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Archive for the 'University Press News' Category

Friday, April 21st, 2017

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.)

Several university presses pulled together posts and resources to celebrate Earth Week, as well as looking forward to Saturday’s global March for Science. The University of California Press blog ran a series of posts on topics including the future of America’s public lands, the abstract paradoxes of environmentalism, and the establishment of the Sierra Club. The Cambridge University Press blog featured a data-laden post by Timothy H. Dixon, professor of geosciences at the University of Florida, on the challenges and potential for change which are provoked by global overpopulation. The Duke University Press produced another post in its #ReadtoRespond series, compiling essential readings in environmental issues and activism.

Other anniversaries and commemorations this week included a reading list from the New York University Press celebrating NYC Immigrant Heritage Week; a long post at the Harvard University Press blog of reflections from several prominent scholars on the fifty-year influence of Bernard Bailyn’s The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution; and a summary of crucial reading from the University of Texas Press’s series ‘The Katrina Shelf,’ on the impact and fallout of Hurricane Katrina.

We shared a link last week from the University of Minnesota Press about the arts under the Trump presidency; this week Steve Zeitlin, author of The Poetry of Everyday Life: Storytelling and the Art of Awareness (2016) took up this topic for the Cornell University Press blog, highlighting the fact that the NEA and the arts generally have an outsized positive impact in poor or underserved communities. In other fascinating topics this week, the Oxford University Press blog featured a post by Carol Dyhouse, professor emeritus of history at the University of Sussex, on how misogyny in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries often targeted the disturbing prospect of women enjoying themselves. The Princeton University Press blog hosted a Q&A with Richard E. Ocejo on the topic of his new book about the renaissance of certain old-fashioned jobs in new urban economies: cocktail bartenders, craft distillers, upscale men’s barbers, and whole animal butchers. And the University of North Carolina Press featured a guest post by Judy Kutulas, author of the new After Aquarius Dawned: How the Revolutions of the Sixties Became the Popular Culture of the Seventies, about the unsettling discoveries she made when researching the death of her father’s cousin in the Jonestown Massacre.

From the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: the Fordham University Press celebrated the 100th birthday of the No. 7 ‘Flushing Line’ train in New York City. The University of Illinois Press marked the birthday of Daniel Chester French, the sculptor who carved Abraham Lincoln for his Memorial. At the Johns Hopkins University Press blog, Leslie Tomory, author of The History of the London Water Industry (2017), took a look at the commodification and selling of water in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. And the University Press of Kentucky treated us to a compilation of ‘5 Unforgettable Gene Kelly Dance Numbers‘ to mark the publication of a new biography of Kelly by Cynthia and Sara Brideson.

Friday, April 14th, 2017

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.)

Many university presses are celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing poems or poetry collections. One such post, for example, from the Cambridge University Press blog, showcases the Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets, which is edited by Gerry Dawe. The MIT Press marked National Library Week with an excerpt from Fantasies of the Library (2016), a book edited by Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin. And in anticipation of Easter this weekend, the Harvard University Press blog hosted an excerpt of Robin Jensen’s new book The Cross: History, Art, and Controversy.

Current affairs articles from this past week included a reading list from the Duke University Press’s #ReadtoRespond series which compiled resources for student activists. The Beacon Broadside Press reposted a piece by Carole Joffe, professor of reproductive health and sociology, on the deeply concerning prospect that the potential re-criminalization of abortion under a remade Supreme Court would lead to disastrous consequences for women nationwide, including a surge in self-administered procedures and jail sentences. At the Stanford University Press blog Vikash Singh, author of Uprising of the Fools: Pilgrimage as Moral Protest in Contemporary India (2017), warned in a guest post of the dangers and fundamental misunderstanding involved in the belief that we live in a ‘secular age’ in which religion can only be destructive.

In cultural commentary, the University of California Press blog hosted an excerpt of an article by Lyra D. Monteiro (American Studies, Rutgers-Newark) which pushes back against some of the near-universal acclaim given to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton by asking for new consideration of the fact that very few African-American historical actors are depicted in the show, despite its diversity in casting. And at the University of Minnesota Press blog, Adair Rounthwaite, author of Asking the Audience: Participatory Art in 1980s New York (2017), wrote about the surprising bi-partisan agreement in Washington D.C. to protect the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts.

From the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: the University of Illinois Press encouraged us to ‘embrace the psychology of mycology’ (i.e. mushroom-gathering). In a similar vein, the University Press of Kentucky shared some classic state recipes for burgoo, barbecue, and whiskey cake. The Minnesota Historical Society Press posted a Q&A with Klas Bergman, author of Scandinavians in the State House: How Nordic Immigrants Shaped Minnesota Politics (2017). And the Johns Hopkins University Press posted a brief Q&A with Professor Claudia Nelson, editor of the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, about some of the recent fascinating changes in children’s and YA literature.

Finally, there has been fun and exciting news about university press work in the last few weeks. The Temple University Press and Fordham University Press both received National Endowment for the Humanities’ Open Book Program – Temple to make out-of-print titles on labor studies digitally available, and Fordham to put a selection of their prominent philosophy list online. The Cornell University Press shared the first episode of their brand-new press podcast, ‘1869.’ And the University of Missouri Press recently announced that, for environmental and budgetary reasons, they are switching from printing on industry-standard paper to printing on seaweed paper.

Friday, March 31st, 2017

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.)

Several university presses celebrated intriguing anniversaries this week. Duke University Press pulled together a list of essential reading from Transgender Studies Quarterly in honor of the ninth annual International Transgender Day of Visibility. The University of California Press has honored the civil and labor rights activist Cesar Chavez with a reading list of his life and times, on what would have been his 90th birthday. The University Press of Kentucky compiled a list of several of their military history titles to accompany the 84th annual meeting of the Society for Military History this weekend. And the Beacon Broadside Press looked back at their decision to edit and publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971, featuring quotes from the then-director of the Press, Gobin Stair.

Our big current affairs post of the week comes from the Oxford University Press blog, where Michael Keating, Professor of Politics at the University of Aberdeen, unpacked the issues at stake in the Scottish National Party’s decision to go ahead with seeking a second referendum on leaving the United Kingdom, reacting to the future uncertainty of ‘Brexit’ for Scotland and the British Isles as a whole. Elsewhere, the Stanford University Press blog featured a post by Julian Berkshaw and Jonas Ridderstrale, co-authors of Fast/Forward: Make Your Company Fit for the Future (2017), on the increasing pitfalls of using big data in the business world and what they believe will be a necessary move back towards human decision making in the world of management.

The University of Pennsylvania Press blog featured a post from Columbia’s own Professor Richard John looking at the various ways in which historians have tackled the relationship between politics and the business world in the United States. And at the University of North Carolina Press blog, Jennifer Le Zotte, author of From Goodwill to Grunge: A History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies (2017), contributed a fascinating guest post on the importance of thrift stores to the development of LGBTQ cultures, and how they “permanently altered the dynamics between charity, labor, activism, and profit.”

From the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: at the NYU Press blog, Margaret M. McGuinness wrote on the necessity of including “trailblazing nuns” and other women religious in histories of labor and business. Temple University Press featured a piece by Lolly Tai on the importance and beauty of the best outdoor environments designed for children. At the Yale University Press blog, Timothy Bolton reflected on the biography of King Cnut, and on the challenges of writing a biography of him given that “the image of the man behind the acts as reported in the various sources of evidence often seems like the reports of the three legendary blindmen describing their elephant.” And finally: the Yale University Press continued its series ‘Bird Fact Friday’ by asking the question – why do birds sing?

Friday, March 24th, 2017

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.)

Topicality has been the order of the day for many university press blogs this week. ‘Fake news’ was unpacked at the Oxford University Press blog by historian and researcher James W. Cortada, who traces the path of false information in American politics and life all the way back to 1796, and follows it through scandals to do with President Andrew Jackson, the manufacture and advertising of cigarettes, and Facebook. The Stanford University Press also addressed historical precedents for current affairs with a post by Jeffrey Dudas, recently the author of Raised Right: Fatherhood in Modern American Conservatism, tracing the paternalism of American politics from Jackson to Trump.

Other posts of current interest included one by Kevin W. Saunders at the Cambridge University Press blog, who unpacks evidence that, according to various metrics, the United States “is no longer a fully functioning democracy.” At the University of California Press blog, CUNY’s Amy Adamczyk pulled together a fascinating series of data to explore the various financial, political, and religious factors which seem to affect any given country’s public attitudes towards homosexuality. And the Johns Hopkins University Press celebrated two of its journals whose work has particular relevance to Women’s History Month.

From the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: as Americans around the country shifted their clocks to Daylight Savings Time, the Harvard University Press featured an excerpt of Charles W. J. Wither’s book Zero Degrees: Geographers of the Prime Meridian (2017), which answers questions about how and why the prime meridian was set at Greenwich, in the United Kingdom, instead of anywhere else in the world. And the University of Chicago featured part of an Atlantic review of their author Simon Goldhill’s fascinating new book A Very Queer Family Indeed: Sex, Religion, and the Bensons in Victorian Britain, about a prominent family replete with intrigue and what was then considered sexual deviancy.

And in bricks-and-mortar press news, the Fordham University Press this week described their move to new offices in Manhattan. And if you’re looking for a potential internship, the University of Georgia Press and the University Press of Mississippi are both accepting applications!

Friday, March 10th, 2017

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.)

Women’s history was the major theme of university press posts this week, which was a confluence of Women’s History Month, Women’s History Week, and International Women’s Day. Beacon Broadside Press, Harvard University Press, Yale University Press, and Duke University Press, among others, compiled reading lists for the occasion. The NYU Press, following up on a similar post on women in the legal profession that we featured last week, had a piece by Tracy A. Thomas, Professor of Law at University of Akron, about the pioneering professional presence of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. And at the Stanford University Press blog Kathrin Zippel, Associate Professor of Sociology at Norheastern University, wrote about how the increasingly ‘global nature’ of higher education in recent years has proved very important to advancing opportunities for women working in STEM fields.

A few other lists of note popped up in the press world this week: first, the University of California Press featured a list of suggested books and movies to properly experience and understand the film noir genre. At the Oxford University Press blog Peter Gillever, editor of the academic’s favorite Oxford English Dictionary, wrote a two-part post (1, 2) on Ten Things You May Not Know About the OED, featuring industrial espionage, ‘pestilential’ working conditions, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

From the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: the Cornell University Press featured an interview with Cambridge professor Mark De Rond, and excerpts from his new book Doctors at War: Life and Death in a Field Hospital, which the press describes as ‘a modern non-fiction update to M*A*S*H.’ The University Press of Florida hosted a guest post by Catherine J. Golden, ‘A Victorianist’s Take on the Graphic Novel,’ about the intriguing parallels between 19th-century serials and illustrated books, on the one hand, and modern graphic novels on the other. And at the University of Chicago Press blog, Herb Childress wrote about how his being a first-generation student who became a professor was a process that was “truly an immigration, an exchange of one citizenship for another.”

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

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

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.)

In current affairs news, the Beacon Broadside Press cross-posted a piece by Jonathan Rosenblum, the author of the forthcoming Beyond $15: Immigrant Workers, Faith Activists, and the Revival of the Labor Movement, on how it has been the politics of resistance, rather than necessarily the power of judiciary, which has obstructed President Trump’s travel ban. At the Yale University Press blog Amalia D. Kessler, author of A Revolution in Commerce: The Parisian Merchant Court and the Rise of Commercial Society in Eighteenth-Century France, asked whether we can equate adversarial politics with the pursuit of justice and inclusion. The Temple University Press cross-posted a Huffington Post piece by their author Crystal Marie Fleming (Resurrecting Slavery: Racial Legacies and White Supremacy in France) on the complicated state of racial-political discourse in France, which is characterized by what she calls “pretty words and magical thinking.”

To wrap up Black History Month, the University of Chicago Press blog hosted a fun resource: a list of black restauranteurs who worked in Charleston between 1880 and 1920, drawn from the research of David S. Shields, whose book The Culinarians: Lives and Careers from the First Age of American Fine Dining, is forthcoming in fall 2017. To celebrate the start of Women’s History Month in March, the NYU Press blog featured a guest post by Jill Norgren, author of Rebels at the Bar: The Fascinating, Forgotten Stories of America’s First Women Lawyers (2013), about Lavinia Goodell, the first woman to officially practice law in the state of Wisconsin.

For the theme of women’s history and coinciding with last weekend’s Academy Awards, the Cambridge University Press had a post by Michael J. Hogan, author of The Afterlife of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, about the building of the Kennedy brand and the surprisingly unfavorable view of the famous First Couple portrayed in Pablo Larraín’s recent film Jackie. There were also a few more anniversaries celebrated this week: the University Press of Kentucky commemorated the birthday of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) by sharing some wonderful Appalachian nursery rhymes, and the Oxford University Press unpacked why no-one tends to celebrate Michelangelo’s birthday.

From the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: the University of Washington Press hosted a photo essay of how polar bears have been kept in zoos over the last two centuries. The Princeton University Press announced a trailer for their forthcoming translation of Andrea Carandini’s Atlas of Ancient Rome. And if you’re in Georgia (or, indeed, anywhere else), the University of Georgia Press posted an announcement of their new effort with Georgia Public Broadcasting: the Innovative Virtual Book Club.

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

Friday, February 24th, 2017

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.)

We have a rapid-fire round of links to the university press world for you this week. First, continuing the theme of Black History Month, the Oxford University Press and Arthur Knight, Associate Professor of American Studies and English at the College of William and Mary, celebrated the 90th birthday of Sidney Poitier, the pioneering African-American actor and cultural icon.

Film history was also on the docket of the University Press of Kentucky, which featured an excerpt from their new book Harry Langdon: King of Silent Comedy, by Gabriella Oldham and Mabel Langdon. The University of Texas focused on a smaller screen, posting an interview with author Stanley Corkin about his new book Connecting The Wire: Race, Space, and Postindustrial Baltimore.

As new challenges arose this week to immigration and deportation standards in the United States, Yuliya Komska, author of The Icon Curtain: The Cold War’s Quiet Border (2015), wondered what role ordinary citizens can play in ameliorating the harsh, often arbitrary dividing lines of international borders for the University of Chicago Press blog.

Continuing our recent theme of education on how the American government functions technically and legally, Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard University, wrote about “The Substance of the Constitution: Rights, Structures, and Conventions” for the Yale University Press.

At the Stanford University Press blog, author and novelist Bahiyyih Nakhjavani wrote a fascinating post on the “Language of Nowhere,” a phenomenon she sees as an essential feature of a fractured political world in which slips of the tongue become true and then false, and words “are a shifty lot, a bunch of two-faced turncoats that can say and gainsay in a single breath, swear and forswear, equate and equivocate.”

The University of North Carolina Press featured a guest post by Kristina Jacobsen, author of The Sound of Navajo Country: Music, Language, and Diné Belonging (2017), about the incredibly creative and syncretic culture she sees at the Gallup (Na’nízhoozhí) flea market in Navaho Nation.

And finally, looking behind the curtain of the university press scene, the Island Press asked Where Are They Now? about the many interns they’ve had over the years. (Your neighborhood CUP intern wishes you all a fantastic weekend!)

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

Friday, February 17th, 2017

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.)

Climate change proved to be an important theme to a few presses this week. As efforts continue to organize a Climate March and maintain the recent Paris Agreement, the Island Press has summarized a visit made by their staff to Congressional offices in Washington, promoting The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change (2014) by Yoram Bauman and Grady Klein. Elsewhere, the University of Minnesota Press features a guest post by Caitlin DeSilvey, author of Curated Decay: Heritage Beyond Saving (2017), on potential ways the National Parks Service and other agencies may ethically and productively deal with the potential loss of the territories and monuments under their care due to climate change or human action.

This week’s political entries include Aviva Chomsky blogging about the crucial role undocumented immigrants play in the United States’ economy for Beacon Broadside, and David Williams, author of Milton’s Leveller God (2017), writing at the McGill-Queen’s University Press blog about the historical parallels of many crises of liberal democracy. The Indiana University Press blog also features a lengthy interview with journalist Douglas A. Wissing, author of the recent Hopeless but Optimistic: Journeying through America’s Endless War in Afghanistan.

In other disciplines, Duke University Press celebrated World Anthropology Day on February 16th with a roundup of their titles in that field. The subject of artificial intelligence, which we highlighted briefly last week, was picked up at the Cambridge University Press, where John Suler, author of Psychology of the Digital Age (2016) writes about his recent, startling acquisition of Amazon’s Alexa device. Black History Month is continuing at the Harvard University Press blog with a post by Syd Nathans, author of A Mind to Stay: White Plantation, Black Homeland (2017) about the phenomenon of African-Americans who chose to stay in the American South during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries when so many others were moving north.

Finally, from the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: Oxford University Press lists ‘Ten facts about the accordion‘; Sydney Publishing looks back at the wisecracks of Australian comedian Lennie Lower; and at Johns Hopkins, Steve Huskey, author of The Skeleton Revealed: An Illustrated Tour of the Vertebrates (2017) writes about the joy of hearing his students say “I think of you when I see roadkill.”

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

Friday, February 10th, 2017

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.)

Several presses have this week compiled reading lists for Black History Month. Check out those lists from Temple University, from Princeton University, and from the University Press of Florida. The University Press of Kentucky have also featured a roundup of new releases in African-American studies, and the University of Nebraska Press excerpts the new book Before Jackie Robinson: The Transcendent Role of Black Sporting Pioneers by Gerald R. Gems.

Other reading lists compiled this week which may be of interest include Books By and About Refugees and Immigrants in America, from the University of Nebraska Press, and Six Reads to Celebrate Lincoln’s Legacy, from the University of Kentucky Press, in anticipation of the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth this weekend.

Following up on last week’s mention of a post from the University of Illinois Press on the legacy of George Orwell’s 1984, the Stanford University Press features another take on the classic text’s meaning to the present. Karen Fang, author of Arresting Cinema: Surveillance in Hong Kong Film (2017), posits that Orwell’s book also has renewed relevance to current Sino-American relations because it “explicitly portrays Asia as a bogeyman and a pawn in the militarized rhetoric of fear in which Big Brother traffics.” The general importance of resistance as a fundamental element in American politics is also a topic of note this week: at the University of Minnesota Press blog, Alexis Shotwell, author of Against Purity: Living Ethically in Compromised Times (2016), writes against the idea of ‘pure’ politics or ideology, insisting that “we do better to aim for a politics of imperfection.”

At the Harvard University blog a similar theme is taken up by David Moss, author of Democracy: A Case Study (2017), who warns against the dangers that may arise when “students are…left with the impression that a successful democracy is virtually automatic, given the right blueprint.” Rounding off this week’s political entries, Candian author David Johnson also insists on education about government being the bedrock of any political system, writing for the University of Toronto Press about the new edition of his book Thinking Government: Public Administration and Politics in Canada.

Finally this week, a fascinating topic from the Oxford University Press blog: in ‘Was Chaucer really a “writer”?‘, Christopher Cannon, author of the new From Literacy to Literature: England, 1300-1400, unpacks the idea of Chaucer being not a literate writer as we understand the term today, but a late medieval type of poet whose work depended fundamentally on slowly-vanishing oral traditions.

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

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

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.)

Current events continue to inspire university presses to interview and commission pieces from their authors and editors on resonances between contemporary American politics and their work. To start us off, the University of Virginia Press blog features a post by Michael Bérubé, author of an introduction to a new collection of lectures by the commentator and philosopher Richard Rorty, whose 1998 predictions of a ‘strongman’ being elected to the U.S. presidency are being re-investigated. Bérubé looks back at what he thought of Rorty at the time, and at the present for what Rorty might have gotten right.

George Orwell’s 1984 has also been held up around the web as a cautionary tale newly relevant to the times. On the University of Illinois Press blog, Jeffrey Meyers, author of Orwell: Life and Art (2010), writes on the importance of the past and of language to the story Orwell tells in ways which are not explicitly connected to the present, but which nonetheless elicit comparison to how we think of the past and use language today. At the Duke University Press blog, African-American anti-fascist struggles, particularly in the context of the Black Panther movement, are the topic of the day for Robyn C. Spencer, author of The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland. “If the growing resistance movement to Trump’s fascism is to realize its potential for societal transformation,” Spencer writes, “it must draw from the deep well of Black anti-fascist resistance.” Elsewhere, the NYU Press blog has a roundup of essential reading on women’s issues and politics in the wake of the global Women’s March, and the Oregon State University Press has curated a list of books on the history of key women in the politics of the northwest.

Wider topics on how we all live have also been popular this week. At the Cambridge University Press blog, scientist Timothy Dixon, author of the new Curbing Catastrophe: Natural Hazards and Risk Reduction in the Modern World, summarizes some of the devastating known effects of sugar on human bodies in a post entitled, pointedly, ‘Sugar is the New Lead.’ From the Stanford University Press, Bob Kulhan, author of Getting to ‘Yes And:’ The Art of Business Improv (with Chuck Crisafulli, 2017), writes about how the improvisational and fun-seeking habits of millenials are changing the modern workplace. And focusing more particularly on the United States, the University of Pennsylvania blog features a guest post from Vicki Howard, author of From Main Street to Mall (2015), on the slow and occasionally unnerving cultural and financial demise of the American shopping mall.

Various blogs have featured fascinating cultural pieces this week. The Cornell University Press has a post on ‘Poetry to ease the final passage,’ a beautiful meditation by Steve Zeitlin, author of The Poetry of Everyday Life, on the power of words to depict, memorialize, and ease the moment(s) of death. The University of Kentucky Press introduces and excerpts a new book by the Italian director, producer and photographer Gianni Rozzacchi (with Joey Taylor), in which he describes how he came to capture iconic images of Elizabeth Taylor and others. And the Oxford University Press has a post by Gideon Nesbit, one of their editors of their Oxford World Classics series, on the challenges and rewards of translation as a profession and art form.

Finally, an entry not easily categorized: the Princeton University Press introduces, with a bright and artistic trailer, a new book on the color red by Michael Pastoureau (who has already written on Blue, Black, and Green). The book promises a lot to learn about the color red, given that it has variously “conjured courtly love, danger, beauty, power, politics, and hell;” it has “represented many things, so many, in fact, that in several languages, the word means ‘beautiful’ and ‘colorful’ at once.”

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

Friday, January 27th, 2017

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.)

Recent events have proven inspiring for a host of university press blogs around the country and abroad. The Cambridge University Press blog kicks us off with a post by John Suler, author of Psychology of the Digital Age (2015), on the psychology of Twitter. Suler points out how the static textuality of Twitter as a medium can lead to misunderstandings in the absence of a voice or image to help interpret one’s words. It can also foster communications that consist of what one of Suler’s colleagues calls “an emotional hit and run.” Elsewhere, the University of North Carolina Press features a guest post by Gregg A. Brazinsky, author of the forthcoming Winning the Third World: Sino-American Rivalry During the Cold War. He describes the recent history of Chinese-American economic competition in the second half of the twentieth century, and looks ahead to some possible developments in the already-fractured relationship between President D. Trump’s administration and Beijing.

Women’s history is always relevant, and two recent posts are timely support for the global Women’s March this month and the early January release of the film Hidden Figures. First, the Harvard University Press Blog features a post about Red Ellen: The Life of Ellen Wilkinson, Socialist, Feminist, Internationalist (2016) by Laura Beers. Wilkinson was a British MP in the 1930s who was one of the first female delegates to the United Nations, and became famous for making a march of her own with two hundred unemployed shipwrights in 1936. “Beers’s portrait of Wilkinson,” the editor writes, “should reframe our understanding of the British left between the wars and bolster our sense of the possibilities for international social justice coalitions.”

Second, the Princeton University Press features a guest post by David Alan Grier, author of When Computers Were Human (2007). Taking Katherine Goble Johnson and the women of Hidden Figures as his starting point, he runs down other examples of moments when the mathematical skills of “Blacks, women, Irish, Jews and the merely poor” became essential to the everyday discoveries of scientists who later gave them scant credit for their work. The film is welcome and important, Grier writes, “because it reminds us that science is a community endeavor.”

The MIT Press, on the other hand, has looked back this month to celebrate an interesting anniversary. The 12th of January was the ‘birthday’ of the fictional supercomputer and AI presence Hal in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. David G. Stork, editor of the collected volume Hal’s Legacy: 2001′s Computer as Dream and Reality (1996), writes a fascinating post about how Hal “remains the most compelling portrayal of machine intelligence in cinema.” He also provides an overview of newer developments in AI, including a recent move towards provoking ‘deep learning’ by machines rather than relying solely on computation and mathematical reasoning.

And finally, an item of note to those interested in publishing as a profession: the Johns Hopkins University Press has begun a new monthly series of posts on their blog about the technicalities of book distribution! Davida G. Breier, the author of the series, is Manager at Hopkins Fulfillment Services, which distributes books from JHU and many other academic press clients.

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

Friday, December 9th, 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.)

Yale University Press’s blog features a post by Jieun Baek, author of North Korea’s Hidden Revolution: How the Information Underground is Transforming a Closed Society. In this post, Baek seeks to dispel popular misconceptions surrounding North Korea, emphasizing the subtle changes that have influenced North Korean politics and government. For example, Baek addresses the relationship between the North Korean government and the circulation of foreign information and media. “Young people are taking more risks than ever before. People are trusting each other, watching each other’s backs, and building stronger bonds. The widespread grassroots marketization and unprecedented levels of access to foreign information now play a central role in changing the social consciousness of some North Korean citizens and are sparking subtle, yet irreversible, changes inside this country.” With regards to North Koreans themselves, Baek argues that their situation is a lot less hopeless than perceived, calling North Koreans an “extraordinarily resilient people.” “There is hope for positive change to emerge from inside this country. The people are the proof.”

This week, Duke University Press commemorated the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor with a post on Memorializing Pearl Harbor: Unfinished Histories and the Work of Remembrance by Geoffrey M. White and A Date Which Will Live: Pearl Harbor in American Memory by Emily S. Rosenberg. Memorializing Pearl Harbor focuses on the challenges that come with representing the attack on Pearl Harbor, and more broadly, examines public mediums through which history is “re-presented.” This book also considers the effect of the Pearl Harbor memorial on Japanese Americans and veterans. “The memorial has become a place where Japanese veterans have come to seek recognition and reconciliation, where Japanese Americans have sought to correct narratives of racial mistrust, and where Native Hawaiians have challenged their ongoing erasure from their own land.” On the other hand, A Date Which Will Live focuses on Pearl Harbor’s influence on American culture and memory. “In doing so, she discusses the recent “memory boom” in American culture; the movement to exonerate the military commanders at Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short; the political mobilization of various groups during the culture and history ‘wars’ of the 1990s, and the spectacle surrounding the movie Pearl Harbor.”

Johns Hopkins University Press’s blog features a post on the origin of the 24-hour news cycle and our “psychological hunger” for the newsworthy stories. Our obsession with the news began with the invention and popularization of the telegraph. “Samuel Morse’s first telegraph message from Washington to Baltimore in 1844 was the celebrated Bible verse, ‘What hath God wrought!’ His lesser-known second message, immediately following, was, ‘Have you any news?’” This craving for current events only intensified during the Civil War, when crowds would gather together to read and discuss the latest telegrams. This post emphasizes the importance of investigating the way in which our attitudes and mindsets change due to innovation. “We have developed sophisticated frameworks for understanding the relationship between technological innovation and social change, but we understand far less about how technological change affects individual perceptions, expectations, and behavior.”

University of Chicago Press’s blog features a question and answer session with the author of Life Breaks In, Mary Cappello. Life Breaks In helps readers understand the concept of “mood” and how different moods are generated by every day experiences. The book is also highly personal, as Cappello takes readers on a journey of her memories. When asked about the relationship between the uncanny and nonfiction, Cappello says that the uncanny is “at the heart” of literary nonfiction. “The places where the real slip-slides with something unrecognizable, where the familiar and the strange switch places. Cognitive dissonance. Home not home. The pleasure and necessity of altered states.” In this question and answer post, Cappello sets the scene of a bike ride in New England and its impact on one’s mood.

Cambridge University Press’s blog features a post by Nicolas Dupont-Bloch, author of Shoot the Moon. In this post, Dupont-Bloch offers a list of tips and tricks in order to successfully capture one of the most fascinating subjects of all, the moon. For example, he states, “The full Moon is widely neglected because craters do not show cast shadows; however ray systems, some volcanic features and differences in the lunar soil are emphasized. But the full Moon is dramatic, don’t overlook it!” We also learn that a red filter should be used when the Moon is low, whereas a green filter should be used to fix chromatism. For more information on that perfect shot, check out Nicolas Dupont-Bloch’s post on Cambridge University Press’s blog.

University of Alabama Press’s blog features a post on the book To Stand Aside or Stand Alone: Southern Reform Rabbis and the Civil Rights Movement, by P. Allen Krause. This book is based off a series of interviews conducted by Krause with twelve Reform rabbis from southern congregations during the civil rights movement. Because interviewees were promised twenty-five years before their interviews would be released, Krause was able to incorporate the unfiltered views and experiences of these Reform rabbis into his book. One must not forget the harsh conditions endured by Reform rabbis during the civil rights movement. “These men functioned within a harsh environment: rabbis’ homes, synagogues, and Jewish community centers were bombed; one rabbi, who had been beaten and threatened, carried a pistol to protect himself and his family.” Despite these adverse situations, Southern Reform rabbis made substantial contributions to the civil rights movement.

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

Friday, December 2nd, 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.)

In a recent post on Cambridge University Press’s blog, Alexander Hill, author of Writing the Red Army and the Second World War, reflects on his writing process. Hill was required to examine a number of memoirs, testimonials, and primary sources in order to gain an all-encompassing perspective on the Soviet period and the collapse of the Soviet Union. In this post, Hill addresses the challenge of incorporating historical voices into one’s original arguments and how he’s grown to appreciate primary sources in a new way. “When used appropriately the human interest material can tell us so much for example about what motivated those involved to do what they did, with patterns starting to emerge when reading many examples even if we have always to be on the lookout for what seems to be retrospective explanation and justification.” Memoirs allowed Hill to better understand the human experience with regards to war and suffering. Engaging with these texts was a “humbling experience” for Hill, who hopes that his publication’s prioritization of memoir literature not only provides historical context for his work, but also engages and excites his readers.

Princeton University Press’s blog features an interview with Eléna Rivera on Scaffolding , her recently published collection of sonnets, inspired by her life in New York City. The title of her collection is influenced by the façade work that affected her building complex. “Scaffolding” gradually grew into a term to explain the sonnet, something that communicates substance and sound. Rivera’s interest in sonnets stems from her fascination with the relationship between form and content and how the inner and outer play off of one another. “I really became fascinated by the fourteen-line form, what such a compact container could give rise to, and once I committed myself to it I felt compelled to continue.” Rivera’s process in composing her poetry is evident in her usage of dates to label many of her sonnets. “Some poems just worked right away and others were more reluctant. Sometimes I liked the new version as much as the old one and kept both. I wanted to track that.” When asked about the inclusion of French and Spanish words in her poems, Rivera points to her family background, as she grew up speaking French and Spanish to her parents. “Sometimes I just can’t think of the word in English, and the word in French or Spanish will emerge — so much more expressive of the emotion or thought than the English word.” Rivera’s relationship with English is “complicated,” but writing poetry gave Rivera a voice. “Writing was always a necessity that helped me to live in the world. Writing was a way out of erasure, the silence that is imposed from the outside. In writing and reading, I found the words that I didn’t have otherwise.” (more…)

Friday, November 18th, 2016

University Press Roundup: #UPWeek 2016 Edition

It’s University Press Week 2016! In celebration of this year’s excellent UP Week Blog Tour, we are happy to present a special University Press Week UP Roundup. You should check out our contribution to the week on the innovative South Asia Across the Disciplines series, and, from a previous year’s UP Week, take a look back at our University Press Roundup Manifesto to see why we do our Roundup posts every Friday.

Northwestern University Press’s blog celebrates its partnership with the Evanston Historical Society through honoring Charles Gates Dawes. Dawes was awarded the 1925 Nobel Peace Prize, served as Vice President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge, and was a proud citizen of Evanston. Charles Gates Dawes: A Life, by Annette Dunlap, was recently published.

Rutgers University Press’s blog commemorates the 250th anniversary of Queen’s College, which would later come to be known as Rutgers: The State University of New Jersey. Rutgers University Press reflects on their eventful year, reminding readers of the publication Rutgers: A 250th Anniversary Portrait, an illustrated survey highlighting Rutgers’ achievements and history, in addition to Rutgers Since 1945: A History of the State University of New Jersey and Scarlet and Black: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History.

Fordham University Press’s blog emphasizes the importance of community through discussing the book Before the Fires: An Oral History of African American Life in the Bronx from the 1930′s to the 1960′s. This book is an extension of the “Bronx African American History Project,” which has recorded over 300 interviews in its 14 years of existence. The experience of writing this book “affirmed our vision of this book as a true community product, one which people whose lives were highlighted in the book could claim as a window into the world they grew up in, and still look back upon with great affection and respect,” says co-author Mark Naison.

University of Toronto Press’s blog celebrates its partnership with the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre. The post focuses on the importance of history and its role in education. “The Higher Education Division at University of Toronto Press believes in sharing knowledge by publishing accessible books for generations of students. The MNJcc believes in providing accessible programming for older generations. Together, these two communities have joined forces to provide accessible programming devoted to the sharing of knowledge.” (more…)

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, November 11th, 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 (or, in this case, Monday).)

University of California Press’s blog features a post by Molly Dragiewicz, co-author of Abusive Endings: Separation and Divorce Violence against Women. This book examines domestic violence and the abuse that persists even after a relationship is dissolved. “One of the most pernicious misconceptions about woman abuse is that it ends when the couple breaks up,” says Dragiewicz. Dangerous attitudes surrounding violence against women can also be attributed to what Dragiewicz calls, “structural failures.” The tendency to blame victims for their role in their assault is often embedded in the perpetuation of language such as “it takes two to tango; she was asking for it; she made me do it.” In this post, Dragiewicz emphasizes the fact that domestic violence not only outlives a relationship, but also often escalates as a result of separation. Dragiewicz seeks to raise awareness of this issue and aims to “help move popular and professional discourse to take the next step on from awareness, recognizing the complexity of woman abuse as well as how it changes across the span of relationships.”

Amacon Book’s blog features an interview with Stephen Wunker, one of the authors of Jobs to Be Done: A Roadmap for Customer-Centered Innovation. “What’s great about using Jobs to be Done is that it gives you a common language to help build that culture of innovation, even where one has never existed before,” says Wunker, who seeks to strengthen relationships between companies and customers. Wunker’s advice for achieving a more innovative future is threefold: “First, get outside the office and talk to real customers. That gets overlooked way too often. Second, start thinking about how you might build a process to both understand and respond to customers’ jobs. If success isn’t repeatable, you’re going to waste a lot of resources on failure. Third, drop your industry-specific or product-specific way of looking at things.”

Anne M. Blankenship, author of Christianity, Social Justice, and the Japanese American Incarceration during World War II, recently published a post on the University of North Carolina Press’s blog. In this post, Blankenship writes about the importance of pilgrimage and the way in which it provides us with a connection to both the past and present. “Pilgrimages have become sites of resistance not only by reshaping the memory of an ethnicity’s disenfranchisement, but by employing remembrance in the fight for the civil rights of first themselves and then others.” A perfect example of this conception of pilgrimage is the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, where groups are able to discuss and share memories of the experiences of incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II. Not only is this pilgrimage significant in honoring the communal memory of Japanese American incarceration, but it also serves to support the experiences of other minority groups. According to Bruce Embrey, co-chair of the Manzanar Pilgrimage, “Remembering is not passive. We must act on our memories. We must stand, today, with all those who face civil rights abuses, stand with those who are unjustly accused or persecuted simply because of their faith, their birthplace, or ancestry.” Representatives from local Native American tribes and the Muslim Public Affairs Council have delivered speeches at Manzanar ceremonies, and in 2002, “verses from the Qur’an were read alongside Buddhist and Christian scripture during the 2002 memorial services.” Embrey’s words have been put into action.

University of Michigan Press’s blog recently posted an interview with William Cheng, author of Just Vibrations: The Purpose of Sounding Good and the recipient of this year’s Philip Brett Award from the American Musicological Society. Cheng is the youngest and the first two-time winner of this award. “My view is that music should be treated as neither a necessary nor sufficient entity for being human and humane. Too often, however, we witness dehumanizing and ableist rhetoric piled upon peers who do not showcase narrow conventions of musical taste, proclivity, or capability.” Cheng challenges us to approach our interactions with others in the way we would sample new music. “The next time you hear someone say something that you think is nonsense or uninformed or inarticulate, listen again, if you’re so inclined. It’s what we’d do with a piece of music or with a poem. Our peers in society deserve no less.”

Coll Thrush, author of Indigenous London: Native Travelers at the Heart of the Empire, composed a post on Yale University Press’s blog. In this post, Thrush sheds light on London’s rich Indigenous fabric and discusses the close relationship between London’s Urban and Indigenous histories. John Dee, who gave rise to the term “The Brytish Empyre,” is Thrush’s primary example of the interplay between Urban and Indigenous spheres. “Among [John Dee’s] possessions was an obsidian mirror that somehow found its way from the Aztec Empire to Dee’s London home. From before its inception, London’s colonial project was deeply linked to Indigenous people, places, and things.” Thrush’s post highlights the diverse group of individuals who travelled to London. Some were captives, others were diplomats. Even performers who looked to pursue a career on London’s main stages, contributed to its Indigenous history. “Their stories show how even in a place like London, we can find Indigenous history—past, present, and future—and even rethink the history of one of the world’s great cities.”

Oxford University Press’s blog features a post on the evolution of memory and its relationship to the brain. The cerebral cortex has been the long-standing explanation for our ability to retain memories and form perceptions; however, this post suggests an alternate approach in studying the role of the brain in human memory. “Evolution has led to different parts of the cortex specializing in distinct kinds of neural representations.” These representations “correspond to the information processed and stored by a network of neurons, and they underpin our memories as well as our ability to perceive the world and control our actions.” The authors of this post present a list of representational systems in the brain. This post also highlights the importance of studying evolutionary history in order to understand more about biological function. “By embracing all of our ancestors we can both enlarge our identity and develop a deeper appreciation of how evolution produced our memories, our complex cultures, and the stories of our lives.”

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

Friday, November 4th, 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 (or, in this case, Monday).)

MIT Press’s blog features an interview with Keith E. Stanovich, Richard F. West, and Maggie E. Toplak, authors of the book The Rationality Quotient: Toward a Test of Rational Thinking. This book explores our understanding of cognitive functions in addition to the way in which rational thinking and intelligence can be measured. Stanovich, West, and Toplak clarify their aim in writing this book. “Our goal always has been to give the concept of rationality a fair hearing— almost as if it had been proposed prior to intelligence.” The authors also explain the dangers behind labelling all forms of thought as “intelligent.” “Rational thinking skills vanish under permissive definitions of intelligence. Rationality assessments become part of intelligence if the latter is conceptualized broadly.”

This week, Johns Hopkins University Press published a post by Dinah Miller, instructor in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and co-author of Committed: The Battle over Involuntary Psychiatric Care. While some patients are grateful for involuntary care, others view the experience as restricting, traumatizing, and humiliating. According to Miller, “the issue is not black-and-white and we hope to start a discussion that will not be so polarized and will allow all voices to be heard at the table.” Miller features these voices through the highly personal nature of her book. “I wanted a book about the human beings and their stories– who they are and how forced care touched the lives of patients, family members, doctors, the police officers who brought the patients to the ER and the judges who retained them.” How did she go about compiling all of these experiences? “I cajoled people into talking to me, made call after call which sometimes led to dead ends, trolled message boards, shadowed a variety of psychiatrists, judges and a crisis intervention police officer, attended legislative hearings, and sat in on government work groups,” says Miller. “We finally realized we had to pick a point and just stop writing, knowing that it would be impossible to get the book out completely up to date because the target of involuntary care and its related aspects move every day.”

Oxford University Press’s blog recently published a post by Jon Montgomery and David Bodznick, authors of the book Evolution of the Cerebellar Sense of Self. In this post, Montgomery and Bodznick discuss the cerebellum’s function, in addition to its role in our understanding of human identity. The authors approach the development of the cerebellum from a biological perspective. “Early lineages, like lamprey, have cerebellum-like structures in their hindbrain, but no cerebellum. Sharks and rays have both cerebellum-like structures and a true cerebellum. So cerebellum evolved in concert with jaws and paired fins.” This post also examines the relationship between biological functions and our sense of self. “The idea of ‘cerebellar sense of self’, captures the key elements of distinguishing self and other in our sensory interactions with the world. Both in the way that the shark distinguishes ‘prey’ from ‘self’ in its electrosensory system, but also in the way we distinguish the sensory consequences of what we do, from sensory consequences of what is done to us.”

The University of North Carolina Press’s blog features a post by John Mac Kilgore, the author of Mania for Freedom: American Literatures of Enthusiasm from the Revolution to the Civil War. In this post, Kilgore comments on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s popular Broadway musical, Hamilton. According to Kilgore, Alexander Hamilton’s portrayal in the musical was skewed. “Hamilton is the voice of ‘the 1%’ par excellence. This is a man who wanted to create a ‘fiscal-military state.’ A man who opposed a Bill of Rights. A man who desired to integrate banking interests, patrician power, and the ‘federal government.’” Kilgore views Hamilton’s portrayal of Alexander Hamilton as one that “relies heavily on the portrait of Hamilton as an immigrant himself, a self-made man of humble origins, as if this bootstrap narrative were crucial to his political identity.”

The life of Arthur Johnson, a sixty-four year old man who spent thirty-seven years in solitary confinement, is the subject of a recent Yale University Press blog post. This post was written by Keramet Reiter, the author of 23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement. Reiter begins her post by reminding readers that Johnson’s horrifying experience in solitary confinement “is disturbingly common.” She addresses this issue through highlighting the injustices faced by inmates, like Johnson, who were sentenced to a life in prison at a very young age. “States have only recently began to reconsider whether human brains are fully developed at seventeen or eighteen, and whether kids of that age should be eligible for such long sentences,” she states. Attempts to advocate on behalf of Johnson’s liberation have increased over the years. Bret Grote, an attorney with the Abolitionist Law Center in Pennsylvania, argued on behalf of Johnson’s liberation, on the grounds that “Johnson’s constitutional rights had been violated.” His efforts led to Johnson’s release. Is progress being made? According to Reiter, “the question is whether these reforms will be sustainable in light of the pervasive and persistent practice of solitary confinement across the United States.”

Beacon Broadside Press’s blog features an interview with Adrienne Berard, the author of the book Water Tossing Boulders: How a Family of Chinese Immigrants Led the First Fight to Desegregate Schools in the Jim Crow South. This book recreates the untold story of the Lum family, a family of Chinese immigrants who played a key role in the desegregation of Southern schools during the 1920s. Berard’s connection to this family is highly personal. “My grandmother went to school in the same district as the case I explore in the book,” says Berard. In discussing her methods of research, Berard calls our attention to the limitations of existing historical documents. “Some crucial records were never kept, and the accuracy of the records that exist is questionable. The racism of their time affected how their story was remembered, or in this case, not remembered.” When asked about the Lum family’s relevance to current issues, Berard states, “The rhetoric surrounding immigrants today, the efforts of entire political parties to stoke a fear of immigrants, mirrors the kind of xenophobia and racism the Lum family would have experienced in the 1920s. It would be great to say that the issues brought forward by the Gong Lum v. Rice case have no relevance today, but unfortunately the case is more relevant than ever.”

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

Monday, October 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 (or, in this case, Monday).)

Tim Dixon, Professor of Geology and Geophysics at the University of South Florida, recently composed a post on Cambridge University Press’s blog. This post features an excerpt from Dixon’s soon–to-be-published, Curbing Catastrophe, a book that addresses the sewage issues of St. Petersburg, Florida. Dixon analyzes the politics behind these issues. “Large infrastructure projects such as sewage treatment plants and their citywide network of underground pipes are expensive to build or fix, take a long time to build or fix, and tend to result in torn-up streets when they are built or fixed.” Dixon goes on to examine sewage policies in Figueres, a Spanish city that heavily resembles St. Petersburg. He seeks to follow Figueres’s example through implementing an “infrastructure board,” composed of experts and local citizens, who “manage both the planning and subsequent implementation of a city’s critical infrastructure.”

In honor of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, University of Nebraska Press’s Blog features a post by Bruce Smith, author of Stories from Afield: Adventures with Wild Things in Wild Places. In this post, Smith discusses the importance of national parks from an environmental perspective. “Interconnected national parks, wilderness areas, and other wildlands not only nurture large-scale terrestrial migrations, they are bastions of wildness. Wildness demands that native species maintain their freedom to move unimpeded.” Smith’s book focuses on Grand Teton National Park, a part of the Greater Yellowstone Area that plays a crucial role in elk migration. According to Smith, “Grand Teton is one of those wild yet accessible national parks that embody the best of what America once was and still is.” This blog post also includes excerpts from the reflections of University of Nebraska Press authors who write about their favorite National Parks.

Stanford University Press’s Blog discusses the limitations and lasting effects of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. According to this post, “The apartheid past lingers on in today’s South Africa,” and it’s apparent in the rise of protests against educational bias and financial exclusion, led by South African college students. This post compares these protests to the activity of students during the 1976 Soweto uprising. “This and other apartheid-era protests against minority rule are today drawn on as models for current protests.”

Princeton University Press’s blog features an interview with Ben Akers and Matthew Chingos, authors of Game of Loans: The Rhetoric and Reality of Student Debt. This book examines public discussion and perception of student debt issues. In their interview, Akers and Chingos address the media’s tendency to perpetuate misconceptions surrounding student debt. “The typical borrower we hear about in news stories about student loan debt tends to have an enormous balance, is unemployed or working a low-paying job, and lives with his or her parents to save money on living expenses. These struggling borrowers are real, and their problems are troubling, but they are outliers in the broader picture of student borrowing in the United States.” Generalizing the experiences of these outlier situations deters our progress in crafting effective solutions to combat student debt. According to Akers and Chingos, “The problem with allowing an inaccurate narrative to persist is that it prompts policy solutions that solve the fictional problems and do little or nothing to help borrowers who really are in need of assistance.” Akers and Chingos leave us with a piece of advice. “We propose simplifying the system of both borrowing for and repayment of federal loans to alleviate this problem.”

Dr. Janice Wiesman, author of Peripheral Neuropathy, converses with Johns Hopkins University Press in a recent blog post. Peripheral Neuropathy is particularly important in its field, as it is the “only up-to-date, consumer-targeted book about neuropathy written by a neurologist on the market.” In her interview, Dr. Wiesman discusses her inspiration behind writing her book, in addition to the many ways in which the book was able to surprise her and teach her new things. The most significant element of her book is the inspiring takeaway that, “patients who are empowered to control their illness will be more successful in leading the fullest possible life.” Dr. Wiesman also hopes to increase the transparency when it comes to medical procedures, improving the relationship and sense of trust between doctor and patient. “I want patients to know ‘what the doctor is thinking’ at each step of the office visit,” says Dr. Wiesman.

In light of Halloween, Oxford University Press’s blog dedicates a post to the psychology behind our obsession with horror. Even though horror entertainment does not typically evoke pleasant emotions, we still crave our seasonal dose of horror. To address this paradox, the post delves into the scientific relationship between humans and horror. “Horror is crucially dependent on our biological constitution. We evolved to be fearful, to be keenly attuned to—and curious about—dangers around us.” Horror entertainment also provides thrill-seekers with a risk-free way to experience a good scare. “Horror is an important means by which we become equipped to handle a world that is sometimes dangerous and often unpredictable. That’s all the more reason to embrace the fun of fear this Halloween.”

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

Friday, October 21st, 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, Washington University Press’s blog posted an excerpt from Defending Giants: The Redwood Wars and the Transformation of American Environmental Politics, by Darren F. Speece, a history teacher and assistant dean of students at Sidwell Friends School. In this book, Speece examines the historical roots of environmental activism, in addition to the redwood tree’s ability to consistently captivate and inspire individuals of various professions. Scientists, hikers, timber companies, and environmentalists alike, were united by a common interest in one of America’s most valued trees. “The Redwood Wars would determine the fate of the last stands of ancient redwoods: whether they would be turned into quick profits for multinational corporations and short-term wages for workers or remain for humans to enjoy for the long run, for fauna to occupy, and for future ancient redwoods to sprout beneath.”

Princeton University Press’s blog features an interview with Michèle Lamont, author of Getting Respect: Responding to Stigma and Discrimination in the United States, Brazil, and Israel. In this book, Lamont seeks to investigate, “’everyday’ conceptions of racial inequality,” in addition to examining varying perceptions of racism in different parts of the world. In her interview, she discusses her inspiration behind writing this book and the methods she used to survey the responses of a wide range of different communities. Lamont advises us to, “redefine rules,” in order to bring about social change. “I believe we can create inclusion in the context of the law, through narratives, through social policy, and by using institutional tools and cultural repertoires together to create shared notions of solidarity. In some ways it starts at the top, but then change is also produced by ordinary people responding to racism.”

Ian Burney, director of the University of Manchester’s Centre for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine and Neil Pemperton, a senior Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow at CHSTM recently composed a post on Johns Hopkins University Press’s blog, based on their recent publication, Murder and the Making of English CSI. This book focuses on the history of forensic evidence and its role in murder investigations. With few existing publications on this topic, Burney and Pemperton consulted historical evidence from 20th century murder cases, focusing on “details of the investigations themselves, and how they were represented and understood.” The authors challenge readers to examine crime scenes in a new light and to understand the relationship between investigations and forensic evidence. “Murder and the Making of English CSI reveals the compelling and untold story of how one of the most iconic features of our present-day forensic landscape came into being.”

Oxford University Press’s blog features a conversation with Evangeline Benedetti, “one of the few female performers in the New York Philharmonic in the 1960’s.” This post focuses on Benedetti’s recently published book, Cello, Bow and You: Putting it All Together. In her interview, Benedetti discusses the challenges she faced in her early career as a musician, in addition to some of her most meaningful memories from her experience in the New York Philharmonic. Benedetti’s inspiration for her book stemmed from her studies as an Alexander Technique student where she “began to revamp [her] playing to be more in tune with the principles of the technique.” According to Benedetti, “it began a quest for freedom of playing that I so longed for, and it afforded me answers that traditional teaching did not.” When asked about her time at the New York City Philharmonic, Benedetti talks about her experience as one of the few female members. “Finally after a few years and more women came aboard, they built a dressing room for us. I suppose they realised women were here to stay.”

In light of Bob Dylan’s recent Nobel Prize win, University of California Press’s blog features a post on the historical relationship between music and literature. While many individuals question the legitimacy behind a musician winning a Nobel Prize, this blog post encourages readers to examine the role of literature in Ancient Greece, where foundational texts were heavily intertwined with musical performance. “Greek tragedy was essentially musical theater (closer to, say, Hamilton than Strindberg), and it had all the hallmarks we associate with musical performance: meter, rhythm, melody, and instrumental accompaniment. Even dancing,” states the post, later referencing Peter Green’s preservation of Homer’s “fantastic, varied sounds” in his translation of The Iliad. This merging of literature and musical expression is not limited to Greek scholarly tradition; the post includes examples of other regions where text evolved from musical roots. Regardless of one’s views on Bob Dylan, we are left with words of advice. “If you’ve only ever thought of literature as words on a page, maybe it’s time you gave it another listen.”

Yale University Press’s blog features a post by Sasha Handley, senior lecturer in early modern history at the University of Manchester and the author of the recently published, Sleep in Early Modern England. In this post, Handley discusses the history of sleep and its evolving implications, in addition to external features that affect sleeping habits. According to Handley, “In early modern Europe, sleep’s critical importance was deeply rooted within a widely-accepted set of good Christian behaviors and within a preventative culture of healthcare that was dominated by the principles of the six non-natural things – a set of environmental and dietary rules in which well-regulated sleeping and waking patterns were central to long-term physical and mental health.” Handley goes on to trace sleep’s evolution from an essential factor in preserving health and well-being to a limitation that humans seek to overcome. “Sleeping for eight hours each night has become, in the estimation of some, for wimps.”

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