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Monthly Archives October 2013

Good Borders Make Good Neighbors

What are the social impacts as European political borders are being redefined? Using a variety of case studies, editors William Kavanagh and Jutta Lauth Bacas seek to answer that question in Border Encounters: Asymmetry and Proximity at Europe’s Frontiers, to be published this month. The editors and contributors examine the implications as borders are strengthened in some […]

Key to Transformation is Understanding the ‘Fatherland’

The parallels between the political environment of the “Arab Spring” countries and Cold War Germany can be striking, according to Alexander Clarkson, author of Fragmented Fatherland: Immigration and Cold War Conflict in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1945-1980. In these cases, when diaspora communities returned to their countries of origin, there was an energy for […]

Likelihood of Contact Depends on the Lifetimes of Civilizations

If alien civilizations are anything like terrestrial civilizations, earthly beings may never encounter beings from outer space. Civilizations Beyond Earth contributor Alan J. Penny says our greatest chance for interaction will hinge on the longevity and attention span of an alien society — which must be long enough to give us a chance to interact. […]

Berghahn Author Asks: ‘Quo Vadis FEMEN?’

FEMEN is a Ukrainian feminist protest group that has become infamous for its topless protests against patriarchy. The group, founded in 2008, has since grown to be a worldwide phenomenon, and not simply because its protests are often seen as “sextreme.” Marian Rubchak, editor of Mapping Difference: The Many Faces of Women in Contemporary Ukraine, […]

Looking ‘Against the Grain’ at German-Jewish Intellectuals

German-Jewish intellectuals in the twentieth century are the focus of Against the Grain: Jewish Intellectuals in Hard Times, published this month. The volume, edited by Ezra Mendelsohn, Stefani Hoffman, and Richard I. Cohen, looks at the key figures of German-Jewish thought: Scholem, Strauss, and Kohn, and examines how such thinkers reacted to, and were impacted […]

Reconstructing the Measure and Meaning of Obesity

Obesity is a worldwide problem, and affecting more people all the time. In their timely collection, editors Jessica Hardin and Megan McCullough examine this growing epidemic in their soon-to-be-released book, Reconstructing Obesity: The Meaning of Measures and the Measure of Meanings.The editors analyze the cultural causes and effects to open a new discussion about fatness […]

Hot Off the Presses – New Journal Releases for September

European Judaism Volume 46, Issue 2 This issue features two special sections: Jews in Eastern Europe: Exile and After and From the Tradition. The former comprises articles on such topics as what it means to be in exile and how those in exile choose where to begin their lives anew; and the latter features articles […]

A New Model for Interstellar Communication

Communication between great distances is nearly instantaneous and is becoming faster every day. But when discussing communication with beings outside of our solar system, emails and text messages are still not fast enough to span the light-years of distance in one person’s lifetime. Civilizations Beyond Earth: Extraterrestrial Life and Society contributor Carl L. DeVito proposes […]

European Thought: The ‘Gift’ that Keeps Giving

Is the spread of Western, specifically European, thought truly a gift to the rest of the world, or is this dissemination simply a way of exerting cultural power? Vassos Argyrou seeks an answer to this question in his newly released volume The Gift of European Thought and the Cost of Living. Below, the author explains […]

Opening Cassirer and Arendt’s ‘Hidden Conversation’

Hannah Arendt was a German-Jewish political theorist; Ernst Cassirer was a German-Jewish philosopher. The ‘liberal Jewish ethics’ of the two come together in Ned Curthoys’ The Legacy of Liberal Judaism: Ernst Cassirer and Hannah Arendt’s Hidden Conversation. The author explains below his fascination of and engagement with the scholars.   _____________________________________ Berghahn Books: What exactly […]