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Archive for the 'Academia' Category

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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


“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!

Friday, July 31st, 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, the Cambridge University Press blog published an article highlighting the issues surrounding migration in Europe. The article specifically mentions problems along the French and Italian border as an example of Europe’s pressing problems with migration and immigration. It also discusses the limitations of the law with regards to creating real change, but leaves hope for future cooperation between nations.

Johns Hopkins University Press recently featured an article that discusses the future of late-night talk shows. The topic was inspired by the news that Jon Stewart will be leaving the Daily Show after a long and successful run. The author fears that his departure, along with other changes in late-night, will lead to the loss of true political satire, and critiques the Daily Show’s new-hire, Trevor Noah, while imploring for the hiring of more female comedians.

The NYU Press blog has created an ongoing series of posts about the 2016 election. The most recent post discusses the important role that social media plays in the political arena. Social media is increasingly crucial during campaigns because it has become a primary source of news for many people. The post then transitions toward a discussion of comment forums and the discontent of Republican voters toward their own party. Comment forums show that Republicans feel like their party is not producing anything and they are therefore drawn to Donald Trump due to his ‘take charge’ attitude.

The Stanford University Press blog posted an article that discusses the power of symbolism within the context of the Confederate flag controversy. The author suggests that the flag’s distinctly different representations exemplify a broader schism within the American population.

Translated from its original French version, a post by Pierre Birnbaum, a professor at the Sorbonne, gives a brief history of the French Jewish politician, Leon Blum, on the Yale Press blog. Birnbaum explores Blum’s revolutionary implementation of the forty-hour workweek, its repeal due to its effect on the war effort, and its eventual re-implementation and legacy.

A post at the Oxford University Press blog debunked popular myths surrounding the American healthcare system that have grown due to their political divisiveness. The article tackles topics ranging from the connection between Medicaid and welfare programs to comparing the cost of Medicare and the cost of healthcare in the private sector.

Island Press published an article relaying the importance of modernizing America’s infrastructure. In 2013, America’s infrastructure received a grade of D+–a startling fact, especially in the face of climate change. Poor infrastructure disproportionately affects low-income households and has the potential to devastate communities if a natural disaster strikes. Hopefully Congress will continue to support policy focused on funding improvements to America’s infrastructure.

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

Friday, July 24th, 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.)

Last week, Yale University Press featured an article on their blog about the Makah Nation’s whale hunting practices. Joshua Reid (Snohomish), Professor and director of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts—Boston, gives historical background on the Makah’s long-standing relationship to the sea. He explains how their traditional engagements with fishing and whale hunting have changed over the years with United States government involvement, bringing us up to date with current political debates about native whale hunting practices.

Over at the Stanford University Press Blog, the poet Robinson Jeffers is remembered. The article ruminates on the question of why Jeffers, who once graced the cover of Time Magazine in 1932 and who published many volumes of poetry, has been overlooked by both critics and scholars. His biographer, James Karman, explores the decline of Jeffers’ celebrity and reasons why there has been so little critical engagement with the poet’s work.

Another recent post on the subject of literature and scholarship can be found on the blog of University Press of Colorado. The article explores changes in English education, asking the question of how “freshman” or introductory writing and English courses have changed at colleges over the past several decades. As Rhetoric & Composition departments crop up and expand in universities around the country, there have certainly been many changes.

At the University of Minnesota Press, Alice Kang of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, poses important questions about how our government and other large international humanitarian organizations evaluate women’s rights in different countries. Her article digs into where this data comes from, how these forms of measurement can potentially misrepresents gender equality or inequality in other countries, and how this data may function to pit Global North and South against one another as “civilized” versus “uncivilized.” Even as women’s rights advance, particularly with leaders like Hillary Clinton, Kang urges us to keep these tough questions in mind.

Cambridge University Press also delves into issues of gender inequality. Aaron A. Dhir, author of Challenging Boardroom Homogeneity, writes about male-dominated corporate culture and the distinct absence of women in business leadership positions. He discusses potential solutions and ways that different countries are beginning to deal with gender inequality in the corporate workplace.

Over at Harvard University Press’ blog, a recent post explores a comparison that many have drawn in past weeks between Roe v. Wade and the recent Supreme Court decision about marriage equality. How accurate is the comparison really? To what extent are current and past debates about abortion similar to those about gay marriage?

In keeping with this focus on current politics, a post from the University Press of New England discusses the issue of prison reform, Obama’s recent comments on the subject, and bipartisan efforts at change. Chris Innes, author of Healing Corrections: The Future of Imprisonment, takes us further, though, asking the question, “What next?” Once we’ve made strides at ending mass incarceration, what else must we do to “heal” the prison system? What indeed?

To finish off our roundup, this week the University of Virginia Press takes us back fifty years, reminding us of the anniversary of the escalation of the Vietnam War. The article gives readers a fascinating snippet of conversation between a very anxious President Lyndon B. Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield on the subject of troop escalation.

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

Friday, June 19th, 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, University of Chicago Press blog features an In These Times interview with Micah Uetricht and Andrew Hartman, author of The War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars , about whether or not the great American culture wars are over. They argue that the Christian Right is largely a “lost cause” and have retrenched from the national stage in favor of smaller factions that debate out of the public purview.

Over at University of Minnesota Press, Ryan Thomas Skinner, an Assistant Professor of ethnomusicology at the Ohio State University, discusses the complex and ever shifting character of Malian music. Drawing from years of personal observation and scholarly research, Skinner argues that despite the cultural and political disruption of the March 2012 military mutiny, Malian music is far from “dead”. In fact, Skinner claims that Malian music is defined by the convergence of ethnic, religious, urban, economic, etc. positions under which it’s produced.

University of Illinois Press blog features a video of Corrupt Illinois authors, Thomas J. Gradel and Dick Simpson discussing the abundance of governmental corruption in the state. Though the news is saturated with high-level Illinois corruption with the recent investigation of Representative Aaron Schock and the indictment of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Gradel and Simpson claim that they uncovered corruption at all levels of public government. From state, aldermanic, and city corruption, to county employee and suburban corruption, it appears Illinois’ long history of machine politics continues to haunt the Land of Lincoln.

What is the fewest number of guards per shift an art museum can employ without sacrificing the security of any of the pieces? This question is the focus of this week’s Princeton University Press blog post by Marc Chamberland, author of Single Digits: In Praise of Small Numbers. Chamberland explains how to calculate it in a snappy video embedded in the post.

At the University of North Carolina Press blog, Erin Smith, author of What Would Jesus Read? Popular Religious Books and Everyday Life in Twentieth Century America, explores religious books’ lack of critical success despite their commercial popularity. In the post, Smith discusses the varying motivations of authors, publishers, and readers when it comes to religious scholarship.

Friday, May 1st, 2015

University Press Roundup

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.)

Ever experience frustration while learning French? Cambridge University Press’s blog tackles that pesky challenge of French word order. Read about questions over word inversion or whether or not that adjective goes before the noun thanks to French grammar expert, Ron Batchelor.

“Despite legal and procedural reforms, Missoula remains in murky territory where people on all sides of the issue cling to the fiction that society can somehow expel, arrest, prosecute, imprison, and censor its way into a less sexually violent future.” This week, Beacon Broadside Press explores the controversy growing around Jon Krakauer’s new book Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town in the Montana town on which it covers. Read writer and activist Kay Whitlock’s take on the matter.

Read the last of Duke University Press’s celebration of National Poetry Month with their Poem of the Week. On display this week is Ariel Dorfman’s “First Prologue: Simultaneous Translation” from his 2002 book In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land.

This week John’s Hopkins University Press has a better solution for Doug Hughes in order to get the attention of Congress without flying a gyro-copter onto the White House lawn. Read professor and writer Benjamin Alexander’s portrayal of Jacob Coxey and Carl Browne and their 1894 attempt to march up to the Capitol with an army of unemployed men.

Need an update on your go-to salsa recipe for this weekend? Minnesota Historical Society Press has got you covered with chef and writer Sue Doeden’s take on a honey balsamic black bean and mango salsa.

Did you know that the internet is powered by light? Check out other things you never knew about light on Oxford University Press’s blog this week in their post celebrating 2015, the year the UN has deemed the “International Year of Light.”

This week, The University of Virginia Press has posted a full recording and transcript of a March 19, 1971 conversation between Nixon and Kissinger regarding the withdrawal of troops in Vietnam to observe the fortieth anniversary of the fall of Saigon. Hear Nixon voice his worry over his upcoming campaign.

Anxiously awaiting your chance to read Toni Morrison’s new book God Help the Child? Read author Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman’s take and praise and her musings about its relationship to her own scholarly work in the meantime on The University of Texas Press blog.

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