DiscoverNew Books in Archaeology
New Books in Archaeology
Claim Ownership

New Books in Archaeology

Author: Marshall Poe

Subscribed: 1,131Played: 23,293
Share

Description

Interviews with Archaeologists about their New Books

53 Episodes
Reverse
Mexico of five centuries ago was witness to one of the most momentous encounters between human societies, when a group of Spaniards led by Hernando Cortés joined forces with tens of thousands of Mesoamerican allies to topple the mighty Aztec Empire. It served as a template for the forging of much of Latin America and initiated the globalized world we inhabit today. The violent clash that culminated in the Aztec-Spanish war of 1519-21 and the new colonial order it created were millennia in the making, entwining the previously independent cultural developments of both sides of the Atlantic. Collision of Worlds: A Deep History of the Fall of Aztec Mexico and the Forging of New Spain (Oxford University Press, 2020) provides a deep history of this encounter, one that considers temporal depth in the richly layered cultures of Mexico and Spain, from their prehistories to the urban and imperial societies they built in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Leading Mesoamerican archaeologist David M. Carballo offers a unique perspective on these fabled events with a focus on the physical world of places and things, their similarities and differences in trans-Atlantic perspective, and their interweaving in an encounter characterized by conquest and colonialism, but also resilience on the part of Native peoples. An engrossing and sweeping account, Collision of Worlds debunks long-held myths and contextualizes the deep roots and enduring consequences of the Aztec-Spanish conflict as never before. Pamela Fuentes is Assistant Professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, Pace University, NYC campus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In Collecting Food, Collecting People: Subsistence and Society in Central Africa (Yale University Press, 2016), Kathryn M. De Luna documents the evolving meanings borne in the collection of wild foods for an agricultural people in south central Africa around the turn of the first millennium. It is a history of everyday life that bears great insight into how people adapt meaning from different aspects of life to create new forms of social organization. Specifically, her study helps explain how expertise in hunting and gathering became a basis for social status in a decentralized society. In doing so, her study upends long-standing Enlightenment notions about the evolutionary role of agricultural surplus as a driver of social complexity. De Luna is the Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor at Georgetown University. Paul Bjerk is an associate professor of African History at Texas Tech University, and the author of Building a Peaceful Nation: Julius Nyerere and the Establishment of Sovereignty in Tanzania, 1960-1964 (Rochester University Press, 2015) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We are schooled to believe that states formed more or less synchronously with settlement and agriculture. In Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States (Yale University Press, 2017), James C. Scott asks us to question this belief. The evidence, he says, is simply not on the side of states. Stratified, taxing, walled towns did not inevitably appear in the wake of crop domestication and sedentary settlement. Only around 3100 BCE, some four millennia after the earliest farming and settling down, did they begin making their presence felt. What happened in these four millennia is the subject of this book: a deep history by “a card-carrying political scientist and an anthropologist and environmentalist by courtesy”, which aims to put the earliest states in their place. James Scott joins us for the fourth episode of New Books in Interpretive Political and Social Science to talk about state fragility and state persistence from Mesopotamia to Southeast Asia, the politics of cereal crops, domestication and reproduction, why it was once good to be a barbarian, the art of provocation, the views of critics, and, human and animal species relations and zoonoses in our epidemiological past and pandemic present. To download or stream episodes in this series please subscribe to our host channel: New Books in Political Science. Nick Cheesman is a fellow in the Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University, and a committee member of the Interpretive Methodologies and Methods group. He co-hosts the New Books in Southeast Asian Studies channel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and co-founder and chair of the World Science Festival. He is well known for his TV mini-series about string theory and the nature of reality, including the Elegant Universe, which tied in with his best-selling 2000 book of the same name. In this episode, we talk about his latest popular book Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Random House, 2020) Until the End of Time gives the reader a theory of everything, both in the sense of a “state of the academic union”, covering cosmology and evolution, consciousness and computation, and art and religion, and in the sense of showing us a way to apprehend the often existentially challenging subject matter. Greene uses evocative autobiographical vignettes in the book to personalize his famously lucid and accessible explanations, and we discuss these episodes further in the interview. Greene also reiterates his arguments for embedding a form of spiritual reverie within the multiple naturalistic descriptions of reality that different areas of human knowledge have so far produced. John Weston is a University Teacher of English in the Language Centre at Aalto University, Finland. His research focuses on academic communication. He can be reached at john.weston@aalto.fi and @johnwphd. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (University of Georgia Press, 2019), edited by Leslie M. Harris, James T. Campbell, and Alfred L. Brophy, is the first edited collection of scholarly essays devoted solely to the histories and legacies of this subject on North American campuses and in their Atlantic contexts. Gathering together contributions from scholars, activists, and administrators, the volume combines two broad bodies of work: (1) historically based interdisciplinary research on the presence of slavery at higher education institutions in terms of the development of proslavery and antislavery thought and the use of slave labor; and (2) analysis on the ways in which the legacies of slavery in institutions of higher education continued in the post–Civil War era to the present day. The collection features broadly themed essays on issues of religion, economy, and the regional slave trade of the Caribbean. It also includes case studies of slavery’s influence on specific institutions, such as Princeton University, Harvard University, Oberlin College, Emory University, and the University of Alabama. Though the roots of Slavery and the University stem from a 2011 conference at Emory University, the collection extends outward to incorporate recent findings. As such, it offers a roadmap to one of the most exciting developments in the field of U.S. slavery studies and to ways of thinking about racial diversity in the history and current practices of higher education. Today I spoke with Leslie Harris about the book. Dr. Harris is a professor of history at Northwestern University. She is the coeditor, with Ira Berlin, of Slavery in New York and the coeditor, with Daina Ramey Berry, of Slavery and Freedom in Savannah (Georgia). Adam McNeil is a History PhD student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Paradox is a sophisticated kind of magic trick. A magician's purpose is to create the appearance of impossibility, to pull a rabbit from an empty hat. Yet paradox doesn't require tangibles, like rabbits or hats. Paradox works in the abstract, with words and concepts and symbols, to create the illusion of contradiction. There are no contradictions in reality, but there can appear to be. In Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy (MIT Press, 2020), Matt Cook and a few collaborators dive deeply into more than 75 paradoxes in mathematics, physics, philosophy, and the social sciences. As each paradox is discussed and resolved, Cook helps readers discover the meaning of knowledge and the proper formation of concepts―and how reason can dispel the illusion of contradiction. The journey begins with “a most ingenious paradox” from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. Readers will then travel from Ancient Greece to cutting-edge laboratories, encounter infinity and its different sizes, and discover mathematical impossibilities inherent in elections. They will tackle conundrums in probability, induction, geometry, and game theory; perform “supertasks”; build apparent perpetual motion machines; meet twins living in different millennia; explore the strange quantum world―and much more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The “historical sciences”—geology, paleontology, and archaeology—have made extraordinary progress in advancing our understanding of the deep past. How has this been possible, given that the evidence they have to work with offers mere traces of the past? In Rock, Bone, and Ruin: An Optimist’s Guide to the Historical Sciences (MIT Press, 2018), Adrian Currie explains that these scientists are “methodological omnivores,” with a variety of strategies and techniques at their disposal, and that this gives us every reason to be optimistic about their capacity to uncover truths about prehistory. Creative and opportunistic paleontologists, for example, discovered and described a new species of prehistoric duck-billed platypus from a single fossilized tooth. Examining the complex reasoning processes of historical science, Currie also considers philosophical and scientific reflection on the relationship between past and present, the nature of evidence, contingency, and scientific progress. Currie draws on varied examples from across the historical sciences, from Mayan ritual sacrifice to giant Mesozoic fleas to Mars's mysterious watery past, to develop an account of the nature of, and resources available to, historical science. He presents two major case studies: the emerging explanation of sauropod size, and the “snowball earth” hypothesis that accounts for signs of glaciation in Neoproterozoic tropics. He develops the Ripple Model of Evidence to analyze “unlucky circumstances” in scientific investigation; examines and refutes arguments for pessimism about the capacity of the historical sciences, defending the role of analogy and arguing that simulations have an experiment-like function. Currie argues for a creative, open-ended approach, “empirically grounded” speculation. Lukas Rieppel is a historian of science and capitalism at Brown University. You can find his personal website here, or find him on twitter here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Crusader World (Routledge, 2015), edited by Adrian J. Boas, is a multidisciplinary survey of the current state of research in the field of crusader studies, an area of study which has become increasingly popular in recent years. In this volume Adrian Boas draws together an impressive range of academics, including work from renowned scholars as well as a number of though-provoking pieces from emerging researchers, in order to provide broad coverage of the major aspects of the period. This authoritative work will play an important role in the future direction of crusading studies. This volume enriches present knowledge of the crusades, addressing such wide-ranging subjects as: intelligence and espionage, gender issues, religious celebrations in crusader Jerusalem, political struggles in crusader Antioch, the archaeological study of battle sites and fortifications, diseases suffered by the crusaders, crusading in northern Europe and Spain and the impact of Crusader art. The relationship between Crusaders and Muslims, two distinct and in many way opposing cultures, is also examined in depth, including a discussion of how the Franks perceived their enemies. Arranged into eight thematic sections, The Crusader World considers many central issues as well as a large number of less familiar topics of the crusades, crusader society, history and culture. With over 100 photographs, line drawings and maps, this impressive collection of essays is a key resource for students and scholars alike. Renee Garfinkel is a Jerusalem-based psychologist, writer, and Middle East commentator for the nationally syndicated TV program, The Armstrong Williams Show.. Write her at r.garfinkel@yahoo.com or tweet @embracingwisdom Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How does the world of book reviews work? In Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times (Princeton University Press, 2020), Phillipa Chong, assistant professor in sociology at McMaster University, provides a unique sociological analysis of how critics confront the different types of uncertainty associated with their practice. The book explores how reviewers get matched to books, the ethics and etiquette of negative reviews and ‘punching up’, along with professional identities and the future of criticism. The book is packed with interview material, coupled with accessible and easy to follow theoretical interventions, creating a text that will be of interest to social sciences, humanities, and general readers alike. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
If you’re a grad student facing the ugly reality of finding a tenure-track job, you could easily be forgiven for thinking about a career change. However, if you’ve spent the last several years working on a PhD, or if you’re a faculty member whose career has basically consisted of higher ed, switching isn’t so easy. PhD holders are mostly trained to work as professors, and making easy connections to other careers is no mean feat. Because the people you know were generally trained to do the same sorts of things, an easy source of advice might not be there for you. Thankfully, for anybody who wishes there was a guidebook that would just break all of this down, that book has now been written. Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers (Stylus Publishing, 2020) by Kathryn E. Linder, Kevin Kelly, and Thomas J. Tobin offers practical advice and step-by-step instructions on how to decide if you want to leave behind academia and how to start searching for a new career. If a lot of career advice is too vague or too ambiguous, this book corrects that by outlining not just how to figure out what you might want to do, but critically, how you might go about accomplishing that. Zeb Larson is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University with a PhD in History. His research deals with the anti-apartheid movement in the United States. To suggest a recent title or to contact him, please send an e-mail to zeb.larson@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what if we don’t understand what we’re looking at? Social media has made charts, infographics, and diagrams ubiquitous―and easier to share than ever. We associate charts with science and reason; the flashy visuals are both appealing and persuasive. Pie charts, maps, bar and line graphs, and scatter plots (to name a few) can better inform us, revealing patterns and trends hidden behind the numbers we encounter in our lives. In short, good charts make us smarter―if we know how to read them. However, they can also lead us astray. Charts lie in a variety of ways―displaying incomplete or inaccurate data, suggesting misleading patterns, and concealing uncertainty―or are frequently misunderstood, such as the confusing cone of uncertainty maps shown on TV every hurricane season. To make matters worse, many of us are ill-equipped to interpret the visuals that politicians, journalists, advertisers, and even our employers present each day, enabling bad actors to easily manipulate them to promote their own agendas. In How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information (W. W. Norton, 2019), data visualization expert Alberto Cairo teaches us to not only spot the lies in deceptive visuals, but also to take advantage of good ones to understand complex stories. Public conversations are increasingly propelled by numbers, and to make sense of them we must be able to decode and use visual information. By examining contemporary examples ranging from election-result infographics to global GDP maps and box-office record charts, How Charts Lie demystifies an essential new literacy, one that will make us better equipped to navigate our data-driven world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
After Napoleon occupied Egypt, Europeans became obsessed with the ancient cultures of the Nile. In Britain, the center of Egyptology research was University College London (UCL). At the heart of the UCL program was the Egyptologist, Margaret Alice Murray. During this golden age of Egyptian Archaeology, Murray was training students, running the department, and publishing dozens of books. So why haven’t we heard of her? Historian Kathleen Sheppard discusses the life and work of Murray. Sheppard is an associate professor of history at Missouri University of Science and Technology. She is the author of The Life of Margaret Alice Murray: A Woman’s Work in Archaeology (Lexington Books, 2017). Michael F. Robinson is professor of history at Hillyer College, University of Hartford. He's the author of The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2006) and The Lost White Tribe: Scientists, Explorers, and the Theory that Changed a Continent (Oxford University Press, 2016). He's also the host of the podcast Time to Eat the Dogs, a weekly podcast about science, history, and exploration. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
As you may know, university presses publish a lot of good books. In fact, they publish thousands of them every year. They are different from most trade books in that most of them are what you might called "fundamental research." Their authors--dedicated researchers one and all--provide the scholarly stuff upon which many non-fiction trade books are based. So when you are reading, say, a popular history, you are often reading UP books at one remove. Of course, some UP books are also bestsellers, and they are all well written (and, I should say, thoroughly vetted thanks to the peer review system), but the greatest contribution of UPs is to provide a base of fundamental research to the public. And they do a great job of it. How do they do it? Today I talked to Kathryn Conrad, the president of the Association of University Presses, about the work of UPs, the challenges they face, and some terrific new directions they are going. We also talked about why, if you have a scholarly book in progress, you should talk to UP editors early and often. And she explains how! Listen in. Marshall Poe is the editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at marshallpoe@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The things that make people academics -- as deep fascination with some arcane subject, often bordering on obsession, and a comfort with the solitude that developing expertise requires -- do not necessarily make us good teachers. Jessamyn Neuhaus’s Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers (West Virginia University Press, 2019) helps us to identify and embrace that geekiness in us and then offers practical, step-by-step guidelines for how to turn it to effective pedagogy. It’s a sharp, slim, and entertaining volume that can make better teachers of us all. Stephen Pimpare is Senior Lecturer in the Politics & Society Program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author of The New Victorians (New Press, 2004), A Peoples History of Poverty in America (New Press, 2008), winner of the Michael Harrington Award, and Ghettos, Tramps and Welfare Queens: Down and Out on the Silver Screen (Oxford, 2017). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
John D. Hawks talks about new developments in paleoanthropology – the discovery of a new hominid species Homo Naledi in South Africa, the Neanderthal ancestry of many human populations, and the challenge of rethinking anthropological science’s relationship with indigenous peoples and the general public. Hawks is the Vilas-Borghesi Achievement Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He is author (with Lee Berger) of Almost Human: The Astonishing Tale of Homo naledi and the Discovery That Changed Our Human Story (National Geographic, 2017). Michael F. Robinson is professor of history at Hillyer College, University of Hartford. He's the author of The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2006) and The Lost White Tribe: Scientists, Explorers, and the Theory that Changed a Continent (Oxford University Press, 2016). He's also the host of the podcast Time to Eat the Dogs, a weekly podcast about science, history, and exploration. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Thanks to the international tourism industry most people are familiar with the spectacular ruins of Angkor, the great Cambodian empire that lasted from about the 9th to the early 15th century. We are especially familiar with those haunting images of the face of King Jayavarman VII, represented in the stone sculptures of the Bayon temple in Angkor Thom. Archaeologists and historians tend to relate the history of the Angkorean era through the dynasties of great kings. These are, of course, all male images. But this apparent maleness of the Angkorean state contrasts with one of the paradigms of Southeast Asia as a cultural zone: the comparatively high status of women. Ashley Thompson addresses this apparent contradiction in her new book titled, Engendering the Buddhist State: Territory, Sovereignty and Sexual Difference in the Inventions of Angkor (Routledge, 2016). Among the themes of this rich, challenging, and provocative book is the gendered nature of the Angkorean state. Patrick Jory teaches Southeast Asian History in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland. He can be reached at: p.jory@uq.edu.au Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Anthropologist PJ Capelotti discusses the role of exploration archaeology in understanding the Pacific voyage of Kon-Tiki, the Arctic airship expeditions of Walter Wellman, and the fate of Orca II, a fishing boat used in the film Jaws. Capelotti is a professor of anthropology at Penn State Abington. He is the author of Adventures in Archaeology: The Wreck of the Orca II and other Explorations published by the University Press of Florida (2018). Michael F. Robinson is professor of history at Hillyer College, University of Hartford. He's the author of The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2006) and The Lost White Tribe: Scientists, Explorers, and the Theory that Changed a Continent (Oxford University Press, 2016). He's also the host of the podcast Time to Eat the Dogs, a weekly podcast about science, history, and exploration.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Stretching across the north of England, from coast to coast, are the 73-mile long remnants of a fortification built by the Roman Army during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian. It is, as our guest Adrian Goldsworthy has written, “the largest of the many monuments left by the Roman Empire and one of the most famous.” For centuries the purpose of Hadrian’s Wall, and the life of those who built it and lived near it, were shrouded in archaeological mystery. In Adrian Goldsworthy’s new book Hadrian's Wall (Basic Books, 2018) illuminates the subject by synthesizing the latest research, and bringing to bear his powerful historical imagination on the subject. And, speaking of historical imagination, in the United States he has simultaneously published a novel set along the border of Roman Britain—the second of a series—with his study of the wall itself. Al Zambone is a historian and the host of the podcast Historically Thinking. You can subscribe to Historically Thinking on Apple Podcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Conventional portrayals of early Ryukyu are based on official histories written between 1650 and 1750. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, Gregory Smits makes extensive use of scholarship in archaeology and anthropology and leverages unconventional sources such as the Omoro sōshi(a collection of ancient songs) to present a fundamental rethinking of early Ryukyu. Instead of treating Ryukyu as a natural, self-contained cultural or political community, he examines it as part of a maritime network extending from coastal Korea to the islands of Tsushima and Iki, along the western shore of Kyushu, and through the Ryukyu Arc to coastal China. Smits asserts that Ryukyuan culture did not spring from the soil of Okinawa: He highlights Ryukyu’s northern roots and the role of wakō (pirate-merchant seafarers) in the formation of power centers throughout the islands, uncovering their close historical connections with the coastal areas of western Japan and Korea. Unlike conventional Ryukyuan histories that open with Okinawa, Gregory Smits' Maritime Ryukyu, 1050–1650 (University of Hawaii Press, 2018) starts with the northern island of Kikai, an international crossroads during the eleventh century. It also focuses on other important but often overlooked territories such as the Tokara islands and Kumejima, in addition to bringing the northern and southern Ryukyu islands into a story that all too often centers almost exclusively on Okinawa. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Domesticating Empire: Egyptian Landscapes in Pompeian Gardens (Oxford University Press, 2019) is the first contextually-oriented monograph on Egyptian imagery in Roman households. Caitlín Eilís Barrett, Associate Professor of Classics at Cornell University, draws on case studies from Flavian Pompeii to investigate the close association between representations of Egypt and a particular type of Roman household space: the domestic garden. Through paintings and mosaics portraying the Nile, canals that turned the garden itself into a miniature "Nilescape," and statuary depicting Egyptian themes, many gardens in Pompeii offered ancient visitors evocations of a Roman vision of Egypt. Simultaneously faraway and familiar, these imagined landscapes made the unfathomable breadth of empire compatible with the familiarity of home. In contrast to older interpretations that connect Roman "Aegyptiaca" to the worship of Egyptian gods or the problematic concept of "Egyptomania," a contextual analysis of these garden assemblages suggests new possibilities for meaning. In Pompeian houses, Egyptian and Egyptian-looking objects and images interacted with their settings to construct complex entanglements of "foreign" and "familiar," "self" and "other." Representations of Egyptian landscapes in domestic gardens enabled individuals to present themselves as sophisticated citizens of empire. Yet at the same time, household material culture also exerted an agency of its own: domesticizing, familiarizing, and "Romanizing" once-foreign images and objects. That which was once imagined as alien and potentially dangerous was now part of the domus itself, increasingly incorporated into cultural constructions of what it meant to be "Roman." Featuring brilliant illustrations in both color and black and white, Domesticating Empire reveals the importance of material culture in transforming household space into a microcosm of empire. Ryan Tripp is adjunct history faculty for the College of Online and Continuing Education at Southern New Hampshire University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
loading
Comments 
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store