New Faculty Books: November and December 2023

Oct. 31, 2023

Scenes of Attention

Edited by D. Graham Burnett and Justin E. H. Smith
November 2023

Are we paying enough attention? At least since the nineteenth century, critics have alleged a widespread and profound failure of attentiveness—to others, to ourselves, to the world around us, to what is truly worthy of focus. Why is there such great anxiety over attention? What is at stake in understanding attention and the challenges it faces?

This book investigates attention from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including philosophy, history, anthropology, art history, and comparative literature. Read more about Scenes of Attention.

Changing the Game: William G. Bowen and the Challenges of American Higher Education

By Nancy Weiss Malkiel
November 2023

How a visionary university and foundation president tackled some of the thorniest problems facing higher education

As provost and then president of Princeton University, William G. Bowen (1933–2016) took on the biggest and most complex challenges confronting higher education: cost disease, inclusion, affirmative action, college access, and college completion. Later, as president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, he took his vision for higher education—and the strategies for accomplishing that vision—to a larger arena. Along the way, he wrote a series of influential books, including the widely read The Shape of the River (coauthored with Derek Bok), which documented the success of policies designed to increase racial diversity at elite institutions. In Changing the Game, drawing on deep archival research and hundreds of interviews, Nancy Weiss Malkiel argues that Bowen was the most consequential higher education leader of his generation. Read more about Changing the Game.

Magus: The Art of Magic from Faustus to Agrippa

By Anthony Grafton
December 5

A revelatory new account of the magus—the learned magician—and his place in the intellectual, social, and cultural world of Renaissance Europe.

In literary legend, Faustus is the quintessential occult personality of early modern Europe. The historical Faustus, however, was something quite different: a magus—a learned magician fully embedded in the scholarly currents and public life of the Renaissance. And he was hardly the only one. Anthony Grafton argues that the magus in sixteenth-century Europe was a distinctive intellectual type, both different from and indebted to medieval counterparts as well as contemporaries like the engineer, the artist, the Christian humanist, and the religious reformer. Alongside these better-known figures, the magus had a transformative impact on his social world. Read more about Magus.