Whether we realize it or not, we carry in our mouths the legacy of our evolution. Our teeth are like living fossils that can be studied and compared to those of our ancestors to teach us how we became human. In Evolution's Bite: A Story of Teeth, Diet, and Human Origins (Princeton UP, 2018), noted paleoanthropologist Peter Ungar brings together for the first time cutting-edge advances in understanding human evolution and climate change with new approaches to uncovering dietary clues from fossil teeth to present a remarkable investigation into the ways that teeth—their shape, chemistry, and wear—reveal how we came to be. Ungar describes how a tooth’s “foodprints”—distinctive patterns of microscopic wear and tear—provide telltale details about what an animal actually ate in the past. These clues, combined with groundbreaking research in paleoclimatology, demonstrate how a changing climate altered the food options available to our ancestors. When diets change, species change, and Ungar traces how diet and an unpredictable climate determined who among our ancestors was winnowed out and who survived, as well as why we transitioned from the role of forager to farmer. By sifting through the evidence—and the scars on our teeth—Ungar makes the important case for what might or might not be the most natural diet for humans. Traveling the four corners of the globe and combining scientific breakthroughs with vivid narrative, Evolution’s Bite presents a unique dental perspective on our astonishing human development. Hussein Mohsen is a PhD/MA Candidate in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics/History of Science and Medicine at Yale University. His research interests span network and interpretable machine learning methods for the study of cancer genomics, and the history of human population genetics. For more about his work, visit http://www.husseinmohsen.com.
Mais episódios de "Princeton UP Ideas Podcast"
Melissa Macauley, "Distant Shores: Colonial Encounters on China's Maritime Frontier" (Princeton UP, 2021)
51:50“The Europeans raise all the cattle, but the Chinese get all the milk.” This joke, told in colonial Singapore, was indicative of the importance of the Chinese diaspora throughout Southeast Asia. Chinese migrants were miners, laborers, merchants and traders: the foundation of many colonial cities throughout Asia--while also making sure that their own communities back home benefited. Distant Shores: Colonial Encounters on China's Maritime Frontier (Princeton University Press: 2021), written by Professor Melissa Macauley, looks at one particular community within the Chinese diaspora: the Chaozhou people--also known as the “Chiu Chow” people--hailing from the Shantou--also known as Swatou--area in Eastern Guangdong Province. The Chouzhouese traveled far and wide, engaging in trade, commerce and business--a history that survives to this day, with many Southern Chinese and Southeast Asian business tycoons having ties to this migrant community. Professor Melissa Macauley is a Professor at Northwestern University, where she specializes in late imperial and modern Chinese history from 1500 to 1958. Her research focuses on such topics as the interrelated history of southeastern China and Southeast Asia; colonialism and imperialism in East and Southeast Asia; and legal culture in Chinese social history. Her first book, Social Power and Legal Culture: Litigation Masters in Late Imperial China (Stanford University Press: 1998) We’re joined in this interview by fellow NBN host Sarah Bramao-Ramos. Sarah is a PHD candidate at Harvard University that studies Qing China. Today, the three of us talk about the Chouzhouese people, and how their trading efforts throughout the region challenges the way we think about “empire” and “colonialism”. You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Distant Shores. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia. Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.
Dennis C. Rasmussen, "Fears of a Setting Sun: The Disillusionment of America's Founders" (Princeton UP, 2021)
54:34When Americans conjure the image of the signing of the Constitution of the United States, they often think about the various paintings that depict the Founders looking to George Washington on the dais at the convention. It is this snapshot of history that embodies Americans’ perceptions of the Founders and their conviction in the creation of the great nation. What Americans fail to understand about America’s Founding is the overwhelming anxieties that many of the Founders experienced, especially as they lived in the new republic that they had created. Not only did they find themselves anxious about the future of the new country, but many were also explicitly pessimistic about the future that they noted in so much of their later writings and letters. Dennis C. Rasmussen, in his new book Fears of a Setting Sun: The Disillusionment of American Founders, addresses this gap in research on the American Founding, and on the Founders themselves. Washington, Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison all wondered whether the system they had worked to establish, build, and defend would live beyond their own generation. In Fears of a Setting Sun: The Disillusionment of America's Founders (Princeton UP, 2021), Rasmussen explores the enduring arguments made by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams that convinced them of America’s inevitable demise. Modern Americans conceptualize the founding of the United States as an isolated moment in time, and rarely consider the reality of how the Founders spent the remainder of their lives putting the Constitution to work. Rasmussen places the founders’ fears in context of the ongoing chaos of the late 1700’s where other countries were facing revolution, treason, and anarchy. Fear of a Setting Sun’s purpose is not to disregard the founders’ optimism in the system they created, and in fact the book heralds James Madison’s lifelong optimism and belief that the American experiment would prevail—though he is at odds with the other major Founders in this regard. Fear of a Setting Sun explores the Founders’ disillusionment in order to provide a fuller meaning of American constitutionalism and the value that is formed in its implementation. Rasmussen provides a perspective that changes what scholars and the general public believe and know about the founding of the republic, the historical stakes at the time of the founding, and how the Founders generally grew more pessimistic over time about the potential for the new republic to achieve its great potential. This book will be of interest to political scientists, historians, students and scholars of the founding period and the ideas and personalities that dominated the early days of the American republic. Shaina Boldt assisted with this podcast. Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at [email protected] or tweet to @gorenlj.
Naomi Oreskes, "Why Trust Science?" (Princeton UP, 2021)
33:06Do doctors really know what they are talking about when they tell us vaccines are safe? Should we take climate experts at their word when they warn us about the perils of global warming? Why should we trust science when our own politicians don’t? In this landmark book, Naomi Oreskes offers a bold and compelling defense of science, revealing why the social character of scientific knowledge is its greatest strength—and the greatest reason we can trust it. Tracing the history and philosophy of science from the late nineteenth century to today, Oreskes explains that, contrary to popular belief, there is no single scientific method. Rather, the trustworthiness of scientific claims derives from the social process by which they are rigorously vetted. This process is not perfect—nothing ever is when humans are involved—but she draws vital lessons from cases where scientists got it wrong. Oreskes shows how consensus is a crucial indicator of when a scientific matter has been settled, and when the knowledge produced is likely to be trustworthy. Based on the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Princeton University, Why Trust Science? (Princeton UP, 2021) features critical responses by climate experts Ottmar Edenhofer and Martin Kowarsch, political scientist Jon Krosnick, philosopher of science Marc Lange, and science historian Susan Lindee, as well as a foreword by political theorist Stephen Macedo. Marshall Poe is the founder and editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at [email protected]oksnetwork.com.
Jennifer Carlson, "Policing the Second Amendment: Guns, Law Enforcement, and the Politics of Race" (Princeton UP, 2020)
1:01:02When Americans talk about guns, they often use terms like “gun rights” or “gun control.” They also tend to separate gun politics and the politics of the police. In Policing and the Second Amendment: Guns, Law Enforcement, and the Politics of Race (Princeton University Press, 2021), Jennifer Carlson identifies the inaccuracies of both. She provides two alternative narratives of American “gun talk” -- gun militarism and gun populism -- that clarify the stakes in today’s gun debates.. Based on her extensive research – using local and national newspapers, interviews with police chiefs, and observations made at gun licensing boards – she insists these two discourses reveal how race shapes both how gun politics unfold and how gun policies are created to differentiate between legitimate violence and criminal violence. Coercive social control is organized by racialized understandings of gun violence. Carlson demonstrates the roles that the NRA, police chiefs, and gun administrators play in distinguishing the boundaries of legitimate violence for both private and public gun owners. For her, linking the politics of guns with the politics of the police clarifies our political and policy debates -- as well as the complex terrain negotiated each day between police and private civilians in our social lives. Dr. Jennifer Carlson is an Associate Professor of Sociology, Government, & Public Policy at the University of Arizona. Her remarkable earlier book, Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline (Oxford, 2015), has shaped the study of how guns impact American society in multiple fields. Her public facing scholarship includes commentary in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. Daniella Campos assisted with this podcast.
Matthew J. Lacombe, "Firepower: How the NRA Turned Gun Owners Into a Political Force" (Princeton UP, 2021)
50:39Firepower: How the NRA Turned Gun Owners into a Political Force (Princeton, 2021) explores the scope and power of one of America’s most influential interest groups. Despite widespread public support for stricter gun control laws, the National Rifle Association has consistently managed to defeat or weaken proposed regulations. Firepower provides an unprecedented look at how this controversial organization built its political power and how it has deployed it on behalf of its pro-gun agenda. Taking readers from the 1930s to the age of Donald Trump, Matthew Lacombe traces how the NRA’s immense influence on national politics arises from its ability to shape the political outlooks and actions of its followers. He draws on nearly a century of archival records and surveys to show how the organization has fashioned a distinct worldview around gun ownership and used it to mobilize its supporters. Lacombe reveals how the NRA’s cultivation of a large, unified, and active base has enabled it to build a resilient alliance with the Republican Party, and he examines why the NRA and its members formed an important constituency that helped fuel Trump’s unlikely political rise. Firepower sheds vital new light on how the NRA has grown powerful by mobilizing average Americans and how it uses its GOP alliance to advance its objectives and shape the national agenda. Matthew Lacombe is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University. He studies American politics, with a broad focus on understanding and explaining political power in the U.S. His research and teaching interests engage with interest groups and political parties, social identity and political ideology, inequality and representation, and American political development. In addition to Firepower, he is the co-author of Billionaires and Stealth Politics, a book that details the political preferences and behavior of U.S. billionaires. Joe Renouard is Resident Professor of American Studies and Fei Yi-Ming Journalism Foundation Chair of American Government and Comparative Politics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Nanjing, China.
Steven Nadler and Lawrence Shapiro, "When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People: How Philosophy Can Save Us from Ourselves" (Princeton UP, 2021)
44:05There is an epidemic of bad thinking in the world today. An alarming number of people are embracing crazy, even dangerous ideas. They believe that vaccinations cause autism. They reject the scientific consensus on climate change as a “hoax.” And they blame the spread of COVID-19 on the 5G network or a Chinese cabal. Worse, bad thinking drives bad acting—it even inspired a mob to storm the U.S. Capitol. In this book, Steven Nadler and Lawrence Shapiro argue that the best antidote for bad thinking is the wisdom, insights, and practical skills of philosophy. When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People: How Philosophy Can Save Us from Ourselves (Princeton UP, 2021) provides an engaging tour through the basic principles of logic, argument, evidence, and probability that can make all of us more reasonable and responsible citizens. When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People shows how we can more readily spot and avoid flawed arguments and unreliable information; determine whether evidence supports or contradicts an idea; distinguish between merely believing something and knowing it; and much more. In doing so, the book reveals how epistemology, which addresses the nature of belief and knowledge, and ethics, the study of moral principles that should govern our behavior, can reduce bad thinking. Moreover, the book shows why philosophy’s millennia-old advice about how to lead a good, rational, and examined life is essential for escaping our current predicament. In a world in which irrationality has exploded to deadly effect, When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People is a timely and essential guide for a return to reason. Marshall Poe is the founder and editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at [email protected]
Peter S. Ungar, "Evolution's Bite: A Story of Teeth, Diet, and Human Origins" (Princeton UP, 2018)
1:01:01Whether we realize it or not, we carry in our mouths the legacy of our evolution. Our teeth are like living fossils that can be studied and compared to those of our ancestors to teach us how we became human. In Evolution's Bite: A Story of Teeth, Diet, and Human Origins (Princeton UP, 2018), noted paleoanthropologist Peter Ungar brings together for the first time cutting-edge advances in understanding human evolution and climate change with new approaches to uncovering dietary clues from fossil teeth to present a remarkable investigation into the ways that teeth—their shape, chemistry, and wear—reveal how we came to be. Ungar describes how a tooth’s “foodprints”—distinctive patterns of microscopic wear and tear—provide telltale details about what an animal actually ate in the past. These clues, combined with groundbreaking research in paleoclimatology, demonstrate how a changing climate altered the food options available to our ancestors. When diets change, species change, and Ungar traces how diet and an unpredictable climate determined who among our ancestors was winnowed out and who survived, as well as why we transitioned from the role of forager to farmer. By sifting through the evidence—and the scars on our teeth—Ungar makes the important case for what might or might not be the most natural diet for humans. Traveling the four corners of the globe and combining scientific breakthroughs with vivid narrative, Evolution’s Bite presents a unique dental perspective on our astonishing human development. Hussein Mohsen is a PhD/MA Candidate in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics/History of Science and Medicine at Yale University. His research interests span network and interpretable machine learning methods for the study of cancer genomics, and the history of human population genetics. For more about his work, visit http://www.husseinmohsen.com.
Claudia Goldin, "Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey toward Equity" (Princeton UP, 2021)
51:07A century ago, it was a given that a woman with a college degree had to choose between having a career and a family. Today, there are more female college graduates than ever before, and more women want to have a career and family, yet challenges persist at work and at home. This book traces how generations of women have responded to the problem of balancing career and family as the twentieth century experienced a sea change in gender equality, revealing why true equity for dual career couples remains frustratingly out of reach. Drawing on decades of her own groundbreaking research, Claudia Goldin provides a fresh, in-depth look at the diverse experiences of college-educated women from the 1900s to today, examining the aspirations they formed—and the barriers they faced—in terms of career, job, marriage, and children. She shows how many professions are “greedy,” paying disproportionately more for long hours and weekend work, and how this perpetuates disparities between women and men. Goldin demonstrates how the era of COVID-19 has severely hindered women’s advancement, yet how the growth of remote and flexible work may be the pandemic’s silver lining. Antidiscrimination laws and unbiased managers, while valuable, are not enough. Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey toward Equity (Princeton UP, 2021) explains why we must make fundamental changes to the way we work and how we value caregiving if we are ever to achieve gender equality and couple equity. Marshall Poe is the founder and editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at [email protected]
Elizabeth Carolyn Miller, "Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion" (Princeton UP, 2021)
47:47The 1830s to the 1930s saw the rise of large-scale industrial mining in the British imperial world. Elizabeth Carolyn Miller examines how literature of this era reckoned with a new vision of civilization where humans are dependent on finite, nonrenewable stores of earthly resources, and traces how the threatening horizon of resource exhaustion worked its way into narrative form. Britain was the first nation to transition to industry based on fossil fuels, which put its novelists and writers in the remarkable position of mediating the emergence of extraction-based life. Miller looks at works like Hard Times, The Mill on the Floss, and Sons and Lovers, showing how the provincial realist novel's longstanding reliance on marriage and inheritance plots transforms against the backdrop of exhaustion to withhold the promise of reproductive futurity. She explores how adventure stories like Treasure Island and Heart of Darkness reorient fictional space toward the resource frontier. And she shows how utopian and fantasy works like "Sultana's Dream," The Time Machine, and The Hobbit offer imaginative ways of envisioning energy beyond extractivism. Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion (Princeton UP, 2021) reveals how an era marked by violent mineral resource rushes gave rise to literary forms and genres that extend extractivism as a mode of environmental understanding.
Gábor Ágoston, "The Last Muslim Conquest: The Ottoman Empire and Its Wars in Europe" (Princeton UP, 2021)
2:29:30The image of the Ottoman Turks and their interaction with the Christian West, has undergone many changes in the past: from William Gladstone's famous comment that: “[The Turks] one and all, bag and baggage, shall, I hope, clear out from the province they have desolated and profaned.” To the more recent revisionist views of the 'cultural exchange' school, who de-emphasize the military conquest, endemic violence and proto-ethnic cleansing that were in fact part and parcel of Ottoman rule in the Balkans and elsewhere. And, instead emphasize cultural interaction between the Christian West and the Muslim East. In his new book The Last Muslim Conquest: The Ottoman Empire and Its Wars in Europe (Princeton UP, 2021), Ottoman specialist, Professor Gabor Agoston, of Georgetown University, goes beyond both of the above schools, in a post-revisionist treatment which while not ignoring some aspects of the 'cultural exchange' school, retains the correct emphasize on Ottoman Turk policies of military conquest, violence and expansionism in the Balkans and elsewhere. In a treatment which depends upon rich stream of research in Ottoman Turkish archives as well as elsewhere, Professor Agoston provides the reader with an in depth analysis of the military structure that made the Ottoman Turks one of the great, military and imperial powers of the 16th and 17th centuries. And why that power's failure to adapt, eventually resulted in its long decline and eventual fall. In short, Professor Agoston's treatment is a splendid work, aimed at both the academic and the lay educated audience. A sheet delight to read. Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.