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If it is hard to write a book review, then it is much harder to make a book. Anthony Grafton's latest monograph, Inky Fingers, puts the difficulties of labour at the centre of this engaging study of book production in early modern Europe and North America (the latter included despite the expected limitations of the subtitle).
‘Artificial intelligence (AI)’ is a loaded term, rife with connotative contradiction that inspires debate, disagreement, and disillusion. But what is AI, really? How have our expectations of computational capability, and even a robot Armageddon, come to be? Why does it matter how we talk about increasingly sophisticated technology, not just in expository prose, but also in fiction?
How did the world of nation-states come about? What happened to the world of empires that preceded it? How did the transition take place and how inevitable was it? These may seem (and indeed are) old questions.
This is an edited collection consisting of 11 articles, plus an introduction and an epilogue, about the role of martial masculinities in British society and culture from the French Revolution to the beginning of the Great War. It originated in a conference held at the University of Hull in 2015. The majority of the authors teach in either a History or an English department.
The Birth of Modern Belief is seriously good. It is erudite, insightful, and cogent; but, above all, it enables us to think hard about the relationship between our past and our present.
In Colonial Al-Andalus, Professor Eric Calderwood explores the origin of a claim widely promoted in Moroccan tourism, arts, and literature and finds its roots in Spain’s colonial rhetoric.
The aim to cover, in a single monograph, patterns and trends in memory across early modern Europe is an ambitious one. Yet if anyone could achieve this it would be Judith Pollmann. This is an ambitious book in its chronological and geographical scope, but is also pioneering in providing a meta-narrative of continuity and change in early modern memory practices.
Since the turn of the millennium it has become increasingly common for general histories of magic and witchcraft to include a section on the phenomenon of magic in the contemporary western world, but the precise relationship between contemporary manifestations of magical belief and their historical antecedents is rarely explored.
This is an extremely ambitious, thought-provoking, challenging and inspiring book.
Although ostensibly a book focused on New Orleans, in Slavery’s Metropolis Rashauna Johnson uses the experiences of individuals and groups of African heritage who resided in the city, as well as those who left from, arrived in, and passed through from local and transnational locations to outline a theory of ‘confined cosmopolitanism’.