John C. Maher explains why societies everywhere have become more multilingual, despite the disappearance of hundreds of the world languages. He considers our notion of language as national or cultural identities, and discusses why nations cluster and survive around particular languages even as some territories pursue autonomy or nationhood.
In the wake of the Eurozone crisis and Brexit the European Union faces difficult questions about its future. In this debate, the law has a central role to play. But what exactly is EU law about? And why do its Member States respect the commitments they made when they signed the treaties so much more effectively than other treaty-based regimes?
Clinical psychology treats people who are facing difficulties or changes in their lives. Approaching personal distress as an unhappy outcome of certain ways of thinking, behaving and relating, often occurring within difficult circumstances, practitioners work with people to try and help them change what is distressing or concerning them.
English Literature: A Very Short Introduction discusses why literature matters, how narrative works, and what is distinctly English about English literature. Jonathan Bate considers how we determine the content of the field, and looks at the three major kinds of imaginative literature - English poetry, English drama and The English novel.
In this Very Short Introduction Jonathan A. Brown presents both the Muslim version of Muhammad's life, as well as the efforts of Western scholars to uncover the historical Muhammad. He considers the prominent roles that Muhammad's persona has played in the lives of Muslims throughout history, looking at his life and legacy.
In its heyday in the late 1990s, neoliberalism emerged as the world's dominant economic paradigm. But the global financial crisis of 2008-9 fundamentally shocked a globalized economy built on neoliberal assumptions. This VSI examines the origins, core claims, and considerable variations of neoliberalism with examples from around the world.
Jesus Christ is undoubtedly the best-known and most influential human person in world history. Richard Bauckham explores the life of the historical Jesus, using the four Gospels to reconstruct his character, showing how their differences provide us with an insight into more than one angle of a complex historical figure.
Computers form a vital part of most people's lives. But what is the nature of the computer? How does it work? What will the next generations of computers look like? Darrel Ince looks at the basic concepts behind all computers; the range of their uses, the effects of computers in the workplace, and novel forms such as quantum computers.
Everyone has an opinion about the core issues of medical law; from clinical negligence and organ transplantation to abortion, confidentiality, and euthanasia - it deals with matters of life and death. Using case studies to explore the key principles, Charles Foster presents a fascinating Very Short Introduction to medical law.
This Very Short Introduction examines Voltaire's (1694-1778) remarkable life and career. Exploring his most important writings, the impact his work had on our understanding of the European Enlightenment, and his status as a literary celebrity at the time, Nicholas Cronk considers his continued relevance in literature, politics, and philosophy.
What are the origins of the Catholic Church? How has Catholicism changed and adapted over the centuries? What challenges does the Catholic Church face in the twenty-first century? Gerald O'Collins answers these and other questions, and in this new edition considers the impact of Pope Francis' leadership of the Church since 2013.
How have the Jews survived? For millennia, they have defied odds by overcoming the travails of exile, persecution, and recurring plans for their annihilation. This book charts the long journey of the Jews through history. At the same time, it points to two unlikely factors to explain the survival of the Jews: antisemitism and assimilation.
Despite the fact that international migration continues to rise higher and higher on the political agenda, the issue is often either misunderstood or misrepresented by the media. In this Very Short Introduction, Khalid Koser provides an objective and accessible global overview of migration and its impacts.
This Very Short Introduction describes the new field of cognitive neuroscience - the study of what happens in the brain when we perceive, think, reason, remember, and act. Focusing on the human brain, Passingham looks at the most recent research in the field, the modern brain imaging technologies, and what the images can and can't tell us.
In this Very Short Introduction, leading historian of science Owen Gingerich offers a fascinating portrait of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), who developed the concept of a heliocentric universe and is a pivotal figure in the birth of modern science.
This Very Short Introduction offers an overview of the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural awakening among African Americans between the two world wars. Cheryl A. Wall brings readers to the Harlem of 1920s to identify the cultural themes and issues that engaged writers, musicians, and visual artists alike.
This succinct and insightful account of decolonization analyses the tumultuous events that caused the shift from a world of colonial empires to a world of nation-states in the years after World War II.
This Very Short Introduction looks at the nature of learning and how it takes place. From the early experiments of Pavlov, Thorndike, and others to the most recent studies in social learning, Haselgrove discusses learning in both humans and other animals.
This Very Short Introduction outlines the nature of public health in our world today and places public health in its historical context from the earliest times, analysing in particular the changes in public health regulation through the nineteenth century and the twentieth and twenty first centuries.
'Globalization' is one of the defining buzzwords of our time, describing a variety of accelerating economic, political, and cultural processes that constantly change our experience of the world. The fourth edition of this Very Short Introduction provides an exploration of both the causes and effects of the phenomenon.
This Very Short Introduction explores the history of the 18th-century Enlightenment movement. Considering its intellectual commitments, Robertson then turns to their impact on society, and the ways in which Enlightenment thinkers sought to further the goal of human betterment, by promoting economic improvement and civil and political justice.
This Very Short Introduction deals with the social life of language, presenting a succinct account of the most important aspects - both "micro" and "macro" - of sociolinguistics, such as language variation, language attitudes, and the relationship between language and identity.
This Very Short Introduction provides a concise overview of the main themes of contemporary philosophy of science. It explores the fundamental questions and challenges in the field, and looks at philosophical issues in particular sciences, including the problem of classification in biology, and the nature of space and time in physics.
This Very Short Introduction considers the history of Italy from the Risorgimento (the movement leading to Italian Unification in 1861) to the present. It also discusses Italy's political system and style of government; economic modernisation; emigration, internal migration and immigration; and the modern Italian culture and lifestyle.
While the development of Information Technology has been obvious to all, the underpinning computer science has been less apparent. Subrata Dasgupta provides a thought-provoking introduction to the field and its core principles, considering computer science as a science of symbol processing.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe lived to the age of 82 and wrote prodigiously in every genre: drama, poetry, fiction, autobiography, travel narrative, translation from French and Italian, and critical essays on art and literature, besides copious letters and diaries. Ritchie Robertson draws out key themes of his work and explains its lasting importance.
In this Very Short Introduction Jon Balserak explores major ideas and issues associated with the Calvinist system of thought. He looks at how Calvinist ideas and practices spread and took root, helping shape societies today. Much of contemporary thought - especially western thought - on everything from civil government to money, suicide, and divorce has been influenced by Calvinism. Balserak also combats common misconceptions about Calvinism, and explores
the relationship between Calvinism and the modern world.
Earth System Science regards the Earth as an integrated system of interacting atmosphere, oceans, rocks, and biosphere. In this Very Short Introduction, Tim Lenton explores its development over 4.6 billion years, its present state, and its future.
In the second edition of The U.S. Congress, Donald A. Ritchie, a congressional historian for more than thirty years, takes readers on a fascinating, behind-the-scenes tour of Capitol Hill, pointing out the key players, explaining their behavior, and translating parliamentary language into plain English.
This Very Short Introduction provides a narrative interpretation of key themes that emerge in the history of Asian migrations to North America, highlighting how Asian immigration has shaped the evolution of ideological and legal interpretations of America as a 'nation of immigrants'.
Society's attitudes to rhetoric are often very negative. Here, Richard Toye provides an engaging, historically informed introduction to rhetoric, from Ancient Greece to the present day. Wide-ranging in its scope, this Very Short Introduction is the essential starting point for understanding the art of persuasion.
In this easy-to-understand introduction, Stephen Mumford explores one of the four main branches of philosophy: metaphysics. Using practical examples to explore the main issues, he presents the ideas in a clear and simple way, helping to clarify and unravel the basic questions of this complex and abstract concept.
The explorations of archaeology encompass the whole globe, survey 2.5 million years, and range from deserts to jungles, from deep caves to mountain tops, and from pebble tools to GPS. Its efforts to reconstruct and understand the past do not fail to fascinate us. Paul Bahn explores the importance of archaeology in this entertaining introduction.
Animal behaviour is a central topic of zoology, and with the development of ideas concerning the role of genes as well as environment the subject has been transformed. Tristram Wyatt gives a modern view, including a sense of the power of gene knock-outs, computing, and image analysis to enable detailed experiments and observations of behaviour.
Drawing on a mixture of science and history, Prof Lord John Krebs looks at the development of food and the four great transitions that affected the way we eat. From issues such as the obesity crisis and sustainable agriculture to food scares and the role of new technologies, Krebs provides a fascinating exploration of the history of human food.
Diaspora: A Very Short Introduction examines the origins of diaspora as a concept, its changing meanings over time, its current popularity, and its utility in explaining human migration. The book proposes a flexible approach to diaspora based on examples drawn mainly from Jewish, African, Irish, and Asian history.
Looking at the long history of navigation at sea, Jim Bennett discusses the scientific and technological developments that have enabled the accurate measurement of position and setting of directions in the oceans.
This Very Short Introduction explains how organisms can 'know' the time and reveals what we now understand of the nature and operation of chronobiological processes. Covering variables such as light, the metabolism, human health, and the seasons, Foster and Kreitzman illustrate how jet lag and shift work can impact on human well-being.
The Industrial Revolution was one of the great, transforming events of world history. Robert C. Allen explains what happened during this period, and why. He asks why the revolution occured in Britain rather than other countries, and looks at the impact of changing technology and business organizations on contemporary social structures.
In this new edition of the Very Short Introduction to Geopolitics, Klaus Dodds uses a wide range of real-life examples, from the past and present, to demonstrate not only the importance of the links between political power, geography, and cultural diversity, but also how our geopolitical outlook moulds our understanding of the world.
In this new edition of the Very Short Introduction to Journalism, Ian Hargreaves considers the role and place of journalism in our constantly evolving digital world. Exploring issues relating to privacy, democracy, the entertainment industry, and global social media, Hargreaves explores the shape and influence of journalism in years to come.
Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction offers insights into theories about the nature of language and meaning, human identity, and the power of language. Fully updated for 2011 and including a new chapter on 'Ethics and aesthetics', it steers a clear and lucid path through an often impenetrable subject.
Robotics is a key technology in the modern world. Yet, despite these successes, robots have failed to live up to the predictions of the 1950s and 60s. In this Very Short Introduction, Alan Winfield considers how robotics can be both a success story and a disappointment, and how robots can be both ordinary and quite remarkable.
Antarctica attracts great interest from political leaders, journalists, and public audiences around the world. In this Very Short Introduction, Klaus Dodds presents a modern account of Antarctica, looking closely at contemporary developments in commerce, science, sovreignty, and governance.
Using a combination of archaeological data, textual analysis, and ancient documents, this Very Short Introduction to the Trojan War investigates whether or not the war actually took place, whether archaeologists have correctly identified and been excavating the ancient site of Troy, and what has been found there.
In this Very Short Introduction, Alan Taylor presents the current scholarly understanding of colonial America to a broader audience. He focuses on the transatlantic and a transcontinental perspective, examining the interplay of Europe, Africa, and the Americas through the flows of goods, people, plants, animals, capital, and ideas.
The development of a single fertilized egg into a fly, an elephant, or a human baby is one the most remarkable near-miracles achieved by nature. This Very Short Introduction, written by the distinguished developmental biologist Lewis Wolpert, gives a concise account of, and explores, one of the liveliest areas of scientific research.
Organization happens in the act of working with others to accomplish a desired future state. It can happen through intentionally designed activity, spontaneous improvisation, or some combination of the two, but it always requires coordinated effort. This Very Short Introduction provides a lively and thought provoking introduction to the topic.