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Some more of the nominations we received:
Thomas Nagel, The Last Word Simon Frith, Performing Rites Leszak Kolokowski, God Owes Us Nothing
-- Alexander Star
Eric Hobsbawm, The age of extremism: A history of the world, 1914-1991 Richard Kluger, Ashes to ashes: America's hundred-year cigarette war, the public health, and the unabashed triumph of Philip Morris Rober M. Levine, Vale of tears: Revisiting the Canudos massacre in Northeastern Brazil, 1893-1897
-- Juan Jose Baldrich
Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae Harold Bloom, The Western Canon Colin Falck, Myth, Truth & Literature
-- Bryan Castaneda
David Halberstam, The Fifties Backlash The Book of J
-- Judith D. Biersdorfer
Harrison C. White, IDENTITY AND CONTROL Charles Tilly, CAPITAL AND COERCION IN EUROPEAN STATES Harvey Sacks, LECTURES ON CONVERSATION
White's book utterly shatters prior modes of sociological thinking, building an architecture for future sociology that towers over anything that's been done hitherto -- though it's a structure without an easy entrance, and the only way to reach the upper floors is to climb the stairs.
Sacks's book, a compilation of lectures delivered decades ago, is a gold mine for micro-sociologists looking for new research leads.
Tilly tidily wraps up European history in 2-dimension diagrams and a theory of the interplay between the need for wealth and the need for force by states struggling to survive geopolitical competition. A "must" for anyone whose interest in history outpaces his ability to remember details.
-- David Gibson
Byron M. Roth, Prescription for Failure
Roth's book is an unflinching analysis of the failed assumptions most social research has been based on since the 1960's. Anyone who really wants to understand how we wind up with children who commit cold-blooded murder should read it.
-- Mark Talmont
Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct Bernard Williams, Shame and Necessity Patrick Murray, ed, Reflections on Commercial Life
-- Jeffrey Bivens
Charles Murray, The Bell Curve
The Bell Curve shows us once again that statitics are truely like a lamp post--a student uses them for illumination and a drunk for support.
-- Jeffrey Roberts
Allan Gibbard, Wise Choices, Apt Feelings: a Theory of Normative Judgment Brian Skyrms, Evolution of the Social Contract
-- Brad Armendt
Slavoj Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology Pierre Klossowski, Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle (Eng. trans.) Jean Hyppolite, Logic and Existence (Eng. trans.)
Zizek's book was published in 1989, true, but I think no theorist has had more impact in the 90's than did Zizek's, and recognition of his genius only really came in the middle to later parts of the decade. Certainly, it was (in certain circles) the most influential book of the 90's.
-- John Hartmann
John Milbank, Theology and Social Theory Brian Stock, Augustine the Reader
-- James K.A. Smith
Antonio DeMasio, Descartes' Error Gerald Edelman , Bright Air, Brilliant Fire
-- Michael Giberson
Julia Annas, The Morality of Happiness Martha Nussbaum, The Fragility of Goodness
-- Jen Baker
Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State John Rawls, Political Liberalism
-- Chris Bertram
Manuel Castells, The Power of Identity Richard Sennett, The Corrosion of Character John Brockman, ed., The Third Culture
I choose Castells', or more specifically the third in his Information Age trilogy, because I find its attempt to relate the abstract world of computers and networks, to the specific world of communities, histories nations and cultures, both compelling and hopeful. There is something beyond Jihad vs. McWorld, after all.
I choose Richard Sennett's book, not so much because I agree with it, but because I think it is a model of popular academic writing - wrong-headed, but beautifully crafted and argued. Anybody who's ever thought that social theory might have some insights to give to the lay reader, should read The Corrosion of Character a hundred times.
Brockman may be a 21st century charlatan, but he's doing his tricks at exactly the right space and time - the need to keep scientists translating their findings to a public that teeters between veneration and phobia about what they do. The Third Culture - well-edited interviews showing the full range of paradigm debates in biology, physics, chemistry, consciousness studies, etc - is a model of popularisation.
-- Pat Kane
Jeffrey D. Berhard, MD, Itch
This is the first (and still the only) comprehensive medical textbook about itching. There's some poetry and a touch of humor in it to offset the heartbreak of pruritus.
Carol J. Adams, The Sexual Politics of Meat Stanley Hauerwas, Suffering Presence Stephen Carter, The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion
Besides being a good, fun read, this book united feminism and Christian theology with the animal rights movement, thus expanding the interest in animals and ethics beyond its previously limited scope.
America's most influential theologian kept getting better in the 1990s, and this book on medical ethics argued that questions of health, death, and disease inevitably raise issues about what it means to belong to a community, to tell stories about yourself, and to be dependent on others. Hauerwas helped shift medical ethics from quandary cases and the quest for abstract first principles to the need to attend to narratives concerning how individuals and institutions alike make sense of their own limits.
Along with George Marsden's The Soul of the American University, this book put the issue of religion and education on the academic map, where it will continue to stay as long as politicians argue about how best to restore character and fundamental values to the classroom. Carter showed himself to be one of America's most influential African-American scholars, capable of writing with ease across the disciplinary boundaries of law, theology, and cultural criticism.
--Stephen H. Webb
Ulric Neisser, The Rising Curve: Long Term Gains in IQ and related measures Milfrod Wolpoff and Rachel Caspari, Race and Human Evolution: A Fatal Attraction C. R. Gallistel, The Organization of Learning
Christine Boufis and Victoria Olsen, On the Market
In 1990, finishing my first masters, I looked forward to beginning a new career in academia; and now, a decade--and a mere five years after completing my terminal degree--later, I've finally landed that coveted part-time adjunct position at a community college; since 1997, part of what's made this experience bearable is the book On the Market, edited by Christine Boufis and Victoria Olsen;they've been in my position;the stories they've chosen, ranging from heartbreaking to marmy, and whose single criteria for the essays was to recognize one's "graduate work [was] an exercise in self-development," helped me to realize I'm not simply among good company: I'm actually quite trendy.
--Bob & Jayne
Mark Lilla, Vico Pierre Manent, City of Man Luc Ferry, Homo Aestheticus
Martha Hodes, Illicit Relations :Black Men and White Women Simon Schaeffer, The Sciences of Elightenment Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
The works I have chosen vary both in content and method. The first is a work of social history. The author expertly combed through court documents, newspapers, etc. creating a narrative that's both imaginative and factual.
The second demonstrates that using Foucauldian thought need not be synonmous with slipshod research and inaccessable language.
In this work Edward Said thought is more sophisticated than Orientalism
Greg Dening, Mr.Bligh'Bad Language: Passion, Power, and Theatre on the Bounty
Dening's book showed me how fascinating the issue of representation can be just when I was losing my interest in it.
Nicholas A. Basbanes, A Gentle Madness
In response to your invitation I want to laud Nicholas A Basbanes' A GENTLE MADNESS, Henry Holt, 1995. Its reading has given me great comfort and courage to be faithful to the printed book with which I have been in continuous contact as bookseller, publisher, consultant, and collector since 1933. I found sustenance to my conviction in the quotations of Walter Lippencott who has been Director (without the adjective "editorial") of Princeton University Press since 1986, and Lindsay Waters who is (according to the "1999-2000 Directory of the Association of American University Presses") an *Executive Editor* of Harvard University Press Both of these men are quote on Page 16 of L.F. July/August 2000.
Stanley Fish, Doing What Comes Naturally
Stanley Fish, The Trouble with Principle
Stanley Fish, There's no such Thing as Free Speech and it's a good thing, too
Stanley Fish is America's utmost intellectual, argumentative machine if someone. His wit swims deep and broad. He talks back, explains and debates, with joy and humour. He is a pedagogical genius as a writer.
Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History
Published by Beacon Press in 1995, Trouillot's book is a subtle yet revelatory examination of how "History" is made, by the actors as well as the narrators -- and one of the author's most telling points is that these two roles are often played by the same people.
Not only have the "doers of deeds" grounded their actions in their own narratives, but the writers of narratives have also, by the very act of narration, become actors on the stage of history, with powerful effects on the course of the plot. Thus his call for scholarly participation in society in the role of "public intellectual," which comes at the end of the book, is solidly grounded in his theoretical analysis, rather than a mere hortatory afterthought.
Throughout, Trouillot charts a brilliantly justified common-sensical path between the rocks of postmodern constructivism and mindless literalism. Using concrete examples from the Holocaust to the Alamo, the author had produced a provocative, seminal work of scholarship.
--James E. Crisp
Harvey Sacks, Lectures on conversation Stanley Fish, Doing what comes naturally
Bonnie C. Wade, Imaging Sound: An Ethnomusicological Study of Music, Art, and Culture in Mughal India Wheeler M. Thakston, The Jahangirnama: Memoirs of Jahangir, Emperor of India
The Jahangirnama is an extraordinary document, and its translation into English is long overdue. OUP has gone all out in their production of this book and I commend them for it. I can't think of a book I've purchased in the past 10 years that I've spent so much time reading, flipping through, thinking about.
Craig Calhoun, Habermas and the Public Sphere Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities
Michael S. Kimmel, Manhood in America David Reynolds, Beneath the American Renaissance Teresa A. Goddu, Gothic America
Jack Goody, The East in the West Alison Winter, Mesmerized Martha C. Nussbaum, The Therapy of Desire
Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, Higher Superstition John M. Ellis, Literature Lost
The importance of Dennett's book can be illustrated by a quote from the author himself: "If I were to give an award for the single best idea anyone has ever had, I'd give it to Darwin, ahead of Newton and Einstein and everyone else." Nearly everyone, including most biologists, are ignorant of the full reach and importance of Natural Selection.
Gross and Levitt's book clearly and trenchantly showed that the academic postmodern emperors had no clothes while serving as a stimulus for Alan Sokal's splendid hoax. Perhaps now, higher education can reclaim a genuinely serious mien.
And if Gross and Levitt's efforts in the service of science is not enough, put next to it on your shelf of necessary books from the 90s Ellis's similar service for the humanities--Literature Lost.
E. O. Wilson, Consilence Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae Steven Pinker, How The Mind Works
e.o. wilson grasps and predicted the joining of social science and biological science. this concept will grow and increase our knowledge in the social sciences as to revolutionize many of the current beliefs. many social scientists will begin to look as if they have pushed theories simply to further their political adgendas instead of searching for truth.
--Frank M. Craig
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