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Inventing the World Book Cover

Inventing the World: Venice and the Transformation of Western Civilization

Preorder: $27.95 (publication date December 1, 2020)

Over its 1100 year history as the longest standing republic in the world, the citizens of Venice invented a long list of ideas, methods, and goods that have shaped modern Western  history. We owe to Venetians our health care system, the  kind of government that runs Western cultures, and how we bank, read, and spend our leisure time. Capitalism and our very consumer culture began in Venice.

Books by Meredith Small

The Culture of Our Discontent



By many estimations, the Western medical model mental health is dangerously incomplete. There are, in fact, some good evolutionary reasons why moods and reactions change. If we step outside the traditional disease model there are many new and different ways to understand, treat, and even accept mental illness. Culture—how we collectively live, interact, and view the world—frames out mental outlook. Arguably, culture even creates it.



To what extent do our parenting practices help or hinder our children? As parents, how much influence do we have over what kind of people our children will grow up to be? In the follow-up to her critically acclaimed Our Babies, Ourselves, Cornell anthropologist Meredith Small now takes on these and other crucial questions about the development of preschool children aged one to six. 

Our Babies, Ourselves


New parents are faced with innumerable decisions regarding the best way to care for their infants, and they usually turn to family, friends, and the internet for help. But all that advice is culturally biased and never based on the natural biology and behavior of babies. Instead, parents are influenced to act one way or another because of belief systems that reflect a particular culture. There are many ways to bring up babies, and this book explains that it is reasonable to borrow from other cultures and from evolutionary history when considering how to bring up a baby.


What's Love Got to do With it?


In this refreshingly down-to-earth exploration of human mating and sexuality, acclaimed anthropologist Small looks at the fascinating intersection between the imperative of our  genes and the cultures in which we live. The basis of human mating might be to pass on genes, but that urge is refracted through the lens of culture. Why do we fall in love with the people we do? Is there an alternative, more feminist, way to interpret human sexual biology and evolution?


Meredith Small's book Female Choices

Female Choices


The field of primatology has give us various descriptions of how our closest genetic relatives navigate their lives, especially their mate choices. That information is important because we share genes in common with our non-human primates relatives and so, how they behave provides clues to the evolution of human behavior and sexuality. Anthropologist and primatologist Small sums up the state of the work on non-human female primates and upends traditional view of females as passive animals not interested in sex. Instead female primates are major actors in their own lives and make clear decisions about their mate choices.