What We Are Reading Today: The Fate of Rome

Updated 23 March 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: The Fate of Rome

Author: Kyle Harper

Here is the monumental retelling of one of the most consequential chapters of human history: The fall of the Roman Empire. The Fate of Rome is the first book to examine the catastrophic role that climate change and infectious diseases played in the collapse of Rome’s power — a story of nature’s triumph over human ambition.
Interweaving a grand historical narrative with cutting-edge climate science and genetic discoveries, Kyle Harper traces how the fate of Rome was decided not just by emperors, soldiers, and barbarians but also by volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, climate instability, and devastating viruses and bacteria.
He takes readers from Rome’s pinnacle in the second century, when the empire seemed an invincible superpower, to its unraveling by the 7th century, when Rome was politically fragmented and materially depleted, says a review on the Princeton University Press website. Harper describes how the Romans were resilient in the face of enormous environmental stress, until the besieged empire could no longer withstand the combined challenges of a “little ice age” and recurrent outbreaks of bubonic plague.


What We Are Reading Today: digitalSTS

Updated 17 April 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: digitalSTS

  • Classic work in science and technology studies (STS) has played a central role in how these fields analyze digital technologies

Authors: Janet Vertesi and David Ribes

Scholars across the humanities, social sciences, and information sciences are grappling with how best to study virtual environments, use computational tools in their research, and engage audiences with their results. 

Classic work in science and technology studies (STS) has played a central role in how these fields analyze digital technologies, but many of its key examples do not speak to today’s computational realities. This groundbreaking collection brings together a world-class group of contributors to refresh the canon for contemporary digital scholarship, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

In 25 pioneering and incisive essays, this unique digital field guide offers innovative new approaches to digital scholarship, the design of digital tools and objects, and the deployment of critically grounded technologies for analysis and discovery. Contributors cover a broad range of topics, including software development, digitized objects, diversity in the tech sector, and distributed scientific collaborations.