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Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Three Ways to Present a Data-Rich Table

Better Presentations

“It can be tempting to present all of your data, estimates, and regression results in your presentation. But that’s what your paper is for. In a presentation, be kind to your audience and make it easier for them to absorb and understand your content.” — Jonathan Schwabish

The following is a guest post by Jonathan Schwabish, author of Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks. This post was originally published on PolicyViz, on December 8, 2016.

Three Principles of Effective Scholarly Presentations
By Jonathan Schwabish

Researchers and analysts have some unique challenges when it comes to presenting their data and analysis. We are often more focused on the data, statistics, and estimation results than soaring rhetoric or specific calls to action. That means we’re prone to showing overly dense, data-rich tables—even though the audience can’t both decipher all those numbers and listen simultaneously.

Overly dense slide

In my new book, Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers and Wonks, I explain how to create, design, and deliver effective presentations. If you’re in the habit of showing dense, data-rich tables, here are three things you can do to make it easier for your audience to follow your content.

1. Focus on the most important numbers. Yes, we know you’ve run the regression with 10 control variables and dummy variables for all 50 states, but you’re not going to talk about all of them, and we don’t really care to see all of them. It’s really those two or three estimates that are the most important, so edit the table from 150 numbers down to the most important ones. If need be, you can give your audience a handout with the full table or maybe just point them to the full paper where you’ve probably already included it.

Slide with important numbers #1
Slide with important numbers #2

2. Put them in a graph. The way our eyes and brains work together allows us to better grasp and retain information through pictures rather than just through words (this is known as the “Picture Superiority Effect”). So take your dense graph and convert it to a table (also, see point #1 about reducing the number of estimates you actually show).

Slide with graph #1
Slide with graph #2

3. Don’t show a table at all. If it’s really just one or two numbers you are going to focus on in your presentation (note that I differentiate here between what you focus on in your presentation versus what you might discuss in more detail in your paper), then maybe a table isn’t need at all. Just including the final number in large type with an image or statement will suffice. Presentations are a fundamentally different form of communication than your written report, so treat it as such.

Slide with no table

It can be tempting to present all of your data, estimates, and regression results in your presentation. But that’s what your paper is for. In a presentation, be kind to your audience and make it easier for them to absorb and understand your content—cut to the core of your ideas and highlight the most important findings and conclusions.

Read the original post at PolicyViz.

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Three Principles of Effective Scholarly Presentations

Better Presentations

“In research and academic circles, we tend to excuse bad presentations by pointing out that we’re not designers and that making a ‘pretty’ presentation takes time away from the important work of conducting the research and writing the paper. But presentations are a unique opportunity to share our findings, in which we have a captive audience ready to hear what we’re working on.” — Jonathan Schwabish

The following is a guest post by Jonathan Schwabish, author of Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks. This post was originally published on PolicyViz, on December 22, 2016.

Three Principles of Effective Scholarly Presentations
By Jonathan Schwabish

We’ve all sat through boring presentations where the presenter reads the slides, shows barely-legible tables and graphs, and goes over time—many of us have probably given bad, boring presentations. In research and academic circles, we tend to excuse bad presentations by pointing out that we’re not designers and that making a “pretty” presentation takes time away from the important work of conducting the research and writing the paper. But presentations are a unique opportunity to share our findings, in which we have a captive audience ready to hear what we’re working on. We should not squander this opportunity—and in reality, marginally more time spent thinking through a presentation can have an outsized payoff in terms of audience engagement and excitement about your work.

In my new book, Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers and Wonks, I explain how to create, design, and deliver an effective presentation. In it, I define three guiding principles that you can use to design and deliver better presentations. (more…)

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Thursday Fiction Corner: Between Dog and Wolf in Translation

This post is a part of the inaugural week of the Russian Library, a new series that seeks to demonstrate the breadth, variety, and global importance of the Russian literary tradition to English-language readership through new and revised translations of premodern, modern, and contemporary Russian literature.

Enter the Russian Library Book Giveaway here

Between Dog and Wolf

Welcome to the Columbia University Press Thursday Fiction Corner! This week Russian Library intern and Columbia Russian Literary Translation MA student Elaine Wilson delves into Alexander Boguslawski’s translation of Between Dog and Wolf.

Sasha Sokolov’s novel Between Dog and Wolf is intimidating in its complexity: time is non-linear, character names are inconsistent, register moves along a wide spectrum from peasant dialect to sophisticated, even Biblical style, and the language is filled with neologisms. It is highly intertextual, astoundingly rich in its reference to Russian literary tradition across the centuries. Space, time, life and death are all uncertain—rarely is any one of them clearly demarcated—and events are told and retold from differing perspectives. And that’s just the content.

The structure likewise poses a challenge: dialogue, monologue and third person omniscient narration coexist on the page with no breaks, no indentation, no typeset cues or even general conventions of reported speech, but rather flow freely along in a train of associative (and sometimes seemingly unassociated) thought. Sokolov’s writing style belongs in a category all its own, a genre Sokolov himself categorizes as somewhere between prose and poetry, or “proetry.” And speaking of poetry, there are plenty of poems throughout, too—complete chapters of poetry tucked among the “proetic” sections of the novel.

How can something like this find its voice in a foreign language? For a long time, publishers and translators asked themselves that very question. When the Russian version of the novel was first published in 1980, critics gave it a rather mixed reception, and many within the literary community—capable translators among them—balked at the idea of an English-language version, suggesting it could never be done.

And yet it could. Sokolov’s Between Dog and Wolf is being published in English for the very first time, and so the idea of the “untranslatable” returns to the realm of translation mythology. Or does it?

I am a student of translation. Russian into English literary translation, to be specific, and so I feel a personal kind of victory in the release of this novel, a sense of celebration in a triumph over apparently insurmountable linguistic odds. Yet for all my excitement I still wonder about the inevitable losses that occur when we bring a literary work from one language into another; in the back of my mind I can’t help but hear Nabokov denouncing the “sins” of our “queer world of verbal transmigration,”* crying out that all translation but for literal, scholarly renderings are false. (Though perhaps Nabokov would find the most egregious transgression of all to be the lack of exhaustive notes on the same page of the referenced text, an organizational decision specified by Sokolov himself.)

Nabokovian doubt on the value of translation aside, can translation of something like Sokolov’s convoluted work be done well? The novel is difficult, packed with myriad obstacles that translators don’t frequently face, much less all at once. Puns, peasant dialect, a general sense of disorientation—translator Alexander Boguslawski tackles these challenges by the best means possible: culturally conscious creativity, or what Philip E. Lewis calls “abusive translation.” When a translator must force an idea from a unique mode of expression in the source text into a new linguistic framework, the translator’s job is to convey sense and meaning while still communicating the uniqueness of the source form in the receiving language. Often what “works” in Russian won’t work in English, and so the translator needs to “abuse” the text, that is, creatively engage the receiving language so that it can carry the meaning, the humor/ irony/ sadness, etc. and the unorthodox medium of the source in its new linguistic code. Consider Boguslawski’s translation of the Russian dva sapoga para: “two boots of leather flock together.” This is a clever blending of the Russian subject and English idiomatic structure to convey the literal scene—two characters sharing a pair of boots—and the spirit of collaboration implied by the Russian proverb Sokolov uses to describe them. The Russian, literally “two boots are a pair,” folds into “birds of a feather flock together” to create an English-Russian proverbial hybrid.

Why not simply use the English idiom here? Wouldn’t the spirit of the proverb be enough to convey the characters’ sense of comraderie? A translator could take this easy way out, but more than just sounding trite, the imagery would be lost, deafening the line’s descriptive power in Russian. Boguslawki does not take the easy road, and thank goodness, for his solution is lovely: it retains the visual and sense of the Russian while infusing some “foreignness” into the English text, an “abuse” that works in service of conveying the character and style that we experience in Sokolov’s Russian.

So much for linguistic obstacles. What about literary density? Again, Nabokov’s cynicism echoes in the back of my mind: the translator of a text “must have as much talent, or at least the same kind of talent, as the author he chooses.”* Between Dog and Wolf is packed with references to past and modern Russian artists, particularly Pushkin, something which only a reader with comprehensive, arguably exhaustive knowledge of Russian literary tradition would understand. Careful Russian readers have trouble identifying everything that is layered within the story, so how can we expect anyone but the most meticulous scholar to identify these layers, much less translate such a text? Of course, Boguslawski’s friendly relationship with the author establishes him as the closest thing to a Sokolov specialist for this translation, but Nabokov’s standards still reach impossibly high; in the case of this extremely learned text, is anyone capable of translation? Or perhaps the “untranslatable” does not exist, but is it possible that scholarly translation and Nabokov’s towering footnotes are the only recourse? If so, are there “prerequisites” in literary pedigree for both translators and readers of these works?

To silence this existential questioning I could turn again to literary and translation theory for inspiration, but I don’t need to. A novel’s complexity notwithstanding, translation is ultimately a dialogue between cultures and an exchange of ideas. And even though things are certain to get left by the wayside as they move from one linguistic and cultural framework to another, the receiving language and audience still gain. Perhaps readers won’t or possibly can’t identify all that the author has folded into the text, but this is an invitation to study, to revisit the story and look closer.. No matter how deep the reader chooses to go, reading a text in translation is an entry point into another literary tradition and culture that was previously closed; exhaustive research can be nice, but ultimately we have reason to celebrate because one group has gained insight into another, and that is a beautiful thing.

*Nabokov, Vladimir, (August 4,1941). The Art of Translation. The New Republic.
Retrieved from https://newrepublic.com/article/62610/the-art-translation

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Excerpt from Sasha Sokolov’s Between Dog and Wolf

This post is a part of the inaugural week of the Russian Library, a new series that seeks to demonstrate the breadth, variety, and global importance of the Russian literary tradition to English-language readership through new and revised translations of premodern, modern, and contemporary Russian literature.
Enter the Russian Library Book Giveaway here

Between Dog and Wolf

This excerpt from Chapter 5 finds one of the principal characters, the erudite poet-philosopher Yakov Ilyich Palamakhterov, reveling in scholarly company at a publishing meeting-turned-party. Uncomfortable in his own skin, his social blunders launch the narration into recollection of awkward episodes past. This passage is the reader’s first formal introduction to Yakov and his interiority.

“And God only knows how long their confusion would have lasted if the porter Avdey, a sleepy peasant with a pitch-black beard reaching up to his dull and birdlike tiny eyes and with a similarly dull metal badge, did not come to say to the master that they should not be angry—the samovar completely broke and that is why there will be no tea, but, say, if needed, there is plenty of fresh beer, brought on a pledge from the cabbie, one should only procure a deed of purchase, and if in addition to beer they had wished to have some singing girls, they should send a courier to the Yar right away. Eh, brother, You are, methinks, not a total oaf, the policeman addresses the sentinel—and soon the table cannot be recognized. The prints and typesets are gone. In their place stand three mugs with beer, being filled, in keeping with their depletion, from a medium-size barrel that, with obvious importance, towers above the modest, but not lacking in refinement, selection of dishes: oysters; some anchovies; about a pound and a half of unpressed caviar; sturgeon’s spine—not tzimmes but also not to be called bad; and about three dozen lobsters. The Gypsies are late. Waiting for them, the companions arranged a game of lotto, and none else but Ksenofont Ardalyonych shouts out the numbers. Seventy-seven, he shouts out. A match made in heaven, rhymes Palamakhterov, even though he has no match. Forty-two! We have that too, the man from Petersburg assures, although again his numbers do not correspond. Deception of Nikodim Yermolaich is as petty as it is obvious, and as outsiders we are quite embarrassed for him; but the pretending of Yakov Ilyich stands out black on white. Possessing from his birth the enchanting gift of artistic contemplation, but being both shy and frail, now and then he tried not to attract attention to the fact that he was the one whom he, naturally, simply was not able not to be, since he possessed what he possessed. For that reason, probably, Yakov Ilyich’s attempts turned into complete blunders and consequently led not to the desirable but to undesirable results, again and again drawing to the gifted youngster uninterrupted, although not always favorable attention of the crowd. Do you remember how once, long ago, he let his mind wander, and a gust of the April chiller did not wait with ripping off the skullcap from his proudly carried head? It’s really not important that the street, as ill luck would have it, teeming with concerned well-wishers, kept admonishing the hero, warning: Pick it up, you will catch a cold! Ostentatiously ignoring the shouts, taking care not to look back, and arrogantly not stopping but turning the pedals forward and—cynically and flippantly chirring with the spokes, the chain, and the cog of free wheel—backward, attempting to present everything as if he had nothing to do with it, he continued riding, the way he definitely wanted it to be seen through the eyes of the side spectator, with melancholic detachment. But, you know, a certain superfluous stooping that unexpectedly for an instant appeared in the entire subtle look of the courier (exactly like his great-grandfather, his grandfather used to say), diminished, even nullified his efforts to make his bodily movements carefree, froze them, made them childishly angular and exposed the daydreaming errand boy, with his feeble straight-haired head, to the curses of the mob: Scatterbrain, dimwit—the street carped and hooted. And if it were, let us suppose, not simply a slouching chirring courier but a real humpbacked cricket from Patagonia, then, with such a mediocre ability not to attract attention, it would have been immediately pecked apart. But, fortunately, it was precisely a courier—a messenger-thinker, a painter-runner, an artist-carrier, and the nagging feeling that everything in our inexplicable here takes place and exists only supposedly did not leave him that evening even for a moment. That is how, either absentmindedly looking through the window or paging in the diffused light of a smoldering lamp through Carus Sterne—once respectable and solid, but now thinned, reduced by smoking and bodily urges, and yet, even now adequately representing the sole volume of this modest home library—Yakov Ilyich Palamakhterov, the incorruptible witness and whipper-in of his practical and unforgiving time, philosophized and speculated.”

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

How I learned to love data visualization (again)

Better Presentations

This week, our featured book is Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks, by Jonathan Schwabish. Today, we are happy to feature a presentation by Schwabish himself on how he came to embrace the value of data visualization.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Better Presentations!

Jon Schwabish – How I learned to love data visualization (again) from VISUALIZED on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Five Ways Researchers Can Improve Their Presentations

Better Presentations

“It’s crucial, so I’ll say it once more: A presentation is a fundamentally different form of communication than what you write down and publish in a journal, report, or blog post.” — Jonathan Schwabish

This week, our featured book is Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks, by Jonathan Schwabish. To kick off our feature, we are happy to crosspost an article in which Schwabish lays out five steps that researchers can take to give better presentations. This post was originally published on the Urban Institute’s blog, Urban Wire, on November 17, 2016.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Better Presentations!

Five Ways Researchers Can Improve Their Presentations
By Jonathan Schwabish

Too many researchers prepare presentations by simply converting a report into slides. Text becomes bullet points; tables and figures get copied and pasted. But presenting is a fundamentally different form of communication than writing. When we treat our presentation and paper identically, we miss this important distinction and the opportunity to share our work as effectively as possible.

In my new book, Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks, I explain how to create, design, and deliver an effective presentation. Here are five tips from the book for giving better presentations. (more…)

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Book Giveaway! Better Presentations, by Jonathan Schwabish

Better Presentations

“Many smart people often become selfish idiots when they give a presentation. Jon’s much-needed book is a must read for just about anyone asked to share some slides.” — Seth Godin, author of Really Bad Powerpoint

This week, our featured book is Better Presentations
A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks
, by Jonathan Schwabish. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

The SAAD Series and Collaborative Publishing: A #UPWeek 2016 Blog Tour Post

#UPWeek

It’s the penultimate day of University Press Week 2016! All week long university presses have been participating in the UP Week Blog Tour. As always, we are thrilled to participate, and excited about our take on today’s blog post theme, “Throw Back to the Future.” In looking back over the history of the innovative South Asia Across the Disciplines series, a Mellon-funded collaborative project of Columbia University Press, the University of Chicago Press, and the University of California Press, we hope to potentially spark some thought about the future of collaborative projects between university presses in the future.

Make sure you check out the blogs of other presses posting today: Yale University Press, Indiana University Press, Seminary Co-op Bookstores, University of Michigan Press, IPR License, MIT Press, University of Toronto Press Journals, and the University of Georgia Press!

The SAAD Series and Collaborative Publishing

In 2008, Columbia University Press, the University of Chicago Press, and the University of California Press were awarded a grant by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create a new series of books showcasing exciting scholarship about South Asia across a wide range of fields. The South Asia Across the Disciplines series has published groundbreaking first monographs that aim to raise new questions for the field of South Asian studies for eight years.

While the series’ mission of publishing in an underserved scholarly field is a point of pride for all three of the contributing presses, so too is the unorthodox and innovative way that the series approaches the publication process. Scholars interested in submitting manuscripts for possible inclusion in the series submit their manuscript to the series rather than to any one of the three presses. Projects are considered by an editorial board of scholars from all three member institutions and are then published by the press whose expertise, backlist, and presence in the field will best serve the author and the book. Editors at all three presses help make this determination and then guide the projects through the publication process.

The SAAD series is, unfortunately, at something of a crossroads, as its funding is running short. We thought it would be particularly appropriate, then, to take this opportunity to take a look back at the series from a variety of points of view, including series editorial board members, authors, and editors who worked with books in the series, in order to showcase the way that this innovative project helped foster communities of scholars in the field of South Asian Studies, but also how it helped foster a unique publishing community. In a time when university presses are looking for new and exciting ways to collaborate with each other and with their institutions, the unique experience of publishing books in the SAAD series may provide a direction for presses to explore in their desire to continue to foster scholarly communities.

Sheldon Pollock is a member of the SAAD editorial board, the Arvind Raghunathan Professor of South Asian Studies at Columbia University, and author of many books, including A Rasa Reader: Classical Indian Aesthetics:

South Asia across the Disciplines was designed to address a series of opportunities and challenges specific to the organization, character, and production of knowledge about the subcontinent in American universities.

Organizationally, scholarship on South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) has been cultivated in depth at relatively few universities and has been published by relatively few presses. Combining the faculty resources of three of the strongest programs and presses for identifying outstanding new work, reviewing and editing manuscripts, and bringing them to the public has been one of SAAD’s most prominent innovations.

Conceptually, South Asia as an object of study has been divided up—not always beneficially—between disciplines and area programs for the past fifty years. SAAD has offered a way to transcend this diffurcation, and not only by its very existence as a series. The editors have actively encouraged scholarship that seeks to combine disciplinary and areal approaches, or to move beyond old dichotomies. This conceptual reorientation has been the hallmark of some of our most successful volumes.

Given the nature of academic publishing today, a substantial number of the first books that have appeared in SAAD—especially those in the hardest to publish domain, the non-modern humanistic–might never have received a hearing at these leading publishers in the absence of an endowed series. That several of these books have won major prizes from learned societies shows how justified that hearing has been.

Gauri Viswanathan is also member of the SAAD editorial board, Class of 1933 Professor in the Humanities, and author of several books, including Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India

SAAD represents a unique collaboration between the three major university presses of Columbia, Chicago, and California, and between the South Asian faculty affiliated with them. The series arose out of a concern that the best South Asian scholarship, particularly by first-time authors, was either being marginalized or not getting published at all by a market driven US publishing industry. A generous grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, along with book subventions from the South Asia centers at Columbia, Chicago, and California, helped ensure the ongoing publication of the most outstanding scholarship on South Asia, spanning a wide array of academic fields. “Across the Disciplines” in our series title is not a mere characterization of disciplinary range but prioritizes the ability to speak to disciplines other than one’s own and perhaps even challenge their accepted categories.

A collaboration like SAAD has not been done before, to the best of my knowledge, and it has set the standard for the sharing of scholarly resources among universities. While we three series editors read all the manuscripts and discuss them among ourselves, which includes writing detailed comments for the benefit of the authors, we also solicit readings from our faculty in cases where their expertise bears directly on an author’s specialisation. The intention is to have the strongest possible manuscript in order to ensure press approval, which of course is dependent on outside readers reports. Admittedly, this is a long process, and we’ve struggled to cut down on the time without compromising on quality or rejecting manuscripts out of hand.

Personally, I must say that reading the books for this series has been one of my most rewarding academic experiences. I have learned a lot and been continually impressed with the cutting-edge work of young scholars, who boldly push boundaries to throw unexpected new light on well traversed areas of study. Other young scholars have unlocked new areas of research by turning their gaze on insufficiently studied figures, whose texts enable the writing of an expansive cultural historiography of South Asia. The impressive list of top prizes won by SAAD authors has been one of the crowning achievements of this series.

(more…)

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Happy University Press Week!

University Press Week

Today kicks off the beginning of University Press Week 2016! The theme for this year’s celebration is Community,” and the week-long focus on university presses includes “How to Publish with a University Press,” an event at BookCulture in Manhattan presented by Columbia University Press and Fordham University Press, in which editors and authors from both presses will give a complete picture of what it takes to be published by a scholarly press; “Serious Books for the Serious Reader,” a webinar on how good books get from author to reader; “Scholars and Editors on Social Media,” which brings together editors and scholars to discuss the communities that form online via social media; a collaborative projects gallery featuring fascinating examples of how AAUP members contribute to many different communities; and a blog tour.

Today, the blog tour centers around “The People in Your Neighborhood,” and it includes posts from the following university presses: Northwestern University Press, Rutgers University Press, Fordham University Press, University of Toronto Press, University of Toronto Press Journals, Seminary Co-op Bookstores, Athabasca University Press, and the University of Florida Press.

Friday, August 26th, 2016

Rape on Campus: The Title IX Revolution

Hunting Girls

“Anti-rape activism is on the vanguard of transferring the blame and responsibility from individuals to social systems and institutions. If ours is a rape culture, then the solution must also address the culture of sexual violence that perpetuates sexual assault and gender-based violence.” — Kelly Oliver

This week, our featured book is Hunting Girls: Sexual Violence from The Hunger Games to Campus Rape, by Kelly Oliver. For the final post of the feature, we are happy to provide an excerpt from “Rape on Campus: The Title IX Revolution,” an article by Kelly Oliver that originally appeared in The Philosophical Salon.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Hunting Girls!

Rape on Campus: The Title IX Revolution
By Kelly Oliver

Title IX legislation, associated primarily with equal opportunities for girls in high school and college athletics, has become a turning point in discussions of sexual assault. Until recently, the greatest impact of the 1972 Title IX legislation had been to ensure girls and women had access to sports. Although introduced to stop discrimination in higher education, Title IX became the hallmark of women’s athletics, to the point that today there is a women’s sporting clothing company named Title Nine, and last year President Obama spoke about the importance of Title IX for girls in terms of his own experience coaching his daughters’ basketball team and the confidence it gave them. Initially, Title IX was used to secure funding for girls and women’s sports, which had been lacking until required by this Federal statute.

On April 4, 2011, The United States Department of Education sent a “Dear Colleagues Letter” to institutions of higher learning, shifting the focus from college athletics to educational environment, specifically naming sexual violence as prohibited by Title IX. The letter defines sexual violence as “physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol,” including “sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion,“ and makes colleges and universities responsible “to take immediate and effective steps to end sexual harassment and sexual violence.” (more…)

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Dismantling Fantasies of Consent and Violence: Three Excerpts from Hunting Girls

Hunting Girls

“From fairytales to pornography, popular culture is filled with girls and women, unconscious or sleeping, “enjoying” nonconsensual sex. And until we change our fantasies, it is going to be difficult to change our realities.” — Kelly Oliver

This week, our featured book is Hunting Girls: Sexual Violence from The Hunger Games to Campus Rape, by Kelly Oliver. Today, we have a few excerpts for you, all of which testify to Kelly Oliver’s gift for drawing connections between literature, film, popular culture, and rape culture. In the first excerpt, Oliver traces a distressing (and frighteningly current) male fantasy back to a fourteenth-century Catalan tale. In the second excerpt, Oliver considers the fraught relationship between the law and consent, exposing the dangers of focusing on one moment of affirmative consent in what is, in fact, an ongoing negotiation between sexual subjects. Finally, in the third excerpt, Oliver examines certain representations in recent literature and film of girls who “give as good as they get,” and shows how these representations send mixed messages–are our Katniss Everdeens and Tris Priors feminist revenge fantasies, or do their actions on screen normalize and valorize violence toward women?

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Hunting Girls!

Excerpt 1

Excerpt 2

Excerpt 3

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments. (And look back at our University Press Roundup Manifesto to see why we do this post every Friday.)

This week on Cambridge University Press’ blog, Iris Berger wrote about the representation of women in political offices throughout Africa. While many are expecting Hillary’s Democratic nomination, if she were to win this year’s general election, she would be following in the footsteps of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of Liberia since 2006, who was the first elected female president in any African country and the first female leader awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Ellen’s position of leadership, as well as the high percentage of women in lower offices in places such as Rwanda, Senegal, and Mozambique, is a stark reminder of the under-representation of women in the U.S.’ Senate and House of Representatives.

At the Yale University Press blog, Jonathan H. Ebel explores how displays of devotion and awe towards the men and women who serve in the military are central to American civil religion. In short, as we gather up individual soldiers and pack them into a singular symbol of “the military,” which we then worship with narratives of triumphalism and sacrificial heroism, we are, in truth, glorifying American militarism. Ultimately, these symbolic soldiers are part and parcel of our national myth-making.

Recently at the University of Washington Press, Sylvanna M. Falcon was interviewed about her book Power Interrupted: Antiracist and Feminist Activism inside the United Nations. After attending the 1995 U.N. World Conference on Women in Beijing, Sylvanna became interested in transnational feminism and realized that if the U.N. was to advance women’s rights, its masculinized and racialized power had to be challenged. In her book as well as the interview, she discusses the importance of considering race and gender together in feminist activism.

At the University of Texas Press blog, Frederick Luis Aldama and Christopher Gonzalez explore the importance of Latin@ comic books as a way of crafting national literary imaginaries. The Latin@ comic landscape began in earnest with Los Bros Hernandez’ publication of Love & Rockets in the 1980’s, and has since expanded and become more inclusive. As Frederick and Christopher put it, Latin@s are the majority minority, and the form of comic books will only continue to grow as an expression and archive of Latin@ history and culture.

In the wake of Easter, Princeton University Press blog’s Eoghan Barry wrote about the formidable life of Countess Markievicz, née Constance Gore-Booth, who fought for Irish independence from Britain in the 1916 Rising. Although born into a family of landed gentry, she became a socialist and was eventually imprisoned for her role in the Rising. Although frequently hailed as a nationalist icon, her radical socialist past, including her work with the poor and her involvement in a militant woman’s organization, are often forgotten.

At Beacon Broadside, Fred Pearce examines who will deliver food to the world’s hungry in the age of climate change. El Niño inspired weather has led to severe droughts in places like India and South Africa, and it will only continue to threaten the food stability of nations around the globe. Yet, Fred warns against the pat assumption that large-scale and single-commodity commercial farming can feed the world and argues that it is many small family farms that have the potential to rescue us from the threat of hunger.

In the Blog of Harvard Education Publishing, Shayla Reese Griffin uses an anecdote of hearing her friend’s biracial daughter explain how she was excited that she will never have to experience segregation like Ruby Bridges did. Yet, when Shayla asked about the makeup of her classroom, she learned that it was racially homogeneous: there were only black students. While segregation was made illegal years ago, de facto segregation persists in education from an early age, perpetuating racial bias and failing to bring diversity to the social environment of children.

In From the Square, Tanya Golash-Boza evaluates the American deportation machine. With the precedent of large-scale deportations enacted under Bill Clinton and George Bush as backdrop, Obama has overseen record deportations since he first took office. Now, with 11 million undocumented immigrants residing in the United States, Republicans like Trump and Cruz want them all gone. Tanya argues how such “proposals” are nothing but fantasy.

Thanks for reading! As always, we hope that you enjoyed the links. Please let us know what you think in the comments!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

David Helfand on Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century

A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age

In his book A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age: Scientific Habits of Mind, David J. Helfand offers a series of ways to better understand scientific data. Developing these sets of tools has never been more important as individuals are bombarded with a torrent of information—both true and misleading.

The book is part of a larger project of Helfand’s to confront the distinct educational challenges of the twenty-first-century. In addition to his new book, Helfand has also been instrumental in the development of Quest University Canada which has sought to offer a new model of higher education that emphasizes a deep engagement with questions and subjects. In the following video, Helfand explains the philosophy behind Quest and some of the failings of traditional education (you can also read more about Quest in the following New York Times article):

Friday, November 13th, 2015

The Russian Library Series: A #UPWeek 2015 Blog Tour Post

#UPWeek

It’s the final day of University Press Week 2015! All week long university presses have been participating in the UP Week Blog Tour. As always, we are thrilled to participate, and excited about our take on today’s blog post theme. Rather than interviewing an author about a book, we are interviewing Christine Dunbar about an exciting new venture for Columbia University Press: the Russian Library. While you may have read about the Russian Library in articles in the New York Times and elsewhere, we are happy for a chance to explain a bit more about what the project means for Columbia UP.

Make sure you check out the other presses posting today: Temple University Press, University of Virginia Press, Beacon Press, University of Illinois Press, Southern Illinois University Press, Oregon State University Press, Liverpool University Press, University of Toronto Press Journals, and Manchester University Press!

The Russian Library Series
An Interview with Christine Dunbar

What is the Russian Library?

Christine Dunbar: The Russian Library is a new series at Columbia University Press, which will publish ten books of Russian literature a year in English translation. While a few will be republications of excellent translations that have sadly gone out of print, most will be new translations—either of works that have never been translated or works that need updated translations. Publishing ten books a year allows the series to highlight the scope of Russian literature, both in terms of genre and time period. My academic background is in the study of Russian poetry, so I am particularly excited about the prospect of publishing poetry translations, but we are also looking at drama, short stories, novels, and the creative, literary non-fiction that Russians do so well. The bulk of the translations will be of 20th works, which are currently underrepresented in translation, with some slots reserved for books from the 19th century and earlier and some for contemporary literature. The series will not replicate existing excellent translations: publishing another Anna Karenina when in 2014 Yale University Press published Marion Schwartz’s translation and Oxford University Press published Rosamund Bartlett’s (both of which are superb) would be just plain silly. But there are some classics that deserve updates, and there are many, many books that Anglophone audiences don’t know at all. One of the particularly fun things about the selection process has been finding some treasures that are not well-known in Russia either. This is often the case with émigré literature, which may have been published in France or Germany or the States but never made it back to the land of the mother tongue.

How are the books being chosen?

CD: It’s a process, as you can imagine. The series has an advisory board of eminent scholars from the US, Great Britain, and Russia. Picking the first books is a particular challenge, because you want to be able to signal all of the things the series will be able to do. There’s a temptation to make a game out of it. If you have one little known modernist adventure story, do you have to balance it out with a 19th century serious novel? But the biggest problem, of course, is that when you are planning a publishing program, ten seems like a huge number of books. And when you are choosing titles from the vast expanse of the Russian literary past and present, it seems—and rightly so—like a minuscule speck. So, we have lists. I keep a spreadsheet, shared with the board members, of all of the authors and titles that are under consideration. Not surprisingly, some of the most exciting ideas have come from translators.

Speaking of translators, won’t this be expensive?

CD:Yes! The series receives funding from the Institute of Literary Translation in Moscow, and CUP will work closely with Read Russia to promote the books. New York City readers should be on the lookout for Read Russia events during Russian Literature Week; I’m definitely looking forward to Eugene Vodolazkin’s visit.

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

University Press Week 2015 Blog Tour Roundup, Day 4

#UPWeek

The 2015 University Press Week blog tour is off to a great start, with more presses participating than ever before! As in previous years, a theme is selected for each weekday and various university presses sign up to post on the theme of their choice (catch up with our earlier roundups: days one and two and day three). Today’s theme is one that has been popular each year on the UP Week blog tour: #TBT (Throwback Thursday)!

Over at the University of Chicago blog, we get a punctuated history of publishing from UChicago Press, starting with its days as a printer in 1890 and leaping to its digital revolution in 1991, the year the PDF was established!

The University of Manitoba Press grounds its #tbt in place, that is the Canadian prairies north of the Dakotas. Their office searched through file cabinets and cupboards to produce snapshots of first books published in their series–Iceland, Native History, Studies in Immigration and Culture, among others. They also uncovered an unsearchable title, from their Publications of the Algonquian Text Society series: wâskahikaniwiyiniw-âcimowina Stories of the House People, edited and translated by Freda Ahenakew.

How have academic journal covers evolved through the years? University of Toronto gives us something old and something new.

Duke University Press blog similarly highlights its most surprising journal issue covers from the past several years. Highlights include Social Atlantic Quarterly’s “Racial Americana” issue as well as Transgender Studies Quarterly’s “Tranimalities” issue.

University of Texas Press spotlights photographer Mark Cohen’s street images on their blog, harkening to a time before Instagram. Author of Frame, Cohen shares six short written pieces about his iconic street photographs taken and developed in 1970s Pennsylvania.

University of Minnesota Press features a massive, detailed timeline of Publishers and their founding dates in infographic form. Fun fact: We, Columbia University Press, share our birth year of 1893 with University of California and Northwestern.

Project Muse, founded in 1995, includes a year by year roundup of university press digital content on its blog. Useful for gaining a quick view of significant journal articles and books.

The University Press of Kansas blog checks in to the significance of this day in 1999 when “President Bill Clinton signed a sweeping measure knocking down Depression-era barriers and allowing banks, investment firms and insurance companies to sell each other’s product.” They tie it to a forthcoming UPK book by Patrick Maney Bill Clinton: New Gilded Age President.

Lastly, Fordham University Press shares a fascinating post on subway history by Joseph Raskin, author of The Routes Not Taken, on New York City’s unbuilt subway system. Were there ever plans for an uptown crosstown subway or more subway lines in Brooklyn? Look at the post to find out. Raskin gives an erudite overview of why subway plans were ended–the reasons range from budgetary issues, the Great Depression, to political factors. Also, did you know? The G line was originally proposed as an elevated line in the 1870s!

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

University Press Week 2015 Blog Tour Roundup, Day 3

#UPWeek

The 2015 University Press Week blog tour continues today discussing Design in UP and Scholarly Publishing.

Princeton University Press’s Design department launched a design tumblr highlighting notable projects with commentary by the book’s respective designer. This behind-the-scenes look reveals thoughts, challenges, and compromises the designers faced throughout their creative processes. Of note: the blog features a look at the Press Room at Princeton University Press in 1910.

MIT Press’s “Design Through the Decades at The MIT Press” is essentially a compressed history of graphic design from the mid-twentieth century to the present. This exciting video (accompanied by a Talking Heads song) takes a look at how book design has evolved over several decades using the human brain image as a case study. It presents a fascinating look at how typographic trends, printing technology, and popular culture have shaped book design over the last 60+ years. (more…)

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

University Press Week 2015 Blog Tour Roundup, Days 1 and 2

#UPWeek

The 2015 University Press Week blog tour is off to a great start, with more presses participating than ever before! As in previous years, a theme is selected for each weekday and various university presses sign up to post on the theme of their choice. Each of the first two days have gone off without a hitch, and there have been a ton of fascinating posts so far on both the Monday’s theme (Surprising!) and Tuesday’s (The Future of Scholarly Publishing). We’ve collected all the posts from the first two days below, so you can #ReadUP!

Monday: Surprising!

At The Florida Bookshelf, the University Press of Florida takes us on a food tour of Florida through seven of their exciting (and surprising!) cookbooks.

At the University Press of New England’s UPNEblog, Marketing Manager Tom Haushalter tells the story of the remarkable experience of marketing Marc Solomon’s Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits—and Won while “marriage equality had ascended to being the most important social movement of its time.”

Steve Yates, the Marketing Director of the University Press of Mississippi also has a surprising story to tell: how UPM collaborated with Mississippi booksellers and newspapers to create a “Mississippi Bestsellers List” that would feature writing by Mississippians about Mississippi. (more…)

Friday, October 30th, 2015

University Press Week 2015 – Online Panels

#UPWeek

“My work as a journalist has been richly and continuously informed by the world of ideas offered by university presses over the years. I can’t imagine the life of the mind in America today without them.” —Bill Moyers

Fourth Annual University Press Week Highlights the Most Surprising Aspects of Scholarly Presses

This year the Association of American University Presses gathers both online and on campuses around the world for University Press Week from November 8-14, 2015. The AAUP is celebrating scholarly publishing concurrent with the first annual Academic Book Week (Nov. 9-16, 2015), a program of the UK-based Academic Book of the Future project.

University presses are full of surprises each year and this year we didn’t have to look hard to find the unique and special ways that these presses make their mark on the world. From University Texas Press’s James Beard winner Yucatán to Princeton University Press’s 150th Anniversary Edition of Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Salvador Dali and Ohio University Press’s illustrated, YA novel Trampoline, this has been a year of outstanding publishing from university presses. All the while, university presses continue to publish the best scholarship from the foremost thinkers working today and continue to garner awards and media attention in vast numbers for their work. University presses worldwide are proud to create these varied, often surprising, and always incredibly well researched publications for students as well as armchair scholars, librarians, journalists, booksellers, and general readers alike. (more…)

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments. (And look back at our University Press Roundup Manifesto to see why we do this post every Friday.)

This week on the Beacon Press blog, Kay Whitlock discusses five myths about violence in America in an attempt to highlight the distinction between the widespread perception of hate crimes in America as isolated and individually-motivated incidents, and the idea of a culturally-perpetuated, structural violence that she believes more accurately characterizes these events.

Duke University Press has posted an article, “How to Start a New Journal,” that brings attention to five new journals, including the Transgender Studies Quarterly, that have been founded in response to new pressing issues, calling attention to the merits of the academic journal as a versatile, accessible medium for discussion about ideas that demand attention.

In a post on the Harvard Education Publishing Group blog, Shayla Reese Griffin discusses the discrepancy between the belief in segregation as a problem of the past and the alarming reality of what many U.S. classrooms today still look like. Her solution is a recommitment to the active practice of integration, beginning with a collective and mindful undoing of unconscious fears, biases, and prejudices.

In light of International Translation Day, Helen Constantine discusses the implications of widespread translation practices in a post on the Oxford University Press blog. It isn’t considered strange, for example, for a writer from Gaza to write his novel in English, but there are very few English writers who would write a novel in Arabic. Constantine brings up fascinating questions about translation, building up barriers, and breaking them down. (For further information about this fascinating topic, check out two Columbia UP books: The Fall of Language in the Age of English, by Minae Mizumura, and Born Translated, by Rebecca Walkowitz!)

This past week was Banned Books Week (September 27 through October 3), and the University of Texas Press has announced that it will be launching a new comic book studies series called the World Comics and Graphic Nonfiction Series, which will publish books that bring an analytical and interdisciplinary approach to defining the comic book studies field. The blog has included an excerpt of the recent issue of The Velvet Light Trap dealing with censorship in the comic book industry.

A recent post on the Yale University Press blog discusses an trend in state-level justice reforms in many southern states as well as Utah, Pennsylvania, and California that make it easier for those incarcerated to gain access to education and training that can greatly improve their prospects in post-incarcerated life. This has given rise to the hopes of a shift of penal reform in a less punitive direction.

Thanks for reading! As always, we hope that you enjoyed the links. Please let us know what you think in the comments!

Friday, September 18th, 2015

University Press Roundup

Welcome back to our (sometimes) weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments. (And look back at our University Press Roundup Manifesto to see why we do this post (nearly) every Friday.)

This month on the University Of California Press blog, Susan Sered, co-author of Can’t Catch a Break: Gender, Jail, Drugs, and the Limits of Personal Responsibility, opens up an ongoing dialogue about our current notions of education and power, and the underlying systems of poverty, racism and gendered violence that surround them. In this article, Sered calls us to examine the ways in which our ideas of knowledge and education are used to simultaneously disempower those individuals belonging to marginalized groups, and to point responsibility for systematic disenfranchisement back onto its victims.

James C. Kaufman, a frequent contributor to Cambridge University Press, writes on their blog this month about the phenomenon of creativity and the mechanisms and motivations behind creative people. Having backgrounds in both cognitive psychology and playwriting, Kaufman offers a unique perspective on the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations of creative people, as well as anecdotes about his own experiences in both the scholarly and productive arenas regarding creative work.

This month the University of Chicago Press blog features an excerpt from an interview with Jessa Crispin, author of The Dead Ladies Project, a memoir about a thirty-something-year-old female expatriate and her experiences walking the line between a lifestyle that fits neither the category of full detachment nor traditional stability. In a voice that is at once unmistakably recognizable and immediately intimate, Crispin speaks about loneliness, place, and the ex-pat experience.

On the Georgetown University Press blog this month comes a two-part post about renewing the Catholic understanding of the sexual person by Todd A. Salman and Michael G. Lawler, authors of Sexual Ethics. Salzman and Lawler put forward a fascinating proposition for a new understanding of the sexual individual within the context of Catholicism, urging a conception of sexual personhood as one that is both wholly holistic and subjective, facilitating a less fragmented and more intimate relationship with one’s body, partner, and God.

From Harvard University Press comes a dialogue between noted atheist and neuroscientist Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz, former Islamist and chairman of global thinktank Quilliam, an international project focused on facilitating discussion on religious freedom, extremism, and citizenship. Sparked from an inauspicious comment made by Harris towards Nawaz following the 2010 Intelligence Squared U.S. debate, Islam and the Future of Tolerance nevertheless turns out an engaging, nuanced, and generous exchange of ideas surrounding Islam, extremism, and the role of scripture and history in the modern political landscape.

In a recent post on the Stanford University Press blog, Cedric de Leon and Manali Desai take on the almost humorously bewildering recent phenomenon of Donald Trump’s rocketing ascent to prominence in the upcoming election, conjecturing that the cause of such a confounding occurrence lies not so much in any particular competence or brilliance of the man himself, but rather a festering detachment and alienation that has been growing steadily in many Americans these past few years, resulting in the almost paradoxically understandable attraction to this strange image of the outsider spouting extreme and even nonsensical views that Trump has embodied in such a timely way.

Finally, to close this weeks roundup, here’s a short piece from the Princeton University Press blog sporting the charming title Kierkegaard in Space. We will leave the reader of this blog with the image of the first Danish astronaut, Andreas Mogensen, upon being obliged to select a ten-minute selection from a Danish work to read to his fellow astronauts on board the first Danish spacecraft bound for the International Space Station, reading a selection from the melancholy Dane’s The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air to his rapt and choice audience, floating noiselessly above a tiny blue earth.

Thanks for reading! As always, we hope that you enjoyed the links. Please let us know what you think in the comments!