Dr Christos Lynteris (Mellon/Newton Postdoctoral Fellow 2011-13 at CRASSH
Assuming power in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party was faced with a crucial problem: how to construct the socialist 'New Man'? On the one hand, led by Liu Shaoqi, the proponents of the technocracy advocated self-cultivation. Led by Mao Zedong, their opponents advocated the exact opposite technique: the abolition of the self and the institution of a mass subjectivity.
When anthropologist Delwar Hussain arrived in a remote coal mining village on the Bangladesh/India border to research the security fence India is building around its neighbour, he discovered more about the globalised world than he had expected.
The present narrative of the Bangladesh/India border is one of increasing violence. Not so long ago, it was the site of a monumental modernist master-plan, symbolic of a larger optimism which was to revolutionise post-colonial nations around the world.
Dr David Bainbridge (Emmanuel 1986), Clinical Verinary Anatomist in the University's Department of Physiology
Dr David Bainbridge is a vet with a particular interest in evolutionary zoology - and he has just turned forty. As well as the usual concerns about greying hair, failing eyesight and goldfish levels of forgetfulness, he finds himself pondering some bigger questions: have I come to the end of my productive life as a human being? And what I am now for? By looking afresh at the latest research from the fields of anthropology, neuroscience, psychology, and reproductive biology, it seems that the answers are surprisingly, reassuringly encouraging.
Mike Gerrard and Tony Cash, featuring contributions from alumni including but not limited to: Sir John Drummond (Trinity 1955), Dr James Muckle (Peterhouse 1957) and Mark Frankland (Pembroke 1954)
The authors along with 70 plus former 1950s national service Naval conscripts reveal how they learned Russian, spied on the Soviet military and shed light on the East-West conflict, including alumni of both JSSL (Joint Services School for Linguists) in Cambridge and the University of Cambridge. Acclaimed dramatist and author Alan Bennett (who came to the JSSL in Cambridge and went on to Oxford) supplies the foreword.
Homer’s Iliad is often considered a poem of blunt truthfulness, his characters’ motivation pleasingly simple. A closer look, however, reveals a complex interplay of characters who engage in an awful lot of lies. Beginning with Achilles, who hatches a secret plot to destroy his own people, Mark Buchan traces motifs of deception and betrayal throughout the poem. Homer’s heroes offer bluster, their passion linked to and explained by their lack of authenticity. Buchan reads Homer’s characters between the lies, showing how the plot is structured individual denial and what cannot be said.
From Axolotl to Zebrafish, meet a world of barely imagined beings: real creatures that are often stranger and more astonishing than anything dreamt in the pages of a medieval bestiary. Ranging from the depths of the ocean to the most arid corners of the earth, Caspar Henderson captures the beauty and bizarreness of the many living forms we thought we knew and some we could never have contemplated, and invites us to better imagine the world around us.
Stoning the Devil is a novel set in the United Arab Emirates, a country of paradoxes, of seediness and glamour, of desert grandeur and Disneyland vulgarity, where public executions and other barbaric customs are winked at by the western expats who run the economy.
Colin, a professor of literature, is not the 'typical' expat, ignorant and interested only in pleasure and his stock portfolio, but a speaker of Arabic and an admirer of Arab culture - or is he? To his Arab wife, he is an Orientalist who exoticizes and patronises the locals, unaware of his latent racism.
Modern London. The photographer is a man ruled by two obsessions. First, to take photographs that speak for him. Second, to make the subjects of those pictures speak to him alone. He is not interested in them as people - their banal tales of joy and suffering. His experiments are to uncover the secrets that they don't know they are keeping.
Rewind to Peru in 1851. An explorer is battling to survive in a claustrophobic and unknown world. In flight from modernity he seeks older truths, which he finds in the customs of the Caposcripti.
Dr Emma Mawdsley (St John's 1989), University Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography and Fellow of Newnham College
From Recipients to Donors examines the emergence, or re-emergence, of a large number of nations as partners and donors in international development, from global powers such as Brazil, China and India, to Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, to former socialist states such as Poland and Russia. The impact of these countries in international development has grown sharply, and as a result they have become a subject of intense interest and analysis.