Evolving Attitudes towards "Others" in Modern Shiʿi Thought and Practice
Author: Meir Litvak
In Know Thy Enemy, Meir Litvak analyzes the re-articulations of the “Others” in modern Shiʿism, as a novel way to examine the formulation of modern Shiʿi identity and place in the world. Among these others, which have transformed into "enemies" in the modern period are the West, apostates, Wahhabism, Jews, Baha'is and feminism.

Looking at the rhetorical themes that Shiʿi writers use, the book demonstrates the contrast between the collective positive “We” and the negative threatening "Other" as a major principle in the evolution of Shiʻism as the minority branch of Islam. It offers a complex view of Shiʿi identity combining a sense of victimhood and insecurity together with conviction of intellectual and moral superiority and long-term triumph.
Fire, Security, and Modernities, 1400 to 1900
Over 8,200 large city fires broke out between 1000 and 1939 CE in Central Europe. Prometheus Tamed inquires into the long-term history of that fire ecology, its local and regional frequencies, its relationship to climate history. It asks for the visual and narrative representation of that threat in every-day life. Institutional forms of fire insurance emerged in the form of private joint stock companies (the British model, starting in 1681) or in the form of cameralist fire insurances (the German model, starting in 1676). They contributed to shape and change society, transforming old communities of charitable solidarity into risk communities, finally supplemented by networks of cosmopolite aid. After 1830, insurance agencies expanded tremendously quickly all over the globe: Cultural clashes of Western and native perceptions of fire risk and of what is insurance can be studied as part of a critical archaeology of world risk society and the plurality of modernities.
Play and Illusion in Renaissance Humanism
Author: Timothy Kircher
In Before Enlightenment: Play and Illusion in Renaissance Humanism, Timothy Kircher argues for new ways of appreciating Renaissance humanist philosophy. Literary qualities – tone, voice, persona, style, imagery – composed a core of their philosophizing, so that play and illusion, as well as rational certainty, formed pre-Enlightenment ideas about knowledge, ethics, and metaphysics.

Before Enlightenment takes issue with the long-standing view of humanism’s philosophical mediocrity. It shows new features of Renaissance culture that help explain the origins not only of Enlightenment rationalists, but also of early modern novelists and essayists. If humanist writings promoted objective knowledge based on reason’s supremacy over emotion, they also showed awareness of one’s place and play in the world. The animal rationale is also the homo ludens.
Author: Hernán D. Caro
The reign of philosophical optimism, or the doctrine of the ‘best of all possible worlds’, in modern European philosophy began in 1710 with the publication of Leibniz’s Theodicy, about God’s goodness and wisdom, divine and human freedom, and the meaning of evil. It ended on November 1, 1755 with the Lisbon Earthquake, which was followed by numerous attacks against optimism, starting with Voltaire’s Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne and Candide. But the years between both events were intense.

In this book, Hernán D. Caro offers the first comprehensive survey of the criticisms of optimism before the infamous earthquake, a time when the foundations of what has been called the ‘debacle of the perfect world’ were first laid.
Christian-Muslim Relations, a Bibliographical History Volume 17 (CMR 17) covering Great Britain, the Netherlands and Scandinavia in the period 1800-1914, is a further volume in a general history of relations between the two faiths from the 7th century to the early 20th century. It comprises a series of introductory essays and the main body of detailed entries. These treat all the works, surviving or lost, that have been recorded. They provide biographical details of the authors, descriptions and assessments of the works themselves, and complete accounts of manuscripts, editions, translations and studies. The result of collaboration between numerous leading scholars, CMR 17, along with the other volumes in this series, is intended as a basic tool for research in Christian-Muslim relations.

Section Editors: Clinton Bennett, Luis F. Bernabé Pons, Jaco Beyers, Emanuele Colombo, Lejla Demiri, Martha Frederiks, David D. Grafton, Stanisław Grodź, Alan Guenther, Vincenzo Lavenia, Arely Medina, Alain Messaoudi, Gordon Nickel, Claire Norton, Radu Păun, Reza Pourjavady, Douglas Pratt, Charles Ramsey, Peter Riddell, Umar Ryad, Cornelia Soldat, Karel Steenbrink, Charles Tieszen, Carsten Walbiner, Catherina Wenzel