Nolen Gertz in conversation with Robin James
About the book
When someone is labeled a nihilist, it’s not usually meant as a compliment. Most of us associate nihilism with destructiveness and violence. Nihilism means, literally, “an ideology of nothing.” Is nihilism, then, believing in nothing? Or is it the belief that life is nothing? Or the belief that the beliefs we have amount to nothing? If we can learn to recognize the many varieties of nihilism, Nolen Gertz writes, then we can learn to distinguish what is meaningful from what is meaningless. In this addition to the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Gertz traces the history of nihilism in Western philosophy from Socrates through Hannah Arendt and Jean-Paul Sartre.
Nolen Gertz is Assistant Professor of Applied Philosophy at the University of Twente in the Netherlands and the author of Nihilism and Technology (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2018). His new book, Nihilism, is part of the MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series.
Robin James is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at UNC Charlotte and co-editor of The Journal of Popular Music Studies.For the 2019-20 academic year she is Visiting Associate Professor of Music at Northeastern University. She is author of The Sonic Episteme (Duke Univ. Press, 2019) and Resilience & Melancholy (Zero, 2015) among others.
Please join the MIT Press Bookstore in welcoming author Jay Bolter to discuss his book, The Digital Plenitude: The Decline of Elite Culture and the Rise of New Media.
How the creative abundance of today’s media culture was made possible by the decline of elitism in the arts and the rise of digital media.
Media culture today encompasses a universe of forms—websites, video games, blogs, books, films, television and radio programs, magazines, and more—and a multitude of practices that include making, remixing, sharing, and critiquing. This multiplicity is so vast that it cannot be comprehended as a whole. In this book, Jay Bolter traces the roots of our media multiverse to two developments in the second half of the twentieth century: the decline of elite art and the rise of digital media. Bolter explains that we no longer have a collective belief in “Culture with a capital C.” The hierarchies that ranked, for example, classical music as more important than pop, literary novels as more worthy than comic books, and television and movies as unserious have broken down. The art formerly known as high takes its place in the media plenitude. The elite culture of the twentieth century has left its mark on our current media landscape in the form of what Bolter calls “popular modernism.” Meanwhile, new forms of digital media have emerged and magnified these changes, offering new platforms for communication and expression.
Bolter outlines a series of dichotomies that characterize our current media culture: catharsis and flow, the continuous rhythm of digital experience; remix (fueled by the internet’s vast resources for sampling and mixing) and originality; history (not replayable) and simulation (endlessly replayable); and social media and coherent politics.
Jay Bolter is Wesley Chair of New Media and Codirector of the Augmented Media Lab at Georgia Institute of Technology. He is the author of Remediation: Understanding New Media (with Richard Grusin), Windows and Mirrors: Interaction Design, Digital Art and the Myth of Transparency (with Diane Gromala), both published by the MIT Press, and other books.
Please join the MIT Press Bookstore in welcoming George S. Yip to discuss his book, Pioneers, Hidden Champions, Changemakers, and Underdogs: Lessons from China’s Innovators.
Chinese innovators are making their mark globally. Not only do such giants as Alibaba and Huawei continue to thrive and grow through innovation, thousands of younger Chinese entrepreneurs are poised to enter the global marketplace. In this book, Mark Greeven, George Yip, and Wei Wei offer an insider’s view of China’s under-the-radar, globally competitive innovators.
The authors, all experts on Chinese innovation, distinguish four types of innovators in China: pioneers, large companies that are globally known; hidden champions, midsize enterprises that are market leaders in their niches; underdogs, technology-driven ventures with significant intellectual property; and changemakers, newer firms characterized by digital disruption, exponential growth, and cross-industry innovations. They investigate what kinds of innovations these companies develop (product, process, or business model), their competitive strategies, and key drivers of innovation. They identify six typical ways Chinese entrepreneurs innovate, including swarm innovation (collectively pursuing opportunities) and rapid centralized decision making. Finally, they look at how Chinese innovators are going global, whether building R&D networks internationally or exporting disruptive business models. The book includes many examples of Chinese innovators and innovations, drawn from a range of companies—from pioneers to changemakers—including Alibaba, Haier, Hikvision, Malong Technology, Weihua Solar, Mobike, and Cheetah Mobile.
Greeven, Yip, and Wei offer an essential guide to what makes China a heavyweight competitor in the global marketplace.
George S. Yip is the Emeritus Professor of Marketing and Strategy at Imperial College Business School in London and coauthor of China’s Next Strategic Advantage: From Imitation to Innovation (MIT Press). He divides his time among Boston, London, and Maine.