Photographs are an integral part of our daily lives - from snapshots and tabloid newspapers to art photography in galleries and exhibitions. Edwards combines a sense of the historical development of photography with an insightful analysis of its purpose and meaning within a wider cultural context.
This wide-ranging exploration of the Renaissance sees the period as a time of unprecedented intellectual excitement and cultural experimentation and interaction on a global scale. It guides the reader through the key issues that defined the period, from art, architecture, and literature, to advances in science, trade and travel.
Interest in citizenship has never been higher. But what does it mean to be a citizen in a modern, complex community? Richard Bellamy approaches the subject of citizenship from a political perspective and, in clear and accessible language, addresses the complexities behind this highly topical issue.
Roland Barthes was the leading figure of French Structuralism, the theoretical movement of the 1960s which revolutionized the study of literature and culture, as well as history and psychoanalysis. But Barthes was a man who disliked orthodoxies. This book surveys Barthes' work in prose.
Explores the range of media employed by both Dada and Surrealism, whilst at the same time establishing the aesthetic differences between the movements. This book also examines the Dadaist obsession with the body-as-mechanism in relation to the Surrealists' return to the fetishized/eroticized body.
Focuses on the philosophy and argument of Plato's writings, drawing the reader into Plato's way of doing philosophy and the general themes of his thinking. This work discusses his style of writing: his use of the dialogue form, his use of what we call fiction, and his philosophical transformation of myths.
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) is one of the most famous and important philosophers of the twentieth century. In this account of his life and work A. C. Grayling introduces both his technical contributions to logic and philosophy, and his wide-ranging views on education, politics, war, and sexual morality.
Schopenhauer is the most readable of German philosophers. This book gives a succinct explanation of Schopenhauer's metaphysical system, concentrating on the original aspects of thought which inspired thinkers such as Nietzsche, Wagner, Freud, and Wittgenstein. It aims to reveal him as a challenging, progressive, and highly influential thinker.
Ideology is one of the most controversial terms in the political vocabulary, inciting both revulsion and inspiration. This book explains why ideologies deserve respect as a major form of political thinking, without which we cannot make sense of the political world. It also explores the changing understandings of ideology as a concept.
Rousseau was both a central figure of the European Enlightenment and its most formidable critic. This study of his works, across a range of disciplines, shows how his thinking and writing were inspired by an ideal of humanity's self-realization in a condition of unfettered freedom.
Many people regard Hegel's work as obscure and extremely difficult, yet his importance and influence are universally acknowledged. Peter Singer eliminates any excuse for remaining ignorant of the outlines of Hegel's philosophy by providing a broad discussion of his ideas and an account of his major works.
As well as being a remarkable statesman, Nelson Mandela has become a universal symbol of justice, a secular saint. Elleke Boehmer examines not only the great anti-apartheid leader's life, but also the ways in which images and representations have been used to create the Mandela we know today - an internationally recognized icon of freedom.
This book explores what it means to be rational in a variety of contexts, from personal decisions to those affecting large groups of people. It introduces ideas from economics, philosophy, and other areas, showing how the theory applies to particular situations such as gambling and the allocation of resources.
From prehistoric times to the origins of astrophysics in the mid nineteenth century, this title offers an introduction to the history of Western astronomy. It focuses on topics as the merging of Babylonian and Greek astronomy in later Antiquity, Kepler's conversion of astronomy into a branch of dynamics, and the explorations of the universe.
Presenting an introduction to ethics, this work tackles the moral questions surrounding birth, death, happiness, desire, and freedom. It also shows us how we should think about the meaning of life, and how we should mistrust the soundbite-sized absolutes that often dominate moral debates.
Interest in Buddhist thought has grown dramatically, and with it, the desire to understand where Buddhism stands on a range of contemporary ethical questions, which have not been traditionally addressed. This work examines issues including animal rights, the environment, abortion, and cloning, from a Buddhist perspective.
Was love invented by European poets in the Middle Ages or is it part of human nature? Will winning the lottery really make you happy? Is it possible to build robots that have feelings? Drawing on a range of scientific research, from anthropology and psychology to neuroscience and artificial intelligence, this work explores many such questions.
Sartre, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, de Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, and Camus were some of the most important existentialist thinkers. This book provides an account of the existentialist movement, and of the themes of individuality, free will, and personal responsibility which make it a 'philosophy as a way of life'.
What is socialism? Does it have a future, or has it become an outdated ideology in the 21st century? Michael Newman examines and explains the successes and failures of modern socialism, taking an international perspective, and discussing its evolution from the 19th century to the present day.
Explains why innovation and controversy are valued in the arts, bringing together philosophy, art theory, and many examples. This work discusses blood, beauty, culture, money, sex, web sites, and research on the brain's role in perceiving art. It is suitable for the public, introductory students, and teachers in the arts.
Engles' was not only the father of dialectical and historical materialism, the official philosophies of history and science in many communist countries; he was also the first Marxist historian, anthropologist, philosopher, and commentator on early Marx. This introductory book explores the importance of Engels's thought and work.
This Very Short Introduction aims to disentangle the 'real' Marquis de Sade from his mythical and demonic reputation of the past two hundred years. Phillips examines Sade's life and work: his libertine novels, his championing of atheism, and his uniqueness in bringing the body and sex back into philosophy.
Examines various aspects of ancient warfare from philosophy to the technical skills needed to fight. This work looks at war in a wider context and explores the ways in which ancient society thought about conflict: can a war be just? Why was siege warfare particularly bloody? What role did divine intervention play in the outcome of a battle?
Explores the place and importance of literature in Russian culture. How and when did a Russian national literature come into being? What shaped its creation? How have the Russians regarded their literary language? This book uses the figure of Pushkin, 'the Russian Shakespeare', as an example.
This Very Short Introduction explores the science of sound and its nature, hearing and harmony. Considering sound we can't hear, the author also covers different sound worlds, as well as noise and its reduction.
What is 'contemporary' about contemporary art? Who is really running the art world? This controversial and witty exploration of the dramatic changes that have taken place in the art world since the fall of the Berlin Wall provides a critical look at the reasons for the current art boom, and reveals the politics behind the business.
Benedict de Spinoza (1632-77) was at once the father of the Enlightenment and the last sad guardian of the medieval world, who attempted to reconcile the conflicting moral and intellectual demands of his epoch. This book presents an analysis of Spinoza's thought, and shows its relevance to the intellectual preoccupations in the modern times.
Christian images have a long history within the Western art tradition from the devotional works of the Renaissance period, to the interpretations of the 21st century. This book explores the changing nature of the representation of themes and subjects found in Christian art, covering the Eucharist, the crucifixion, the Virgin Mary, and the saints.
Film is considered to be the dominant art form of the twentieth century. It can be considered many other things; a record of events, a modern mythology, a career, an industry, an art, a hobby, and much else. Michael Wood explores the history of film, its venture into the digital age, and its role and impact on modern society.
In 336 BC Alexander the Great became king of Macedon. During his twelve-year reign he conquered the Achaemenid Persian Empire, the largest to have yet existed, and in the process had a profound effect on the world he moved through. In this examination of his life and career, Hugh Bowden explores his cultural and historical legacy.
What does U.S. history look like with women at the center of the story? From Pocahantas to military women serving in the Iraqi war, this Very Short Introduction chronicles the contributions that women have made to the American experience from a multicultural perspective that emphasizes how gender shapes women's-and men's-lives.
As public interest in modern art continues to grow, there is a real need for a book that will engage general readers, offering them not only information and ideas about modern art, but also explaining its contemporary relevance and its history. This book does just that.
Amid the catastrophes of the twentieth century, the Spanish Civil War continues to exert a particular fascination. The Spanish Civil War: A Very Short Introduction provides a powerfully-written explanation of the war's complex origins and course, and explores its impact on a personal and an international scale.
Racism exists in many different forms, in almost every facet of society. This book demystifies the subject and explores its history, science, and culture. Shedding light on how racism has evolved since its earliest beginnings, it examines the notion of race from a modern genetic viewpoint.
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.
The Viking reputation is of bloodthirsty seafaring warriors. Yet Vikings were also traders, settlers, and farmers, with a complex artistic and linguistic culture. Using archaeological evidence, this book attempts to reveal the whole Viking world: their history, society and culture, and their expansion overseas for trade, colonization, and plunder.
Do you think of atheists as immoral pessimists who live their lives without meaning, purpose, or values? Think again! Atheism: A Very Short Introduction sets out to dispel the myths that surround atheism and show how a life without religious belief can be positive, meaningful, and moral.
The WTO has a deep and far reaching impact on people's everyday lives, and in its short lifetime has generated debate, controversy and outrage. This VSI provides an essential and accessible explanation of the political, economic, and ethical controversies: What the WTO is, what it does, and whether it works.
What do anarchists want? Can anarchy ever function effectively as a political force? Is anarchism more 'organized' and 'reasonable' than is currently perceived? Colin Ward explains what anarchism means and who anarchists are in this illuminating and accessible introduction to the subject.
Covers topics such as foreign policy, the world economy, and globalization, showing how many disciplines come together in the study of international events. This book explains the theories underlying the subject of International Relations and uses them to investigate issues of foreign policy, arms control, the environment, and world poverty.
Epidemiology is the study of the changing patterns of disease. It is a vital field, central to the health of society, to the identification of causes of disease, and to their management and prevention. This Very Short Introduction dispels some of the myths relating to clinical trials, vaccination campaigns, and statistics concerning disease.
Explores the issues and debates about Northern Ireland in the historical context of hundreds of years of conflict. This book tackles many questions, such as: what accounts for the perpetuation of ethnic and religious conflict in Ireland? Why has armed violence proven so hard to control? And, who are the major figures and issues in the conflict?
In simple language, without mathematics, this book explains the strange and exciting ideas that make the subatomic world so different from the world of the every day. It offers the general reader access to one of the greatest discoveries in the history of physics and one of the oustanding intellectual achievements of the twentieth century.
How, when, and why did the Cold War begin? What impact did it have on the United States, the Soviet Union, Europe, and the Third World? Finally, what difference did it make to the history of the second half of the twentieth century? This overview of the Cold War aims to invite debate and encourage investigation.
Adopting a different approach to ancient Egypt, this book aims to illuminate the complex world of Egyptian myth. It explores the cultural and historical background behind a variety of sources and objects, from Cleopatra's Needle and Tutankhamun's golden statue, to a story on papyrus of the gods misbehaving.
Exploring the geological research, this title explains how advances in the understanding of plate tectonics, seismology, and satellite imagery have enabled us to see the Earth for what it is. It introduces the concepts of continental drift, the earth's structure, sea floor spreading, and the relationship between the atmosphere and the oceans.
Botticelli, Holbein, Leonardo, Durer, Michelangelo: the names are familiar, as are the works. But, who were these artists, why did they produce such memorable images, and how would their beholders have viewed these objects? This book answers such questions by considering famous and lesser-known artists, patrons, and works of art from the period.
This Very Short Introduction traces the history of paleoanthropology from its beginnings in the eighteenth century to the very latest fossil finds. Bernard Wood shows how evidence from both fossils and the Human Genome Project can explain where modern-day humans fit into the Tree of Life.
The Celts have long been a subject of enormous fascination, speculation, and misunderstanding. This title seeks to reveal this fascinating people, exploring subjects such as trade, migration, and the evolution of Celtic traditions, and examining such characters as St Patrick, Cu Chulainn, and Boudica.
The Roman Empire was a remarkable achievement. This introduction covers the history of the empire at its height, looking at its people, religions and social structures. It explains how it deployed violence, 'romanisation', and tactical power to develop an astonishingly uniform culture from Rome to its furthest outreaches.
Shows how John Locke, a great English philosopher of 18th century, arrived at his theory of knowledge. This work also shows how the liberal values of toleration formed the backbone of European thought of the 18th century. It looks at the questions which he addressed with such tenacity: 'how Man can know' and 'how Man should try to live'.