APS Press Announces Learned Lives Series

The American Philosophical Society Press is pleased to announce Learned Lives, a series of short biographies designed to narrate, examine, and showcase the lives and work of scholars over the centuries, edited by Suzanne Marchand (Louisiana State University) and Anthony Grafton (Princeton University).

Humanists and social scientists have made the worlds we inhabit and the utopias and dystopias we dream about. They have reshaped the ways in which we understand politics and society, religion and literature, of other cultures and of our own. The lives and accomplishments of these men and women have taken many forms. They include bold innovators and pillars of conformity, alike.

Histories of the humanities and social sciences—as well as the human sciences—are burgeoning. What is largely missing from this field, however, is the vivid concreteness of the individual lives of humanists and social scientists, works that by focusing on individuals' experiences and accomplishments transform what might be abstract and bloodless histories into embodied tales, full of human interest. It is time for a reboot, for an injection of energy and excitement into the writing of biographies.

The editors of this series hope both to commission and to receive proposals for biographies that fit its remit. These could follow as many paths as there are possible subjects. But all of them would have to meet certain criteria. All of them would have to deal, in some detail, with the work their protagonists did as well as with the lives they lived. All of them would have to be accessibly written. And all of them would have to be short: we envision a length between 40,000 and 50,000 words as the rule. We imagine Learned Lives as a series that does more than simply collect manuscripts already in progress; it is, instead, a warm embrace of the joys, travails, friendships, and provocations of the life of learning, at a time those past lives most need our thoughtful devotion.

Proposals should be sent to Peter J. Dougherty, Director, APS Press, [email protected].

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