McKenzie Wark: Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene (2015)

14 May 2016, dusan

“In Molecular Red, McKenzie Wark creates philosophical tools for the Anthropocene, our new planetary epoch, in which human and natural forces are so entwined that the future of one determines that of the other.

Wark explores the implications of Anthropocene through the story of two empires, the Soviet and then the American. The fall of the former prefigures that of the latter. From the ruins of these mighty histories, Wark salvages ideas to help us picture what kind of worlds collective labor might yet build. From the Russian revolution, Wark unearths the work of Alexander Bogdanov—Lenin’s rival—as well as the great Proletkult writer and engineer Andrey Platonov.

The Soviet experiment emerges from the past as an allegory for the new organizational challenges of our time. From deep within the Californian military-entertainment complex, Wark retrieves Donna Haraway‘s cyborg critique and science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson’s Martian utopia as powerful resources for rethinking and remaking the world that climate change has wrought. Molecular Red proposes an alternative realism, where hope is found in what remains and endures.”

Publisher Verso, London and New York, March 2015
ISBN 1781688273, 9781781688274
xxiv+280 pages

Reviews: Slavoj Žižek (Verso 2015, Wark’s response), John Beck (Radical Philosophy 2015), Mark Rappolt (ArtReview 2015), Maria Chehonadskih (Mute 2015, Wark’s response), Two Grenadiers (2015), Pieter Vermeulen & Tom Chadwick (nY 2016), Jim Harper (LSE Review of Books 2016).
Commentary: Joe Guinan (Renewal 2015).

Video lecture (Concordia U, Apr 2015)


See also Molecular Red Reader compiled by Wark (PDF).

Naomi Klein: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (2014)

16 September 2014, dusan

In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism.

Klein argues that the changes to our relationship with nature and one another that are required to respond to the climate crisis humanely should not be viewed as grim penance, but rather as a kind of gift—a catalyst to transform broken economic and cultural priorities and to heal long-festering historical wounds. And she documents the inspiring movements that have already begun this process: communities that are not just refusing to be sites of further fossil fuel extraction but are building the next, regeneration-based economies right now.

Publisher Simon & Schuster, 2014
ISBN 1451697384, 9781451697384
576 pages

Review (David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times)
Review (Sandra Steingraber, EcoWatch)

Book website, Twitter, Facebook


James R. Beniger: The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society (1986)

26 April 2014, dusan

“James Beniger traces the origin of the Information Society to major economic and business crises of the past century. In the United States, applications of steam power in the early 1800s brought a dramatic rise in the speed, volume, and complexity of industrial processes, making them difficult to control. Scores of problems arose: fatal train wrecks, misplacement of freight cars for months at a time, loss of shipments, inability to maintain high rates of inventory turnover. Inevitably the Industrial Revolution, with its ballooning use of energy to drive material processes, required a corresponding growth in the exploitation of information: the Control Revolution.

Between the 1840s and the 1920s came most of the important information-processing and communication technologies still in use today: telegraphy, modern bureaucracy, rotary power printing, the postage stamp, paper money, typewriter, telephone, punch-card processing, motion pictures, radio, and television. Beniger shows that more recent developments in microprocessors, computers, and telecommunications are only a smooth continuation of this Control Revolution. Along the way he touches on many fascinating topics: why breakfast was invented, how trademarks came to be worth more than the companies that own them, why some employees wear uniforms, and whether time zones will always be necessary.”

Publisher Harvard University Press, 1986
ISBN 0674020766, 9780674020764
493 pages
via babyalanturing

Review (JoAnne Yates, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 1988)
Review (Krishan Kumar, Journal of American Studies, 1988)
Review (Kirkus Reviews)

Book-inspired website

PDF (16 MB, updated on 2016-6-16)

Siegfried Giedion: Mechanization Takes Command (1948)

20 April 2014, dusan

First published in 1948, Mechanization Takes Command is an examination of mechanization and its effects on everyday life. A monumental figure in the field of architectural history, Siegfried Giedion traces the evolution and resulting philosophical implications of such disparate innovations as the slaughterhouse, the Yale lock, the assembly line, tractors, ovens, and “comfort” as defined by advancements in furniture design. A groundbreaking text when originally published, Giedion’s pioneering work remains an important contribution to architecture, philosophy, and technology studies.

Publisher Oxford University Press, New York, 1948
Third printing, 1970
743 pages
via babyalanturing

Review (John E. Sawyer, The Journal of Economic History, 1949)
Review (Harry Elmer Barnes, American Journal of Sociology, 1949)
Review (William F. Ogburn, The American Historical Review, 1948)
Review (Henry Guerlac, American Quarterly, 1949)
Review (Donald Horton, American Sociological Review, 1948)
Review (Paul Zucker, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 1949)
Review (Arthur P. Molella, Technology and Culture, 2002)
Review (Tom Vanderbilt, Bookforum, 2010)

Download (removed on 2014-4-21 upon request of the University of Minnesota Press)

Joseph Needham, et al.: Science and Civilisation in China, 7 vols. (1954–2008)

15 August 2013, dusan

Science and Civilisation in China is recognised as one of the most remarkable works of scholarship in the twentieth century. Originally proposed as a single volume of 600 to 800 pages, the project now encompasses seventeen books published under the direct supervision of Joseph Needham, from the first volume which appeared in 1954, through to volume 6.3 which was in press at the time of his death in 1995. The preparation and publishing of further volumes is ongoing. Responsibility for the commissioning and approval of work for publication in the series is now taken by the Publications Board of the Needham Research Institute, under the chairmanship of Dr C. Cullen, who acts as general editor of the series.

The published volumes reflect Needham’s vision of the field of the history of science and its social background in China, and his aim to make Chinese achievements in science and technology better understood. The series was on the Modern Library Board’s 100 Best Nonfiction books of the 20th century.

Publisher Cambridge University Press

Review (Robert Finlay, Journal of World History, 2000)
Review (Marta E. Hanson, Early Science and Medicine, 2007)
Simon Winchester on Joseph Needham, video, 57 min (via अवनिचर अवनिचर)

Needham Research Institute

Vol. 1: Introductory Orientations, With the Research Assistance of Wang Ling, 1954
Vol. 2: History of Scientific Thought, With the Research Assistance of Wang Ling, 1956
Vol. 3: Mathematics and the Sciences of the Heavens and Earth, With the Collaboration of Wang Ling, 1959

Physics and Physical Technology
Vol. 4-1: Physics, With the Collaboration of Wang Ling; and the Special Co-operation of Kenneth Robinson, 1962
Vol. 4-2: Mechanical Engineering, With the Collaboration of Wang Ling, 1965
Vol. 4-3: Civil Engineering and Nautics, With the Collaboration of Wang Ling and Lu Gwei-Djen, 1971

Chemistry and Chemical Technology
Vol. 5-1: Paper and Printing, By Tsien Tsuen-Hsuin, 1985
Vol. 5-2: Spagyrical Discovery and Invention: Magisteries of Gold and Immortality, With the Collaboration of Lu Gwei-Djen, 1974
Vol. 5-3: Spagyrical Discovery and Invention: Historical Survey, from Cinnabar Elixirs to Synthetic Insulin, With the Collaboration of Ho Ping-Yü and Lu Gwei-Djen, 1976
Vol. 5-4: Spagyrical Discovery and Invention: Apparatus, Theories and Gifts, With the Collaboration of Ho Ping-Yü and Lu Gwei-Djen; and a Contribution by Nathan Sivin, 1980
Vol. 5-5: Spagyrical Discovery and Invention: Physiological Alchemy, With the Collaboration of Lu Gwei-Djen, 1983
Vol. 5-6: Military Technology: Missiles and Sieges, With Robin D.S. Yates, Krzysztof Gawlikowski, Edward McEwen, Wang Ling, 1994
Vol. 5-7: Military Technology: The Gunpowder Epic, With the Collaboration of Ho Ping-Yü (Ho Peng Yoke), Lu Gwei-Djen, and Wang Ling, 1987
Vol. 5-8: Not yet published
Vol. 5-9: Textile Technology: Spinning and Reeling, By Dieter Kuhn, 1988
Vol. 5-10: Not yet published
Vol. 5-11: Ferrous Metallurgy, By Donald B. Wagner, 2008
Vol. 5-12: Ceramic Technology, By Rose Kerr and Nigel Wood; With Contributions by Ts’ai Mei-fen and Zhang Fukang; Edited by Rose Kerr, 2004
Vol. 5-13: Mining, By Peter J. Golas, 1999

Biology and Biological Technology
Vol. 6-1: Botany, With the Collaboration of Lu Gwei-Djen, and a Special Contribution by Huang Hsing-Tsung, 1986 (added on 2013-8-20)
Vol. 6-2: Agriculture, By Francesca Bray, 1984
Vol. 6-3: Agro-Industries and Forestry, By Christian A. Daniels and Nicholas K. Menzies, 1996
Vol. 6-4: Not yet published
Vol. 6-5: Fermentations and Food Science, By Huang Hsing-Tsung, 2000
Vol. 6-6: Medicine, With the Collaboration of Lu Gwei-Djen; Edited and With an Introduction by Nathan Sivin, 2000

Vol. 7-1: Language and Logic, By Christoph Harbsmeier; Edited by Kenneth Robinson, 1998
Vol. 7-2: General Conclusions and Reflections, With the Collaboration of Kenneth Robinson and Ray Huang (Huang Jen-Yu); With an Introduction by Mark Elvin; Edited by Kenneth Robinson, 2004

Download all 24 books (ZIP, 1.3 GB, updated on 2013-8-20)

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