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Archive for the 'University Press News' Category

Friday, November 10th, 2017

University Press Roundup: #UPWeek 2017 Edition

#UPWeek

It’s University Press Week 2017! In celebration of this year’s excellent UP Week Blog Tour, we are happy to present a special University Press Week UP Roundup. Be sure to read our contribution to the week on making sales calls during the election season of 2016, 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.

On the topic on how university presses are making a difference in today’s landscape, Wilfrid Laurier University Press’s blog featured a thought-provoking blog post from Indigenous scholar and fiction writer Daniel Heath Justice on the importance of Indigenous literature and scholarship.

The University of Toronto Press’s blog contained several engaging posts, the first titled “The Power of History to Galvanize and Energize,” which discussed the importance of making scholarship accessible to students and how it can influence and ultimately create better citizens.

George Mason University Press emphasized the critical role of university presses in the search for the elusive truth. Through a discussion of Playfair: The True Story of the British Secret Agent Who Changed How We See the World, readers learn how the author uncovers the true story of Playfair’s involvement in the first covert operation in history to collapse a nation’s economy.

Tuesday’s theme of “Selling the Facts” contained an array of perspectives from booksellers and bookstores selling in today’s political climate. (more…)

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

A Field Guide to Engaging with the World Through Bookstores: A #UPWeek 2017 Blog Tour Post

#UPWeek

It’s the second day of University Press Week 2017, and, even though we here at Columbia University Press have the day off for Election Day, we’re excited to be participating in the annual #UPWeek blog tour! Today’s theme is “Selling the Facts,” an opportunity for booksellers and sales representatives to talk about selling books as a form of activism. We are fortunate to have a great post from the Northeast Sales Representative for the Columbia UP Sales Consortium, Conor Broughan, on his experiences making sales calls during the election season of 2016 and what they taught him about the role of University Press books in the world. #ReadUP!

Make sure you check out the blogs of other presses posting on “Selling the Facts” today: the University of Minnesota Press, the University of Texas Press, the University of Hawai’i Press, JHU Press, Duke University Press, the University Press of Kentucky, and the University of Toronto Press!

A Field Guide to Engaging with the World Through Bookstores

By Conor Broughan, Northeast Sales Representative for the Columbia University Press Sales Consortium

Two years ago, when I interviewed for the sales rep position at the Columbia University Press Sales Consortium, my boss explained the general outline of how a sales rep operates. The first half of the conversation concerned the face-to-face meetings with buyers at independent bookstores in the territory, selling the seasonal catalogues for our fourteen presses twice a year. He explained Edelweiss and the growing importance of online catalogues and how reps spend a good portion of their home-office time preparing for each season by creating detailed online markups for buyers. I couldn’t help but ask my future boss, “So if the online catalogues are so useful and necessary now, what’s the point of a sales rep? Why chew massive holes into the budget with travel expenses when an online catalogue says it all with the click of a button?”

Self-sabotaging as it sounds, the question was and still is a good one. Everything happens online these days, so why bother traveling across the country to see anyone face to face? There was a short delay on the other end. Where to begin to explaining how important it is to sit down with a real-life human being and have a conversation? A conversation about forthcoming books or books from past seasons that have over- or underperformed; a conversation about where to shelve a book, how best to display it, and how to handsell it; a conversation about the bookstore and how it’s doing and about bookstores in general; and, inevitably, a conversation about politics: how the politics of a particular book will work in a particular store or, more often, a venting of how we’ll get through another day as rational people in this new irrational version of America. My boss, though, had a much shorter answer. Traveling to a store to see a buyer, he said, is our chance to make real contact with the booksellers. It’s an opportunity to stay engaged. (more…)

Friday, August 4th, 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 environmental news, we have officially consumed more resources this year than our planet can regenerate; from now until the end of the year, we’re drawing on credit. Dawn Field at Oxford discusses the history and sobering implications of “Earth Overshoot Day.”

How can we recalibrate our relationship with the planet to avoid accruing environmental debt? There is no easy answer, but several articles this week call for us to “de-center the human being” (Mira Beth Wasserman) in our thinking in order to better understand our complex, interdependent relationships with non-humans and the material world. Alan and Josephine Smart, at the University of Toronto Press, ask what a posthumanist anthropology might look like. Over at Penn Press, Mira Beth Wasserman reflects on the posthumanist lessons of the Talmud and Planet of the Apes.

These authors ask us to think about the world in terms of interconnected systems rather than isolated actors; on a similar note, many articles this week put public health issues in their social and political contexts. Temple University Press discusses the potentially devastating impact of changes to colleges’ sexual violence response policies under the current administration. Over at Oxford, Emily Henderson argues that we can most effectively combat childhood obesity by tackling a range of socioeconomic and environmental issues related to obesity rather than attempting to change individual behavior; meanwhile, Richard S. Grossman claims that individual incentives for behavioral change in the form of cigarette taxes do have a significant impact on smoking.

Entertainment, like public health, both affects and is affected by its social context. Sometimes fiction raises the bar for reality: Clive James, at Yale Books, reflects on the lasting impact of The West Wing on TV storytelling and American political values, arguing that Aaron Sorkin’s visionary show represents our highest hopes for what the presidency could look like (spoiler alert: no real president has come close).

But pop culture can be used to divide and exclude as well as to inspire and uplift. Nick Yee looks at data to dispel sexist myths about female gamers, cautioning us not to misinterpret gendered variations in gaming behavior in ways that reinforce stereotypes. At Oxford University Press, Russell L. Johnson talks about what was lost in the transition from silent films to “talkies”—not just old artistic values and acting practices, but also the unique accessibility of pop culture to the Deaf community during the silent film era.

Whether formal or informal, entertainment frequently serves the dual function of lifting up its audience and excluding outsiders. Claire Schmidt at the University of Wisconsin Press talks about her research into prison staff humor, which helps workers build solidarity and cope with stressful working conditions while emphasizing the distinction between prison staff and inmates, as well as reinforcing sexual and racial hierarchies.

From the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: Michael J. Altman at Oxford traces the etymology of the English word “juggernaut” back to religiously-fraught colonial encounters in India. Maureen Meister at the NYU Press Blog extols the magic of highly accurate reconstructions of historical buildings and landscapes in Central Park. And Jean Kazez at Oxford argues that we shouldn’t recommend parenthood to friends the way we might recommend anything else life-changing and wonderful, such as a vacation to Iceland.

Have a great week.

Friday, July 28th, 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 posts this week touch on themes of the environment, memory, and transformation. Mikael Wolfe, at Duke University Press, discusses the connection between water management, land redistribution, and socioeconomic reform during the past century in Mexico. In the fifth installment of his series commemorating the 1967 Detroit Riot on the University of Michigan Press blog, Brian Matzke challenges us to think of Detroit not as a “ruined” city but as a new kind of urban environment with its own, revolutionary beauty. And at the University of Minnesota Press, Cord J. Whitaker finds a powerful message about the importance of ecological memory in recent episodes of Game of Thrones.

With health care reform in the news this week, Sandro Galea at Oxford discusses the environmental and socioeconomic conditions that have led to higher morbidity and lower life expectancy in the U.S. than in many other developed countries. James A. Tyner, at the University of Nebraska, urges us to use the word “violence” to talk about proposed legislation that would take away health care from millions, linking such legislation to other forms of slow violence such as climate change and environmental racism. “We do not ‘see’ structural violence because it is too often passed off as natural, normal, or unintentional,” he argues. “In practice, however, structural violence can—and must—be understood as resulting from agency.”

We often talk about the “secular left” and the “religious right”—but Christopher H. Evans at the NYU Press Blog reminds us that there is also a “religious left” with a long history of political engagement and activism. Since the days of the social gospel movement at the turn of the century, he says, religious progressives have used Biblical narratives and ethical teachings to advocate for policies that would reduce inequality and help the poor.

On the theme of storytelling and social change, Oxford University Press has articles this week on the progressive politics and contemporary relevance of two Irish playwrights: George Bernard Shaw and Seán O’Casey. Transgender rights are also back in the news this week, and Jackson Wright Schultz of the University Press of New England writes about the importance of lifting up transgender voices and stories.

If grappling with systemic injustice and rancorous politics has been getting you down, never fear—Oxford University Press has a few posts this week on psychology and wellbeing. Andrew Macleod talks about the relationship between prospection—imagining the future—and mental health. Sebastian Watzl ponders the nature of attention. Finally, Jaime Kurtz offers some psychology-based approaches for getting the most joy and relaxation out of a vacation.

From the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: Abigail le Marquand-Brown at Oxford talks about the role that music might have played in the earliest development of human culture. Bill Maurer and Lana Swartz, at MIT, muse on the nature of “money stuff” and the possibility of a cashless society. Finally, Johanna Luthman offers up a lively portrait of the eccentric fifteenth-century English mystic Margery Kempe.

Have a great week.

Friday, July 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.)

Let’s start with some history. The University of Michigan Press continues their series of posts commemorating the 1967 Detroit Riot; this week, Brian Matzke discusses the failures of Detroit’s public institutions. Picking up on the themes of public education and racial justice, Kay Whitlock at Beacon Broadside reminds us of the connections between school privatization and criminal justice reform. Over at NYU, Stanley I. Thangaraj urges us to “Say Her Name”—to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of women of color to everything from professional sports to civil rights movements.

Several posts this week explore the ways in which scientific discovery and innovation intersect with social concerns. At Stanford Press, Londa Schiebinger traces flows of medical knowledge between European, Amerindian, and slave communities in the Atlantic World and identifies points of rupture. Bernd Brunner at Yale Books investigates the origins and legacy of the Apollo program, questioning whether a trip to the moon really benefitted American society and speculating on the future of space travel. Denis Alexander at Cambridge argues that science and religion have always been more closely intertwined than we tend to think, and Bonnie L. Keeler at Oxford lays out a plan for restructuring academic institutions so that future scientific innovation more directly benefits society and the planet.

Science has already given us answers to some of the most pressing questions of our time—for example, the urgent question of what wine to pair with dessert. At Yale Books, Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle provide a lively introduction to the science of taste, debunking myths about taste buds and explaining why the shape of a wineglass matters. I would recommend pairing that article with Mack McCormick’s enticing exploration of regional American stews over at Kentucky Press, or the University of Illinois Press’s brief history of the humble hot dog.

At the intersection of politics and aesthetics, Erin Greer, of Indiana University Press, examines the philosophy of conversation through the lens of Virginia Woolf. David Ebony of Yale Books criticizes the Venice Biennale, a major international art show, for lacking depth and incisiveness, though he highlights several works of art that amuse, provoke, and unsettle.

The poetic inversion of art in a sinking city might well be floating junk: Beacon Broadside interviews Marcus Eriksen, who crossed the ocean on a raft made out of garbage in order to raise awareness about plastic pollution. If, unlike Eriksen, you’re not building your own seaworthy vessels out of garbage, you probably don’t know much about the sophisticated machines you use every day—but Dennis Tenen at Stanford argues that you should have the right to tinker with, interpret, and understand your technology.

From the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: To celebrate the return of Game of Thrones this week, Greg Garrett at Oxford asks what the abundance of zombie apocalypses on TV reveals about modern society. For more family-friendly entertainment, Travis D. Stimeling says, go enjoy a local bluegrass festival and learn about this uniquely American music genre.

Have a great week.

Friday, July 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.)

A number of university press blogs this week discussed race in America across the centuries. The University of Washington Press shares an excerpt from Coll Thrush’s book Native Seattle, which looks at the historical and present-day survivance—survival/resistance—of Indigenous communities in Seattle. Over at Harvard Press, Katherine Benton-Cohen reflects on the centennial of the “Bisbee Deportation,” an illegal mass deportation of over a thousand striking mineworkers in Arizona, while Glenda M. Flores at the NYU Press blog talks about the efforts of Latina teachers in L.A. to protect children with undocumented parents. At the University of Michigan Press, Brian Matzke kicks off a series of posts on the context and legacy of the 1967 Detroit riot. Finally, Duke University Press gives us a reading list of articles on racial justice as part of its Read and Respond Series. (more…)

Friday, April 28th, 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.)

So many university presses took the opportunity to share stellar historic, modern, and contemporary poetry in the past few weeks while marking National Poetry Month. We encourage all our readers to browse our peer blogs and enjoy some wonderful writing! In the meantime, we leave you with a bumper post from the Cambridge University Press which celebrates the 200th anniversary of the publication of John Keats’ first collection.

Absence, and attempts to ameliorate it, was a theme of a few fascinating posts across university presses this week. At the Beacon Broadside Press, acclaimed actress and essayist Marianne Leone (The Sopranos) talked about the process of reconnecting with her immigrant mother during the writing of her recent memoir, Ma Speaks Up and a First-Generation Daughter Talks Back. The University of California Press blog highlighted recent efforts by historians and film crews to recover the story of people living on California’s ‘Channel Islands,’ and particularly that of a native Nicoleño woman who was left to live completely alone on one of the islands for eighteen years in the nineteenth century. And the University of Georgia Press has begun a new series of sharing Civil War courtship letters which were exchanged between Nathaniel Dawson while he was at war and Elodie Todd, the sister of Mary Todd Lincoln.

Important posts on history, public policy, and environmentalism also featured heavily this week. At the University of Texas Press blog, scholars Euan Hague and Edward H. Sebesta took a fresh and urgent look at the influence of American ‘neo-confederacy’ in the age of Donald Trump. Sharon McConnell-Sidorick wrote a guest post about the radicalizing influence of flappers on 1920s labor movements and the New Deal for the University of North Carolina Press. At the Stanford University Press blog Johan Christensen, author of The Power of Economists within the State (2017), examined how it is that economists have come to wield so much power in public policy making. The Yale University Press blog featured a post by Benjamin Heber Johnson, associate professor of history at Loyola University, Chicago, on the possible futures of the environmentalism movement.

From the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: the Oxford University Press compiled a list of the best librarian characters in fantasy fiction. The Cornell University Press highlighted a local initiative in Tompkins County, New York, to declare May 8th to be “Grateful Dead Day.” And the University of Sydney Press is starting a new effort to cook recipes out of the classic 1893 text The Art of Living in Australia, which is part cookbook and part guide detailing “everything the new colonist ought to understand about the rigours and habits of living in the great southern land.”

We end with some mortar-and-bricks press news this week. Following up on our recent posts, the University of Hawai’i Press has also received a Mellon/NEH Open Book Grant to digitize a hundred of their out-of-print titles for open access. The University of Illinois Press this week continued a series of posts on off-beat ways of increasing and discovering revenue streams for small presses by talking about the valuable ‘old junk’ held in its archives, featuring, among other things, “a bathroom wall covered with dirty limericks by songwriter/poet Shel Silverstein.” Finally, the University of Nebraska Press put up a new monthly post of what their staff are reading in a list which includes Lincoln in the Bardo, Harry Potter, and Things Fall Apart.

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…)