Long summer days can offer the perfect opportunity to try a new book. Whether you’re hoping to learn more about the world around us—or trying to dive into a fictional one—University of Chicago faculty members have a recommendation for you.
Below, some of the 2022 winners of UChicago’s annual Quantrell and Graduate Teaching Awards share some of the books they’ve enjoyed reading.
Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? by Alan Weisman
Recommended by biochemist Chuan He
“This book, recommended to me by my colleague Prof. Marvin Makinen, is a good read to remind us of the impact of humans on Earth and the importance of preserving resources. Our resources are not unlimited; someday we will run out of them. I personally found it quite interesting. This is relevant to some of the newest work in my lab, which addresses sustainability and climate change and even food insecurity.”
Recommended independently by literary scholar Julie Orlemanski and art historian Megan Sullivan
“This book, by the curator of an anthropological museum, is a gripping mixture of genres: historiography of colonial violence, forensic investigation of art provenance, theories of periodization and collection, and a direct call to action. Not only does Hicks make an urgent case for the restitution of looted objects, but his book changed the way I think about premodernity as a category that's ongoingly, materially, created. Galvanizing read.” —Julie Orlemanski
“This book, part revisionist history of British colonialism, part call to action, gets to the heart of the entanglement of imperialist violence and the formation of celebrated museum collections across Europe and the United States. If Hicks is most interested in speaking to curators and museum professionals, his book will also change the way even casual museumgoers understand these institutions.” —Megan Sullivan