The Intersection

“My” New Book

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I am a lucky author.

Anyone who writes a book hopes to avoid the fate that David Hume famously ascribed to his Treatise of Human Nature, which he said ”fell dead-born from the press, without reaching such distinction, as even to excite a murmur among the zealots.” I certainly have managed to make the zealots murmur–but I have also made the thoughtful argue, which is far more gratifying.

The evidence: Parlor Press, and specifically its imprint Glassbead Books, has now officially released a book about my book, The Republican War on Science. Entitled “Looking for a Fight: Is There a Republican War on Science?”, the new book contains, in its entirety, the Crooked Timber seminar conducted online last March. So it has contributions from John Quiggin, Henry Farrell, Ted Barlow, Daniel Davies, John Holbo, ScienceBlogs’ own Tim Lambert, Steve Fuller, and Kieran Healy. And, of course, me.

Because of the awesome philosophy of Parlor/Glassbead, the physical version of the new book is available for sale, but the PDF version can be downloaded for free.

As I think I commented at the time of the Crooked Timber seminar, it was exhilarating to have such smart people pen such thoughtful reactions to my book. (It was also hard work to respond to them, which I did at length.) Now, it’s a huge honor to have the whole thing preserved in book form.

Not only will Looking for a Fight be of immense value to any college level classes that decide to assign The Republican War on Science. The book should also be of interest to anyone who has followed the debate over the “politicization of science” and explored any of its fascinating nuances.

So I hope you will all check out Looking for a Fight. Download it for free–or, if you want to support this kind of publishing, buy a copy.

P.S.: This development also, to me, represents something very important for scholarly publishing. To see what I mean, I refer you to Glassbead Books’ statement of philosophy, written by the imprint’s editor, John Holbo. Here’s a brief excerpt, but you should read the whole thing:

Glassbead books will exemplify what academic book publishing should be in an age of electronic publishing: namely, a generous gift culture. All Glassbead books will be available as quality, affordable paperbacks, but also as free PDF downloads. All will be released under a Creative Commons (non-commercial) license. Academic book publishing has poor circulation, which is variously diagnosed but generally goes by the name ‘the publishing crisis in the humanities’. We propose that free e plus CC will scour a few clogged arteries and–not only will our patient not die–we predict she will feel a bit better right away.

Not only is this an innovative form of publishing, it completely disregards any and all national boundaries. In addition to the U.S., the contributors to the RWOS symposium were based in Australia (Quiggin, Lambert), Singapore (Holbo), and the UK (Fuller, Davies). Henry Farrell, who’s here in D.C. at George Washington University, is the only one of them that I’ve ever met. But that shouldn’t matter; and here, it doesn’t.

Did I mention yet how psyched I am that this book has come out?

P.S.: Crooked Timber also has an announcement, as does The Valve.

Comments

  1. #1 John Lynch
    September 27, 2006

    Chris,

    This is sweet. Not just because of the CT Forum (which I read when it came out) but because a publisher is willing to make this freely available electronically at the same time as making print copies available. Many of us still like boooks as, uh, books and will always by them, but for getting those ideas out there, you’ve got to like the attitude of the press.

  2. #2 bernarda
    September 28, 2006

    Your quote from Hume reminds me of quotes from Balzac, “Emile was a journalist who had achieved more glory from doing nothing than others received from their success.”…

    “throwing a book in one word in the face of people who didn’t know how to put one word in their books.”