What We Are Reading Today: The Philosophical Stage; Drama and Dialectic in Classical Athens

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Updated 17 June 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Philosophical Stage; Drama and Dialectic in Classical Athens

Edited by Joshua Billings

The Philosophical Stage offers an innovative approach to ancient Greek literature and thought that places drama at the heart of intellectual history. Drawing on evidence from tragedy and comedy, Joshua Billings shines new light on the development of early Greek philosophy, arguing that drama is our best source for understanding the intellectual culture of classical Athens.

In this incisive book, Billings recasts classical Greek intellectual history as a conversation across discourses and demonstrates the significance of dramatic reflections on widely shared theoretical questions. He argues that neither “literature” nor “philosophy” was a defined category in the fifth century BCE, and develops a method of reading dramatic form as a structured investigation of issues at the heart of the emerging discipline of philosophy.

A breathtaking work of intellectual history by one of today’s most original classical scholars, The Philosophical Stage presents a novel approach to ancient drama and sets a path for a renewed understanding of early Greek thought.


What We Are Reading Today: The Making of the Modern Philippines by Philip Bowring

Updated 14 August 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Making of the Modern Philippines by Philip Bowring

The Philippines is an eclectic and unique mix of culture, environment, people and politics. Known mostly for natural disasters, migrant labor and dictatorial presidents, in this book Philip Bowing shows how it is much, much more, according to a review on goodreads.com.

Deftly navigating the history of this populous island republic, the book traces its history to define and explain its position in the modern world.

Looking past the headlines of volcanoes, earthquakes and violence, it asks why has the Filipino economy lagged behind its neighbors, and explores the importance of its location in geopolitics.

Taking the history of the Philippines from its pre-colonial era, through its Spanish and American occupations and up to the modern day, it unravels the complex politics, culture, peoples and economy of this rich and unique nation.

Engaging with challenges the Filipino people face today such as federalism, revolution, Mindanao, the diaspora, capitalism and relations with China, it rediscovers the struggles, culture and history of its past to understand the present.

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What We Are Reading Today: Salmon Wars

Updated 12 August 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Salmon Wars

Authors: Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins

In Salmon Wars, investigative journalists Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins bring readers to massive ocean feedlots where millions of salmon are crammed into parasite-plagued cages and fed a chemical-laced diet.
The authors reveal the conditions inside hatcheries, and at the farms that threaten our fragile coasts. They draw colorful portraits of characters, such as the big salmon farmer who poisoned his own backyard and the American researcher driven out of Norway for raising the alarm about dangerous contaminants in the fish.
Frantz and Collins document how the industrialization of salmon threatens this keystone species, and they show how it doesn’t need to be this way.


What We Are Reading Today: African Democracy and Development

Updated 02 August 2022

What We Are Reading Today: African Democracy and Development

Authors: Cassandra R. Veney and Dick Simpson

Various African nations have undergone conflict situations since they gained their independence. This book focuses on particular countries that have faced conflict (civil wars and genocide) and are now in the process of rebuilding their political, economic, social, and educational institutions.

The countries that are addressed in the book include: Rwanda, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In addition, there is a chapter that addresses the role of the African Diaspora in conflict and post-conflict countries that include Eritrea, Liberia, and Somalia. The book includes an examination of the various actors who are involved in post-conflict rebuilding and reconstruction that involves internal and external participants. For example, it is clear that the internal actors involve Africans themselves as ordinary citizens, members of local and national governments, and members of non-governmental organizations. This allows the reader to understand the agency and empowerment of Africans in post-conflict reconstruction, according to a review on goodreads.com.


What We Are Reading Today: Forgotten Continent by Michael Reid

Updated 01 August 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Forgotten Continent by Michael Reid

Latin America has often been condemned to failure. Neither poor enough to evoke Africa’s moral crusade, nor as explosively booming as China, it has largely been overlooked by the West. Yet this vast continent, home to half a billion people, the world’s largest reserves of arable land, and 8.5 percent of global oil, is busily transforming its political and economic landscape.

This book argues that Latin America’s efforts to build fairer and more prosperous societies make it one of the world’s most vigorous laboratories for capitalist democracy, according to a review on goodreads.com.

In many countries —including Brazil, Chile and Mexico — democratic leaders are laying the foundations for faster economic growth and more inclusive politics, as well as tackling deep-rooted problems of poverty, inequality, and social injustice. They face a new challenge.

Failure will increase the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants to the US and Europe, jeopardize stability in a region rich in oil and other strategic commodities, and threaten some of the world’s most majestic natural environments.

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What We Are Reading Today: The Mind of a Bee by Lars Chittka

Updated 27 July 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Mind of a Bee by Lars Chittka

Most of us are aware of the hive mind—the power of bees as an amazing collective. But do we know how uniquely intelligent bees are as individuals?

In The Mind of a Bee, Lars Chittka draws from decades of research, including his own pioneering work, to argue that bees have remarkable cognitive abilities.

He shows that they are profoundly smart, have distinct personalities, can recognize flowers and human faces, exhibit basic emotions, count, use simple tools, solve problems, and learn by observing others. They may even possess consciousness.

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