Abstraction haunts medieval art, both withdrawing figuration and suggesting elusive presence. How does it make or destroy meaning in the process? Does it suggest the failure of figuration, the faltering of iconography? Does medieval abstraction function because it is imperfect, incomplete, and uncorrected-and therefore cognitively, visually demanding? Is it, conversely, precisely about perfection? To what extent is the abstract predicated on theorization of the unrepresentable and imperceptible? Does medieval abstraction pit aesthetics against metaphysics, or does it enrich it, or frame it, or both? Essays in this collection explore these and other questions that coalesce around three broad themes: medieval abstraction as the untethering of image from what it purports to represent, abstraction as a vehicle for signification, and abstraction as a form of figuration. Contributors approach the concept of medieval abstraction from a multitude of perspectives-formal, semiotic, iconographic, material, phenomenological, epistemological.
The widespread use of mobile internet and smart applications has led to an explosive growth in mobile data traffic, which will continue due to the emerging need of connecting people, machines, and applications in an ubiquitous manner through the mobile infrastructure. The efficient and satisfactory operation of all these densely deployed networks hinges on a suitable backhaul and fronthaul provisioning. The research community is working to provide innovative technologies with extensive performance evaluation metrics along with the required standardisation milestones, hardware and components for a fully deployed network by 2020 and beyond.
The study of African languages in Germany, or Afrikanistik, originated among Protestant missionaries in the early nineteenth century and was incorporated into German universities after Germany entered the “Scramble for Africa” and became a colonial power in the 1880s. Despite its long history, few know about the German literature on African languages or the prominence of Germans in the discipline of African philology. In Africa in Translation: A History of Colonial Linguistics in Germany and Beyond, 1814–1945, Sara Pugach works to fill this gap, arguing that Afrikanistik was essential to the construction of racialist knowledge in Germany. While in other countries biological explanations of African difference were central to African studies, the German approach was essentially linguistic, linking language to culture and national identity. Pugach traces this linguistic focus back to the missionaries’ belief that conversion could not occur unless the “Word” was allowed to touch a person’s heart in his or her native language, as well as to the connection between German missionaries living in Africa and armchair linguists in places like Berlin and Hamburg. Over the years, this resulted in Afrikanistik scholars using language and culture rather than biology to categorize African ethnic and racial groups. Africa in Translation follows the history of Afrikanistik from its roots in the missionaries’ practical linguistic concerns to its development as an academic subject in both Germany and South Africa throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Jacket image: Perthes, Justus. Mittel und Süd-Afrika. Map. Courtesy of the University of Michigan's Stephen S. Clark Library map collection.
An interdisciplinary perspective on the use and abuse of power in political economy.
This book explores the ambivalent nature of power as wielded in economic practices from an empirical perspective. It offers a collection of country-based cases and critically assesses the existing conceptions of power from a cross-disciplinary perspective. Analyzing power at the macro, meso, and micro levels allows the volume to highlight the complexity of political economy in the twenty-first century. Each chapter addresses key elements of a given political economy (from the ambivalence of the cases of former communist countries that do not conform with the grand narratives about democracy and markets to the dual utility of new technologies such as face-recognition), thus providing mounting evidence for the centrality of understanding ambivalence in the analysis of power.
From a wider disciplinary perspective, modern conflict archaeology is now a thoroughly established and mature sub-discipline. However, a significant problem conflict archaeologists in the Netherlands face is that modern eras, including both World Wars, have so far not received serious attention. Although both World Wars appeal strongly to the popular imagination, until recently Dutch researchers had not approached modern conflict from an academic archaeological perspective to any great extent. This is partly the result of problematic legislation on archaeological activity in the Netherlands. When applied and interpreted appropriately, archaeology can play an important role in the preservation, contemporary experience and historical reconstruction of recent conflicts. However, as this book argues, research methods other than excavations will be needed in order to conduct conflict archaeology in the Netherlands effectively. This study aims to develop a Dutch approach to conflict archaeology, integrating archaeology, heritage research and history at a landscape scale.
Scores of wild species and ecosystems around the world face a variety of human-caused threats, from habitat destruction and fragmentation to rapid climate change. But there is hope, and it, too, comes in a most human form: zoos and aquariums. Gathering a diverse, multi-institutional collection of leading zoo and aquarium scientists as well as historians, philosophers, biologists, and social scientists, The Ark and Beyond traces the history and underscores the present role of these organizations as essential conservation actors. It also offers a framework for their future course, reaffirming that if zoos and aquariums make biodiversity conservation a top priority, these institutions can play a vital role in tackling conservation challenges of global magnitude.
While early menageries were anything but the centers of conservation that many zoos are today, a concern with wildlife preservation has been an integral component of the modern, professionally run zoo since the nineteenth century. From captive breeding initiatives to rewilding programs, zoos and aquariums have long been at the cutting edge of research and conservation science, sites of impressive new genetic and reproductive techniques. Today, their efforts reach even further beyond recreation, with educational programs, community-based conservation initiatives, and international, collaborative programs designed to combat species extinction and protect habitats at a range of scales. Addressing related topics as diverse as zoo animal welfare, species reintroductions, amphibian extinctions, and whether zoos can truly be “wild,” this book explores the whole range of research and conservation practices that spring from zoos and aquariums while emphasizing the historical, scientific, and ethical traditions that shape these efforts. Also featuring an inspiring foreword by the late George Rabb, president emeritus of the Chicago Zoological Society / Brookfield Zoo, The Ark and Beyond illuminates these institutions’ growing significance to the preservation of global biodiversity in this century.