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From Ancient Rome to Small-Town Mississippi, New Books by Duke Authors Capture the Imagination This Spring

Spring books from Duke faculty

New books by Duke faculty explain genes and genomes, explore contemporary Asian film, and examine Black culture in the digital world. New York Times columnist Frank Bruni reflects on living with impaired vision, Divinity professor Kate Bowler reminds us how to accept our imperfection, and Romance Studies scholar Helen Solterer looks back at her grandfather’s lifelong friendship with James Joyce.  We present a selection of books published so far in 2022.

Many of the books, including new editions of previous titles, can be found on the “Duke Authors” display shelves near the circulation desk in Perkins Library. Some are available as e-books for quick download. Most can also be purchased through the Gothic Bookshop.

[If you are a member of the Duke faculty or staff who will be publishing a book of interest to a general audience, send us a message at along with your publisher's brief description.]


adler book cover Matthew D. Adler, co-editor, Prioritarianism in Practice (Cambridge University Press, April) 

Prioritarianism is an ethical theory that gives extra weight to the well-being of the worse off. In contrast, dominant policy-evaluation methodologies, such as benefit-cost analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, and utilitarianism, ignore or downplay issues of fair distribution. Based on a research group founded by the editors, this important book is the first to show how prioritarianism can be used to assess governmental policies and evaluate societal conditions. This book uses prioritarianism as a methodology to evaluate governmental policy across a variety of policy domains: taxation, health policy, risk regulation, education, climate policy, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Adler is Richard A. Horvitz Professor of Law and Professor of Economics, Philosophy and Public Policy.


Adrian Bejan book cover Adrian Bejan: Time and Beauty: Why Time Flies and Beauty Never Dies (World Scientific Publishing Company)

Time and beauty are two of our most visceral perceptions. In this groundbreaking new work, Adrian Bejan, the J.A. Jones Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, explains the scientific basis for the perception of time and beauty and submits an original and rewarding approach to understanding them together. Through physics, Bejan offers new perceptions of perspective, art, science, illusions, and dreams. Read more in Physics News.


Mary T. Boatwright: Imperial Women of Rome: Power, Gender, Context (Oxford University Press)

The Imperial Women of Rome explores the constraints and activities of the women who were part of Rome's imperial families from 35 BCE to 235 CE, the Roman principate. Boatwright, who is professor emerita of classical studies, uses coins, inscriptions, papyri, material culture, and archaeology, as well as the more familiar but biased ancient authors, to depict change and continuity in imperial women's pursuits and representations over time.


Eduardo Bonilla-Silva: Racism without racists: color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in America (Rowman & Littlefield, sixth edition)

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s acclaimed “Racism without Racists” examines in detail how whites talk, think, and account for the existence of racial inequality and makes clear that color-blind racism is as insidious now as ever. The sixth edition of this provocative book includes new material on systemic racism and how color-blind racism framed many issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bonilla-Silva is the James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Sociology.


Kate Bowler book cover Kate Bowler, co-author: Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection (Convergent Books)

A new book co-written by Kate Bowler offers a series of Christian daily reflections on learning to live with imperfection in a culture of self-help that promotes endless progress. Bowler is the associate professor of the history of Christianity in North America, and host of the Everything Happens Podcast. In “Good Enough,” Bowler and her co-author Jessica Richie offer short spiritual reflections on how we can make sense of life with grace and humor, remembering that there are some things you can fix—and some things you can’t.  Read more in Faith & Leadership.


Frank Bruni book cover Frank Bruni: The Beauty of Dusk: On Vision Lost and Found (Simon & Schuster)

From New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, now Eugene C. Patterson Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke, comes a moving memoir about aging, affliction, and optimism. One morning in 2017, Bruni woke up with blurred vision. Overnight, a rare stroke had rendered him functionally blind in one eye. In The Beauty of Dusk, Bruni recounts his adjustment to this new reality and an examination of the limits that all of us inevitably encounter.


Pinnock book cover Daniel Castelo, co-author:  Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit (Second Edition) (IVP Academic)

Flame of Love is a classic text by Clark Pinnock that explores the Christian doctrine of the Holy Spirit. For this second edition, Duke theologian Daniel Castelo draws from his experience using Flame of Love in the classroom to add notes with helpful commentary and brief reflections on each chapter's main themes and contributions. While the classic text is preserved, the book becomes even more accessible to contemporary readers. Read more on the Divinity School website.


Corey book cover Jessica Rose Corey: Materializing Silence in Feminist Activism (Palgrave Macmillan, October 2021)

This book examines how rhetorically effective uses of silence and materiality mediate feminist activism and discusses the implications of these dynamics for teaching. Through looking at values and roles of silence in global cultures and the use of material arts in activist efforts, the author argues for the unique value of silence and materiality in individual and collective spaces. Jessica Rose Corey is Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Thompson Writing Program. 


Susanne B. Haga: The Book of Genes and Genomes (Springer)

The Book of Genes & Genomes presents a concise overview of the advances in genetics and genomics and the applications and implications of the field. An introduction that assumes no prior knowledge on the part of the reader, this exciting new title includes information on how genetics and genomics are pushing the boundaries of ethics and social values. Susanne B. Haga is an associate professor of medicine. Read more on the Duke Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine website.


Stanley Hauerwas: Fully Alive: The Apocalyptic Humanism of Karl Barth (University of Virginia Press)

Hauerwas, the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, argues that Swiss theologian Karl Barth’s radical theological perspective is particularly relevant and applicable to the challenges of our own time and shows how Barth’s political theology can be read as a training manual that can help us maintain our humanity in a world in crisis.


hollowell book cover Adam Hollowell (co-author): You Mean It or You Don’t: James Baldwin’s Radical Challenge (Broadleaf Books)

Taking up the challenge by James Baldwin to live a life of commitment, Hollowell and co-author Jamie McGhee write that to hold progressive views on racial justice, LGBTQ+ identity, and economic inequality isn’t sufficient. True and lasting change demands a response to Baldwin's radical challenge for moral commitment. Hollowell is senior research associate at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity.


 Mark Jeong: A Greek Reader: Companion to A Primer of Biblical Greek (Eerdmans Language Resources)

Mark Jeong is an instructor of Hellenistic Greek and a doctoral student in New Testament at Duke Divinity School. He has written a resource for students learning Biblical Greek – dozens of simple, enjoyable narratives that bring to life the vocabulary and grammar taught in Clayton Croy’s Primer of Biblical Greek. Using this reader instead of difficult primary texts, students can get more quickly to fluent, comprehensive reading.


Robin Kirk: Righting Wrongs: 20 Human Rights. Heroes Around the World (Chicago Review Press)

The book introduces children to the true stories of 20 people from around the world who invented and fought for these ideas. Without them, many of the rights we take for granted would not exist. These heroes have promoted women's, disabled, and civil rights; action on climate change; and the rights of refugees. Their stories of hope and hard work show how people working together can change the world for the better. Kirk is faculty co-director of the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute.


Nayoung Aimee Kwon, co-editor: Theorizing Colonial Cinema: Reframing Production, Circulation, and Consumption of Film in Asia (New Directions in National Cinemas, Indiana University Press)

This pathbreaking study on global film history advances prior scholarship by bringing together an array of established and new interdisciplinary voices from film studies, Asian studies, and postcolonial studies to consider how the present is continually haunted by the colonial past. Nayoung Aimee Kwon is associate professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and founding director of Duke's Asian American and Diaspora Studies Program.


Landsford book cover Jennifer E. Lansford, co-editor:  Parenting Across Cultures from Childhood to Adolescence: Development in Nine Countries (Routledge)

Through the Parenting Across Cultures project, the editors unveil findings from this important comparative longitudinal study of parents and children in China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States. The volume offers insight into the differences in parenting with regard to warmth, control, rules setting,and knowledge of children’s activities and whereabouts. Lansford is a research professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy.


Bruce B. Lawrence: Islamicate Cosmopolitan Spirit (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

Bruce B. Lawrence posits that the Islamicate exists, and has existed for hundreds of years, far beyond the “Arab” Middle East that many people associate with Islam. In the modern period, the Islamicate Cosmopolitans included women as well as men, artists as well as scientists, who had an impact across continents, fostering civilized exchange between groups with competing yet convergent interests. Bruce B. Lawrence is the Nancy and Jeffrey Marcus Humanities Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Religion. Read more on the International & Global Studies website.


Mesha Maren: Perpetual West (Workman)

Mesha Maren’s follow-up to her debut novel, Sugar Run, takes us from missionaries to wrestling matches to a luxurious cartel compound, and deep into the psychic choices that shape our identities.  From The New York Times: “’Perpetual West’ is a forceful addition to the literature of the U.S.-Mexican border and its ongoing history of tragedy and joy.” Maren is an assistant professor of the practice.


Neal book cover Mark Anthony Neal: Black Ephemera: The Crisis and Challenge of the Musical Archive (New York University Press)

Access to the music, film, and visual art in the archive of contemporary and historical Blackness is just a YouTube search away. While Black Ephemera celebrates this easy access, it also argues that the cultural DNA of Black America has become obscured in the transformation from analog to digital –and points out the continued exploitation and commodification of Black culture. Mark Anthony Neal is the James B. Duke Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of African & African American Studies.


Odriscoll book cover Tony O'Driscoll, co-author: Everyday Superhero: How You Can Inspire Everyone and Create Real Change at Work (Penguin)

For workers who are struggling to create change in their organizations, “Everyday Superhero” is a story with a powerful solution. It's the start of a journey into a new vision of leadership, one that has been designed to take on the challenges that organizations face today. Developed from the author's academic research at Duke, this adventure will help employees create lasting change in complex times. Tony O'Driscoll teaches in the Fuqua School of Business.


Thomas S. Rankin, author of the foreword: O. N. Pruitt's Possum Town: Photographing Trouble and Resilience in the American South, by Berkley Hudson (UNC Press)

Thomas S. Rankin, professor of the practice of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, has written the foreword for this collection of the work of photographer O. N. Pruitt (1891–1967), who documented his hometown of Columbus, Mississippi—known to locals as “Possum Town.” Pruitt photographed ordinary gatherings like family picnics and river baptisms as well as horrific events, including executions by hanging and a lynching.


silberberg book cover Mina R. Silberberg, editor: Engaging the Intersection of Housing and Health, Volume 3: Interdisciplinary Community Engaged Research for Health (‎University of Cincinnati Press)

Researchers often hope that their work will inform social change—but to accomplish this goal, there must be change in how research is done. This book makes that claim by offering case studies of research that is interdisciplinary, stakeholder-engaged and intentionally designed for “translation” into practice. Mina Silberberg is an associate professor in Family Medicine and Community Health.


Helen Solterer, editor: James Joyce Remembered Edition 2022 (University College Dublin Press)

C.P. Curran first met James Joyce in a University College Dublin lecture hall in 1899, and the two quickly struck up an intense lifelong friendship. In 1968, Curran summed up his views of the great Modernist author in James Joyce Remembered. Now there is a new edition of this classic remembrance, featuring new essays from a host of Joyce scholars, literary critics, architects, and historians. It is edited by Helen Solterer, professor of French and Francophone studies, who is also Curran’s granddaughter. Read more on Duke Today


thompson book cover Robert J. Thompson, Jr.: Anti-intellectualism to Anti-Rationalism to Post-Truth Era: The Challenges for Higher Education (‎Lexington Books)

This book argues that anti-intellectualism has morphed into anti-rationalism as a surging force in American society that threatens our collective commitment to rationality. The author argues that American higher education must take responsibility for combating anti-rationalism by promoting the development of students' personal attributes, so they commit to seek truth and value reasoned discourse. Robert J. Thompson Jr. is professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience.


Will Willimon: Listeners Dare: Hearing God in the Sermon (Abingdon Press)

Will Willimon's book, Listeners Dare: Hearing God in the Sermon, is for anyone who listens to sermons. The book presents listening to sermons as a spiritual discipline, where the hearer experiences a vocal mix of preacher, listener, and God. Will Willimon is a United Methodist bishop (retired) and serves as Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry and Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Duke Divinity School. For twenty years he was Dean of Duke Chapel. Read more on the Divinity School website.


zhang book cover Alex Zhang, co-editor: Global Animal Law Research: Strategies and Resources (Carolina Academic Press)

Legal protection of animal rights varies dramatically among countries, but there has been no compilation of resources and strategies on how to research these critical topics at both a domestic and international level. Xiaomeng (Alex) Zhang, a research professor of law, has help collect 12 experts’ to identify and analyze current and emerging legal frameworks on animal rights and welfare in the laws of more than 15 countries across five continents.