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Subject: Sociology

The Community and the Algorithm: A Digital Interactive Poetics

Edited by Andrew Klobucar, New Jersey Institute of Technology

ISBN: 978-1-62273-959-2
Availability: Pre-order
209pp. ¦ $79 £60 €68

Digital media presents an array of interesting challenges adapting new modes of collaborative, online communication to traditional writing and literary practices at the practical and theoretical levels. For centuries, popular concepts of the modern author, regardless of genre, have emphasized writing as a solo exercise in human communication, while the act of reading remains associated with solitude and individual privacy. “The Community and the Algorithm: A Digital Interactive Poetics” explores important cultural changes in these relationships thanks to the rapid development of digital internet technologies allowing near-instantaneous, synchronous, multimedia interaction across the globe. The radical shift in how we author and consume media as an online, electronic transmission effectively resituates the writing process across the liberal arts as less a solitary act of individual enquiry and reflection, and more an ongoing, collaborative process of creative interaction within a multimedia environment or network. Contributions in this anthology demonstrate a robust history and equally diverse contemporary approach to multimedia interaction for literary and artistic ends. Central to all media formats, computation is explored throughout this volume to critically examine how algorithmic procedures in writing help bring forward many key concepts to building creative communities in a digital environment. Each chapter in this book accordingly introduces readers to various new collaborative experiments using a broad range of different digital media formats, including VR, Natural Language Generation (NLG), and metagaming tools. This book will appeal broadly to students, instructors, and independent artists working in the digital arts, while its emphasis on social interactivity will interest theorists and teachers working in theatre, social media, and cyberpsychology. Its secondary focus on computation and media programming as a site of artistic experimentation will also interest programmers and web designers at various professional levels.

Mary Hunter Austin: A Female Writer’s Protest Against the First World War in the United States

Jowan A. Mohammed

ISBN: 978-1-62273-753-6
Availability: Pre-order
167pp. ¦ $49 £36 €41

Mary Hunter Austin (1868-1934) is often referred to as an important American writer of the early decades of the 20th century, with much of her work concerning nature and Native American culture. Hunter Austin was also considered to be one of the early feminist writers, whose works had an impact on the redefinition of gender roles during the First World War. This study examines the feminist perception of her later years, connecting feminist history to questions related to memory through a study of literature, politics, and interpretations of the past (both feminist and gendered). It demonstrates how far the perception and remembrance of the past are determined by later agendas and considerations. This work is an insightful and detailed study, meant to expand knowledge within the field of collective memory about Mary Hunter Austin’s life and work alike. This book is intended for those with a general interest in feminism, socialism, World War One and gender issues. Academics and specialists in the field will value new research on a crucial figure in American literary history.

Topos in Utopia: A peregrination to early modern utopianism’s space

Sotirios Triantafyllos

June 2021 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-269-1
Availability: In stock
344pp. ¦ $71 £52 €59

'Topos in Utopia' examines early modern literary utopias' and intentional communities' social and cultural conception of space. Starting from Thomas More's seminal work, published in 1516, and covering a period of three centuries until the emergence of Enlightenment's euchronia, this work provides a thorough yet concise examination of the way space was imagined and utilised in the early modern visions of a better society. Dealing with an aspect usually ignored by the scholars of early modern utopianism, this book asks us to consider if utopias' imaginary lands are based not only on abstract ideas but also on concrete spaces. Shedding new light on a period where reformation zeal, humanism's optimism, colonialism's greed and a proto-scientific discourse were combined to produce a series of alternative social and political paradigms, this work transports us from the shores of America to the search for the Terra Australis Incognita and the desire to find a new and better world for us.

Pioneers in Machinima: The Grassroots of Virtual Production

Tracy Gaynor Harwood, De Montfort University and Ben Grussi

ISBN: 978-1-62273-273-9
Availability: In stock
271pp. ¦ $63 £48 €54

This important new work focuses on the pioneers in machinima, considered to be the grassroots and beginnings of virtual production. Machinima’s impacts are identified by the community, supplemented by Harwood and Grussi’s research and experience over a period of 25 years – from game, film and filmmaking to digital arts practice, creative technologies developments and related research and theory. Machinima is the first digital cultural practice to have emerged from the internet into a mainstream creative genre. Its latest transformation is evident through the increasing convergence of games and film where real-time virtual production as a professional creative practice is resulting in new forms of machine-generated interactive experiences. Using the most culturally significant machinima works (machine-cinema) as lenses to trace its history and impacts, ‘Pioneers in Machinima: The Grassroots of Virtual Production’ provides in-depth testimony by filmmakers and others involved in its emergence. The extensive reference to source materials and interviews bring the story of its impacts up to date through the critical reflections of the early pioneers. This book will be of interest to machinima researchers and practitioners, including game culture, media theorists, students of film studies and game studies, digital artists and those interested in how creative technologies have influenced communities of practice over time.

Traditional Islamic Ethics: The Concept of Virtue and its Implications for Contemporary Human Rights

Irfaan Jaffer

June 2021 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-038-3
Availability: In stock
182pp. ¦ $49 £36 €41

"Traditional Islamic Ethics: The Concept of Virtue and its Implications for Contemporary Human Rights" concentrates on the subject of Islam and modernity and Islam and human rights, a topic that has become popular and relevant with the rise of globalization and the interest in Islamic extremism and human rights. This book distinguishes itself by operating within the framework of the traditional school of thought or ‘Islamic Traditionalism’. In doing so, it draws on Islam’s 1400-year-old spiritual and intellectual tradition and its understanding of ethics and virtue, along with truth, justice, freedom, and equality. This book argues that Islam’s pre-modern approach is indispensable in creating an organic and integral human rights model for Muslims. The first section argues that the current understanding and implementation of international human rights needs to be more flexible and inclusive if it truly aims to be universal in scope; this is because ‘The Universal Declaration’ and its offshoots are still underpinned by secular-liberal principles, and therefore, are at odds with other cultural traditions. To this end, this section critically explores popular human rights histories and contemporary ethical theories that attempt to justify human rights. The second section of this book provides a general overview on the subject of ‘Islam and Human Rights’. After explaining some of the main problems, this section examines various solutions offered by Muslim academics and scholars, focusing on four different types of Muslim responses to modernity and human rights: liberal, progressive, traditional, and fundamentalist. It concludes that there are ‘spaces of convergence’ between modern-liberal ethics and traditional Islamic virtue ethics while maintaining that there are also fundamental differences and that these differences should be welcomed by human rights theorists and advocates. The book’s intended audience is primarily post-graduate students and professional academics in the fields of Human Rights, Ethical Philosophy, and Islamic Studies (modern Islamic thought, Sufism, Islamic theology, Islamic Philosophy, and Traditionalism). It will also appeal to anyone interested in the subject of Islam and modernity in general and Islam and human rights in particular.

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