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The subject of ‘magic’ has long been considered peripheral and sensationalist, the word itself having become something of an academic taboo. However, beliefs in magic and the rituals that surround them are extensive – as are their material manifestations – and to avoid them is to ignore a prevalent aspect of cultures worldwide, from prehistory to the present day. The Materiality of Magic addresses the value of the material record as a resource in investigations into magic, ritual practices, and popular beliefs. The chronological and geographic focuses of the papers presented here vary from prehistory to the present-day, including numinous interpretations of fossils and ritual deposits in Bronze Age Europe; apotropaic devices in Roman and Medieval Britain; the evolution of superstitions and ritual customs – from the ‘voodoo doll’ of Europe and Africa to a Scottish ‘wishing-tree’; and an exploration of spatiality in West African healing practices. The objectives of this collection of nine papers are twofold. First, to provide a platform from which to showcase innovative research and theoretical approaches in a subject which has largely been neglected within archaeology and related disciplines, and, secondly, to redress this neglect. The papers were presented at the 2012 Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) conference in Liverpool.
From Medievalism to Early-Modernism: Adapting the English Past is a collection of essays that both analyses the historical and cultural medieval and early modern past, and engages with the medievalism and early-modernism—a new term introduced in this collection—present in contemporary popular culture. By focusing on often overlooked uses of the past in contemporary culture—such as the allusions to John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi (1623) in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, and the impact of intertextual references and internet fandom on the BBC’s The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses—the contributors illustrate how cinematic, televisual, artistic, and literary depictions of the historical and cultural past not only re-purpose the past in varying ways, but also build on a history of adaptations that audiences have come to know and expect. From Medievalism to Early-Modernism: Adapting the English Past analyses the way that the medieval and early modern periods are used in modern adaptations, and how these adaptations both reflect contemporary concerns, and engage with a history of intertextuality and intervisuality.
Relational Identities and Other-than-Human Agency in Archaeology explores the benefits and consequences of archaeological theorizing on and interpretation of the social agency of nonhumans as relational beings capable of producing change in the world. The volume cross-examines traditional understanding of agency and personhood, presenting a globally diverse set of case studies that cover a range of cultural, geographical, and historical contexts. Agency (the ability to act) and personhood (the reciprocal qualities of relational beings) have traditionally been strictly assigned to humans. In case studies from Ghana to Australia to the British Isles and Mesoamerica, contributors to this volume demonstrate that objects, animals, locations, and other nonhuman actors also potentially share this ontological status and are capable of instigating events and enacting change. This kind of other-than-human agency is not a one-way transaction of cause to effect but requires an appropriate form of reciprocal engagement indicative of relational personhood, which in these cases, left material traces detectable in the archaeological record. Modern dualist ontologies separating objects from subjects and the animate from the inanimate obscure our understanding of the roles that other-than-human agents played in past societies. Relational Identities and Other-than-Human Agency in Archaeology challenges this essentialist binary perspective. Contributors in this volume show that intersubjective (inherently social) ways of being are a fundamental and indispensable condition of all personhood and move the debate in posthumanist scholarship beyond the polarizing dichotomies of relational versus bounded types of persons. In this way, the book makes a significant contribution to theory and interpretation of personhood and other-than-human agency in archaeology. Contributors: Susan M. Alt, Joanna Brück, Kaitlyn Chandler, Erica Hill, Meghan C. L. Howey, Andrew Meirion Jones, Matthew Looper, Ian J. McNiven, Wendi Field Murray, Timothy R. Pauketat, Ann B. Stahl, Maria Nieves Zedeño
“Judith A. Markowitz is a very knowledgeable and entertaining writer. She makes it easy for non-technical people to understand technology of the future and enables all of us to think more clearly about how that future will affect our lives.”—James A. Larson, Ph.D., Program Chair, Speech Technology Conference “Dr. Markowitz presented to a large group of students at my school. Her presentation was thoughtful, engaging and interactive; the students thoroughly enjoyed it.”—Jennifer Smith, director, EF International Campus, Chicago “Distinguished scholar, entrepreneur, technology pioneer—Judith Markowitz brings a world of experience, credibility, intelligence, and sheer talent to whatever she undertakes. Our world of literature is richer for her presence.”—Katherine V. Forrest, author of the award-winning Kate Delafield series. This book describes real-world killer robots using a blend of perspectives. Overviews of technologies, such as autonomy and artificial intelligence, demonstrate how science enables these robots to be effective killers. Incisive analyses of social controversies swirling around the design and use of killer robots reveal that science, alone, will not govern their future. Among those disputes is whether fully-autonomous, robotic weapons should be banned. Examinations of killers from the golem to Frankenstein's monster reveal that artificially-created beings like them are precursors of real 21st century killer robots. This book laces the death and destruction caused by all these killers with science and humor. The seamless combination of these elements produces a deeper and richer understanding of the robots around us.

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