WHAT GALILEO SAW (Twelve New Moons Found Orbiting Jupiter)

Today, I woke up to the news that twelve new moons had been found orbiting Jupiter. According to an article in the National Geographic, it seems that a group of astronomers were looking for a hypothetical planet on the far fringes of our solar system, when they came across these twelve new moons dancing around Jupiter instead.

The discovery left me feeling somehow uneasy, wondering what we are looking for when we look out there, how we are prepared for the unexpected, and what really happens by accident, as opposed to by some mysterious cosmic plan of the universe. Science and religion, or rather being caught in the limbo in between. And so I turned to our books.

In What Galileo Saw, author Lawrence Lipking illustrates the blurry line between artistic imagination and rational thought, capturing how they both interplayed in the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century. It is a new perspective into the creative minds of those who shaped new visions of science during a turning point in human history, with eye-opening discoveries in cosmology, natural history, engineering, and more.

GALILEOGranted, we are far from that seventeenth-century society that believed in witchcraft and the presence of the devil, but like Galileo, Kepler, Descartes or Hook, astronomical discoveries in the twenty-first century come at the expense of overcoming other obstacles. After all, as the National Geographic article explains, tracking dim dots in the sky requires powerful telescopes, and Jupiter presents its own demons, with intense brightness and glare that can easily obscure such tiny, faint moons.

When Galileo saw the face of the Moon and the moons of Jupiter, Lipking writes, he had to picture a cosmos that could account for them. Kepler thought his geometry could open a window into the mind of God. Francis Bacon’s natural history envisioned an order of things that would replace the illusions of language with solid evidence and transform notions of life and death. Descartes designed a hypothetical “Book of Nature” to explain how everything in the universe was constructed. Thomas Browne reconceived the boundaries of truth and error. Robert Hooke, like Leonardo, was both researcher and artist; his schemes illuminate the microscopic and the macrocosmic. And when Isaac Newton imagined nature as a coherent and comprehensive mathematical system he redefined the goals of science and the meaning of genius.

What Galileo Saw bridges the divide between science and art; it brings together Galileo and Milton, Bacon and Shakespeare. Check out this Cornell Press title and enter the workshops where the Scientific Revolution was fashioned, drawing on art, literature, and the history of science to reimagine how perceptions about the world and human life could change so drastically, and change forever.

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About the author of this blog post: Adriana Ferreira is the Social Media Coordinator at Cornell University Press. She often looks at the sky in search for answers to existential questions and also, to be reminded of how little we humans are.

WHAT GALILEO SAW (Twelve New Moons Found Orbiting Jupiter)

THE HEADSCARF IN THE UNITED STATES (or the celebration of freedom on this 4th of July)

The Fourth of July is so close you can almost sense it. And to most people, it feels like freedom and independence. But how does it feel to the Muslim American women wearing a headscarf (or hijab) on that day?

The question about the headscarf, its meaning, and, more than anything, the experience of the women that wear it, has fascinated me for a long time. Maybe because some people don’t seem to think much about it, beyond the simple act of wearing a scarf in itself; maybe because to others, it evokes sentiments of distrust and anxiety, led mainly by stereotypical images propagated on TV.

In April 2014 I traveled to Turkey and asked questions about this practice myself. Because I knew little about it, I was surprised to find out that most Muslim women embraced the covering of their hair, and sometimes their whole body, as an expression of their identities. They talked about religious liberty, their sense of femininity carefully embroidered and woven in cloth.

A few years later, as I strolled the streets of Casablanca, Morocco, I was witness to the same phenomena. Arm in arm, gossiping in their burkas, or with smiling eyes in a hijab, women were voicing their beliefs. How is it that I had not seen through the veil of my own cultural bias, unable to understand the subtleties of wearing a head-covering scarf?

HEADSCARF

The issue of Islamic head-covering and the political and social debates on the topic are as multiple as they are complex. This 4th of July, I invite those interested in unveiling its construction and political consequences, to listen to our latest podcast with Bozena Welborne, Aubrey Westfall, and Sarah Tobin, co-authors of The Politics of the Headscarf in the United States.

On this Independence Day, their book provides us with a chance to hear from Muslim American women, to learn about their values and beliefs, and how they express their identities in a country that aims to be the model of democratic pluralism.

 

 

“I love identifying myself as that, as a Muslim American, especially in that order, too, because this is my country and my religion is the most important to me. But after that, like . . .  this is where I was born, this is where I was raised and I was born with these values, American values of tolerating freedom of expression and freedom of religion and freedom of the press, and I think that’s one reason why our country is so successful is because we’re tolerating so much diversity and therefore people from all over the world can come and bring their talents into our country. So, I take a lot of pride in that phrase, Muslim American.”

—The Politics of the Headscarf in the United States (p.162)

 


 

Recommended artist to follow with this post:

http://www.boushraart.com/

 

About the author of this blog post: Adriana Ferreira is the Social Media Coordinator at Cornell University Press. She is grateful to have had the opportunity to travel around the world and meet people from various countries, with different cultural values and religious beliefs, and to be part of a diverse, multi-cultural and heterogeneous community.

 

THE HEADSCARF IN THE UNITED STATES (or the celebration of freedom on this 4th of July)

Why Indonesia’s Muslim preachers are doing so well

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Cornell University Press has just published Hearing Allah’s Call: Preaching and performance in Indonesian Islam. Anthropologist Birgit Braeuchler interviewed the author, Julian Millie, of Monash University, about his new book.

Birgit Braeuchler: Your preparation for this book included fourteen months listening to Islamic sermons in West Java. I imagine there must be many preachers there, simply because there are so many Muslims in that part of Indonesia—about forty million in a province not much bigger than the island of Hawaii. But let me ask . . . the title of your book emphasizes performance. Why is that concept such a big part of this project?

Julian Millie: I work with colleagues at the State Islamic University in Bandung. A couple of years ago, students in the Islamic predication program helped us do a survey about the features that made preaching successful amongst West Javanese audiences. They went to their home villages, and came back with their reports. According to almost all of these surveys, a sermon was successful if the preacher was able to hold the audience’s attention for its duration . . . In other words, the students regarded a captivating sermon as a successful one. Continue reading “Why Indonesia’s Muslim preachers are doing so well”

Why Indonesia’s Muslim preachers are doing so well