Poetic Trespass: Writing Between Hebrew and Arabic in Israel/Palestine

Author: Lital Levy
Publisher: Princeton University Press, 2014B_4_Levy_PoeticTrespass

A Palestinian-Israeli poet declares a new state whose language, “Homelandic,” is a combination of Arabic and Hebrew. A Jewish- Israeli author imagines a “language plague” that infects young Hebrew speakers with old-world accents, and sends the narrator in search of his Arabic heritage. In Poetic Trespass, Lital Levy, associate professor of comparative literature, brings together such startling visions to offer the first in-depth study of the relationship between Hebrew and Arabic in the literature and culture of Israel/Palestine. More than that, she presents a captivating portrait of the literary imagination’s power to transgress political boundaries and transform ideas about language and belonging.

Blending history and literature, Poetic Trespass traces the interwoven life of Arabic and Hebrew in Israel/Palestine from the turn of the 20th century to the present, exposing the two languages’ intimate entanglements in contemporary works of prose, poetry, film and visual art by both Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel.

All text and images courtesy of the publisher.

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Sailing the Water’s Edge: The Domestic Politics of American Foreign Policy

Authors: Helen V. Milner and Dustin Tingley
Publisher: Princeton University Press, 2015B_5_Milner_SailingTheWater'sEdge

When engaging with other countries, the U.S. government has a number of different policy instruments at its disposal, including foreign aid, international trade and the use of military force. But what determines which policies are chosen? Does the United States rely too much on the use of military power and coercion in its foreign policies? Sailing the Water’s Edge focuses on how domestic U.S. politics — in particular the interactions between the president, Congress, interest groups, bureaucratic institutions and the public — have influenced foreign policy choices since World War II and shows why presidents have more control over some policy instruments than others.

Helen Milner, Princeton’s B.C. Forbes Professor of Public Affairs and professor of politics and international affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School, and Dustin Tingley, professor of government at Harvard University, explore whether American foreign policy will remain guided by a grand strategy of liberal internationalism, what affects American foreign policy successes and failures, and the role of U.S. intelligence collection in shaping foreign policy. Sailing the Water’s Edge examines the importance of domestic political coalitions and institutions on the formation of American foreign policy.

All text and images courtesy of the publisher.

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Beyond Greek: The Beginnings of Latin Literature

Author: Denis Feeney
Publisher: Harvard University Press, 2016 (available January)

B_1_Feeney_Beyond_GreekVirgil, Ovid, Cicero, Horace and other authors of ancient Rome are so firmly established in the Western canon today that the birth of Latin literature seems inevitable. Yet, as Denis Feeney, the Giger Professor of Latin and professor of classics, boldly argues, the beginnings of Latin literature were anything but inevitable. The cultural flourishing that in time produced the Aeneid, the Metamorphoses, and other Latin classics was one of the strangest events in history.

Beyond Greek traces the emergence of Latin literature from 240 to 140 B.C., beginning with Roman stage productions of plays that represented the first translations of Greek literary texts into another language. From a modern perspective, translating foreign-language literature into the vernacular seems perfectly normal. But in an ancient Mediterranean world made up of many multilingual societies with no equivalent to the text-based literature of the Greeks, literary translation was unusual if not unprecedented. Feeney shows how it allowed the Romans to systematically take over Greek forms of tragedy, comedy and epic, making them their own and giving birth to what has become known as Latin literature.

All text and images courtesy of the publisher.

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The Cosmic Web: Mysterious Architecture of the Universe

Author: J. Richard Gott
Publisher: Princeton University Press, 2016 (available February)
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Professor of Astrophysics J. Richard Gott was among the first cosmologists to propose that the structure of our universe is like a sponge made up of clusters of galaxies intricately connected by filaments of galaxies — a magnificent structure now called the “cosmic web” and mapped extensively by teams of astronomers. Here is his gripping insider’s account of how a generation of undaunted theorists and observers solved the mystery of the architecture of our cosmos.

Drawing on Gott’s own experiences working at the frontiers of science with many of today’s leading cosmologists, The Cosmic Web shows how ambitious telescope surveys such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey are transforming our understanding of the cosmos, and how the cosmic web holds vital clues to the origins of the universe and the next trillion years that lie ahead.

All text and images courtesy of the publisher.

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Sound Rising from the Paper: Nineteenth-Century Martial Arts Fiction and the Chinese Acoustic Imagination

Author: Paize Keulemans
Publisher: Harvard University Press, 2014

B_3_KeulemansChinese martial arts novels from the late 19th century are filled with a host of suggestive sounds. Characters cuss and curse in colorful dialect accents, vendor calls ring out from bustling marketplaces, and martial arts action scenes come to life with the loud clash of swords and the sounds of bodies colliding. What is the purpose of these sounds, and what is their history?

In Sound Rising from the Paper, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies Paize Keulemans answers these questions by critically reexamining the relationship between martial arts novels published in the final decades of the 19th century and earlier storyteller manuscripts. He finds that by incorporating, imitating and sometimes inventing storyteller sounds, these novels turned the text from a silent object into a lively simulacrum of festival atmosphere, thereby transforming the solitary act of reading into the communal sharing of an oral performance. By focusing on the role sound played in late 19th-century martial arts fiction, Keulemans offers alternatives to the visual models that have dominated our approach to the study of print culture, the commercialization of textual production, and the construction of the modern reading subject.

All text and images courtesy of the publisher.

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Equal Recognition: The Moral Foundations of Minority Rights

B_6_Patten_EqualAuthor: Alan Patten
Publisher: Princeton University Press, 2015

Conflicting claims about culture are a familiar refrain of political life in the contemporary world. On one side, majorities seek to fashion the state in their own image, while on the other, cultural minorities press for greater recognition and accommodation. Theories of liberal democracy are at odds about the merits of these competing claims. Multicultural liberals hold that particular minority rights are a requirement of justice conceived of in a broadly liberal fashion. Critics, in turn, have questioned the motivations, coherence and normative validity of such defenses of multiculturalism.

In Equal Recognition, Alan Patten, the Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Politics, reasserts the case in favor of liberal multiculturalism by developing a new ethical defense of minority rights. He describes a new, nonessentialist account of culture, and he rehabilitates and reconceptualizes the idea of liberal neutrality and uses this idea to develop a distinctive normative argument for minority rights.

All text and images courtesy of the publisher.

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JHUMPA LAHIRI awarded National Humanities Medal

PHOTO BY MARCO DELOGU

PHOTO BY MARCO DELOGU

Jhumpa Lahiri, whose novels and short stories explore the immigrant experience, family, love, language and cultural identity, was named a recipient of the 2014 National Humanities Medal. The medal was conferred by President Barack Obama at a ceremony at the White House on Sept. 10, 2015.

The citation for the award honored Lahiri, who joined the faculty in 2015 as a professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts, “for enlarging the human story. In her works of fiction, Dr. Lahiri has illuminated the Indian-American experience in beautifully wrought narratives of estrangement and belonging.”

Her 1999 debut collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies, which probes issues of love and identity among immigrants and cultural transplants, won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the PEN/Hemingway Award and The New Yorker’s Best Debut of the Year Award. Her 2013 novel The Lowland was a National Book Award and Man Booker Prize finalist. Her 2003 novel The Namesake was released as a film in 2007.

Lahiri’s most recent book of short stories, Unaccustomed Earth, received the 2008 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and was a finalist for the Story Prize. Her forthcoming book, In Other Words, explores the often emotionally fraught links between identity and language.

–By Jamie Saxon

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BONNIE BASSLER receives Shaw Prize in life science and medicine

PHOTO BY ALENA SOBOLEVA

PHOTO BY ALENA SOBOLEVA

Bonnie Bassler, the Squibb Professor in Molecular Biology and chair of the Department of Molecular Biology, was named a 2015 Shaw Laureate in life science and medicine on June 1, 2015. Awarded by the Hong Kong-based Shaw Foundation, the Shaw Prize honors recent breakthroughs by active researchers in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, and life and medical sciences.

Bassler was recognized for her well-known work in quorum sensing, a widespread process that bacteria use for cell-to-cell communication. Understanding quorum sensing “offers innovative ways to interfere with bacterial pathogens or to modulate the microbiome for health applications,” according to the prize citation. Bassler, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, shares the $1 million prize with E. Peter Greenberg, a University of Washington professor of microbiology. The 2015 prizes were awarded during a Sept. 24 ceremony in Hong Kong.

–By Morgan Kelly

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MANJUL BHARGAVA awarded Fields Medal in mathematics

Discovery_2015_Manjul

PHOTO BY DENISE APPLEWHITE

Manjul Bhargava, the Brandon Fradd, Class of 1983, Professor of Mathematics, was awarded the 2014 Fields Medal, one of the most prestigious awards in mathematics, in recognition of his work in the geometry of numbers. The International Mathematical Union (IMU) presents the medal every four years to researchers under the age of 40 based on the influence of their existing work and on their “promise of future achievement.”

The honor, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of mathematics,” was awarded to four researchers at the 2014 IMU International Congress of Mathematicians held in Seoul, South Korea. The prize committee commended Bhargava “for developing powerful new methods in the geometry of numbers, which he applied to count rings of small rank and to bound the average rank of elliptic curves.”

The IMU further wrote that his “work in number theory has had a profound influence on the field. A mathematician of extraordinary creativity, he has a taste for simple problems of timeless beauty, which he has solved by developing elegant and powerful new methods that offer deep insight. … He surely will bring more delights and surprises to mathematics in the years to come.”

–By Morgan Kelly

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JEREMIAH OSTRIKER and LYMAN PAGE receive Gruber Cosmology Prize

Lyman Page

Lyman Page. PHOTO BY DENISE APPLEWHITE

The 2015 Gruber Foundation Cosmology Prize has been awarded to Jeremiah Ostriker and Lyman Page for “individual and collective contributions to the study of the universe on the largest scales.”

The two share the prize with John Carlstrom of the University of Chicago. Half of the $500,000 prize went to Ostriker, while Carlstrom and Page divided the other half. Each also received a gold medal at the XXIX General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Aug. 3, 2015. Ostriker is the Charles A. Young Professor of Astronomy on the Class of 1897 Foundation, Emeritus, and Page is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Physics.

Jeremiah Ostriker

Jeremiah Ostriker. PHOTO BY DENISE APPLEWHITE

According to the award citation, Ostriker was honored for his “groundbreaking body of work over a five-decade career,” while Carlstrom and Page “have each overseen ground-based experiments providing a wealth of information about the origins and evolution of the universe. Together the theoretical and experimental work of these three scientists has contributed to, clarified and advanced today’s standard cosmological model.”

–By Catherine Zandonella

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