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By Catalog - Fall 2016
TitleAuthorDescription
Adolphe Quetelet, Social Physics and the Average Men of Science, 1796-1874Kevin DonnellyAdolphe Quetelet was an influential astronomer and statistician whose controversial work inspired heated debate in European and American intellectual circles. In creating a science designed to explain the “average man,” he helped contribute to the idea of normal, most enduringly in his creation of the Quetelet Index, which came to be known as the Body Mass Index. Kevin Donnelly presents the first scholarly biography of Quetelet, exploring his contribution to quantitative reasoning, his place in nineteenth-century intellectual history, and his profound influence on the modern idea of average.

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Bandit Narratives in Latin AmericaJuan Pablo DaboveDabove shows how the bandit trope was used in fictional and non-fictional narratives by writers and political leaders, from the Mexican Revolution to the present. By examining cases from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela, from Pancho Villa’s autobiography to Hugo Chavez’s appropriation of his “outlaw” grandfather, Dabove reveals how bandits function as a symbol to expose the dilemmas or aspirations of cultural and political practices, including literature as a social practice and as an ethical experience.
Chuck NollMichael MacCambridgeChuck Noll led the Pittsburgh Steelers to an unprecedented four Super Bowl victories and built the team into one of the greatest football dynasties in history.

Chuck Noll: His Life’s Work presents the first full biography of the legendary Steelers coach. It paints an intimate portrait that traces his journey from a childhood in Depression-era Cleveland, where he first played football in a fully integrated neighborhood league, through his serious pursuit of the sport in high school, college, and then professionally for the Browns, before Noll discovered his true calling as a coach.

When Chuck Noll arrived in Pittsburgh, the city was in deep crisis, facing the decline of its lifeblood industry. Added to that, the Steelers had been the worst team in professional football for nearly four decades. Noll quickly remolded the team into the most accomplished in the history of the NFL, and through this Pittsburghers came to believe that winning and recovery were possible – for their city as for their team.

Michael MacCambridge reveals the family ties that built Noll's character, his struggles with epilepsy and Alzheimer's, the love story that shaped his life, as well as his unique skill as a coach. By understanding the man himself, we can at last clearly see Noll’s profound influence on the city, players, coaches, and game he loved.

Watch a clip from NFL Networks' documentary A Football Life: Chuck Noll

Read the Pittsburgh Magazine excerpt from Chuck Noll: His Life’s Work

Read the Pittsburgh Magazine interview with Michael MacCambridge

Watch the KDKA-TV News feature report on Chuck Noll: His Life's Work

Read the Sports Illustrated.com excerpt from Chuck Noll: His Life's Work

Read the Pittsburgh Quarterly review of Chuck Noll: His Life’s Work

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Cleansing the Czechoslovak BorderlandsEagle GlassheimThis innovative study views the aftermath of ethnic cleansing, as it examines the transformation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland from the end of the Second World War, through the Cold War, and into the twenty-first century.

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Comics and Memory in Latin America Jorge Catala CarrascoThis volume presents new perspectives on how comics on and from Latin America both view and express memory formation on major historical events and processes. The contributors, from a variety of disciplines including literary theory, cultural studies, and history, explore topics including national identity construction, narratives of resistance to colonialism and imperialism, the construction of revolutionary traditions, and the legacies of authoritarianism and political violence.
Cuban Studies 45Alejandro de la FuenteCuban Studies is the preeminent journal for scholarly work on Cuba. Each volume includes articles in English and Spanish and a large book review section.

Cuban Studies 45 features two special dossiers: the first discusses the history and workings of the the Cuban constitution and the need to revisit it along with civil and political rights; the second offers new perspectives on the history of health, medicine, and disease in Cuba, and views race as a factor in both infant mortality and tuberculosis from the early-to-mid twentieth century.

Additional essays discuss culture through poetry, higher education reform, the narratives of Lordes Casal, and filmmaker Jesús Díaz as an ‘unintentional deviationst.’ History is discussed vis-a-vis the radio politics of young Eddy Chibás, the slave abolitionist rhetoric of the Countess of Merlin, and the creole appropriation of Afro-Cuban dance and music to create sabor during the late nineteenth century.
Dog YearsMelissa YancyWINNER OF THE 2016 DRUE HEINZ LITERATURE PRIZE
Winner of the 2017 California Book Awards, first fiction category

Selected by Richard Russo

Many of these richly layered stories juxtapose the miracles of modern medicine against the inescapable frustrations of everyday life: awkward first dates, the indignities of air travel, and overwhelming megastore cereal aisles. In “Go Forth,” an aging couple attends a kidney transplant reunion, where donors and recipients collide with unexpected results; in “Hounds,” a woman who runs a facial reconstruction program for veterans nurses her dying dog while recounting the ways she has used sex as both a weapon and a salve; and in “Consider This Case,” a lonely fetal surgeon caring for his aesthete father must reconsider sexuality and the lengths people will go to have children.

Melissa Yancy’s personal experience in the milieus of hospitals, medicine, and family services infuse her narratives with a rare texture and gravity. Keenly observant, offering both sharp humor and humanity, these stories explore the ties that bind—both genetic and otherwise—and the fine line between the mundane and the maudlin. Whether the men or women that populate these pages are contending with illness, death, or parenthood, the real focus is on time and our inability to slow its progression, reminding us to revel in those moments we can control.

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Field LifeJeremy VetterThis book examines the practice of science in the field in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains of the American West between the 1860s and the 1910s, when the railroad was the dominant form of long-distance transportation. Grounded in approaches from environmental history and the history of technology, it emphasizes the material basis of scientific fieldwork, joining together the human labor that produced knowledge with the natural world in which those practices were embedded.

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Force of CustomJudith BeyerJudith Beyer presents a finely textured ethnographic study that sheds new light on the legal and moral ordering of everyday life in northwestern Kyrgyzstan. Beyer shows how local Kyrgyz negotiate proper behavior and regulate disputes by invoking custom, known to the locals as salt. While salt is presented as age-old tradition, its invocation needs to be understood as a highly developed and flexible rhetorical strategy that people adapt to suit political, legal, economic, and religious environments.

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Hard TimesVasily SleptsovThis is the first English translation of an important Russian social novel (published in 1865) that enjoyed great popularity in its day, the period of Tsar Alexander's great reforms. Sleptsov deals with complex political issues such as the abolition of serfdom, political repression, women's rights, and the conflict between liberalism and radicalism among intellectuals. Highly readable, it provides important historical insights on the political and social climate of a volatile and transformative period in Russia history.

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Hour of the OxMarci Calabretta Cancio-BelloWinner of The 2015 Donald Hall Prize for Poetry
Selected by Crystal Ann Williams

Hour of the Ox examines the multiplicity of distance, wanderlust, and grief at the intersection between filial and cultural responsibility. Desires are sloughed off, replaced by new ones, re-cultivated as mythos. These poems offer a complex and necessary new perspective on the elegiac immigrant song.

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Imagined EmpireMi Gyung KimThe hot-air balloon, invented by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783, launched for the second time just days before the Treaty of Paris would end the American Revolutionary War. The technological marvel highlighted celebrations of French military victory against Britain and ignited a balloon mania that swept across Europe at the end of the Enlightenment. This frenzy for balloon experiments fundamentally altered the once elite audience for science by bringing aristocrats and commoners together. This book explores how this flying machine not only expanded the audience for science but also inspired utopian dreams of a republican monarchy that would obliterate social boundaries. The balloon was a people-machine that unified and mobilized the people of France, who imagined an aerial empire that would bring glory to the French nation.

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In the Volcano's Mouth Miriam Bird GreenbergWinner of the 2015 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize

WInner of the 2017 Bob Bush Memorial Award for Best First Book of Poetry from the Teaxs Institute of Letters

In the Volcano’s Mouth is a traditional American road narrative rewritten for the new century, centering women—for so long victims or mute sidekicks in these types of stories—as the powerful central figures in a journey that is unequivocally feminist yet universal.

Many of the poems draw from conversations and informal interviews with hobos, hitchhikers, and other American nomads the author met over the course of nearly a decade spent on and off the road. This book continues an investigation into poetry’s role as a documentary or ethnographic form, in the legacy of Charles Reznikoff and CD Wright.

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Islam, Society, and Politics in Central AsiaPauline JonesDuring the 1990s, there was a consensus that Central Asia was witnessing an Islamic revival after independence, and that this would follow similar events throughout the Islamic world in the prior two decades, which had negative effects on both social and political development. Twenty years later, we are still struggling to fully understand the transformation of Islam in a region that’s evolved through a complex and dynamic process, involving diversity in belief and practice, religious authority, and political intervention. This volume sheds light on these crucial questions by bringing together an international group of scholars who offer a fresh perspective on Central Asian states and societies.
Kosovo and SerbiaLeandrit MehmetiFollowing the 1992 breakup of Yugoslavia, the region descended into a series of bloody conflicts marked by intense ethnic and religious hatreds. Kosovo emerged at the epicenter of these disputes and the site of innumerable human rights violations, as Serbia, united with Montenegro at the time, sought to remove the Albanian presence. Kosovo (roughly ninety percent Albanian) declared independence in 2008, and although it is recognized by over one hundred UN member states, it is still not recognized by Serbia. This volume brings together scholars of Serbian, Albanian, Christian, and Muslim backgrounds to examine the Serbian-Albanian dynamic in Kosovo through historical, political, economic, and social perspectives.
Life OrganicErik PetersonThis book tells the forgotten story of the pursuit of a Third Way in biology, known by many names, including “the organic philosophy”—including the scientists who defined and refined it and its persistence into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It considers the creation of the subfield of epigenetics, a product of Third Way thinking, rooted among a group of scholars known as the Theoretical Biology Club. And it raises significant questions about how we should model the development of the discipline of biology.

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Listen to Matthew Crawford's interview (podcast) about The Andean Wonder Drug on the New Books Network web site (scroll to the bottom of the NBN page for the interview link)
Matter of EmpireOrlando BentancorThis book examines the philosophical principles invoked by apologists of the Spanish empire that laid the foundations for the exploitation of the Andean region between 1520 and 1640. Orlando Bentancor ties the colonizers’ attempts to justify the abuses wrought on the environment and the indigenous population to their larger ideology concerning mining, science, and the empire's rightful place in the global sphere. To Bentancor, their presuppositions were a major turning point for colonial expansion and paved the way to global mercantilism.
Modern Architecture in Mexico CityKathryn O’RourkeKathryn E. O’Rourke offers a new interpretation of the development of modern architecture in the Mexican capital, showing close links between design, evolving understandings of national architectural history, folk art, and social reform.

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Practicing IslamDavid MontgomeryMontgomery presents a rich ethnographic study on the practice and meaning of Islamic life in Kyrgyzstan. Through his years of on-the-ground research, he assembles both an anthropology of knowledge and an anthropology of Islam, demonstrating how individuals make sense of and draw meanings from their environments. This book offers the most thorough English-language study to date of Islam in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan.

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PrimerAaron SmithIn his third poetry collection, Primer, Aaron Smith grapples with the ugly realities of the private self, in which desire feels more like a trap than fulfillment. What is the face we prepare in our public lives to distract others from our private grief?

Smith's poetry explores that inexplicable tension between what we say and how we actually feel, exposing the complications of intimacy and the limitations of language to bridge those distances between friends, family members, and lovers. What we deny, in the end, may be just what we actually survive.

Mortality in Smith's work remains the uncomfortable foundation at the center of our relationship with others, to faith, to art, to love as we grow older, and ultimately, to our own sense of who we are in our bodies in the world.

The struggle of this book, finally, is in naming whether just what we say we want is enough to satisfy our primal needs, or are the choices we make to stay alive the same choices we make to help us, in so many small ways, to die.

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Revised Poetry of Western PhilosophyDaniel GrandboisA prose poetry/flash fiction collection that interrogates Bertrand Russell’s classic A History of Western Philosophy through scathing wit and acute observation.

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Rise of the Modern HospitalJeanne KisackyA focused examination of hospital design in the United States from the 1870s through the 1940s. This understudied period witnessed profound changes in hospitals as they shifted from last charitable resorts for the sick poor to premiere locations of cutting-edge medical treatment for all classes, and from low-rise decentralized facilities to high-rise centralized structures.
Rivers Lost, Rivers RegainedMartin KnollRivers Lost, Rivers Regained discusses how cities have gained control and exerted power over rivers and waterways far upstream and downstream; how rivers and floodplains in cityscapes have been transformed by urbanization and industrialization; how urban rivers have been represented in cultural manifestations, such as novels and songs; and discusses more recent strategies to redefine and recreate the place of the river within the urban setting.
Scientific Pluralism ReconsideredStephanie RuphyThis book offers a critical overview and a new structure of the debate on unity versus plurality in science. It focuses on the methodological, epistemic, and metaphysical commitments of various philosophical attitudes surrounding monism and pluralism, and offers novel perspectives and pluralist theses on scientific methods and objects, reductionism, plurality of representations, natural kinds, and scientific classifications.

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Showtime at the Ministry of Lost Causes Cheryl DumesnilThe poems in Showtime at the Ministry of Lost Causes are survival songs, the tunes you whistle while walking through the Valley of Shadows, to keep your fears at bay and your spirit awake.

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Soviet GulagMichael David-FoxBefore the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent archival revolution, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s famous “literary investigation” The Gulag Archipelago was the most authoritative overview of the Stalinist system of camps. This volume develops a much more thorough and nuanced understanding of the Gulag. It brings a greater awareness of the wide variety of camps, the forced labor system, and the Gulag as viewed in a global historical context, among many other topics. It also offers fascinating new interpretations of the interrelationship and importance of the Gulag to the larger Soviet political and economic system, and how they were in fact, parts of the same entity.
Star JournalChristopher BuckleyStar Journal is a selection of poems from Christopher Buckley's twenty previous collections, 1980-2014. Buckley’s poetry is unique in its use of current science and cosmology, recent facts and theories mixed in with a lyrical underpinning.

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Tangible BelongingJohn SwansonA compelling historical and ethnographic study of the German speakers in Hungary, from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth century. John C. Swanson’s work looks deeply into the enduring sense of tangible belonging that characterized Germanness from the perspective of rural dwellers, as well as the broader phenomenon of “minority making” in twentieth-century Europe.

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Victorian Literature and the Physics of the ImponderableSarah AlexanderThe Victorians are known for their commitment to materialism, evidenced by the dominance of empiricism in the sciences and realism in fiction. Yet there were other strains of thinking during the period in the physical sciences, social sciences, and literature that privileged the spaces between the material and immaterial. This book examines how the emerging language of the “imponderable” helped Victorian writers and physicists make sense of new experiences of modernity.

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Victorian Medicine and Popular CultureLouise PennerThis collection of essays explores the rise of scientific medicine and its impact on Victorian popular culture. Chapters include an examination of Charles Dickens’s involvement with hospital funding, concerns over milk purity and the theatrical portrayal of drug addiction, plus a whole section devoted to the representation of medicine in crime fiction. This is an interdisciplinary study involving public health, cultural studies, the history of medicine, literature and the theatre, providing new insights into Victorian culture and society.

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When They Hid the FireDaniel FrenchDaniel French examines the American social perceptions of electricity as an energy technology between the mid-19th and early decades of the 20th centuries. Arguing that both technical and cultural factors played a role, French shows how electricity became an invisible and abstract form of energy in American society, leading Americans to culturally construct electricity as unlimited and environmentally inconsequential—a newfound “basic right” of life in the United States.

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