In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for arts and philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence.

For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene, this will be a convenient term to use from here on to…


Congratulations to Bruno Latour for being named the 2021 Kyoto Prize laureate for arts and philosophy. To celebrate, here’s an excerpt from We Have Never Been Modern.

By claiming that the modern Constitution does not permit itself to be understood, by proposing to reveal the practices that allow it to exist, by asserting that the critical mechanism has outlived its usefulness, am I behaving as though we were entering a new era that would follow the era of the moderns? Would I then be, literally, postmodern? Postmodernism is a symptom, not a fresh solution. It lives under the modern Constitution…


To celebrate Pride Month, we are highlighting excerpts from books that explore the lives and experiences of the LGBT+ community. This second excerpt comes from How To Be Gay, a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, in which David M. Halperin, a pioneer of LGBTQ studies, dares to suggest that gayness is a way of being that gay men must learn from one another to become who they are.

The official line of the post-Stonewall gay movement in the United States has gone something like this: “We are not freaks or monsters. We are the same as you: we are…


To celebrate Pride Month, we are highlighting excerpts from books that explore the lives and experiences of the LGBT+ community. Nathaniel Frank’s Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America tells the dramatic story of the struggle for same-sex couples to legally marry, something that is now taken for granted. Below, he describes the beginnings of the gay rights movement.

For homophiles of the 1950s, identifying as gay was almost always a risky and radical act, even if their ensuing demands were “merely” to be treated like everyone else. The first gay Americans to picket the White House…


In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’re showcasing titles that document the Asian American experience. Our second excerpt comes from Beth Lew-Williams’s prize-winning book The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America, which historian Richard White describes as “a powerful argument about racial violence that could not be more timely.”

Monday night, Gong was asleep in his tent when the vigilantes returned without warning in the darkness. “So many shot fired it sounded all same [as] China New Year,” he told a coroner’s jury a few days later. As bullets…


In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’re showcasing titles that document the Asian American experience. This week we have an excerpt from Duncan Ryūken Williams’s Los Angeles Times bestseller, American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War. George Takei called it “A must-read for anyone interested in the implacable quest for civil liberties, social and racial justice, religious freedom, and American belonging.”

Three weeks after Pearl Harbor, FBI agents showed up at the Kimura family’s farmhouse to question her father. Nobuichi Kimura, Masumi’s father, was carrying a shotgun when he answered…


In Love’s Shadow, Paul A. Bové presents a case for literary critics and other humanists to stop wallowing in their aestheticized helplessness and instead turn to poetry, comedy, and love.

Bové challenges young lit critters to throw away their shades and let the sun shine in. Love’s Shadow is his three-step manifesto for a new literary criticism that risks sentimentality and melodrama and eschews self-consciousness. The first step is to choose poetry. There has been since the time of Plato a battle between philosophy and poetry. Philosophy has championed misogyny, while poetry has championed women, like Shakespeare’s Rosalind. Philosophy is…


The menorah, the seven-branched candelabrum, has traversed millennia as a living symbol of Judaism and the Jewish people. Naturally, it did not pass through the ages unaltered. The Menorah: From the Bible to Modern Israel explores the cultural and intellectual history of the Western world’s oldest continuously used religious symbol. Steven Fine’s meticulously researched yet deeply personal history explains how the menorah illuminates the great changes and continuities in Jewish culture, from biblical times to modern Israel. Here is an excerpt looking at Rabbi Edgar Magnin’s magnificent domed synagogue in Los Angeles.

In 1929 Rabbi Edgar Magnin, the rabbi of…


A swarm raid is one of nature’s great spectacles. In tropical rainforests around the world, army ants march in groups by the thousands to overwhelm large solitary invertebrates, along with nests of termites, wasps, and other ants. They kill and dismember their prey and carry it back to their nest, where their hungry brood devours it. They are the ultimate social hunters, demonstrating the most fascinating collective behavior.

In Army Ants: Nature’s Ultimate Social Hunters we see how these insects play a crucial role in promoting and sustaining the biodiversity of tropical ecosystems. Through observations, stories, and stunning images, Daniel…


Globalization has a bad name. Critics on the Left have long attacked it for exploiting the poor and undermining labor. Today, the Right challenges globalization for tilting the field against advanced economies. Kimberly Clausing faces down the critics from both sides, demonstrating that open economies are a force for good, not least in helping the most vulnerable. In Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital, Clausing outlines a progressive agenda to manage globalization more effectively, presenting strategies to equip workers for a modern economy, improve tax policy, and establish a better partnership between labor and the…

Harvard University Press

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