What We Are Reading Today: Maria Theresa: The Habsburg Empress in Her Time

What We Are Reading Today: Maria Theresa: The Habsburg Empress in Her Time
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Updated 21 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Maria Theresa: The Habsburg Empress in Her Time

What We Are Reading Today: Maria Theresa: The Habsburg Empress in Her Time

Author: Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger

Maria Theresa (1717–1780) was once the most powerful woman in Europe.

At the age of 23, she ascended to the throne of the Habsburg Empire, a far-flung realm composed of diverse ethnicities and languages, beset on all sides by enemies and rivals.

Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger provides the definitive biography of Maria Theresa, situating this exceptional empress within her time while dispelling the myths surrounding her.

Drawing on a wealth of archival evidence, Stollberg-Rilinger examines all facets of 18th-century society, from piety and patronage to sexuality and childcare, ceremonial life at court, diplomacy, and the everyday indignities of warfare.

She challenges the idealized image of Maria Theresa as an enlightened reformer and mother of her lands who embodied both feminine beauty and virile bellicosity, showing how she despised the ideas of the Enlightenment.


What We Are Reading Today: Politics and Governance in Bangladesh by

What We Are Reading Today: Politics and Governance in Bangladesh by
Updated 15 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Politics and Governance in Bangladesh by

What We Are Reading Today: Politics and Governance in Bangladesh by

Editors: Ipshita Basu, Joe Devine, Geoff Wood

“Politics and Governance in Bangladesh” explores the central issue of Bangladeshi politics: The weakness of governance.

The coexistence of a poor governance track record and a relatively strong socioeconomic performance make Bangladesh an intriguing case which throws up exciting and relevant conceptual and policy challenges.

Structured in four sections — Political settlement, elites and deep structures; democracy, citizenship and values; civil society, local context and political change; informality and accountability — the book identifies and engages with these challenges.

Chapters by experts in the field share a number of conceptual and epistemological principles and offer a combination of theoretical and empirical insights, and cover a good range of contemporary issues and debate, according to a review on goodreads.com.

Employing a structurally determinist perspective, this book explains politics and society in Bangladesh from a novel perspective.


What We Are Reading Today: How to Tell a Story: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Storytelling for Writers and Readers

What We Are Reading Today: How to Tell a Story: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Storytelling for Writers and Readers
Updated 14 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: How to Tell a Story: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Storytelling for Writers and Readers

What We Are Reading Today: How to Tell a Story: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Storytelling for Writers and Readers

Author: Aristotle

Aristotle’s Poetics is the most important book ever written for writers and readers of stories—whether novels, short fiction, plays, screenplays, or nonfiction. Aristotle was the first to identify the keys to plot, character, audience perception, tragic pleasure, and dozens of other critical points of good storytelling. Despite being written more than 2,000 years ago, the Poetics remains essential reading for anyone who wants to learn how to write a captivating story—or understand how such stories work and achieve their psychological effects.

 


What We Are Reading Today: The Mind and the Moon

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Updated 14 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Mind and the Moon

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  • He explores the history of drug development, modes of treatment and the marketing of psycho-pharmaceuticals

Author: Daniel Bergner

The Mind and the Moon raises profound questions about how “we understand ourselves and the essential human divide between our brains and our minds,” said a review in Goodreads.com.
This is a book of thought-provoking reframings, delving into the science — and spirit — of our psyches.
It is about vulnerability and personal dignity, the terrifying choices confronted by families and patients, and the prospect of alternatives.
In The Mind and the Moon, Bergner beautifully “explores how to seek a deeper engagement with ourselves and one another — and how to find a better path toward caring for our minds,” said the review.
He reveals how the pharmaceutical industry has perpetuated “our biological view of the mind and our drug-based assumptions about treatment — despite the shocking price paid by many patients and the problematic evidence of drug efficacy,” the review added.
He explores the history of drug development, modes of treatment and the marketing of psycho-pharmaceuticals.
“And he takes us into the pioneering labs of today’s preeminent neuroscientists,” said the review.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Hot Molecule, Cold Electrons

What We Are Reading Today: Hot Molecule, Cold Electrons
Updated 13 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Hot Molecule, Cold Electrons

What We Are Reading Today: Hot Molecule, Cold Electrons

Author: Paul J. Nahin 
Heat, like gravity, shapes nearly every aspect of our world and universe, from how milk dissolves in coffee to how molten planets cool.

The heat equation, a cornerstone of modern physics, demystifies such processes, painting a mathematical picture of the way heat diffuses through matter.

Presenting the mathematics and history behind the heat equation, Hot Molecules, Cold Electrons tells the remarkable story of how this foundational idea brought about one of the greatest technological advancements of the modern era.

Paul Nahin vividly recounts the heat equation’s tremendous influence on society, showing how French mathematical physicist Joseph Fourier discovered, derived, and solved the equation in the early nineteenth century.


What We Are Reading Today: Chinese Art and Dynastic Time

What We Are Reading Today: Chinese Art and Dynastic Time
Updated 12 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Chinese Art and Dynastic Time

What We Are Reading Today: Chinese Art and Dynastic Time

Author: Wu Hang

Throughout Chinese history, dynastic time—the organization of history through the lens of successive dynasties—has been the dominant mode of narrating the story of Chinese art, even though there has been little examination of this concept in discourse and practice until now. 

Chinese Art and Dynastic Time uncovers how the development of Chinese art was described in its original cultural, sociopolitical, and artistic contexts, and how these narratives were interwoven with contemporaneous artistic creation.

In doing so, leading art historian Wu Hung opens up new pathways for the consideration of not only Chinese art, but also the whole of art history.