What We Are Doing Today: Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves by Kirk Savage

Updated 30 July 2018
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What We Are Doing Today: Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves by Kirk Savage

Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves explores how the history of slavery and its violent end was told in public spaces — specifically in the sculptural monuments that came to dominate streets, parks, and town squares in 19th-century America. 

Looking at monuments built and unbuilt, author Kirk Savage shows how the greatest era of monument building in American history took place amid struggles over race, gender, and collective memory. 

Savage is the William S. Dietrich II Professor of History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. 

He is the author of Monument Wars: Washington D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape (Princeton) and the editor of The Civil War in Art and Memory. Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves probes a host of fascinating questions and remains the only sustained investigation of post-Civil War monument building as a process of national and racial definition, according to a review published in the Princeton University Press website. 

Featuring a new preface by the author that reflects on recent events surrounding the meaning of these monuments, and new photography and illustrations throughout, this new and expanded edition reveals how monuments have only become more controversial with the passage of time.


What We Are Reading Today: The Discrete Charm of the Machine by Ken Steiglitz

Updated 17 January 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: The Discrete Charm of the Machine by Ken Steiglitz

A few short decades ago, we were informed by the smooth signals of analog television and radio; we communicated using our analog telephones; and we even computed with analog computers.

Today our world is digital, built with zeros and ones.

Why did this revolution occur? The Discrete Charm of the Machine explains, in an engaging and accessible manner, the varied physical and logical reasons behind this radical transformation, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

The spark of individual genius shines through this story of innovation: The stored program of Jacquard’s loom; Charles Babbage’s logical branching; Alan Turing’s brilliant abstraction of the discrete machine; Harry Nyquist’s foundation for digital signal processing; Claude Shannon’s breakthrough insights into the meaning of information and bandwidth; and Richard Feynman’s prescient proposals for nanotechnology and quantum computing. Ken Steiglitz follows the progression of these ideas in the building of our digital world.