fire , in which he discussed the factors that led him to be a successful entrepreneur.

Finally, in a recent post for the Huffington Post, Turak Tprovided a list of 9 principles of building an authentic business. These principles, developed with his partners, emphasized that success could also come with service and selflessness. The following is an excerpt from that list:

Our first principle was setting a company culture where personal growth, honesty, integrity, and selflessly putting people first were more important than making money.

Our second principle was high expectations. Starting a business based on higher values didn’t mean setting low bars and rationalizing away failure as just one of the inevitable costs of trying to do authentic business in a profane world. Instead, if we were truly in business for a higher purpose, our goals should be higher than the goals of those who were simply in it for the money. For example, we decided to begin work each morning at seven-thirty in order to get a jump start on those heathens better known as the competition. We maintained that start time for the next seven years.

Our third principle was compassion. This didn’t mean that we would never fire anyone. It meant that we would do everything we could to help everyone get over the bar — without lowering the bar. While more would be expected of some than of others, all would be expected to carry his or her own weight….

(more…)

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Natsume Soseki: The Merits and Flaws of -isms

Light and Dark

This week our featured book is Light and Dark: A Novel by Natsume Sōseki, translated with an introduction by John Nathan. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book, its author, and its translator on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. Today, we have an excerpt from our earlier Sōseki publication, the nonfiction collection The Theory of Literature. In this essay, Sōseki addresses the use of “-isms” in literature and literary theory.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Light and Dark!

The Merits and Flaws of -isms
Natsume Sōseki

This brief essay, first published in the Asahi newspaper on July 23, 1910, constitutes one of Sōseki’s most direct responses to the literary theories of the Naturalist (shizenshugi) school of fiction, which held sway in Japanese literary circles at the time. While Naturalists advocated a confessional literature that sought to represent even the ugliest truths about human existence, Sōseki here advocates a more fluid view of literary value.

Generally what we call -isms or doctrines refer to something that a man of meticulous character has conjured up by sorting through an infinite number of facts, thereby making it easier for us to abstract them and store them neatly in the drawers of our minds. Because they are tightly bound and nicely tucked away, it is rather tedious to take them apart and tiresome to pull them out; as such, they often prove useless when needed. In this respect, most -isms are unlike the compass chariots that provide direct guidance in our daily lives and instead are mere filing cabinets created to satisfy our intellectual curiosity. They are not so much a composition as an index to one.

Simultaneously, many -isms take shape when a number of arbitrary yet similar examples are filtered through a relatively sophisticated mind and are further condensed by it. It isn’t exactly a form but more like the contours of one. It has no substance. We preserve only the contours of things and discard their substance for the same reason we carry paper money instead of coins—it is convenient for small human beings. (more…)

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

John Nathan’s Introduction to Light and Dark

Light and Dark

This week our featured book is Light and Dark: A Novel by Natsume Sōseki, translated with an introduction by John Nathan. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book, its author, and its translator on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. John Nathan is an internationally renowned translator and schoalar who has brought the novels of Yukio Mishima and Kenzaburo Oe to English-speaking audiences. Today, we provide his Introduction to Light and Dark, in which he puts the novel into historical and literary context.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Light and Dark!

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Mamadou Diouf on Nelson Mandela

Columbia News recently posted remarks from Lee Bollinger and others from the Columbia community about Nelson Mandela. In the video below Professor Mamadou Diouf, director of Columbia’s Institute for African Studies and the editor of Tolerance, Democracy, and Sufis in Senegal, discusses the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.

Diouf believes the way in which Mandela left power may be his most important legacy. “This man decided to do one term and leave. And this is a revolution in Africa,” says Diouf. “He could have stayed until his death because he was already the myth.”

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Excerpt from Natsume Sōseki’s Light and Dark

Light and Dark

This week our featured book is Light and Dark: A Novel by Natsume Sōseki, translated with an introduction by John Nathan. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book, its author, and its translator on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. Today, we have an excerpt of the first nine short chapters of Soseki’s novel.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Light and Dark!

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

New Book Tuesday: Watchdogs, Buddhists, and More!

Our weekly list of new titles:

The Watchdog That Didn't Bark, Dean StarkmanThe Watchdog That Didn’t Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism
Dean Starkman

Meditations of a Buddhist Skeptic: A Manifesto for the Mind Sciences and Contemplative Practice (Now available in paper)
B. Alan Wallace

Theos Bernard, the White Lama: Tibet, Yoga, and American Religious Life (Now available in paper)
Paul G. Hackett

Sustainability Management: Lessons from and for New York City, America, and the Planet (Now available in paper)

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Book Giveaway! Light and Dark: A Novel, by Natsume Sōseki

Light and Dark

This week our featured book is Light and Dark: A Novel by Natsume Soseki, translated and with an introduction by John Nathan. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book, its author, and its translator on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

We are also offering a FREE copy of Light and Dark. To enter our Book Giveaway, simply fill out the form below with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select one winner on December 13th at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word!

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Author Events for the Week of December 9

Thai Stick, Peter MaguireA jam-packed week of events includes the continuation of Peter Maguire’s very successful author tour. Events for Thai Stick: Surfers, Scammers, and the Untold Story of the Marijuana Trade, coauthored with Mike Ritter, move on to Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

With recent events in Iran, Joseph Cirinicone has been making frequent media appearances to discuss his book Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late . On Tuesday, December 10, he will talk about it at the Carnegie Council. Another author whose book has been in the news (for the past couple of years) is Michael Mann and he will be signing copies of his book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines at the San Francisco meeting for the American Geophysical Union at the Columbia University Press booth (#639)

Rounding out the list, are John Nathan, who will be discussing his translation of Natsume Sōseki’s novel Light and Dark at various campuses, Kyle Killian will talk about his book Interracial Couples, Intimacy, and Therapy: Crossing Racial Borders at Caversham Booksellers, and finally, Thomas Doherty will be participating in the Amram Scholar Series for his much-talked-about book Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939

Friday, December 6th, 2013

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela passed away last night. At the OUPblog, Elleke Boehmer has a thoughtful post looking at Mandela’s status as a world icon, and discussing how “‘Mandela the icon’ tells us little to nothing of Nelson Mandela’s remarkable story: his complicated political legacy, his radiant magic as a leader, and his strength of character in surviving 27.5 years of incarceration.” Nor does treating Mandela as an icon “capture the complicated nature of the man and the interesting contradictions that cut across and disturb our sense of his political legacy.”

Meanwhile, the Duke University Press blog provides an excerpt from Mandela’s moving 1964 “Statement from the Dock,” given to a South African court before his conviction on charges of sabotage and treason. In his speech, Mandela lays out his understanding of his struggle against the South African government: “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Amazon was in the news this week as Jeff Bezos revealed a plan to employ drones in delivering packages ordered online. The Harvard Press Blog examines the differences between the increasingly automated system of purchasing embraced by Amazon and the way that “small businesses stubbornly persist in their embrace of a more human touch,” exemplified in the recent campaign for authors to help sell books at independent bookstores on “Small Business Saturday.”

In a recent interview, comedian Russell Brand called attention to a growing disengagement with politics among the public (particularly among young people) in the UK and around the world. At the OUPblog, Matthew Flinders takes a deeper look at this disengagement, and proposes a few practical solutions that could have big long-term effects. Also at the OUPblog, psychologists Zaira Cattaneo and Marcos Nadal discuss the unique aesthetic capacities of human beings through the lens of our neural mechanisms. Are there specific neurons in our brain that deal with aesthetic experience? And if so, can judgments of beauty be artificially enhanced by brain stimulation? (more…)