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Archive for the 'Publishing' Category

Friday, November 15th, 2013

University Press Roundup: Special UPWeek Edition

#UPWeek

Welcome to our University Press Roundup! As many of you know, this week was University Press Week, and many of the blogs we normally cover here participated in the #UPWeek Blog Tour, so we are making this the Special UPWeek Edition of our normal roundup. Each of the days of the UPWeek Blog Tour had a theme for those blogs posting, which is great for a roundup: it allows us to organize the posts both chronologically and thematically. We are highlighting quite a few posts, as one might expect, but all are well worth reading. As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

Monday: Meet the Press
The UP blogs writing on Monday provided staff profiles and interviews in an effort to give a more detailed insight into how UPs do business, as well as to recognize the outstanding contributions to the scholarly process made by press employees.

McGill-Queen’s Press interviewed editors Kyla Madden and Jonathan Crago, Penn State Press interviewed “invisible” manuscript editor John Morris, the University of Illinois Press interviewed Editor-in-Chief Laurie Matheson, the University of Hawai’i Press profiled Journals Manager Joel Bradshaw, the University of Missouri Press introduced new director David Rosenbaum, the University Press of Colorado profiled managing editor Laura Furney, and the University Press of Florida interviewed editor Siam Hunter.

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Friday, November 15th, 2013

#UPWeek Blog Tour: Columbia University Press and Global Publishing

It’s the final day ofUniversity Press Week! All week long university presses have been participating in the UP Week Blog Tour. We are thrilled to participate, and excited about today’s blog post theme: The Global Reach of University Presses.

Make sure you check out the other presses posting today: Georgetown University Press, Indiana University Press, JHU Press, NYU Press, Princeton University Press, University of Wisconsin Press, and Yale University Press!

#UPWeek

Columbia University Press and Global Publishing

“Recognizing commonality in the midst of diversity, and diversity in the midst of commonality…. There’s no other way human life can be viewed.”—Wm. de Bary, in an interview with Columbia Magazine

Columbia University Press’s commitment to global publishing can be traced back to the late 1950’s, when Columbia University professors began extending the scope of their core courses to include classics of Asian literature alongside Western classics. Under the direction of William Theodore de Bary, one of the scholars responsible for Columbia’s innovative emphasis on non-Western thought, Columbia University Press published a series of four influential anthologies, Sources of Indian Tradition, Sources of Japanese Tradition, Sources of Chinese Tradition, and Sources of Korean Tradition, that form the foundation of our mission to contribute to an understanding of global human concerns.

Since the first of these anthologies was published in 1958, Columbia University Press has been committed to publishing quality scholarship in a variety of global fields. We take great pride in the diversity of our books and our authors. In the first few pages from our recently released Spring 2014 catalog alone we have an insect cookbook translated from Dutch, a discussion of Jacques Lacan and a book of short plays by French philosopher Alain Badiou, and three books from the new Kenneth J. Arrow Lecture Series, which boast Nobel winners from America and India as authors.

In addition to our own publishing program, we also help to disseminate global scholarship through our distribution services. Our distributed presses are based in Asia, Europe, and the United States; some publish primarily in specific subject areas, others in a variety of fields. However, despite their differences (or maybe because of them), all contribute quality scholarship and literature to the global scholarly conversation.

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Friday, November 8th, 2013

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts 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.

Ever wondered what makes a terrific book, a classic for generations to come? Author Ankhi Mukerjee aspires to address that question through his book titled, “What is a Classic?” and Stanford University Press highlights Mukherjee’s new book in a recent post by stating that “Mukherjee’s concise prose doesn’t pull any punches. In her first chapter she asserts that the “classic” can be deployed as a hierarchical apparatus, shoring up power for some while marginalizing the voices of others.”

This week, Yale University Press writes a post about Nigel Simeone’s recently published editorial venture “The Leonard Berstein Letters” which are a compilation of written exchanges between Bernstein and other noted artists as well as his own personal relationships. Yale recognizes the achievements of Mr. Bernstein as “a charismatic and versatile musician – a brilliant conductor who attained international super-star status, a gifted composer of Broadway musicals (West Side Story), symphonies (Age of Anxiety), choral works (Chichester Psalms), film scores (On the Waterfront), and much more. He was also an enthusiastic letter writer, and this book is the first to present a wide-ranging selection of his correspondence.”

Harvard University Press commemorates the centennial anniversary of the passing of Alfred Russel Wallace with a recent post that includes a “beautifully produced facsimile edition of Wallace’s “Species Notebook” of 1855-1859, a never-before-published document that helps to reestablish Wallace as Darwin’s equal among the pioneers of evolution.” Since his death in 1913, Wallace has been recognized as one of the most famous naturalists in the world.

Fan of Hemingway? Cambridge University Press catered to all those who want to know how to write like the acclaimed author with tips from Hemingway himself. As Heminway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Volume 2 (1923-1925) show that Hemingway had quite a few more tips on his craft, and Cambridge has made these tips available in an easily readable and creative format in a recent blog post.

Duke University Press recently published a post about joining hands with the Center for Documentary Studies to celebrate author Gerard H. Gaskin’s success with his forthcoming book “Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene”, which was the 2012 winner of the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography. According to Duke Press, “The book’s color and black-and-white photographs document the world of house balls, underground pageants where gay and transgender men and women, mostly African American and Latino, celebrate their most vibrant, spectacular selves as they walk, competing for trophies based on costume, attitude, dance moves, and realness.”

Princeton University Press recently posted about the 50th anniversary celebration of the New York Review of Books, which is widely recognized as a premier source of articles and reviews of the best books by the best critics in the industry. Princeton noted that all in attendance received a wonderful parting gift–a copy of the 50th anniversary edition of the magazine and a facsimile of the very first issue and mentioned that “it was delightful to thumb through Issue #1 with articles by W.H. Auden, Nathan Glazer, Elizabeth Hardwick, Irving Howe, Normal Mailer, Adrienne Rich, Susan Sontag, and Gore Vidal, to mention just a few of the illustrious contributors.”

MIT Press rounds up its Classic Reissue series with Roger Lewis’s well-loved “Architect?: A Candid Guide to the Profession”, now in its third edition. In their recent post, MIT Press shares the thoughts of Executive Editor Roger Conover “on the need for such a book in the market and the careful considerations for the revision.”

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with a post by Harvard University Press. HUP paid a special tribute to Norman Mailer who is described as the “most celebrated and most reviled” of American writers, even years after his death. To highlight Mailer’s recent limelight with a new biography and special edition of selected essays, Harvard has posted “a most Mailerish of excerpts from his “First Advertisement for Myself,” from his 1959 book.

Thanks again for reading this week’s roundup! Have a great weekend, and leave any thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Kenneth Goldsmith on The Wild World of Lulu

Andy Sterling, Supergroup

In the following post, Kenneth Goldsmith, author of Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age, explores the new publishing options open to poets and whether poetry still needs publishers:

Poetry is cunning. Eternally broke and without resources, it manages against all odds to keep producing daring and innovative works. At a time when few publishers would dare do a book of poetry for fear of losing their shirt, the most adventurous poets have left the building, migrating instead to print-on-demand systems. Poets can now produce works which would otherwise be impossible to publish by more conventional means and by posting them on Lulu, they get the added bonus of harnessing the site as a powerful distribution tool.

Here’s how it works. A young poet like Andy Sterling datamines a site like Discogs and harvests 400 pages’ worth of small-bit session players from long-forgotten 1970s LPs. He throws the whole thing into an InDesign document, slaps a snazzy cover on it, pumps it out as PDF, calls it Supergroup, and uploads it to Lulu, where you can have a physical book made of it for $13.38. But really, few are going to pay for it. Instead, they use the Lulu servers to snag the PDF, costing nobody anything. Lulu’s become poetry’s biggest advocates.

The two main sites for this sort of work being done by younger conceptual poets are Gauss PDF and the Troll Thread Collective. Created by poets for poets, they exploit free software, publishing and distribution systems to make their work. The work itself tends to push these limits as best exemplified by Chris Alexander’s McNugget, which is 528 pages’ worth of tweets that mention the word “McNugget”:

12 Feb Alaina VanDyke @LainsaMains Reply Retweet Favorite • Open I asked my dad for a 10 piece Chicken McNugget. He brings me that, plus a small fry and a fruit n yogurt parfait. That’s love ya’ll.

While this might be far from traditional notions of poetry, it’s right in line with much of the conceptual writing that’s been happening over the past decade in which writers, exploiting the cut and paste function of the computer, have been harvesting the internet for material, making books that are more about the act of collecting the information than the reading of them.

The ultimate Lulu work is called The Black Book by Jean Keller, which is a 740-page book consisting of nothing more than margin-to-margin black. As Keller eloquently puts it on the Lulu page:

Ink used for digital printing is one of the most precious substances in the world. A single gallon of ink costs over four thousand dollars and this is one reason why digitally printed books are so expensive

However, the price of a book is not calculated according to the amount of ink used in its production. For example, a Lulu book of blank pages costs an artist as much to produce as a book filled with text or large photographs. Furthermore, as the number of pages increases, the price of each page decreases. A book containing the maximum number of pages printed entirely in black ink therefore results in the lowest cost and maximum value for the artist.

Combining these two features, buyers of The Black Book can do so with the guarantee that they are getting the best possible value for their money.

He sells the book for $29.21. When I held a copy, the book was still wet and weighed a ton.

Friday, March 29th, 2013

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts 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.

Chinua Achebe passed away last week, and at the OUPblog, Richard Dowden has written a post in memory of Achebe, looking back at Achebe’s life and works, discussing his massive and continuing influence, and telling the story of Dowden’s own interactions with the great author. “A conversation with Chinua Achebe was a deep, slow and gracious matter. He was exceedingly courteous and always listened and reflected before answering. In his later years he talked even more slowly and softly, savouring the paradoxes of life and history. He spoke in long, clear, simple sentences which often ended in a profound and sad paradox. Then those extraordinary eyes twinkled, his usually very solemn face would break into a huge smile and he would chuckle.”

The NYU Press blog, From the Square, continued their month-long focus on Women’s History Month this week with a post by Melissa R. Klapper examining why we are still apparently “disconcerted by women in positions of authority.” In her post, Klapper delves into at the history of women working in her attempt to come up with an answer.

March Madness is in full swing, and at North Philly Notes, the blog of Temple University Press, Gregory Kaliss takes a break from this year’s action to look back at an infamous NCAA tournament regional final weekend in Dallas in 1957. The Kansas University Jayhawks rolled to two convincing victories to advance to the Final Four, that weekend, but because the team was integrated (and in fact featured Wilt Chamberlain, one of the greatest basketball players of all time), they faced discrimination and racial violence both on and off the court.

What exactly is “craft” and how is it different (if it differs at all) from art? At the UNC Press Blog, Howard Risatti digs into these and other thorny questions in a guest post. Along the way, he also discusses how crafts and art can raise our awareness of ecological issues.

“Julius Caesar shows us two different kinds of political love, in tragic opposition. Brutus is principled, but he is not cold. He loves the institutions of the Roman Republic, and he tells us that this abstract love has driven out his personal love of Caesar, as fire drives out fire…. Brutus’s antitype is Antony, who can understand no kind of love other than the personal, who cannot refrain from calling the dead man “Julius” even in the presence of the conspirators.” This week, The Chicago Blog has a fascinating excerpt from Martha Nussbaum’s Shakespeare and the Law.

Since late 2008, North Dakota has been experiencing an “economic boom and rapid population growth” as the result of the discovery of oil and natural gas underneath the state. At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Dean Hulse warns that, while the boom has brought some good, it’s important to pay attention to the possible long-term consequences of the new uses of the land in the state.

At the JHU Press Blog this week, Valerie Weaver-Zercher discusses her decision to present her academic research in “what literary theorist Scott Slovic calls ‘narrative scholarship,’ in which writers do not strive to absent themselves from the text.” In her post, Weaver-Zercher looks at the positives and negatives of attempting to write objectively and of acknowledging the subjectivity of one’s perspective in an academic work.

In an interview with Beacon Broadside, Kim E. Nielsen thinks about the similarities and differences in approaching history through different lenses, in particular, through the lenses of women’s history and disability history. While there are clear differences, particularly in the “slipperiness” over time in the definitions of “woman” and “disabled,” she notes a number of important similarities, as well, in particular that “women, children, enslaved people, and people with disabilities have tended to share a similar legal status, having a limited legal identity and having their legal ability to act covered by somebody else.

The fate of Florida’s famed springs is an ongoing concern for the state, which recently announced that it will reclaim Silver Springs in an “attempt to prevent further environmental degradation of the natural wonder.” At the Florida Bookshelf, the blog of the University Press of Florida, Gary Monroe discusses this move by the state and looks at the historical importance of Florida’s springs.

The popular version of the history of tanning is a relatively simple one, involving the evolution of paleness being a sign of wealth to the Industrial Revolution’s reversal of this idea, with Coco Chanel playing a crucial role somewhere along the line. At the Penn Press Log, however, Catherine Cocks argues that this version simply isn’t true, and, more worryingly, ignores the important role that race played in establishing norms of skin color.

Thanks again for reading this week’s roundup! Have a great weekend, and leave any thoughts in the comments!

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts 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.

Today, March 22, is World Water Day, and in honor of the occasion, the MIT Press blog has a post from Joanna Robinson on water cooperation. In her post, Robinson argues that, while “[w]ater has increasingly become a source of conflict globally,” “because water is a shared resource and a source of life, it has the potential to unite individuals and societies through increased cooperation over water governance as well as a commitment to equity and sustainability.”

From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, continued their celebration and examination of Women’s History Month with a post by Leela Fernandes in which she asks us to consider how we gain our impressions of women from around the world. Thinking about the origins of what we know about the world, she argues, “allows us to grapple with the challenges of “knowing” the world in ways that are ethical.”

What is “the brain supremacy”? In an interview with the OUPblog, Kathleen Taylor explains the “increasing relevance of neuroscience” and tries to imagine where brain research will take us in the future. “At present, we know of no such limitation. We also know that ideas which, two decades ago, would have been derided as impossible are now being calmly considered in the research literature.”

Feel underpaid? At the AMACOM Books Blog, Shoya Zichy argues that being underpaid is often the result of an under-assertive employee rather than an uncaring boss. In her post, she provides a step-by-step approach to negotiating a better compensation package at work.

“On any given day, more than 81,000 youth are confined to residential facilities in the juvenile justice system.” At Voices in Education, the blog of Harvard Education Publishing, Joanne Karger asks how best we can provide the education that will help reintegrate these youths into society. In her post, Karger claims that Universal Design for Learning (UDL) “has the potential to bring about fundamental improvements in the education provided to incarcerated youth.”

In a thoughtful post at the Yale Press Log, Fania Oz-Salzberger discusses two themes that she and her father address in their recent book: “How did the Jews remain Jews? and, How can books keep families and generations together?”

A video on the level of wealth inequality in the US recently went viral on Youtube, racking up over five million views to date. At the Stanford University Press Blog, Angelique Haugerud discusses why the video’s reception matters, and how it links the twenty-first century back with “earlier wealth bubbles–such as the late-nineteenth-century era Mark Twain popularized as a Gilded Age of surface glitter and vast underlying corruption, when the very rich sparkled while many went hungry.”

At Beacon Broadside, sociologist Laurie Essig denounces the practice of politically motivated “bad sociology.” In particular, she takes aim at a recent study by sociologist Mark Regnerus designed to measure the happiness of children of gay parents. She claims that Regnerus and the funders of his study “were assuming that the results would show gay families are worse than straight families.”

The Pan American Union on the National Mall in Washington D.C. became the home of an ambitious program of visual arts in the Cold War period. At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Claire F. Fox takes a look at the the history of the PAU, and contemplates the role of art in forging positive international relations between nations.

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Friday, March 15th, 2013

University Press Roundup

Welcome to this special Ides of March edition of our weekly University Press Roundup. We’ve collected the best posts of the week 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.

March 14 (3-14) is widely known as Pi Day. Several publishers ran posts this week in honor of the occasion. The MIT Press blog has a mathematics-centric interview with Sanjoy Mahajan on how the proliferation of technology has affected how we teach and learn math. Meanwhile, the University Press of Kentucky blog and the Penn Press Log took a very different approach to Pi(e) Day: the Kentucky Press blog provides a delicious recipe for a “Kentucky Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie,” while the Penn Press Log provides a delicious recipe for Pennsylvania Dutch shoofly pie. Bring on the pie!

What, exactly, is the role that scholarly publishers play in the creation of scholarship? And more importantly, what is the role that scholarly publishers SHOULD play in the creation of scholarship? These are the questions that University of Minnesota Press senior acquisitions editor Jason Weidemann asks in “What do university presses do?,” a post at the University of Minnesota Press Blog. Weidemann takes issue with “rhetoric about scholarly publishers these days, rhetoric which paints us as parasites sucking profit and capital out of the work of scholars, structured around a ‘conflict’ between publishers, libraries, and scholars often oversimplified into a binary,” and uses the journey of a new UMP book by Matthew Wolf-Meyer to argue against this oversimplification.

“Commas are extremely useful but, to my mind, they are the most singularly misunderstood punctuation mark.” At the JHU Press Blog, manuscript editor Michele Callaghan has a post delving into the many uses (and far too frequent misuses) of the comma. She focuses particular attention on the way people often want to add a comma before conjunctions, “possibly from a misguided sense of drama.”

In the latest entry in their “Director Dish” series of posts, the University of Nebraska Press Blog has a discussion of how book titling works differently in different book genres. The discussion brings up an age-old debate that’s recently been given additional fuel by the rise of search engine optimization as an important consideration in titling (particularly nonfiction) books: is it better to have a descriptive title or a flashy creative title? And what role should the subtitle play?

MOOCs have (once again) been a contentious topic of numerous op-eds recently, largely spurred by an article in the NYTimes by Thomas Friedman. An Akronism, the University of Akron Press blog, dove into the fray this week with a post looking at MOOCs and the phenomenon of MOOCH (MOOC Hysteria).

On March 26, the US Supreme Court will for the first time address the legality of bans on same sex marriage by hearing Hollingsworth v. Perry, a case based on California’s recent state ban on gay marriage. At This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambridge University Press, six experts debate the coming case and what the 14th Amendment actually means.

The generation born between 2000 and 2020 is likely to be significantly smaller than the Millennial Generation now entering the work force. At the AMACOM Books Blog, Claire Raines has a guest post offering a quick overview of recent generational history and ten quick predictions for this new generation, which she’s dubbed Generation Z for the purposes of the post. Interestingly enough, she argues that, “In just the way Gen Xers felt they grew up in the shadow of the Baby Boom, Z’s will feel like they’re coming of age in the shadow of Millennials.”

A book can be one of the most powerful gifts. At the LSU Press Blog, author Michael Downs tells the story of a gifted book that helped clarify what “writing fiction” actually meant to him. As he succinctly puts it: “My writing career started with the gift of a book.”

Hugo Chávez passed away earlier this week, and while the former leader of Venezuela has something of a bad reputation here in the US media, at From the Square, the NYU Press blog, Michael D. Yates argues that Chávez “was a great champion of the impoverished workers and peasants of both Venezuela and the world.”

At the OUPblog, Fiona Cox and Elena Theodorakopoulos have a fascinating guest post looking at female responses to Homer. They argue that “[i]n the last twenty years there has been an extraordinarily vital and widespread response to Homer by women writers,” and they cite a wide variety of works from Laura Esquival’s Like Water for Chocolate (published in 1989) to last year’s The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller, as evidence.

Finally, The University of Georgia Press blog has been continuing their “30 Days of the Flannery O’Connor Award” series this week. All the posts in this series are well worth reading, but Tony Ardizzone’s examination of Salvatore La Puma’s The Boys of Bensonhurst is particularly engaging.

Thanks again for reading this week’s roundup! Have a great weekend, and leave any thoughts in the comments!

Friday, March 8th, 2013

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts 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.

We’ll start out this week with a couple of excellent posts this week considering the history and role of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day (March 8). At the Stanford University Press Blog, Myra Marx Ferree has a guest post looking at the roots of International Women’s Day. And at From the Square, the NYU Press blog, Alison Piepmeier explains why she’s “a bit skeptical” of Women’s History Month.’

It’s now been over a month since US Secretary of State for Defense Leon Panetta announced that in 2016, combat roles in the US military would be open to female service personnel. At the OUPblog, Anthony King looks at the question that has been raised by critics of the decision to open combat roles to women: Can women fight? Using examples from the Canadian Army and the UK, he argues that “[i]t is empirically false to claim that women cannot serve on the frontline or that they necessarily undermine cohesion.”

Throughout the month of March, the University of Georgia Press blog will be hosting “30 Days of the Flannery O’Connor Award,” a series of guest posts from winners of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. The first of these posts, by Jessica Treadway, discusses Hester Kaplan’s The Edge of Marriage.

Meanwhile, the JHU Press Blog is running a series of posts called “Kill Your Darlings,” in which authors are asked “What poem, line, stanza, or piece of brilliant work have you sacrificed for the greater good?” So far, X. J. Kennedy and Peter Filkins have written very interesting posts attempting to answer that question.

Michael Sadowski made a couple of appearances in the blogs of academic presses this week. First, at Voices in Education, the blog of Harvard Education Publishing, Sadowski discusses the powerful role parents can play in setting goals for students. Then, at North Philly Notes, the blog of Temple University Press, Sadowski delves into the experiences that went into his new book, In a Queer Voice.

This week, Beacon Broadside, the blog of Beacon Press, has a Q&A with David Chura, author of I Don’t Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine. Over the course of the interview Chura explains what inspired him to write about incarcerated youth, why he decide to ask other teachers to tell stories from their careers, and how he and other teachers find the strength to deal with the additional challenges involved in teaching at-risk kids.

In honor of their centennial year, the Harvard University Press Blog is running a series of posts on 100 significant HUP titles. This week, Executive Editor-at-large Elizabeth Knoll looks back at Jerome Bruner’s The Process of Education, originally published in 1960. In her post, Knoll discusses how spectacular best-sellers from academic publishers often come from unexpected sources, and how, “in 1960, no one expected the report of a Woods Hole conference of eminent scientists and psychologists, spurred by the political shock of Sputnik to imagine reforms in American schools, to fascinate and inspire book reviewers, university students, neighborhood book groups, and school teachers for decades.”

While a majority of the time and effort spent on editing a book focuses on what goes between the covers (and rightfully so), at the University of Nebraska Press blog, UNP marketing manager Martyn Beeny argues that the value of the marketing copy written about the book should not be underrated: “Writing copy for a catalog or the back cover of a book is not to be confused with writing the book in the first place or editing it into shape in the second, but it is an authorial and editorial challenge in its own right.”

This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambridge University Press, has recently been posting a series of fascinating essays on paternalism. This week, Sarah Conley has a guest post arguing that, while paternalism has a bad name, “[m]uch of our traditional dislike of paternalism is based on a false picture of human nature.” She asks why we accept so readily paternalistic interventions in a few cases (like being required by law to wear a seatbelt) and not in others with similar effects.

Finally, we’ll wrap things up for this week’s Roundup with a Q&A with Patrick McGilligan at the University of Minnesota Press Blog about the Hollywood Blacklist of 1947. In a story that is often forgotten today, 36 members of the Hollywood community were blacklisted due to their alleged involvement with the Communist Party.

Thanks again for reading this week’s roundup! Have a great weekend, and leave any thoughts in the comments!

Friday, March 1st, 2013

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts 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.

Happy March! March is Women’s History Month, and at From the Square, the NYU Press blog, Margaret S. Williams has a post wondering “how the dearth of women in public life will affect the celebration of this month in the future.” She worries that if “there are no women willing to take the risk and aim for more power and prestige, we lose not only examples for future generations, but we may also lose any reason to celebrate this month.”

The word “paternalism” is used in a variety of contexts with a variety of meanings. At This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambridge University Press, six contributors to the new book Paternalism: Theory and Practice discuss paternalism, explaining what it is, how morally problematic it is, and the differences between types of paternalism.

This week there were a couple of excellent posts on immigration. First, at the UNC Press Blog, Gordon K. Mantler discusses the relative importance of the issue of immigration in earning votes from the Latino population in the US, and reminds politicians that immigration is NOT the only issue about which Latinos in the US care. Meanwhile, at North Philly Notes, the blog of Temple University Press, Carol Kelly explains how immigrants in a new country are able to find a sense of “home” in their new and unfamiliar surroundings.
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Friday, February 15th, 2013

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts 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.

Authors, read this post! The AMACOM Books Blog has a great post this week on how authors can have a great relationship with their publicists. Among many other pieces of advice, the post asks that authors, quite simply, be available: “They check e-mail and voicemail frequently, and get back quickly with all the information requested. They don’t go on vacation the week their book is published. If they take a short vacation in the months leading to pub date, they let their publicist know, and they make sure they are reachable for interviews.”

Last week, the Harvard University Press Blog ran the first of a pair of essays by John Burt on the historical allusions (particularly to Abraham Lincoln) in President Obama’s second inaugural address. This week, they have the second of the pair, in which Burt takes a closer look at what Obama’s historical allusions say about the ever-changing ideal of freedom in America.

Pope Benedict XVI abdicated earlier this week. At the OUPblog, Gerald O’Collins has a guest post arguing that the Pope’s decision to step down to allow a younger person to take his place is a brave one, and is, in fact, “the defining moment of his papacy.”

Martin Luther King Jr. is often seen as a uniquely American hero, but at Beacon Broadside, Lewis V. Baldwin claims that MLK described himself as “a citizen of the world” and should get more credit for his global thought and influence. Baldwin claims that we must look at King as “a leader who moved beyond the particularities of the African American and the American experiences to speak and act on behalf of a world fragmented by bigotry, injustice, intolerance, and war.”
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Friday, February 8th, 2013

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts from the blogs of academic publishers! We’ve got a selection of excellent snowstorm reading this week. As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

We’ll kick things off this week with a list of “Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Rosa Parks,” compiled by Jeanne Theoharis at Beacon Broadside on Monday in honor of Parks’ 100th birthday. Some highlights: “Parks had been thrown off the bus a decade earlier by the same bus driver,” “The Parks family had to leave Montgomery eight months after the boycott ended,” and “Parks was far more radical than has been understood.”

At the Harvard University Press Blog, John Burt has a two-part post series, the first of which was published Thursday, on President Obama’s second inaugural address, which “deserves far greater consideration than afforded by the swift turn to business [following the inauguration].” Hurt emphasizes Obama’s references to Lincoln and Lincoln’s sense of “what American nationality is.”

The controversial but critically acclaimed movie Zero Dark Thirty received a mix of plaudits and criticism for its depiction of torture in “history’s greatest manhunt for the world’s most dangerous man,” Osama Bin Laden. At the Texas A&M Press blog, William Clark Latham Jr. takes a look at torture through a different lens: the story of “torture American soldiers suffered at the hands of North Korean allies.”

The debate over the place of gun rights in modern American society has raged since the tragic shootings at Newtown, Connecticut, and at the JHU Press Blog, John A. Rich asks why Americans see the need to own weapons, and argues that understanding the roots of the problem of gun violence in America is crucial to finding a solution. His questions lead to more questions: “what can we do to make all of us feel safer, especially those who are most likely to be victims?”

Happy birthday, University of Georgia Press! On Monday, UG Press announced the celebration of their 75th year of publishing scholarship and literature. Congrats!

“A lot of professional pride goes into every project. Yet for all our diligence, caring, and commitment, errors are inevitable.” In an honest and heartfelt post at the AMACOM Books Blog, Senior Editor Bob Nirkind discusses errors in books from the point of view of the publisher. He talks about the difference between typos and factual errors, and how factual errors can lead to productive discussions with passionate people.

There’s been a growing emphasis at the MLA annual meeting (and elsewhere) on the digital humanities (DH), field that’s hard to define, but that “includes scholars who employ computational methods to study traditional evidence like literary texts, historical data, and cultural artifacts, and those who use humanistic methods to understand digital media and culture. This work results not only in print and digital books or journals, but also in databases, digital archives, online maps, complex visualizations, and more.” At From the Square, the NYU Press blog, Monica McCormick has a post discussing DH and the various panels on DH at the MLA meeting this year.

Over the last few years, growing concerns about injury, and in particular, growing concerns about concussions and other head trauma injuries, have necessitated a number of rule changes in major college and professional football leagues. At the OUPblog, Anthony Scioli argues that football, at least in its current incarnation, cannot last (and quotes Cicero on the dangers of gladiatorial conflict in proving his point).

Injuries, of course, are not the only problem that major college sports face. This week the University of Illinois Press blog has an interview with Albert Figone, a professor emeritus and former head football and baseball coach at Humboldt State University, discusses the history of game fixing scandals and other gambling-related problems in college sports.

At Fordham Impressions, the blog of Fordham University Press, Timothy J. Orr has a post on a fascinating Civil War story he unearthed in the summer of 2006 concerning the politics behind military promotions. “In 1862, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general had to answer a hefty stack of letters about [Lieutenant Colonel Gustavus] Town’s promotion to colonel. As I read the ill-toned epistles, the reason for the controversy became obvious. A cluster of Union generals, all of them well-known Democrats, wanted to deny Town—a Republican—his promotion to colonel. Meanwhile, state politicians—all Republicans—insisted upon Town’s elevation.”

Last November, the UN General Assembly acknowledged Palestine’s status as a state. At This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambridge University Press, John Quigley has a guest post looking at what this new development means for the situation in Israel, and looking back at the Six-Day War in 1967.

And finally, we’ll wrap things up with a look back at the double life of George Cukor in a Q&A with Patrick McGilligan on the University of Minnesota Press Blog. Cukor was a famous “Golden Age” Hollywood director, and McGilligan claims that Cukor’s life and, in particular, his sexual orientation and the prejudices he had to face because of it, teach us lessons about the time period, but also about how people deserve to be treated.

Well, that will do it for this week! We hope that you enjoyed this edition of our UP Roundup. As always, please post any thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading, and stay warm this weekend!

Friday, February 1st, 2013

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts from the blogs of academic publishers! Everybody is back from break, and we’ve got a ton of great posts this week! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

We’ll get things kicked off this week with a guest post by Christopher Kuner at the OUPblog on an important topic: the politics of data privacy. Due to the ever-changing nature of the field and the necessarily international nature of any regulation or law, coming up with an acceptable and effective system of data privacy is a tricky process. As Kuner puts it, “Part of the problem is that while data protection and privacy issues have global ramifications, the legal framework for them is still very much a matter of local or, at best, regional regulation.”

This week there were a couple of posts touching on different aspects of environmentalism. At Island Press Field Notes, Charles C. Chester has a guest post thinking about “the conservation toolbox,” how it’s changed over time, and how we need to reconceive the idea of a “toolbox” altogether. Over at This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambridge University Press, William M. Alley and Rosemarie Alley have a guest post about the ongoing problem of how to deal with nuclear waste now that President Obama has ended the work at Yucca Mountain.

Immigration was also a hot topic this week. At the Stanford University Press Blog, Jody Agius Vallejo has a post examining the recent immigration reform plans from President Obama and the “Gang of Eight” senators. Vallejo claims that if “Republicans want to charm the Latino population, and do what is best for America’s future, they must support a rapid citizenship pathway that does not include contingencies that are impossible to meet.” Meanwhile, at the UNC Press Blog, Lara Putnam is glad that immigration reform is finally in the national political conversation, and she argues that family should play a crucial role in discussions of immigration reform moving forward. “Some of the deepest costs of our prohibitionist immigration system have to do with family. And they’re not just emotional costs—they’re economic costs as well.”

Transnational adoptions, and, in particular, the assumptions made by non-adopted people about the process of adoption, are the topic of the moment for Kristi Brian at North Philly Notes, the blog of Temple University Press. Brian starts by examining the recent protests in Moscow against the “adoption ban that prevents U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children,” and argues that “the fact of the matter is, as much as we hate to admit it, transnational adoption is a marketplace driven by and reflective of capitalist modes of production.”

Congrats to Princeton University Press on their shiny new blog! It looks great! Check it out in this repost of a fascinating Huffington Post article by Eric J. Heller on the age-old phenomenon of unexplainable booms. “Oddly, the surface does not need to move very far nor very fast to launch exceedingly loud sound resembling cannon fire or a sonic boom. What it does need is a lot of acceleration. But how can something have huge acceleration, yet not wind up moving very far or very fast?”

Science and literature are not commonly seen as complimentary disciplines (quite the opposite, in many cases), but at the JHU Press Blog, Theresa M. Kelley has a guest post discussing “how literature meets, or sidles up to, science.” Kelley focuses in particular on 18th and 19th century literature and the life sciences of the time, which is a combination which seems even less likely than science and literature generally.

Over at the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Steve Baker looks at a similar topic, but from a very different angle. Baker examines the use of animals in art, but focuses on the ethical implications of this use. As he puts it, his “key concern was to articulate the “voice” of these artists, and to show how they think and how they work.”

This week, the Penn Press Log has a post in their “Medieval Monday” series that shows how animals were used in art even in the ninth century. The post looks at an Old Irish lyric poem called “Pangur Bán” or “The Monk and His Cat.” As Susan Crane puts it in a passage quoted in the post, “Anthropomorphism can cut in many directions, but in “Pangur Bán” the consistent strategy is to strike analogies that reinforce the scholar’s bemused admiration for Pangur with his self-deprecating account of his own efforts to work well.”

We’ll wrap up this week’s Roundup with a couple of posts on Hall of Fame baseball stars. At the University of Missouri Press blog, they’ve got a Q&A with James N. Giglio on his book Musial, as well as his experiences researching and writing about Stan the Man’s life. And over at Beacon Brooadside, they have a guest post from Howard Bryant looking back at a relatively unknown part of the career of Jackie Robinson: a tryout with the Boston Red Sox. As one might guess, the tryout did not go particularly well: “Robinson himself was satisfied with his performance, although by the time he left Fenway he was smoldering about what he felt to be a humiliating charade.”

Well, that will do it for this week! We hope that you enjoyed this edition of our UP Roundup. As always, please post any thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 25th, 2013

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts from the blogs of academic publishers! We hope you are all staying nice and warm in this cold snap. As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

Tuesday marked the 40th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision. A couple of academic blogs had excellent posts in honor of the occasion. First of all, the UNC Press Blog has a post from Marc Stein in which he breaks down and discusses five of the most significant myths about the contents and meanings of the decision. At Beacon Broadside, Carole Joffe discusses initial feelings about the decisions and then examines the “rapid rise of an anti-abortion movement after the Roe decision.”

The sad death of Aaron Swartz has raised questions about “the doggedness with which federal prosecutors were pursuing [Swartz],” as well as questions about the morality of copyright law in research. This week, the Harvard University Press Blog takes a look at the nature of prosecutorial discretion through the lens of Swartz’s case.

Publishing a book is almost always a long process, particularly in the world of academic publishing where peer review is a crucial part of the publishing system. However, at the JHU Press Blog, JHU Press editorial director Greg Britton tells the story of a recent JHU Press book that was deemed important and timely enough to be published as an “instant book.” Coming from the Johns Hopkins Summit on Reducing Gun Violence in America, the book, Reducing Gun Violence in America, had to be published in a mere fourteen days!

At the OUPblog, Karen Schiltz asks a frightening question that many parents around the country are forced to confront in the wake of the recent tragic school shootings: “Could my child be responsible for the next tragedy?” In her sobering post, Schiltz addresses problems with the diagnoses of mental conditions in children and offers advice on how best to seek help for a child.

The University of California Press Blog has a post in memory of former UC Press director James H. Clark, who passed away last week. Clark led the UC Press for twenty five years, and had been in the publishing industry since 1960.

The use of art in determining and defining who was and who was not a Nazi perpetrator after World War II is a fascinating and complicated subject, and it’s the topic of a guest post by Paul B. Jaskot at the University of Minnesota Press Blog. Jaskot believes that the role of art history in “highlighting the political function of art and architecture” is an important one.

Tonight is the debut of the latest film featuring the “master heister” Parker. Yesterday, the Chicago Blog, the blog of the University of Chicago Press, ran an article delving into the fascinating and somewhat checkered past of Parker films. More importantly, they provide a handy list of ways to avoid being robbed by Parker. Best piece of advice: “Don’t have anything he wants. We recommend possessing only books. He’s not much of a reader, that Parker.”

Today is Virginia Woolf’s birthday! In honor of the occasion, the MIT Press blog has an excerpt from Rosalind Krauss’s work on modernism, The Optical Unconscious. Naturally, the excerpt focuses on Woolf, and, in particular, on her thoughts on Roger Fry and chess.

In the election in November, thousands of people were willing to wait in line out of a sense of civic duty to vote. At From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, Andrew Guthrie Ferguson asks why people are willing to wait so proudly for their chance to vote in an election but not so willing to wait for their chance to serve in the judicial system on a jury.

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with a post from the University of Virginia Press blog in which Jeffrey Greene examines the strange and interesting life of oysters as a suggestive artistic symbol in the paintings of the 16th and 17th century Dutch masters. Interestingly enough, Greene finds that these painted oysters “don’t look anything like the ones my father, brother, and I collected and ate during the years I grew up in New England, nor do they look like the most common oysters in France, a country famed since Roman times as Europe’s greatest oyster producer. Clearly, the seventh-century oysters in the paintings were rounder and flatter than the typical creuses, oysters with a cupped shell that are consumed worldwide.”

Well, that will do it for this week! We hope that you enjoyed this edition of our UP Roundup. As always, please post any thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 18th, 2013

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts 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.

Here in NYC, the mayor’s office and teachers union have been in the news this week, and not for positive reasons. Fittingly, this week Voices in Education, the blog of Harvard Education Publishing, has an excerpt from The End of Exceptionalism in American Education by Jeffrey R. Henig in which he details the struggle between Michael Bloomberg and the NY City Council over teacher layoffs in spring of 2011.

This week at the OUPblog, Tim Bayne has a fascinating guest post in which he discusses how belief-formation affects the way we behave, and, as a consequence of this connection, how we should judge those who form beliefs that are generally seen as harmful or evil. He takes the examples of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Anders Breivik as a way to get a true-life handle on this problem.

The burning cross is one of the symbols most associated with the Klu Klux Klan. However, in an interview with the UNC Press Blog, Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey explain that the relationship between the KKK and religion was a complicated one, and one that didn’t arise until the 1910s or 1920s.

The annual AHA conference took place at the beginning of January, and this week the Harvard University Press Blog has a piece looking at “The Public Practice of History in and for a Digital Age” panel, and, in particular, Michael Pollan’s challenge to professional historians to embrace the narrative techniques that allow popular histories to make bestsellers lists over more academic works.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was allowed to expire at the end of 2012. At From the Squre, the NYU Press Blog, Leigh Goodmark considers what the lapse of VAWA means, and suggests that Congress use the delay to refocus the legislation to allow VAWA to be revolutionary once more: “The criminal justice response to domestic violence has had eighteen years of dedicated funding with underwhelming results. The time has come to think more creatively about how to achieve justice for people subjected to abuse. The delay in passing VAWA provides us with that opportunity.”

At the Yale Press Log, Mark Harrison has a guest post looking back at the mass protests against South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in the summer of 2008. At the time, South Korean fears of tainted American beef were running high, and President Lee’s decision to lift the country’s ban on imported beef from America sparked discontented citizens into protests against his administration.

At Fordham Impressions, the blog of Fordham University Press, Matthew Isham takes issue with the idea that political media bias is a new phenomenon. While quoting commentators on both ends of the political spectrum who have recently blamed media outlets for various political wrongs, Isham looks back over the history of media in the US to trace the idea of biased media up to the present.

“How do you write about somebody so famous in American history that a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike, a Maryland parkway, and elementary schools in at least nine states are named after her?” At the JHU Press Blog, Marian Moser Jones discusses the challenges of writing about a well-known historical figure, Clara Barton, in her particular case. Most important, in Moser’s view, is “watch[ing] out for that “easy” button.”

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with a post from Deborah Vargas at the University of Minnesota Press Blog. In her guest post, Vargas discusses the music of the Chicano borderlands (complete with a Youtube soundtrack). She discusses an important lesson she learned while studying Chicana music: “before I could listen to Chicana singers of decades earlier, I had to learn how to listen for them.”

Well, that will do it for this week! We hope that you enjoyed this edition of our UP Roundup. As always, please post any thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 11th, 2013

University Press Roundup

Welcome back from the holiday break, and welcome back to our weekly roundup of the best posts 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.

We’ll kick off the new year with a couple of fascinating and thought-provoking posts from the University of Minnesota Press Blog. First, they have the discussion delivered by UMP director Doug Armato at a MLA 2013 roundtable on serial scholarship and the future role of scholarly publishing in scholarly communication. The UMP blog also has an article by Kathleen Nolan on what really happens when police have an increased presence at schools.

Racism in European soccer is an ongoing problem, especially among fans. The recent incident involving AC Milan player Kevin-Prince Boateng has brought the issue back into the public eye over the last couple of weeks. North Philly Notes, the blog of Temple University Press, is running a blog post from Andy Markovits addressing the responsibility of fans in fixing the racial issues plaguing big-league European soccer.

At This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Charles Tripp offers an explanation of various resistance movements in the Middle East over the last few years. He finds particularly interesting (and darkly humorous) the similarity of responses to resistance coming from the resisted, those in power.

“Granted, everyone hates the idea of jury duty.” At From the Square, the NYU Press blog, Pete Hahn offers a personal anecdote about and an argument for why jury duty really does matter. As he explains, “The wheels of justice move slowly. Really slowly. And this may be why jury duty gets such a bad rap…. But all of this is on purpose. You need to go slowly to establish the facts. You need to go slowly to give everyone a chance to testify, even if it seems like they are telling the same story as the previous witness. You need to go slowly to avoid reaching hasty conclusions.”

Richard Nixon would have been 100 years old this Wednesday. Taking this chance to look back at one of our most complicated and infamous political figures, the Harvard University Press has an excerpt from No Right Turn: Conservative Politics in a Liberal America detailing “how Nixon won the allegiance of conservative power-brokers without actually delivering the reforms they sought. (Spoiler: Portnoy takes the fall.)”

There are many unsolved mysteries about the nature of the universe, and about humankind’s place in it. This week, the OUPblog and guest poster Jason Rosenhouse take a shot at answering one of these mysteries: What, exactly do mathematicians do? Rosenhouse comes up with an unusual but interesting answer to that question: “You see, more than anything else, to be a mathematician is to be part of a community. Whatever else it is, mathematics is a social activity undertaken by human beings to further human goals and purposes.”

On a somewhat similar note, Rafe Sagarin over at Island Press Field Notes has a post delving into one of the most important and universal aspects of what scientists do: attempt to face their own biases. He quotes a caution from Ed Ricketts: “When a person asks, “Why?” in a given situation, he usually deeply expects, and in any case receives, only a relational answer in place of the definitive “because” which he thinks he wants.”

At the UNC Press blog, Fiona Deans Halloran has a fascinating guest post about the ways that famous political cartoonist Thomas Nast (two of his most famous creations are the depictions of Democrats as donkeys and Republicans as elephants) transcended and broadened common conceptions of literacy. While many people (notable among them, Boss Tweed) claimed that Nast’s effectiveness came from the fact that those who couldn’t read could still understand his cartoons, Halloran points out that Nast’s work was deeply literary, and used images and language from Shakespeare’s plays, in particular.

Finally, we’ll wrap this Roundup up with a couple of posts on the art of making a book from a collection of letters. First, from the UVA Press blog, Alan G. James discusses the process of turning the letters between Henry James and British Field Marshal Lord Wolseley and his wife, Lady Wolseley into The Master, the Modern Major General, and His Clever Wife: Henry James’s Letters to Field Marshal Lord Wolseley and Lady Wolseley, 1878–1913. And then, at the JHU Press Blog, Jonathan F. S. Post discusses how one “selects” letters for a book called The Selected Letters of Anthony Hecht. “The tricky adjective “Selected” in a book’s title usually means something different to readers than editors, more often taken by readers in the concessional sense (as in “not complete”), whereas editors are more alert to the problem of plenitude and the competition it instills.”

Well, that will do it for this week! We hope that you enjoyed this edition of our UP Roundup. As always, please post any thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 14th, 2012

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts from the blogs of academic publishers! The holidays are fast approaching, but the blogs of academic publishers are as active as ever. As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

As Superstorm Sandy came ashore in New Jersey and New York, people used social media to tell the story of what was happening around them. At the OUPblog, oral historian Caitlin Tyler-Richards talks about this new phenomenon: multi-media documentation of natural disasters taking place in real time and viewable all over the world.

Charles Rosen passed away this past Sunday. Both the OUPblog and the Harvard University Press Blog have posts honoring his life and impressive career as a pianist, musicologist, and critic.

Chinese writer Mo Yan recently accepted his Nobel prize in literature, and in his acceptance speech he argued that some level of censorship is necessary, which did not endear him to those (including Salmon Rushdie, Ai Weiwei, and Liu Xiaobo, among others) who had already accused Mo of being, among other things, a “patsy of the régime.” However, the Harvard University Press Blog looks at Perry Link’s discussion of the award and Mo’s career, and finds that his critics might be missing part of the story.

At the JHU Press Blog this Wednesday, Janine Barchas celebrates the 237th birthday of Jane Austen, but also wonders whether “the new Cult of Jane challenging the iconic status that The Bard has long held in our culture.” Contrasting Austen’s anonymity in her life with the Hollywood star status her works enjoy today, Barchas marvels at the twists of fate that turn writers into one-name legends. (Also worth checking out on the JHU Press Blog: the ongoing The Doctor Is In series, where JHU Press authors discuss the latest developments in health and medicine. This week, the topic is epidurals.)

It’s now been over a year since the Occupy Wall Street movement first started to make headlines. The MIT Press blog has collected a year’s worth of articles from TDR, October, and The Baffler on OWS. Taken together, these pieces help clarify and explain the deeds, causes, and effects of the Occupy movement.

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Friday, November 9th, 2012

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts from the blogs of academic publishers! The election is over, and, understandably, this week many of the blogs on our list are looking back at the election process or looking forward to President Obama’s second term. As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

First of all, a quick reminder: University Press Week is NEXT WEEK! We are very excited to be participating in the UP Week Blog Tour, and we hope you will join us and all the other academic presses around the country in celebrating the value that scholarly publishing adds to the public life of America. Join the conversation and keep up with the events on Twitter via #UPWeek.

An unfortunate consequence of the end of the election season is that we won’t get any more insightful posts from the Princeton University Press blog’s Election 101 series. The PUP blog has a number of posts looking back at the election this week, notably a wrap-up by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen looking back at the importance of “ground war” aspects of the campaigns, particularly in actually getting people out to vote.

Superstorm Sandy is widely seen as an important force in the presidential election. In an interesting snapshot of pre-election analysis, both the OUPblog and the Florida Bookshelf (the blog of the University Press of Florida, which we have just (belatedly) added to our UP Roundup blogroll) ran posts on Election Day discussing the impact of Sandy on the vote. At the OUPblog, Elvin Lim asked which candidate benefited most from the storm. At the Florida Bookshelf, David K. Twigg argued that Sandy’s biggest impact could be in voter turnout.

Another excellent election series that we are sad to see end is the MIT Press blog’s Election Tuesday series. In the concluding article of the series, posted on Election Day, Peter Wenz wonders whether the “sane center” be successful in elections, or whether increased extremism on the Right and Left will continue to be the order of the day in politics.

From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, also ran a post looking back on the lessons learned from the campaign season. Michael Serazio’s post is especially interesting given that it was published immediately before Election Day, and given that it focuses on the presidential campaigns from a marketing perspective rather than a political one.

Now that President Obama has been elected, Bill Ayers, writing for Beacon Broadside, thinks that the time has come for the federal government to take a good hard look at the educational reform system in place. Speaking to the president directly, Ayers urges Obama to “resist these policies and reject the dominant metaphor [of education as business] as wrong in the sense of inaccurate as well as wrong in the sense of immoral.”

Of course, there were a number of important issues voted on at the state level as well as the federal level this Election Day. At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Amy Stone discusses the “huge victory for same-sex marriage at the ballot box” and offers three reasons why all four contested ballot measures on same-sex marriage went the way the LGBT activists hoped they would.

The Fisher case at the Supreme court, in which affirmative action policies at the University of Texas are being challenged, is still ongoing, and at Voices in Education, the Blog of Harvard Education Publishing, Michael J. Feuer discusses the “‘catch-22′ that could spell the end of affirmative action.” This “catch-22″ is that “using numerical targets is illegal, but not using them might make the admissions process appear unacceptably vague or unfair.”

On Election Day, rather than focusing on the much-analyzed 2012 election, the Chicago Blog, the blog of the University of Chicago Press, chose to look back at the life and work of Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams, a scholar and suffragettte in the Progressive Era. In an excerpt from Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy, Louise W. Knight explains ” how Addams’s experience with the Pullman Strike in 1894 led her to question—and later, so eloquently articulate—the dangers of moral absolutism to democratic citizenship.”

At the Indiana University Press blog, Martin Krieger has an interesting guest post about his reasons for writing his book Doing Physics, and his hopes for and worries about the finished product. I wonder how many academic authors find this sentiment to be true: “When I am writing I always have one of my teachers in the back of my mind. My worry will be that they will find out that what I am saying is wrong, or that I made a mistake.”

Finally, we’ll wrap things up with a post about the Civil War (the actual historical one, not the potential one that Donald Trump advocated via Twitter on Tuesday night). At the JHU Press Blog, guest poster Adam Mendelsohn takes a look at the Civil War from a unique angle: from the perspective of American Jewish history. He speaks about the importance of avoiding “any self-congratulatory celebration of Jewish contribution to the war,” focusing instead on the “fascinating and revealing complexities of Jewish life during a period of profound tumult and change in American history.”

We hope that you enjoyed this week’s installment. As always, please post any thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading! And be sure to join us next week for our celebration of University Press Week!

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

The Thursday morning panels at the 2012 Charleston Conference, Twitter-style

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

#UPWeek Blog Tour!


“If we are to have a life of the mind, we need carriers of this life. University presses perform that essential function.” — Jay Parini

Next week, November 11-17, 2012, is the first annual University Press Week. From the AAUP announcement:

Taking place November 11-17, 2012, University Press Week highlights the extraordinary work of university presses and their many contributions to culture, the academy, and an informed society. University Press Week promises special events and readings at universities and in communities across the country, as well as online galleries of selected titles and other features.

One of the parts of the UP Week celebration that we are most excited about here is the University Press Week Blog Tour. From Monday through Friday of next week (November 12-16), the blogs of 26 university presses will be coming together to explain the importance of scholarly publishing. Over the course of the week, each blog will post one official UP Week post. When all of these individual posts are read sequentially, they will tell the story of university presses and the value they have added to public and scholarly life in the United States. You can find the schedule of the UP Week posts here. Be sure to check out all the essays, especially the article to be posted here at the CUP Blog on Friday, November 16. Many of the 26 blogs (including the CUP blog) will also be posting additional UP Week content throughout the week.

Be sure to keep up with University Press Week events and articles through Twitter via the #UPWeek hashtag!

Friday, July 6th, 2012

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.

We’ll kick things off this week with a fascinating story by Bonnie Henderson on the Oregon State University Press Blog. Fifteen months ago, the tsunami in Japan broke off a large concrete dock from the port of Misawa, Japan. That same dock just recently washed up on a beach near Newport, Oregon. In her post, Henderson discusses the science behind the dock’s long journey and reflects on what we should learn from the debris from the Japanese tsunami that has washed up on North American coasts.

On July 4th, scientists working with the LHC (almost certainly) discovered a new particle that seems to be the famous Higgs boson. The Harvard University Press blog has a helpful excerpt from their title 101 Quantum Questions explaining just what the Higgs particle is and why it is so important. Meanwhile, at the OUPblog, particle physicist Frank Close discusses who should be awarded the inevitable Nobel Prize for the boson discovery.

Of course, July 4th is a notable date for reasons other than the Higgs boson discovery. July 4th is Independence Day here in the United States, and a number of UP blogs celebrated the occasion with posts offering different takes on the holiday. At the Harvard University Press blog, Eliga Gould explains the global political context of the events of July 4, 1776. Beacon Broadside offers the mixed feelings of three authors who quote Frederick Douglass’s famous speech “What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?”. And finally, the AMACOM staff shares some of their favorite Fourth of July summer recipes.

The relationship between drug trafficking and conflict in countries around the world has rarely been clearer. This week, the Stanford Press blog raises concerns that a powerful drug trade can be a catalyst of civil wars and suggests that the situations in Afghanistan and Mexico are even more dangerous than we may previously have thought. The Yale Press Log examines the drug war in Mexico through Jo Tuckman’s observations on Mexican politics since 2000.

Sadly, TV icon Andy Griffith passed away earlier this week. The UNC Press Blog has a moving article about Griffith’s career and the enormous impact he had on the state of North Carolina: “it’s different if you’re from North Carolina—because he lived here and that show on TV, well that was here, too. And I was watching a show about what it was like to live here in North Carolina when my dad was growing up—at least that’s how I imagined it in 1982. It was my very own mythologized history.”

Last month, the New York Times ran a fascinating article on the family history of Michelle Obama, with a special focus on her distant white relatives and on “the discomfort that many of the people whom the author interviewed have about the nature of the sexual relations between the male slaveholders and the women and girls they enslaved.” At From the Square, the NYU Press blog, Kidada E. Williams revisits the article and discusses why these slaveholder-slave relationships cause such general discomfort today.

We generally take for granted that process by which votes in American elections are counted is consistent, accurate, and generally hitch-free, with a few notable exceptions (e.g. Florida in 2000). However, in Election 101, the Princeton University Press blog’s political series, Heather Gerken lists five common myths about the American voting system. Most worrying may be “Myth 3: We know what’s wrong with our election system and how to fix it.” Gerken claims that “Our sense of what’s wrong with our election system depend largely on anecdote and educated guesses.” Yikes.

In 1898, a Minnesotan farmer (originally from Sweden) claimed to have found a large stone carved all over with runes. The Kensington Rune Stone was initially thought to offer proof that Norsemen had visited the Americas well before Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue. However, most scholars now think that the Rune Stone is a hoax. At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Larry Millett discusses the Rune Stone, adds Sherlock Holmes to the mix, and explains that “[t]he trouble with fiction, as anyone who wrestles with writing it will tell you, is that it can seldom match the sheer weirdness of reality.”

At This Side of the Pond, the Cambridge University Press blog, Carolyn Bronstein looks back at the debate caused by Deep Throat, a popular pornographic film from the 1970′s. Particularly interesting for Bronstein are the similarities between the arguments over the film and the current debates concerning the huge bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey.

Finally, we can’t end this week’s Roundup without mentioning the heat wave that’s been the cause of sweat, tears, and storms all across the country. The Chicago Blog, the blog of the University of Chicago Press, looks back at other exceptionally hot years in America. 1936 was perhaps the hottest year of the 20th century (and one of the worst years of the Dust Bowl). And the heat wave of 1995 caused a number deaths that are still popularly disputed.

We hope you have a relaxing (and cool) weekend! Thanks again for reading!