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Page-Barbour Lectures


Philosophy as Poetry

Richard Rorty. Introduction by Michael Bérubé

Undeniably iconoclastic, and doggedly practical where others were abstract, the late Richard Rorty was described by some as a philosopher with no philosophy. Rorty was skeptical of systems claiming to have answers, seeing scientific and aesthetic schools as vocabularies rather than as... More


Structural Intuitions

Martin Kemp

"All great achievements of science must start from intuitive knowledge," wrote Albert Einstein. In Structural Intuitions, a fascinating exploration of the commonalities between two seemingly disparate realms, renowned art historian Martin Kemp applies Einstein's notion both to science and to... More


Hope without Optimism

Terry Eagleton

In his latest book, Terry Eagleton, one of the most celebrated intellects of our time, considers the least regarded of the virtues. His compelling meditation on hope begins with a firm rejection of the role of optimism in life’s course. Like its close relative, pessimism, it is more a system... More


The Significance of Territory

Jean Gottman

Over her thirty-year study of the concept of territory, Jean Gottmann has seen its significance evolve in a wide variety of ways throughout the world. Factors that influence the attitude of people toward their territory involve studies of geography, politics, and economics of a region. The... More


San Francisco

Andrea Ponsi

San Francisco is a city designed for artists and wanderers. From North Beach, to Chinatown, to the cold, rough surf of Ocean Beach, to Marin, both visitors and lifelong residents have endless opportunities to explore new neighborhoods, buildings, environments, and cultures just by getting in... More


Dialect Diversity in America

William Labov

The sociolinguist William Labov has worked for decades on change in progress in American dialects and on African American Vernacular English (AAVE). In Dialect Diversity in America, Labov examines the diversity among American dialects and presents the counterintuitive finding that... More


Fatalism in American Film Noir

Robert B. Pippin

The crime melodramas of the 1940s known now as film noir shared many formal and thematic elements, from unusual camera angles and lighting to moral ambiguity and femmes fatales. In this book Robert Pippin argues that many of these films also raise distinctly philosophical questions. Where... More


A Many-Colored Glass

Freeman J. Dyson

Freeman Dyson’s latest book does not attempt to bring together all of the celebrated physicist’s thoughts on science and technology into a unified theory. The emphasis is, instead, on the myriad ways in which the universe presents itself to us--and how, as observers and participants in its... More


In and Out of the West

Maurice Godelier. Translated by Nora Scott

Is anthropology simply a continuation of colonial domination and cultural imperialism by other means, or has it--since its nineteenth-century rebirth as a purportedly scientific discipline--produced reliable knowledge about the cultures it studies? Is anthropology a mirror--which reflects... More


The Conversation of Humanity

Stephen Mulhall

Based on the author’s Page-Barbour lectures, delivered at the University of Virginia in 2005, The Conversation of Humanity critically examines the idea that the nature of language can best be understood in terms of the model or figure of conversation. According to this idea, language has an... More


The Moral Architecture of World Peace

Helena Cobban

In November 1998, eight visionary recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize gathered on the grounds of the University of Virginia for two days of extraordinary dialogue. From the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Archbishop Desmond Tutu's riveting description of chairing South Africa's Truth... More


Mad Travelers

Ian Hacking

"It all began one morning last July when we noticed a young man of twenty-six crying in his bed in Dr. Pitre's ward. He had just come from a long journey on foot and was exhausted, but that was not the cause of his tears. He wept because he could not prevent himself from departing on a trip... More


Moments of Freedom

Johannes Fabian

Johannes Fabian was one of the first anthropologists to introduce the concept of popular culture into the study of contemporary Africa. Drawing on his research in the Shaba region of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), he has been writing for thirty years about the practices,... More