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Artifice and Design

Art and Technology in Human Experience

"As familiar and widely appreciated works of modern technology, bridges are a good place to study the relationship between the aesthetic and the technical. Fully engaged technical design is at once aesthetic and structural. In the best work (the best design, the most well made), the look and feel of a device (its aesthetic, perceptual interface) is as important a part of the design problem as its mechanism (the interface of parts and systems). We have no idea how to make something that is merely efficient, a rational instrument blindly indifferent to how it appears. No engineer can design such a thing and none has ever been built."-from Artifice and Design

In an intriguing book about the aesthetics of technological objects and the relationship between technical and artistic accomplishment, Barry Allen develops the philosophical implications of a series of interrelated concepts-knowledge, artifact, design, tool, art, and technology-and uses them to explore parallel questions about artistry in technology and technics in art. This may be seen at the heart of Artifice and Design in Allen's discussion of seven bridges: he focuses at length on two New York bridges-the Hell Gate Bridge and the Bayonne Bridge-and makes use of original sources for insight into the designers' ideas about the aesthetic dimensions of their work. Allen starts from the conviction that art and technology must be treated together, as two aspects of a common, technical human nature.

The topics covered in Artifice and Design are wide-ranging and interdisciplinary, drawing from evolutionary biology, cognitive psychology, and the history and anthropology of art and technology. The book concludes that it is a mistake to think of art as something subjective, or as an arbitrary social representation, and of Technology as an instrumental form of purposive rationality. "By segregating art and technology," Allen writes, "we divide ourselves against ourselves, casting up self-made obstacles to the ingenuity of art and technology."

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Asia's Flying Geese

How Regionalization Shapes Japan

by Walter F. Hatch

In Asia's Flying Geese, Walter F. Hatch tackles the puzzle of Japan's paradoxically slow change during the economic crisis it faced in the 1990s. Why didn't the purportedly unstoppable pressures of globalization force a rapid and radical shift in Japan's business model? In a book with lessons for the larger debate about globalization and its impact on national economies, Hatch shows how Japanese political and economic elites delayed-but could not in the end forestall-the transformation of their distinctive brand of capitalism by trying to extend it to the rest of Asia.

For most of the 1990s, the region grew rapidly as an increasingly integrated but hierarchical group of economies. Japanese diplomats and economists came to call them "flying geese." The "lead goose" or most developed economy, Japan, supplied the capital, technology, and even developmental norms to second-tier "geese" such as Singapore and South Korea, which themselves traded with Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and so on down the V-shaped line to Indonesia and coastal China. Japan's model of capitalism, which Hatch calls "relationalism," was thus fortified, even as it became increasingly outdated. Japanese elites enjoyed enormous benefits from their leadership in the region as long as the flock found ready markets for their products in the West.

The decade following the collapse of Japan's real estate and stock markets would, however, see two developments that ultimately eroded the country's economic dominance. The Asian economic crisis in the late 1990s destabilized many of the surrounding economies upon which Japan had in some measure depended, and the People's Republic of China gained new prominence on the global scene as an economic dynamo. These changes, Hatch concludes, have forced real transformation in Japan's corporate governance, its domestic politics, and in its ongoing relations with its neighbors.

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Asian Designs

Governance in the Contemporary World Order

by Saadia Pekkanen

Asian nations are no longer "rising" powers in the world order; they have risen. How will they conduct themselves in world politics? How will they deploy their considerable and growing power individually and collectively? These questions are critical for global governance. Conventional wisdom claims that, lacking in institutions that accumulate and coordinate the massive economic and growing military strength of Asian nations, the Asian region will continue to punch below its weight in world politics; thin and patchy institutionalization results in political weakness. In Asian Designs, Saadia M. Pekkanen and her collaborators question and provide evidence on these core assumptions of Western scholarship. The book advances a new framework for debate and sophisticated examinations of institutional arrangements for several major issue areas in the world order—security, trade, environment, and public health.

Contributors
Vinod K. Aggarwal, University of California at Berkeley
C. Randall Henning, American University
Keisuke Iida, University of Tokyo
Purnendra Jain, University of Adelaide
David Kang, University of Southern California
Saori N. Katada, University of Southern California
Min Gyo Koo, Seoul National University
Kerstin Lukner, University of Duisburg-Essen
Takamichi Tam Mito, Kwansei Gakuin University
James Clay Moltz, Naval Postgraduate School
Saadia M. Pekkanen, University of Washington
Kim DoHyang Reimann, Georgia State University
Kellee S. Tsai, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Ming Wan, George Mason University

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At Home with the Diplomats

Inside a European Foreign Ministry

Iver B. Neumann

The 2010 WikiLeaks release of 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables has made it eminently clear that there is a vast gulf between the public face of diplomacy and the opinions and actions that take place behind embassy doors. In At Home with the Diplomats, Iver B. Neumann offers unprecedented access to the inner workings of a foreign ministry. Neumann worked for several years at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he had an up-close view of how diplomats conduct their business and how they perceive their own practices. In this book he shows us how diplomacy is conducted on a day-to-day basis.

Approaching contemporary diplomacy from an anthropological perspective, Neumann examines the various aspects of diplomatic work and practice, including immunity, permanent representation, diplomatic sociability, accreditation, and issues of gender equality. Neumann shows that the diplomat working abroad and the diplomat at home are engaged in two different modes of knowledge production. Diplomats in the field focus primarily on gathering and processing information. In contrast, the diplomat based in his or her home capital is caught up in the seemingly endless production of texts: reports, speeches, position papers, and the like. Neumann leaves the reader with a keen sense of the practices of diplomacy: relations with foreign ministries, mediating between other people's positions while integrating personal and professional into a cohesive whole, adherence to compulsory routines and agendas, and, above all, the generation of knowledge. Yet even as they come to master such quotidian tasks, diplomats are regularly called upon to do exceptional things, such as negotiating peace.

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Atomic Assistance

How “Atoms for Peace” Programs Cause Nuclear Insecurity

by Matthew Fuhrmann

Nuclear technology is dual use in nature, meaning that it can be used to produce nuclear energy or to build nuclear weapons. Despite security concerns about proliferation, the United States and other nuclear nations have regularly shared with other countries nuclear technology, materials, and knowledge for peaceful purposes. In Atomic Assistance, Matthew Fuhrmann argues that governments use peaceful nuclear assistance as a tool of economic statecraft. Nuclear suppliers hope that they can reap the benefits of foreign aid-improving relationships with their allies, limiting the influence of their adversaries, enhancing their energy security by gaining favorable access to oil supplies-without undermining their security. By providing peaceful nuclear assistance, however, countries inadvertently help spread nuclear weapons.

Fuhrmann draws on several cases of "Atoms for Peace," including U.S. civilian nuclear assistance to Iran from 1957 to 1979; Soviet aid to Libya from 1975 to 1986; French, Italian, and Brazilian nuclear exports to Iraq from 1975 to 1981; and U.S. nuclear cooperation with India from 2001 to 2008. He also explores decision making in countries such as Japan, North Korea, Pakistan, South Africa, and Syria to determine why states began (or did not begin) nuclear weapons programs and why some programs succeeded while others failed. Fuhrmann concludes that, on average, countries receiving higher levels of peaceful nuclear assistance are more likely to pursue and acquire the bomb-especially if they experience an international crisis after receiving aid.

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Augustine and Academic Skepticism

A Philosophical Study

by Blake D. Dutton

Among the most important, but frequently neglected, figures in the history of debates over skepticism is Augustine of Hippo (354–430 CE). His early dialogue, Against the Academics, together with substantial material from his other writings, constitutes a sustained attempt to respond to the tradition of skepticism with which he was familiar. This was the tradition of Academic skepticism, which had its home in Plato's Academy and was transmitted to the Roman world through the writings of Cicero (106–43 BCE). Augustine and Academic Skepticism is the first comprehensive treatment of Augustine’s critique of Academic skepticism. In clear and accessible prose, Blake D. Dutton presents that critique as a serious work of philosophy and engages with it precisely as such.

While Dutton provides an extensive review of Academic skepticism and Augustine’s encounter with it, his primary concern is to articulate and evaluate Augustine’s strategy to discredit Academic skepticism as a philosophical practice and vindicate the possibility of knowledge against the Academic denial of that possibility. In doing so, he sheds considerable light on Augustine’s views on philosophical inquiry and the acquisition of knowledge.

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The Authority Trap

Strategic Choices of International NGOs

Sarah S. Stroup and Wendy H. Wong

Not all international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) are created equal, Some have emerged as "leading INGOs" that command deference from various powerful audiences and are well-positioned to influence the practices of states, corporations, and other INGOs. Yet Sarah S. Stroup and Wendy H. Wong make a strong case for the tenuous nature of this position: in order to retain their authority, INGOs such as Greenpeace, Oxfam, and Amnesty International refrain from expressing radical opinions that severely damage their long-term reputation. Stroup and Wong contend such INGOs must constantly adjust their behavior to maintain a delicate equilibrium that preserves their status.

Activists, scholars, and students seeking to understand how international organizations garner and conserve power—and how this affects their ability to fulfill their stated missions—will find much of value in The Authority Trap. The authors use case studies that illuminate how INGOs are received by three main audiences: NGO peers, state policymakers, and corporations. In the end, the authors argue, the more authority an INGO has, the more constrained is its ability to affect the conduct of world politics.

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Aversion and Erasure

The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust

In Aversion and Erasure, Carolyn J. Dean offers a bold account of how the Holocaust's status as humanity's most terrible example of evil has shaped contemporary discourses about victims in the West. Popular and scholarly attention to the Holocaust has led some observers to conclude that a "surfeit of Jewish memory" is obscuring the suffering of other peoples. Dean explores the pervasive idea that suffering and trauma in the United States and Western Europe have become central to identity, with victims competing for recognition by displaying their collective wounds.

She argues that this notion has never been examined systematically even though it now possesses the force of self-evidence. It developed in nascent form after World War II, when the near-annihilation of European Jewry began to transform patriotic mourning into a slogan of "Never Again": as the Holocaust demonstrated, all people might become victims because of their ethnicity, race, gender, or sexuality-because of who they are.The recent concept that suffering is central to identity and that Jewish suffering under Nazism is iconic of modern evil has dominated public discourse since the 1980s.

Dean argues that we believe that the rational contestation of grievances in democratic societies is being replaced by the proclamation of injury and the desire to be a victim. Such dramatic and yet culturally powerful assertions, however, cast suspicion on victims and define their credibility in new ways that require analysis. Dean's latest book summons anyone concerned with human rights to recognize the impact of cultural ideals of "deserving" and "undeserving" victims on those who have suffered.

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Awaiting the Heavenly Country

The Civil War and America's Culture of Death

by Mark S. Schantz

"Americans came to fight the Civil War in the midst of a wider cultural world that sent them messages about death that made it easier to kill and to be killed. They understood that death awaited all who were born and prized the ability to face death with a spirit of calm resignation. They believed that a heavenly eternity of transcendent beauty awaited them beyond the grave. They knew that their heroic achievements would be cherished forever by posterity. They grasped that death itself might be seen as artistically fascinating and even beautiful."-from Awaiting the Heavenly Country

How much loss can a nation bear? An America in which 620,000 men die at each other's hands in a war at home is almost inconceivable to us now, yet in 1861 American mothers proudly watched their sons, husbands, and fathers go off to war, knowing they would likely be killed. Today, the death of a soldier in Iraq can become headline news; during the Civil War, sometimes families did not learn of their loved ones' deaths until long after the fact. Did antebellum Americans hold their lives so lightly, or was death so familiar to them that it did not bear avoiding?

In Awaiting the Heavenly Country, Mark S. Schantz argues that American attitudes and ideas about death helped facilitate the war's tremendous carnage. Asserting that nineteenth-century attitudes toward death were firmly in place before the war began rather than arising from a sense of resignation after the losses became apparent, Schantz has written a fascinating and chilling narrative of how a society understood death and reckoned the magnitude of destruction it was willing to tolerate.

Schantz addresses topics such as the pervasiveness of death in the culture of antebellum America; theological discourse and debate on the nature of heaven and the afterlife; the rural cemetery movement and the inheritance of the Greek revival; death as a major topic in American poetry; African American notions of death, slavery, and citizenship; and a treatment of the art of death-including memorial lithographs, postmortem photography and Rembrandt Peale's major exhibition painting The Court of Death. Awaiting the Heavenly Country is essential reading for anyone wanting a deeper understanding of the Civil War and the ways in which antebellum Americans comprehended death and the unimaginable bloodshed on the horizon.

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Balkan Smoke

Tobacco and the Making of Modern Bulgaria

by Mary C. Neuburger

In Balkan Smoke, Mary Neuburger leads readers along the Bulgarian-Ottoman caravan routes and into the coffeehouses of Istanbul and Sofia. She reveals how a remote country was drawn into global economic networks through tobacco production and consumption and in the process became modern. In writing the life of tobacco in Bulgaria from the late Ottoman period through the years of Communist rule, Neuburger gives us much more than the cultural history of a commodity; she provides a fresh perspective on the genesis of modern Bulgaria itself.

The tobacco trade comes to shape most of Bulgaria's international relations; it drew Bulgaria into its fateful alliance with Nazi Germany and in the postwar period Bulgaria was the primary supplier of smokes (the famed Bulgarian Gold) for the USSR and its satellites. By the late 1960s Bulgaria was the number one exporter of tobacco in the world, with roughly one eighth of its population involved in production.

Through the pages of this book we visit the places where tobacco is grown and meet the merchants, the workers, and the peasant growers, most of whom are Muslim by the postwar period. Along the way, we learn how smoking and anti-smoking impulses influenced perceptions of luxury and necessity, questions of novelty, imitation, value, taste, and gender-based respectability. While the scope is often global, Neuburger also explores the politics of tobacco within Bulgaria. Among the book's surprises are the ways in which conflicts over the tobacco industry (and smoking) help to clarify the forbidding quagmire of Bulgarian politics.

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