New Faculty Books: November & December 2022

Posted
November 15, 2022
4 books by our faculty members are out this month: The Great Power of Small Nation, The Mirror and the Mind, The Art of Discovery, and Merchants of Virtue

The Great Power of Small Nations Indigenous Diplomacy in the Gulf South by Elizabeth N. EllisThe Great Power of Small Nations: Indigenous Diplomacy in the Gulf South

By Elizabeth Ellis
November 2022

In The Great Power of Small Nations, Elizabeth N. Ellis (Peoria) tells the stories of the many smaller Native American nations that shaped the development of the Gulf South. Based on extensive archival research and oral histories, Ellis’s narrative chronicles how diverse Indigenous peoples—including Biloxis, Choctaws, Chitimachas, Chickasaws, Houmas, Mobilians, and Tunicas—influenced and often challenged the growth of colonial Louisiana. The book centers on questions of Native nation-building and international diplomacy, and it argues that Native American migration and practices of offering refuge to migrants in crisis enabled Native nations to survive the violence of colonization. Read more about The Great Power of Small Nations.

The Mirror and the Mind: A History of Self-Recognition in the Human Sciences by Katja GuentherThe Mirror and the Mind: A History of Self-Recognition in the Human Sciences

By Katja Guenther
November 2022

Since the late eighteenth century, scientists have placed subjects—humans, infants, animals, and robots—in front of mirrors in order to look for signs of self-recognition. Mirrors served as the possible means for answering the question: What makes us human? In The Mirror and the Mind, Katja Guenther traces the history of the mirror self-recognition test, exploring how researchers from a range of disciplines—psychoanalysis, psychiatry, developmental and animal psychology, cybernetics, anthropology, and neuroscience—came to read the peculiar behaviors elicited by mirrors. Investigating the ways mirrors could lead to both identification and misidentification, Guenther looks at how such experiments ultimately failed to determine human specificity. Read more about The Mirror and the Mind.

The Art of Discovery: Digging into the Past in Renaissance Europe by Maren Elisabeth Schwab and Anthony GraftonThe Art of Discovery: Digging into the Past in Renaissance Europe

By Maren Elisabeth Schwab and Anthony Grafton
November 2022

A panoramic history of the antiquarians whose discoveries transformed Renaissance culture and gave rise to new forms of art and knowledge

In the early fifteenth century, a casket containing the remains of the Roman historian Livy was unearthed at a Benedictine abbey in Padua. The find was greeted with the same enthusiasm as the bones of a Christian saint, and established a pattern that antiquarians would follow for centuries to come. The Art of Discovery tells the stories of the Renaissance antiquarians who turned material remains of the ancient world into sources for scholars and artists, inspirations for palaces and churches, and objects of pilgrimage and devotion. Read more about The Art of Discovery.

Merchants of Virtue Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century South Asia by Divya CherianMerchants of Virtue: Hindus, Muslims, and Untouchables in Eighteenth-Century South Asia

By Divya Cherian
December 2022

Merchants of Virtue explores the question of what it meant to be Hindu in precolonial South Asia. Divya Cherian presents a fine-grained study of everyday life and local politics in the kingdom of Marwar in eighteenth-century western India to uncover how merchants enforced their caste ideals of vegetarianism and bodily austerity as universal markers of Hindu identity. Using legal strategies and alliances with elites, these merchants successfully remade the category of “Hindu,” setting it in contrast to “Untouchable” in a process that reconfigured Hinduism in caste terms. In a history pertinent to understanding India today, Cherian establishes the centrality of caste to the early-modern Hindu self and to its imagination of inadmissible others. Read more about Merchants of Virtue.