Posted by: Johan Normark | November 12, 2013

Identity, fragility, Black Swans, neuroscience

I just placed an order on Amazon. Within a few weeks I hope to be able to read these six books:

How Things Shape the Mind: A Theory of Material Engagement by Lambros Malafouris and Colin Renfrew; The Fragility of Things: Self-Organizing Processes, Neoliberal Fantasies, and Democratic Activism by William E Connolly; The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb; Place and Identity in Classic Maya Narratives by Alexandre Tokovinine; Politics of the Maya Court: Hierarchy and Change in the Late Classic Period by Sarah E Jackson; and Ruins of the Past: The Use and Perception of Abandoned Structures in the Maya Lowlands by Travis W. Stanton and others.

The books all relate to my current, past and future research topics. The first and last book in this list belongs to my future “neuroarchaeological” project on how ancient ruins shaped Postclassic Maya calendars. The other four books melt together both my former “climate” project and my current “water” project (too complicated to go into detail here).



  1. I’m a big fan of Nassim Nicholas Taleb! I was enthralled with his lectures on I am just starting reading ‘The Black Swan’. I will be interested to read about how you view his compelling philosophy.

    • A Mayanist colleague of mine brought him up in relation to the Maya collapse. From what I could see some of his ideas seems reminiscent of those proposed by Meillassoux. I googled them both and found the book The Blank Swan ( So there appears to be something in Taleb’s work for me as well.


%d bloggers like this: