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How Language Informs Mathematics

Bridging Hegelian Dialectics and Marxian Models

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Dirk Damsma

In How Language Informs Mathematics Dirk Damsma shows how Hegel’s and Marx’s systematic dialectical analysis of mathematical and economic language helps us understand the structure and nature of mathematical and capitalist systems. More importantly, Damsma shows how knowledge of the latter can inform model assumptions and help improve models.

His book provides a blueprint for an approach to economic model building that does away with arbitrarily chosen assumptions and is sensitive to the institutional structures of capitalism. In light of the failure of mainstream economics to understand systemic failures like the financial crisis and given the arbitrary character of most assumptions in mainstream models, such an approach is desperately needed.

Landscapes, Sources and Intellectual Projects of the West African Past

Essays in Honour of Paulo Fernando de Moraes Farias

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Edited by Toby Green and Benedetta Rossi

Landscapes, Sources and Intellectual Projects of the West African Past offers a comprehensive assessment of new directions in the historiography of West Africa. With twenty-four chapters by leading researchers in the study of West African history and cultures, the volume examines the main trends in multiple fields including the critical interpretation of Arabic sources; new archaeological surveys of trans-Saharan trade; the discovery of sources in Latin America relating to pan-Atlantic histories; and the continuing analysis of oral histories. The volume is dedicated to Paulo Fernando de Moraes Farias, whose work inspired the intellectual reorientations discussed in its chapters and stands as the clearest formulation of the book’s central focus on the relationship between political conjunctures and the production of sources.

Contributors are: Benjamin Acloque, Karin Barber, Seydou Camara, Mamadou Diawara, Paulo Fernando de Moraes Farias, François-Xavier Fauvelle, Nikolas Gestrich, Toby Green, Bruce Hall, Jan Jansen, Shamil Jeppie, Daouda Keita, Murray Last, Robin Law, Camille Lefebvre, Paul Lovejoy, Ghislaine Lydon, Carlos Magnavita, Sonja Magnavita, Kevin MacDonald, Thomas McCaskie, Ann McDougall, Daniela Moreau, Mauro Nobili, Insa Nolte, Abel-Wedoud Ould-Cheikh, Benedetta Rossi, Charles Stewart.

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Hye-Joon Yoon

The Rhetoric of Tenses in Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” examines the tenses of the predicates in the famous and typical passages of the monumental work to explore the intricacies of the rhetoric and argument they support, paying particular attention to the question of temporality. Smith’s subtle modulation of language attests to his reluctance to offer a mere theory of economics and to his refusal to ignore the complicated challenges history and actuality offer to his beliefs in the natural system of liberty. The theoretical frame of the book is derived from the grammarians of Smith’s age, in particular James Harris. The supple interdisciplinary approach of this book invites literary and publishing histories to converse with intellectual history.

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John Neubauer

This work, completed by Neubauer on the very eve of his death in 2015, complements both his benchmark The Emancipation of Music from Language (Yale UP, 1986) and his History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe (John Benjamins, 2004-10). It thematizes Romantic interest in oral speech, its poetical usage in music and musical discourse, and its political usage in the national-communitarian cult of the vernacular community. Subtly and with great erudition, Neubauer traces in different genres and fields the many transnational cross-currents around Romantic cultural criticism and writings on music and language, offering not only fresh analytical insights but also a rich account of the interaction between Romantic aesthetics and cultural nationalism.

The Dispersion

A History of the Word Diaspora

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Stéphane Dufoix

Winner of the 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award

In The Dispersion, Stéphane Dufoix skillfully traces how the word “diaspora”, first coined in the third century BCE, has, over the past three decades, developed into a contemporary concept often considered to be ideally suited to grasping the complexities of our current world. Spanning two millennia, from the Septuagint to the emergence of Zionism, from early Christianity to the Moravians, from slavery to the defence of the Black cause, from its first scholarly uses to academic ubiquity, from the early negative connotations of the term to its contemporary apotheosis, Stéphane Dufoix explores the historical socio-semantics of a word that, perhaps paradoxically, has entered the vernacular while remaining poorly understood.