About

Columbia University Press Pinterest

Twitter

Facebook

CUP Web site

RSS Feed

New Books

Author Interviews

Author Events

Keep track of new CUP book releases:
e-newsletters

For media inquiries, please contact our
publicity department

CUP Authors Blogs and Sites

American Society of Magazine Editors

Leonard Cassuto

Mike Chasar / Poetry and Popular Culture

Erica Chenoweth / "Rational Insurgent"

Juan Cole

Jenny Davidson / "Light Reading"

Faisal Devji

William Duggan

James Fleming / Atmosphere: Air, Weather, and Climate History Blog

David Harvey

Paul Harvey / "Religion in American History"

Bruce Hoffman

Alexander Huang

David K. Hurst / The New Ecology of Leadership

Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh

Geoffrey Kabat / "Hyping Health Risks"

Grzegorz W. Kolodko / "Truth, Errors, and Lies"

Jerelle Kraus

Julia Kristeva

Michael LaSala / Gay and Lesbian Well-Being (Psychology Today)

David Leibow / The College Shrink

Marc Lynch / "Abu Aardvark"

S. J. Marshall

Michael Mauboussin

Noelle McAfee

The Measure of America

Philip Napoli / Audience Evolution

Paul Offit

Frederick Douglass Opie / Food as a Lens

Jeffrey Perry

Mari Ruti / The Juicy Bits

Marian Ronan

Michael Sledge

Jacqueline Stevens / States without Nations

Ted Striphas / The Late Age of Print

Charles Strozier / 9/11 after Ten Years

Hervé This

Alan Wallace

James Igoe Walsh / Back Channels

Xiaoming Wang

Santiago Zabala

Press Blogs

AAUP

University of Akron

University of Alberta

American Management Association

Baylor University

Beacon Broadside

University of California

Cambridge University Press

University of Chicago

Cork University

Duke University

University of Florida

Fordham University Press

Georgetown University

University of Georgia

Harvard University

Harvard Educational Publishing Group

University of Hawaii

Hyperbole Books

University of Illinois

Island Press

Indiana University

Johns Hopkins University

University of Kentucky

Louisiana State University

McGill-Queens University Press

Mercer University

University of Michigan

University of Minnesota

Minnesota Historical Society

University of Mississippi

University of Missouri

MIT

University of Nebraska

University Press of New England

University of North Carolina

University Press of North Georgia

NYU / From the Square

University of Oklahoma

Oregon State University

University of Ottawa

Oxford University

Penn State University

University of Pennsylvania

Princeton University

Stanford University

University of Sydney

University of Syracuse

Temple University

University of Texas

Texas A&M University

University of Toronto

University of Virginia

Wilfrid Laurier University

Yale University

Archive for the 'University Press News' Category

Friday, July 18th, 2014

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.

The issue of tenure for teachers has been hotly contested recently. Writing at the Voices in Education blog of Harvard Education Publishing, Dale S. Rose argues that improving teacher hiring processes is a better bet for improving education quality than is eliminating teacher tenure.

Jacques Derrida would have turned 84 this past Tuesday, and in honor of the occasion, Cary Wolfe has an article up at the University of Minnesota Press Blog reflecting on Derrida’s legacy and the continuing resonance of his work.

Is new film Maleficent a feminist fairy tale? At From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, Jessie Klein and Meredith Finnerty argue that the movie attempts to “reverse the damage of the common fairy tale motif.”

The 2014 World Cup is now over (congratulations to our German readers), and at the University of Toronto Press Blog, Kirk Bowman provides a post-tournament summary of the politics and identity issues at play in the world’s most popular sporting event.

This week, the OUPblog is running a fascinating four-part series of posts on the epistemology of Christianity, by John G. Stackhouse, Jr. Stackhouse is particularly interested in the interplay between radical faith and radical doubt in the modern “Information Age.”

At the Harvard University Press Blog, Daniel Matlin looks back at a key figure in the attempts by African American intellectuals to help white America understand and appreciate black urban life: psychologist Kenneth B. Clark.

How should we view the place of religion in Rembrandt’s art? At Mercer University Press News, John I. Durham has a guest post explaining the role of faith in Rembrandt’s life and work, and argues that for Rembrandt, The Bible was “a real book more than it was a holy book.”

World War I had a profound impact on literary culture, and in particular on poetry. At the temporarily renamed nineteenfourteen blog of Cambridge University Press (usually fifteeneightyfour), Paul Sheehan looks at the role of pity and pathos in World War I poetry.

Most people view Harvey Milk’s lasting political influence primarily through the lens of his work with LGBT progress. However, at North Philly Notes, the blog of Temple University Press, Miriam Frank claims that this ignores a significant part of Milk’s platform: his vision was one of connected union involvement and LGBT activism.

Those who love air conditioning in the summer take note: July 17 marks the birthday of air conditioning! At the Fordham Impressions blog, Salvatore Basile has a guest post looking at the early history of air conditioning and questioning its future in a “green” society.

Want to write an epitaph but just don’t know how? Fear not! Michael Wolfe, writing at the JHU Press Blog, has broken the epitaph-writing process down to it’s simplest components. Once you’ve mastered the art of the epitaph, he invites you to enter his “epitaph writing contest” on Goodreads!

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with a guest post by essayist Sam Pickering (perhaps best known for being the inspiration for Robin Williams’ innovative teacher character in the film Dead Poets Society) at the University of Missouri Press blog. In his post, Pickering ruminates about a life of writing essays about life.

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

Friday, July 11th, 2014

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.

Religious freedom and what it entails has been at the forefront of the American consciousness over the last few weeks, as the Supreme Court has considered two important religious freedom cases. In both Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Wheaton College v. Burwell, the Supreme Court decided “in favor of conservative Christian plaintiffs seeking exemptions from the contraceptive coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act.” This week, the Chicago Blog of the University of Chicago Press featured an article by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan on the “rotten core at the heart of all religious freedom laws”: what she calls the difference between “small ‘r’ religion” and “big ‘R’ Religion.” In explaining this difference, Sullivan demands that we consider what religious freedom is really designed to protect.

Another important recent Supreme Court case was Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, in which the Court upheld Michigan’s ban on race- and sex-based affirmative action in public hiring and education. Writing at the UNC Press Blog, Marc Stein discusses the case, and in particular the divide between the opinions written by Associate Justice Sonya Sotomayor and Chief Justice John Roberts.

The World Cup is drawing to a close, with only the third place game and the Final still to be played. Duke University Press has continued their series on the Cup with a couple of fascinating posts from Orin Starn and Marc Hertzman. Starn is watching the games from “a shantytown in desert Peru,” and he explains how the World Cup both isn’t (“There’s little pan-Latin American solidarity in football fandom”) and is (the Neymar-style haircuts of some of the children, for example) a big deal in the poor areas of Peru. Meanwhile, Hertzman focuses instead on the gender issues at play in Brazil at the moment. One notable example: while the aforementioned Neymar got the great majority of the press as the best Brazilian player, Hertzman points out that the most decorated current Brazilian player has not been mentioned much at all. Marta is the star of Brazil’s women’s team, and has “on or finished second as FIFA’s women’s Player of the Year an amazing nine times.”

While the World Cup has, once again, been a wildly popular spectacle, Susan Kneebone points out that it has also put the spotlight firmly on the problematic preparations for the 2022 World Cup scheduled to take place in Qatar. Writing at the OUPblog, Kneebone looks at the plight and frequent mistreatment of the estimated 500,000 migrant workers Qatar is depending on to build the infrastructure necessary for the World Cup to take place. She is particularly careful to point out that this dependency on migrant workers is not unique to Qatar during their preparations, but that it is a fairly common practice throughout the Gulf States region, and, indeed, throughout the world.

At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Eric Avila argues that, while “freeway and the automobile, after all, were built upon a uniquely American premise of freedom,” the ways that freeways were planned and constructed in cities in the 1950s and 1960s sometimes divided and hurt poor, nonwhite communities, even while offering convenient and ostensibly democratic means of transportation.

How far can ISIS go? At the JHU Press Blog, Mark N. Katz takes a close look at the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, pointing out that, while nobody saw them expanding so quickly, they are encountering three problems common to most revolutionary movements (and these problems are exacerbated by the fact that they did expand so quickly): “1.) regional opposition; 2.) reaction to repression; and 3.) rifts among the radicals.”

“In India’s recent national elections, a single party gained the majority of the seats in the lower house of parliament for the first time since 1984.” The Bharatiya Janata Party that controls that majority, is a consistently Hindu nationalist party, and, at the Stanford University Press Blog, Narendra Subramanian believes that the BJP is likely to “vigorously promote Hindu hegemony” and support unequal economic growth at the expense of the poorer elements of the population, and that these policies “may damage democratic citizenship that much more as the constraints they face are rather weak.”

How did the tradition of sports teams with names referencing Native American culture begin? Using the current furor over the name of the Washington Redskins as a jumping-off point, Kate Buford, in a post at the University of Nebraska Press Blog, looks at the history of Native Americans as team names and mascots. She traces the practice back to the famous football coach Glenn S. “Pop” Warner, whose Carlisle Indian Industrial School football team (the Indians) was hugely successful in the early 1900s, led by Jim Thorpe. Buford also, however, looks at the history of the fight against demeaning sports team names, and in particular the successful 1972 petition by Native American students at Stanford that led to the university changing its mascot from the Indians to the Cardinal.

In 1991, Mount Pinatubo, a volcano located about 90 kilometers from Manila in the Philippines that had not been thought of as active, produced the largest volcanic eruption in living memory–the ash from the explosion formed a mushroom cloud that grew to an area the size of France. At the nineteenfourteen blog (the temporarily renamed version of Cambridge University Press’s fifteeneightyfour blog), Clive Oppenheimer writes about the immense eruption and about what its aftermath can teach us about disaster management and climate change.

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with an article from Beacon Broadside Press about a very different kind of ecological disaster. Instead of looking at a single moment of environmental trauma like the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, Brad Tyer looks at the history of the Clark Fork, “one of the most badly abused rivers in the United States.” Tyer walks readers through the river’s history, from the harm done by copper mining to the strange industrial accidents that have damaged the river (including multiple Boeing airplane fuselages and harmful collections of chemicals), and warns of the potential for enormous environmental disaster if the contaminated waters of the “Yankee Doodle tailings” above the river were allowed to escape into the river.

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

Friday, June 27th, 2014

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.

Last weekend, university presses from around the country convened in New Orleans for AAUP—the yearly conference of the Association of American University Presses. John Hopkins University Press editorial Director Greg Britton shares his thoughts on the event, and provides a few links to additional resources and social media for those curious to know more.

With “football”—or “soccer” in American English—mania now sweeping the nations, Cambridge University Press’s blogpost on the global sport may teach readers a little something about it. From the first international encounter in 1872 Scotland-England to the Brazil 2014 stadiums, football maintains steady position as world’s most popular sport. Evidently the 2010 South African World Cup attracted viewership of 46.4 per cent of the whole world’s population, and with the spike in interest from the USA , who knows how much this percentage has increased for this 2014 Brazil World Cup? (Our chunk of the world population pie is clearly BIGGER and BETTER. USA!) The excerpt celebrates the local tribalism of the sport, its drama, its elegant simplicity, and its international appeal. Take a look here.

Speaking of soccer, tribalism, and the World Cup, Duke University Press’s Seth Garfield, author of Indigenous Struggle at the Heart of Brazil, reflects on his last experience in Brazil during a World Cup. He’s writing, of course, about 1994, during which he found himself a welcomed participant in a native Xavante song and dance celebration. Garfield juxtaposes the past with the present—indigenous history with globalization and industrialization—citing the cultural preservation of Xavante life against a backdrop of abandoned agribusiness offices. His recollection is somewhat bittersweet, complicated further by the natives’ cause for celebration—a Brazilian victory in the World Cup.

In an instance of academic publishing getting the “scoop” before newspaper headlines, Beacon Broadside’s blogpost by Fran Hawthorne on the founder and CEO of American Apparel Dov Charney reveals that his ethical misconduct was known long before the story made newspaper headlines. In her book Ethical Chic: The Inside Story of Companies We Think We Love (March 2013), Hawthorne argued, “To earn a social-responsibility badge, American Apparel would have to take a major step: dump Charney.” Thankfully, the company heeded her recommendation.

Contrary to Barbara Tuchman’s claim that August 1914 was the formative month in First World War history, historian Gordon Martel pushes the date earlier to July 1914 in his book The Month That Changed the World: July 1914. His blog post, however, narrates the events of Saturday, 27 June 1914, the day preceding Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination and provide s grounding historical context. Archduke Ferdinand paid visit to Sarajevo with his wife Sophie meant to glorify Austrian rule. Hindsight colors the narration with irony: “The royal couple remained blissfully unaware that they had almost come face-to-face with the young Serb who was planning to kill the archduke the next day.”

On a historical note, Yale University Press’s post on public speaking master class from Winston Churchill divulges the key ingredients for great oration: Diction, rhythm, accumulation, analogy, and extravagance are all necessary. Jonathan Rose translates Churchill as a literary figure, who was an inspirational and hugely charismatic rhetorician. Who better to take oration lessons from?

“At the end of the day, oral history is complimented by technology,” says OUP author Juliana Nykolaiszyn. Besides her status as a self-proclaimed technology geek, Nykolaiszyn also works as an oral historian, interviewing subjects and recording the exchange for preservation and research. Google Glass, she reveals, may be the next remarkable technology to emerge in the evolution of the field. In her post, Nykolaiszyn details some of the draws of Google Glass and other products that promote more seamless interaction between people, and also touches their potential drawbacks.

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

Friday, June 20th, 2014

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

We’d like to open this week’s Roundup by saying congratulations to our neighbors Fordham University Press, new FUP Editorial Director Richard Morrison, and new FUP Editor Thomas Lay! Best of luck moving forward!

The University of Nebraska Press blog has a couple of fascinating posts up this week: one by C. Richard King on the future of the team name of the Washington Redskins, and one by UNP Marketing Manager Martyn Beeny discussing whether BEA is a worthwhile investment for University Presses. In King’s post, he looks at the recent ruling by the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office Trademark Trial Appeal Board voiding trademarks associated with the Redskins NFL franchise on the grounds that the name is “disparaging,” calls out the media for burying the actual Native Americans involved in the issue behind the intricacies of the legal case, and predicts where the saga might go in the future. Meanwhile, Beeny takes a hard look at the ever-increasing costs of setting up a booth at BEA, mourns the demise of the true “University Press Row,” and calls for UPs and the BEA to work together to allow all university presses to once again take advantage of the intrinsic benefits of attending the trade show in the Javits Center.

The sectarian violence that has erupted throughout north and west Iraq recently has set off a new round of questions in the media about American responsibility for the reemergence of civil war, and about America’s role in the region going forward. The Harvard University Blog has an excellent excerpt from the as-yet-unpublished Overreach: Delusions of Regime Change in Iraq, in which author Michael MacDonald “details how America’s fallacious equation of its ideals with its interests—and global projection of each—led to this unleashing of chaos with no end in sight.” (Also, HUP made a Thomas Piketty cake, which we can’t help but mention here, apropos of nothing.)

The World Cup is in full swing, and at the JHU Press blog, John Eric Goff takes on one of the most fundamental parts of the game: the makeup of the ball itself. After Adidas, the company responsible for providing the balls for the Cup, was inundated with player complaints about Jabulani ball used four years ago in South Africa, there has been much less backlash against the new Brazuca ball. Goff explains that the ball behaves more normally due to the intentional texturing of the ball and the 68% longer “total seam length,” which gives the ball a “more stable trajectory” than that of the Jabulani.

Do tenure laws protect bad teachers at the expense of poor and minority students? Judge Rolf M. Treu of Los Angeles recently ruled that they do in the case Vergara v. California, but Fran Hawthorne, writing at Beacon Broadside, argues that Treu “is trying to use a sledgehammer to repair a broken necklace. No, even worse: He has aimed his sledgehammer at a necklace, when it’s really a bracelet, brooch, and earrings that are broken.” She argues that tenure is crucial for attracting and keeping inspiring teachers, who are increasingly getting left out in the cold in the war against the phantom of “bad” teachers.

(more…)

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

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.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (better known as ISIL), “probably the scariest of the many radical Islamist groups to surface in Iraq since 2003″ jumped into headlines this week after the group took Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, this week, putting the Iraqi army to flight and capturing hundreds of millions of dollars in bank deposits as well as a good deal of American-made military equipment. At the Stanford University Press Blog, Ariel I. Ahram has a guest post looking at the current “quasi-statehood” of ISIL. He argues that ISIL’s program of expansion “will likely provoke a re-alignment of political coalitions to resist or even crush it.”

The World Cup began yesterday in Brazil, but resentment against FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, has become widespread in Brazil and elsewhere around the world. At the Duke University Press blog, Bryan McCann explains this growing antipathy towards the organizers of the world’s most popular sporting event in Brazil, starting with the fact that “It has been clear from the start that the games are being put on for international tourists and the executive class.”

At the OUPblog, Dale Jamieson looks at the future of climate change from a worrying angle: are we evolutionarily equipped to cope with the global changes that a warmer climate will bring, or even to be able to understand the problem in a holistic way? Jamieson argues that the answer to both questions is, simply, that we aren’t. In order to “overcome our natural frailties in addressing climate change,” we have to “design institutions and policies” that will allow us to frame the problems convincingly, and to limit our ability to make disastrously short-sighted choices.

TIAA-CREF, a non-profit company that provides retirement planning for many academics and educators, has largely been excluded from debates concerning the 401(k)-type plans run by for-profit companies. However, at Beacon Broadside, James W. Russell asks whether this exclusion from criticism is fair. He points out that TIAA-CREF, despite its non-profit status, runs its business in many of the same ways that the 401(k) for-profit companies do, and that it suffers from many of the same difficulties that prompt the critiques of those for-profit companies.

At the Harvard University Press Blog, HUP Editorial Assistant Shan Wang discusses how a recent HUP title on the Chinese Cultural Revolution explains the confusing events surrounding an episode in Wang’s family’s history. Wang’s grandfather, Wan Laiming, was a director and the head of the Shanghai Animation Film Studio, and his final film was Havoc in Heaven, released in two parts just before the Cultural Revolution. Wang writes that reading The Cultural Revolution at the Marchins, by Yiching Wu, helped to put the film (and the Chinese government’s subsequent closing of the country’s animation industry) into political context.

(more…)

Friday, June 6th, 2014

University Press Round-Up: From Hamlet’s Texts to Bumble Bees

Our usual, fearless rounder-upper is taking a well-deserved vacation but here is a slightly condensed version of our university press round-up. As always, let us know if we’ve left anything off. Enjoy and have a great weekend!:

What is the legacy of Dr. George Tiller five years after his assassination? Carol Joffe, author of Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us examines this question on the Beacon Broadside blog. She argues that as abortion rights are increasingly threatened by legislation, Tiller’s commitment to not only a woman’s right to choose but also his care for his patients is a crucial legacy to hold on to.

Facebook posts from Julius Caesar? Text messages from Hamlet? Cambridge University Press’s blog offers a series of amusing and insightful imaginings of a digital Shakespeare.

On the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the University of Chicago Blog offers a fascinating interview with Mary Louise Roberts, author of D-Day Through French Eyes.

A book made of ice? Yes. Really. Check out this great video, via the Georgetown University Press blog, of the work of ecology artist Basia Irland.

“This French fried fraud is attacking our way of life from atop the bestseller list.” Many publishers hope to get their authors of Stephen Colbert but few succeed. So, congratulations to Harvard University Press and their author Thomas Piketty, whose Capital in the Twenty-First Century has generated important discussions about inequality in the United State and the West and earned him a spot on The Colbert Report.

Ah, Chicago. The Lake, the great neighborhoods, the food, the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, the White Sox, and let’s not forget the amazing world-class architecture. The University of Illinois Press has produced a fantastic video for the AIA Guide to Chicago.

(more…)

Friday, May 30th, 2014

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

We’ll kick things off this week with a discussion of the causes of prison recidivism by David Chura at Beacon Broadside (a big congrats to Beacon Press on their new space!). In his post, Chura talks about his mistrust of contextless statistics about the prison system, and claims that the problem is not actually that big of a mystery: “How you treat people is how they will act. Living under present day prison conditions, day after day, for years, can only foster more bitterness, anger, and despair; can only result in more crime fueled by vengeful feelings upon release.”

Many college students are currently making their way home for the summer, and the abrupt shift of living situation can sometimes lead to tensions between students and parents. At the JHU Press Blog, Doris Iarovici discusses the difficulties of parenting a son or daughter who is home briefly from college, and offers some helpful advice to parents in uncomfortable situations.

Qatar has ruffled feathers among its Middle Eastern neighbors recently with their accepting attitude towards members of the Muslim Brotherhood. At the Stanford University Press Blog, Lawrence P. Rubin explains the situation, and looks into the reasons that deeply Islamic Saudi Arabia opposes the Brotherhood and that much larger states in the Middle East feel threatened by the actions of a small country like Qatar.

We’ve highlighted the University of Minnesota Press Blog’s #MALcasestudies series of posts for the last few weeks, and the series continues this week with a fascinating post by Matthew Kirschenbaum on WorldStar software. WorldStar has been in the news recently, as George R. R. Martin, author of the popular Song of Fire and Ice novels, has said on late night TV that he prefers to write using WorldStar. In his post, Kirschenbaum explains what WorldStar is, and explains why Martin might not be a luddite for preferring older software when he writes.

(more…)

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

We’ll start things off this week with a post by Matthew W. Hughey and Gregory S. Parks at From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, examining Fox News’ strategic use of race. Hughey and Parks look back at various ways that they see Fox News “cater[ing] to ethnocentric assumptions,” and argue that Fox “constantly constructed the average white viewer as a hard-working American who is, at base, frightened by the unfair and racialized agenda of Obama.”

A controversial law has recently passed in Belgium allowing child euthanasia in certain carefully defined situations. At the OUPblog, Tony Hope discusses the underlying moral principles and empirical assumptions in the debate, and discusses the way that “rhetoric [can] ride roughshod over reason” in political debates about such charged issues.

The Shanghai Catholic Church has been divided between a “patriotic” Church that works closely with the CCP and an “underground” Church that maintains closer ties with the Vatican since the late 1970s, when Deng Xiaoping reversed some of Mao’s anti-religious policies and attempted to tie the Catholic Church to the CCP. At the Harvard University Press Blog, Paul Mariani tells the story of the long-time faces of these two churches: Aloysius Jin Luxian and Joseph Fan Zhongliang, each recognized as the bishop of Shanghai by one of the two factions.

The University of Minnesota Press Blog featured another post by Lori Emerson in her series of case studies from the Media Archaeology Lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder this week. The subject? The Vectrex Gaming Console, from 1982. Emerson uses the Vectrex as a way to “explain the unreality of technological progress while pointing to the inanity of warnings against technological determinism.”

The coati is a member of the raccoon family native to South and Central America, and is decidedly not a type of aardvark. A few years ago, however, a rogue Wikipedia edit described the coati as a “Brazilian aardvark,” and led to a long tangle of consequences, with a number of journal articles and even a book referring to the coati as an aardvark, citing Wikipedia, which itself in turn added cited those sources in the coati article. The Stanford University Press Blog uses the curious case of the coati to discuss the unique and oft-criticized model of uncredentialed authors on Wikipedia.

“Why would a Yankee study the South?” At the UNC Press Blog, K. Stephen Prince explains why, despite his New England upbringing, was interested in writing about the South. Interestingly, he cites the very fact that southerners and northerners alike seem to feel that “the South is (or can be, or should be) of interest solely to southerners” as a driving force behind his fascination with the region.

At the University of Illinois Press Blog, Jordynn Jack has a Q&A about autism, and, in particular, the way that public opinion about the disorder tends to be driven by storytelling and inaccurate “stock characters” rather than by scientific research. She points out that autism is seen as a disorder that affects young boys and computer geeks rather than girls, and notes the way that parents with autistic children are seen as likely to divorce.

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with a post from the University of Virginia Press Blog highlighting a little-known but important building in Farmville, Virginia. The Robert Russa Moton Museum (formerly the Moton High School), was a crucial site in the beginning of the civil rights movement, when Barbara R. Johns led a strike to protest the terrible conditions in the African American “separate but equal” high school in 1951.

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

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

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.

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century has been everywhere recently, and the Harvard University Press Blog has a guest post from HUP sales rep John Eklund on the experience of getting Piketty into bookstores across the countries. He notes that many booksellers were skeptical of their ability of sell “a $40 book on economic inequality,” and wonders whether the success of Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a fluke or whether it’s a sign that people actually will buy good, important, relatively expensive nonfiction books generally when given the opportunity.

Another figure who has loomed large in the media recently is embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Much has been made of the potential actions that NBA players, particularly those on Sterling’s team, and other NBA owners should take in regards to Sterling’s recent racist comments and more disturbing history of racist actions, but little time has been given to a discussion of what Clippers fans should do. At Beacon Broadside, Fran Hawthorne has a guest post on “the role of an ethical consumer in this kind of situation.”

“What is our global future? The science is in, and the prospect is not great.” John L. Brooke introduces his post on the history and future of human existence on earth with these cheery words, and things don’t get more hopeful from there. Brooke attempts to explain the inability of the American public to accept the scientific consensus on global warming, arguing that a combination of “self-interest in an era of economic uncertainty” and the problem of visualizing a process operating on a time-frame that exceeds the average human life make it difficult to convince people of the changing climate.

May is Jewish American Heritage Month, and at the Duke University Press Blog, Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun magazine, discusses the complicated history of Judaism in America and looks at the current state of the Jewish community in the United States: “So this is the conflict that remains the enduring heritage of American Jews: an internal tension over whether to adopt mainstream values and a celebration of “that which is,” thereby fitting in with the cultural assumptions of the world’s largest imperial power, or to challenge those values, a challenge which not only leads to “speaking truth to power” in the larger society but also to challenging the Jewish community’s blind loyalty to an Israeli state that itself is committed to being “a nation like all other nations,” with its blindness to the suffering of the Palestinian people and its arrogance and hypocrisy as it attempts to turn Judaism into a cheerleader for immoral policies.”

“[T]oday Latinos are the largest ethnic/racial minority in the country, with some 57 million Latinos (or 17% of the total population),” but, as Mario T. Garcia argues in a post at the UNC Press Blog, “Latinos are still a very poorly understood group.” In his post, Garcia attempts to provide a brief history of Latino immigration to the United States and to correct some of the common myths and misunderstandings that characterize the way that many Americans see Latinos.

How should governments treat distinct minority groups? At the OUPblog, Federico Lenzerini has a guest post looking back at the history of multiculturalism in human rights law, from the 1935 advisory opinion of the Permanent Court of International Justice to the League of Nations on. In particular, Lenzerini discusses the complicated situation of indigenous peoples “who, due to their cultural specificity and vision of life, actually need a differentiated treatment in the context of human rights adjudication and enforcement” as a way to understand the many issues complicating human rights law.

Last week, the University of Minnesota Press Blog began a series of posts by Lori Emerson looking at case studies from the University of Colorado’s Media Archaeology Lab, starting with the Apple Lisa from 1983. This week, Emerson takes on the Altair 8800b from 1976, a computer that was a catalyst for the “personal computer revolution” despite the fact that only around one thousand of them were ever made.

It’s not often that incest makes an appearance on the University Press Roundup, but this week Brian Connolly, writing at The Penn Press Log, has a fascinating post looking at the various ways that incest was defined and prohibited throughout the nineteenth century. Using Jeremy Irons’ statements equating same sex marriage and incest as a starting point, Connolly notes that such statements “presume that incest has always been prohibited, that it is a universal taboo that has never changed. Yet, this is a presumption with little basis in history.”

“Alimony has a nasty reputation as a device that enslaves men and demeans women—preventing divorced men from beginning new lives, and perpetuating female dependence on men.” At From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, Cynthia Lee Starnes takes a fresh look at alimony and dispelling some of the myths that have led it to be such a commonly reviled idea.

This year marks the 50th birthday of the National Museum of American History, and so we’ll wrap things up this week with Robert C. Post’s history in brief of the MAH at the JHU Press Blog. Post looks back at the initial criticism of the museum’s architecture, the varied exhibits that drew people to the MAH, and the changes that the museum has made in the past few decades.

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

Friday, May 9th, 2014

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.

On OUPblog, author Mark Lawrence Schrad contextualizes and expounds upon the precedence for alcohol (especially vodka) in Russian and post-Soviet state politics and revolution. In one riveting and colorful sweep, Schrad here takes readers through the function and treatment of alcohol in Tsarist autocracy, for which vodka was used to “debauch society at the expense of the state,” as well as its Soviet successor, present-day Russia, and, most pertinently, Ukraine. Using Russian revolutionary history as the backdrop for Ukraine’s current political drama and tensions, Schrad equates the nation’s Russian-speaking east to a “tinder box soaked in vodka.”

Speaking of revolution, as part of a two-part post titled “Why We Celebrate Cinco de Mayo,” the University of Texas Press blog invites Chef David Sterling, author of Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition, to take a look at some of the historical inaccuracies surrounding popular national holidays such as Bastille Day, the Fourth of July, and per this week’s earlier revelry, Cinco de Mayo. What follows is a culinary dialogue focused on the fascinating juxtaposition of the foods consumed on these patriotic holidays with their political origins, as well as some rather enticing recipes for Mexican cuisine. Spoiler alert: Cinco de Mayo, more fervently touted and celebrated in the U.S. than in Mexico, has more to do with a Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 than it does Mexican independence.

And in the second part of UT Press’s “Why We Celebrate Cinco de Mayo,” building on the premise that the holiday is a celebration of Mexican pride rather than correlating to a specific event (except, of course, in Puebla itself, which saw the emergence of May 5th’s sanctity in Mexican culture), Sterling examines the rise of Tex-Mex and its sociopolitical implications following both the Mexican-American War, highlighting also the tensions that exist between Yucatán and the rest of Mexico, between which a cultural and, by extension, culinary boundary exists. Most helpfully, Sterling wraps up his post with a detailed chart chronicling the history of foods and culinary traditions in Mexico and the southwestern U.S., as well as the possible occurrences and trends that guided its evolution.

With Mother’s Day rapidly approaching (!), NYU Press’s From the Square turns their attention to grandmother’s in particular, who are often still juggling work and family life. Sociologist and author Madonna Harrington Meyer engages us in a telling and sincere Q&A in which she describes her research on grandmothers as well as the motives, outcomes, and takeaways from her book, Grandmothers at Work.

And lastly, Princeton University Press blog anticipates this Sunday’s Mother’s Day with a few “cheeky eCards” provided by author Daphne Fairbairn as a nod to her forthcoming book, Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom. Some revolve around the appreciably nefarious mating habits of some species (“I’m thankful dad didn’t die spontaneously while you two made me”), while others, at least to us, seem rooted in the zoologically obscure. Either way, enjoy, and happy Mother’s Day!

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

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

We are happy that the last few days of April spilled over into the beginning of this week, since that means we get to squeeze in one final (half) week of National Poetry Month posts in the Roundup! The University of California Press blog featured an article by Andrew Joron on 20th century American poet Philip Lamantia’s poetic development and the sources of his inspiration. At the University of Georgia Press Blog (congratulations on the new logo!), Clarence Major shares his poem “Evening Newspaper” and describes the experiences that inspired it. And finally, Wake: Up to Poetry, the blog of Wake Forest University Press, has a beautiful reflection on what a poem can do in “Down,” by Brendan Kennelly.

This week was also Holocaust Remembrance week, and the Indiana University Press blog has posted a series of excerpts from their titles on the Holocaust. Each post is meant to “further your understanding of the history of the Holocaust,” and many of them cast new light on aspects and characters of the story of the Holocaust that are not frequently discussed.

fifteeneightyfour, the blog of Cambridge University Press, is celebrating the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare this week. First, to get you into a Shakespearean mood, they provide a Youtube playlist of various songs, from operas to pop songs, inspired by the Bard and his plays. Then, with the unlikely duo of Heath Ledger and Benjamin Britten providing the soundtrack for your reading, you can move on to “Shakespeare with Chinese Characteristics?,” a fascinating article by Julie Sanders on Chinese adaptations of some of the most famous Shakespeare plays.

Donald Sterling, the owner (at least for the moment) of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers has made headlines recently for racist comments. Adam Silver, the new commissioner of the NBA, came down hard on Sterling, fining him $2.5 million dollars, banning him for life from involvement in the NBA, and attempting to force the sale of the Clippers. While the incentive for this punishment (and the sale of the team in particular) have been cast as a moral decision, at the OUPblog, Adam Grossman claims that replacing Sterling as the Clippers owner is an important financial move for the league, as well.

The 140th Kentucky Derby is right around the corner, and the University Press of Kentucky Blog is celebrating the occasion with a guest post from James C. Nicholson. In his post, Nicholson discusses early Derby favorite California Chrome, and discusses how narratives in horseracing have to be constructed around the peripheral figures in the race (the owner, the trainer, the jockey), since the horses actually doing the racing obviously don’t create stories in the same ways that human athletes do.

At the JHU Press Blog, Renée C. Fox has a guest post looking back at her experiences working with Doctors Without Borders, and, in particular, focusing on the communications the program puts out in response to political, military, and health crises around the world over the last few years.

Last week, the Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s ban of affirmative action in Michigan’s public university admissions. At From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, F. Michael Higginbotham examines the decision and the arguments for income-based affirmative action to replace race-based affirmative action, and finds both wanting. As he puts it, “race-based preference is still vital in the United States given the country’s history of slavery and its continuing, pervasive racial discrimination. To think otherwise is selective memory loss.”

A much discussed but often misunderstood aspect of military deployment is the effect that the deployment of a family member has on the rest of his or her family at home. At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Lisa Leitz has a powerful post discussing the difficulties she and her family faced when her husband was deployed for the fourth time.

The First World War began one hundred years ago this year, and at the LSU Press Blog, Rachel Chrastil explains some of the motivations behind the French war effort in an attempt to answer Jean-Jacques Becker’s question, “Why were the French so ready to make sacrifices in 1914 when they had been so unprepared for them in the past?” In doing so, she offers a warning: “democracy and a robust civil society do not in themselves prevent war. In France one hundred years ago, they helped to sustain it.”

Saving for retirement is becoming an increasingly complicated and frightening process, particularly after the 2008 recession. Beacon Broadside has collected some information on and dispelled some myths about the politics behind retirement from James W. Russell’s Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis in the hope that they can make the process a little less complicated, if no less frightening.

Finally, before we sign off, we’d like to congratulate the folks at the University of Pennsylvania Press for their new design at The Penn Press Log! Looks great!

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

Friday, April 25th, 2014

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.

This Tuesday, April 22, was Earth Day. At the Indiana University Press Blog, Wendy Read Wertz celebrates the occasion by telling the story of Lynton Keith Caldwell, Gaylord Nelson, the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, and the creation of Earth Day. Island Press Field Notes took the opportunity to look forward to future Earth Days: they asked a range of Island Press authors to identify specific progress on environmental issues that could be achieved in the next year. Another environmental holiday, Arbor Day, takes place on the final Friday of every April, and at the JHU Press blog, Angela Sorby has a guest post looking at the tree-related poetry of Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

National Poetry Month is nearly over, but UP blogs are still putting out great poetry posts. At the University of Washington Press Blog, Heather Inwood has a fascinating post looking at the role of poetry in today’s rapidly evolving Chinese society, using a Chinese proverb, “when the state is unfortunate, poets are fortunate,” as a starting point. And Wake: Up to Poetry, the blog of Wake Forest University Press, continues to post an excellent selection of poems. Kerry Hardie’s “Ship of Death” is just the most recent example.

While a common view of Vladimir Putin in the West is that of a Machiavellian tyrant, Mark D. Steinberg, writing at the OUPblog, points out that “Putin often speaks quite openly of his motives and values—and opinion polls suggest he is strongly in sync with widespread popular sentiments.” In his post, Steinberg examines Putin’s language in public speeches and compares that language to Russian political action.

The South Street Seaport is a popular tourist destination, thanks to the South Street Seaport Museum preservationists, who have “assembled the nation’s largest museum fleet of historic ships.” At From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, James M. Lindgren tells the story of the preservation of “the city’s first world trade center,” and argues that “it’s a treasure we must protect.”

April is also Autism Awareness Month. At Beacon Broadside, Dr. Enrico Gnaulati speaks about the history of Autism Spectrum Disorder, particularly focusing on the explosion of autism diagnoses over the past twenty years. He points out that, given the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, autism diagnoses have risen by 30% in just the past two years. He argues that misdiagnoses are the cause of this statistical leap.

At the JHU Press Blog, Janine Barchas has a fascinating guest post about texts of Jane Austen novels that made it to the front lines of trenches in the First World War, and about the powerful Rudyard Kipling short story, “The Janeites,” that tells the story of those soldiers who read Austen in the war.

C. Reilly Snorton’s recent book on modern black male sexuality had a somewhat unlikely muse: two characters in R. Kelly’s multi-part hip hopera, “Trapped in the Closet.” At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Snorton explains the genesis of his project, and describes aspects of black sexuality using the metaphor of a “glass closet.”

The struggle for control of Chattanooga, Tennessee in the Civil War is not as present in the public imagination as, say, the battle of Gettysburg, but, as Evan C. Jones explains at the LSU Press Blog, the loss of Chattanooga was such a drastic blow to the Confederacy that “one of the Confederate army’s high-ranking commanders, Major General Patrick Cleburne, actually implored his colleagues to pursue a program of incorporating slaves into the South’s military service.”

We’ll end this week’s roundup with a guest post at the University of Nebraska Press Blog by UNP Assistant Project Editor Kathryn Owens. Owens tells the story of her entry into academic publishing, emphasizing that, while she wasn’t a bookworm for most of her life, “[r]eading … has become my career and passion.”

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

Friday, April 18th, 2014

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. (Unfortunate note: while we were researching and writing this post, Typepad blogs were not loading, so we weren’t able to include them in the roundup this week.)

April is National Poetry Month, and many university press blogs have been putting up poetry posts in honor of the occasion. This week, the JHU Press Blog posted Daniel Anderson’s “Easter Sundays,” along with a quick explanation of the poem written by Anderson. Wake: Up to Poetry, the blog of Wake Forest University Press, continued their Poem of the Day series, including “Hotel,” by Medbh McGuckian.

At fifteeneightyfour, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Shaun Lovejoy argues that new studies have shown that the IPCC report is right that it is “extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” Lovejoy rejects the idea that the warming climate is caused by natural temperature fluctuations, and explains the methods used in the new study.

The MIT Press Blog ran a fascinating interview with Fox Harrell this week in which Harrell discusses his use of the cognitive science term “phantasm” (“a combination of imagery (mental or sensory) and ideas”) and argues that the media can create and use cultural phantasms, phantasms based on a shared worldview, to both oppress and empower.

One of the most famous clashes between proponents of creationism and evolution was the 1925 Scopes trial, in which John Scopes, a teacher in Tennessee, was accused of having taught evolution in a state-funded school. At the UNC Press Blog, Angie Maxwell looks back at the trial and argues that many of the same battles that were fought in the Scopes trial are still being fought today. (more…)

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

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.

April is National Poetry Month, and a number of university press blogs have been putting up excellent poetry-themed posts in honor of the occasion. Wake Forest University Press has been taking advantage of their wonderful backlist of Irish poetry to post a poem a day throughout the month of April at their blog, Wake: Up to Poetry, including “Be Someone,” by Rita Ann Higgins. At Beacon Broadside, you can watch a video of Mary Oliver reading her poem “Night and the River.” The UPNEblog introduces the Sestina Arena, as Tom Haushalter challenges Adam L. Dressler to a sestina writing contest (providing some good information on what a sestina is and how you can write one along the way). And, if you are interested in reading about poetry as well as reading it, Andrew Epstein has a fascinating article at the OUPblog on one of Roberto Bolaño’s major influences: the New York School of poetry.

After nearly eight years spent pursuing individual projects, Big Boi and Andre 3000 are reuniting as Outkast at this year’s Coachella festival. From Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, their 1994 debut, until the duo’s hiatus following their film/soundtrack Idlewild in 2006, Outkast helped to redefine the sound of hip-hop and helped to bring rap music from the South into the mainstream music industry. At the UNC Press Blog, Zandria F. Robinson discusses Outkast’s colorful history and explains why Big Boi and Andre’s rise into national prominence was such a big deal in the late 1990s. Go on and marinate on that for a minute. (more…)

Friday, April 4th, 2014

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.

Climate change has been in the news lately (more even than usual) with the release of the most recent IPCC report. At fifteeneightyfour, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Robert McLeman takes on an important result of climate change: how it will affect the way that people move around the world. He argues that, while a rapidly changing climate will certainly prompt greater levels of global migration, it’s not the most worrying aspect of the situation.

Meanwhile, at Island Press Field Notes, Emily Monosson ponders the possibility (and implications) of rapid human evolution in response to pollution, in particular, industrial age chemicals. She offers some worrying ways that industrial chemicals might affect the way that we reproduce, for instance, and, while she also wonders whether chemicals just aren’t relevant to human evolution, asks “what if the pressure was pervasive, reaching across large swaths of a population? And what if it hit us where it really hurt, reproduction?”

On Saturday, March 22, a major mudslide occurred a few miles outside of Oso, Washington, causing widespread damage and killing at least thirty people. At the JHU Press Blog, Donald R. Prothero has a long article explaining the mechanisms that caused the slide, and discussing why, when another major slide in the region was predicted, houses continued to be built in the area near the Steelhead Drive neighborhood where the slide occurred.

Jane Goodall turned 80 this week, and, in honor of the occasion, Nancy Merrick has a guest post at Beacon Broadside giving some of the most important lessons that she has learned from working with Dr. Goodall. Some examples: “You cannot get through even a single day without having an impact. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” “Solving problems of chimps and forests requires addressing human issues as well.” And, “rules are made to be broken—as long as you proceed in a manner respectful of others.”

Why should we study the history of philosophy? After all, as Graham Priest points out at the OUPblog, “[i]f you go into a mathematics class of any university, it’s unlikely that you will find students reading Euclid. If you go into any physics class, it’s unlikely you’ll find students reading Newton. If you go into any economics class, you probably won’t find students reading Keynes. But if you go a philosophy class, it is not unusual to find students reading Plato, Kant, or Wittgenstein. Why?” (more…)

Friday, March 28th, 2014

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

We’ll start the Roundup off this week with an excellent article at the University of Wisconsin Press Blog by UWP Editorial Director Gwen Walker. In her post, Walker describes ways that scholars can help the editors at academic presses “discover” their work. She points out the crucial role of conferences and conference papers in the academic book business, argues that professors need a robust faculty page, and gives helpful advice on what to do when an editor expresses interest in a project.

The JHU Press Blog has been running a series on the constantly rising cost of higher education, and, in the most recent post, John V. Lombardi argues that the popular narrative of “college as an out-of-control expense machine” is not backed up by a close examination of data. Instead, he ties the rising costs to changes in the sources of funding for public higher education. “Government, from Washington to the state houses across the country, want to shift the conversation to the campuses and demand that they provide a cheaper education that does not require as much expenditure of either public money or personal income.”

“Who owns a country?” With the debates over the fate of Crimea dominating the media over the past few weeks, Cecil Foster, writing at the McGill-Queen’s University Press blog, believes that this is a perfect moment to discuss a question that rarely gets airtime, even though “[i]t is a question that is never far below the surface in any discussion, among others, about Quebec, Scotland, Catalonia, Sri Lanka, England, Germany….” He argues that consideration of this question should lead us to what he calls “Genuine Multiculturalism,” which will create space for true democracy. (more…)

Friday, March 21st, 2014

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.

University Presses in Space! Before we get started with blog posts, we just want to point out the brand new UP in Space website, devoted to showcasing books on space and space exploration published by university presses. It’s an excellent list, and features two Columbia UP books: Crowded Orbits: Conflict and Cooperation in Space, by James Clay Moltz, and Mankind Beyond Earth: The History, Science, and Future of Human Space Exploration, by Claude A. Piantadosi!

Moving back to earth, we’ll get the Roundup rolling with an interview with Jeff Williamson and Larry Neal on the long, complicated history of capitalism, posted on fifteeneightyfour, the blog of Cambridge University Press. Williamson and Neal discuss ancient economic records from Babylon, claim that the the corporation started to appear in medieval Italy, consider the role of wars in 20th-century capitalism, and wonder if recent levels of economic growth can be sustained throughout the 21st century.

The national dialogue on gun violence that followed the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary last year seems to have faded into the background without any major changes in gun policy. At the JHU Press Blog, Beth McGinty and Colleen Barry have a guest post examining why, despite “polls [that] showed that the overwhelming majority of Americans supported many gun policy options,” Congress did not end up passing any relevant legislation. In particular, they are interested in why “Congress failed to strengthen the background check system for gun sales, despite our polling data showing that 89% of Americans overall, 86% of Republicans, 84% of gun owners, and 74% of National Rifle Association members supported requiring background checks for all gun sales.”

The US invasion of Iraq began eleven years ago this month, and at the OUP blog, Geoffrey S. Corn looks back at “the most significant strategic debacle of the war”: the abuse of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison. Corn emphasizes that the repeated emphasis from US leaders, both civilian and military, that the enemy in Iraq and more broadly in the Middle East was made up of “‘unlawful’ combatants” played a significant role in the scandal by creating a double-standard for how prisoners should be seen by their guards: “lawful” combatants one way and “unlawful” combatants another. (more…)

Friday, March 14th, 2014

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

We’ll start things off this week with a great article by Alice Northover in the OUPblog on the use of video marketing in academic publishing. Northover claims that it’s misleading to consider videos in isolation. Instead, she explains that by putting in a great deal of effort in designing the videos to be interesting, enlightening, and easily found, OUP and their authors see a variety of benefits that more than make up for the time involved in creating the videos, and “most importantly, these videos disseminate Oxford scholarship around the globe, and even help the occasional student pass their final exam.”

Albert Einstein was born on the 14th of March in 1879, and in honor of his birth the Princeton University Press Blog featured a great “Pi Day” excerpt from Charles Adler’s Wizards, Aliens, and Starships. In the excerpt, Adler looks at popular conceptions of one of the weirder aspects of Einstein’s famous theory of relativity–the prediction that “clocks run more slowly when traveling close to light speed”–and asks whether this idea of Einstein’s was crazy.

The situation in Ukraine has been on the front pages of news websites for months, now, and at the Indiana University Press blog, cultural anthropologist Sarah D. Phillips tries to provide a view of the ongoing events from the perspective of “regular people” in Ukraine. She has been running an informal project on Facebook, where she encourages people in Ukraine and Russia to complete the sentence, “I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW….” While she “makes no claims to a representative sample,” her answers do provide a number of interesting common threads that she shares in her post.

March is Women’s History Month, and both the University of Illinois Press blog and From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, ran excellent posts in honor of the occasion this week. First, Trisha Franzen, writing at the University of Illinois Press blog, looks back at the life of Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, a suffragette in the early twentieth century. Shaw, a leader in the National American Woman Suffrage, raised money to support the Susan B. Anthony amendment by asking married women to donate their wedding rings and other personal jewelry items to the cause. As Franzen explains, “exploring who Shaw was, how she lived her life, and what arguments she made for women’s rights, challenge much what we think we know about women in this era and the suffrage movement.” Meanwhile, at From the Square, Priscilla Pope-Levison notes and discusses the lack of coverage of women in conventional histories of the evangelical movements in the Americas, despite the fact that letters and papers by women who played critical roles in many of the most important religious movements in American history exist in great profusion in dusty archives around the country. (more…)

Friday, February 14th, 2014

University Press Roundup

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

We’ll kick things off this week with some romantic Valentine’s Day advice, courtesy of Glenn Geher and Gökçe Sancak at the OUPblog: “This Valentines’ Day, display some of the core elements of human mating intelligence.” If you are looking for the science behind romance, this is the post for you. Geher and Sancak claim that “[b]ased on extensive past research on the nature of human mating, it turns out that the sexes are more similar than portrayals of the recent research in this area often suggests. So in thinking about how to woo your partner this year, you may first want to think about what people across the globe want in long-term mates.” Meanwhile, the MIT Press blog offers a more romantic (or Romantic) take on love in celebration of Valentine’s day. They’ve provided an excerpt from Irving Singer’s Philosophy of Love, in which Singer discusses love as “the idea of merging with another person.” He claims that “[n]owadays when people treat Romantic love as the only kind of love, they tend to assume that passionate attachment alone makes life worth living. That is a wholly Romantic idea.”

The Winter Olympics in Sochi are in full swing this week, and a couple of academic blogs have excellent posts looking at different aspects of the Games. First, at the Indiana University Press blog, Stephen M. Norris points out that, while “everyone who watched the London opening ceremony knew that Danny Boyle was behind it, just as NBC highlighted Zhang Yimou’s widely-praised direction in Beijing, no one watching NBC’s coverage learned that Sochi also had a director and that he too was involved with the film industry.” Norris describes the film career of director Konstantin Ernst leading up to his direction of the Opening Ceremonies. While Norris is interested in the Games as an event, the science behind the sports themselves come under the microscope in Mark Denny’s post at the JHU Press Blog. He claims that, “unlike summer sports, the physics of athlete movement in winter sports is actually quite simple…. There are three basic forces that dominate the movement of athletes: the force of gravity acting down; aerodynamic drag, which acts opposite to the direction in which the athlete is heading; and, in many sports, the centrifugal force that acts on athletes, such as bobsledders, who are moving around a curve.”

February is Black History Month, and several presses are continuing series of posts in honor of the occasion. From the Square, the NYU Press blog, kept their Black History Month series this week with a couple of fascinating posts. First, Dorceta E. Taylor argues that industrial pollution and other environmental issues in cities have combined with the displacement of African Americans to create a system in American urban areas where African American communities end up in “the most hazard-prone areas of cities.” Second, Catherine R. Squires believes that we should move past the study of just the “Firsts” of Black History. She claims that by focusing on milestones and ignoring gaps between them, “we fail to see the ways that other individuals, institutions, and social practices worked—often quite deliberately—to crush the spirit of those Firsts, and to make it plain that Black people who wanted to follow in their footsteps would be met with massive resistance.” Stephen Colbert often jokes that he doesn’t see color when looking at people. And at the Stanford University Press Blog, Osagie K. Obasogie examines race and “color-blindness” from a unique angle: how do people who are actually blind think about race and skin color? It turns out that blind people “see” race “[j]ust like everybody else. More often than not, blind respondents talked about race in terms of skin color, facial features, and other visual cues—just like sighted people.”
(more…)

Friday, February 7th, 2014

University Press Roundup

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

February is African American History Month, and at the University of Washington Press Blog, Lorraine McConaghy and Judy Bentley honor the occasion by telling the story behind their account of Charles Mitchell, a slave brought to the Washington Territory in the 1850s. They also discuss the difficulties in solving the “mysteries [that] abound in African American history, especially in the Pacific Northwest,” noting the great disparity in the historical materials documenting the lives of slave owners and the lives of slaves. Meanwhile, at From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, Andra Gillespie takes a critical look at the Republican National Committee’s recent Black History Month advertisements. Gillespie argues that the RNC’s ads attempt to paper over real differences in the types of political views espoused by the Republican party and those commonly held by black Americans.

Many of us in the publishing industry have a special love for bookstores, and AMACOM Managing Editor Andy Ambraziejus is no exception. In a guest post at the AMACOM Books Blog, Ambraziejus explains why “browsing in a bookstore offers some things that online browsing can’t replicate – at least so far.”

The Winter Olympics in Sochi have officially begun, with figure skating prominently featured as one of the events beginning the Games. At the Duke University Press blog, Erica Rand discusses her love of figure skating and her hatred of the way that Olympic athletes generally and figure skaters in particular are expected to conform to race and gender norms.

The Sochi Olympics have put the spotlight on LGBT rights (or the lack thereof) in Russia. At the UNC Press blog, Anne Balay argues that celebrations of gay and lesbian rights victories in select areas can overshadow the very real struggles of people outside of those areas, and can even increase the hardships these people have to live with every day.

President Obama gave his annual State of the Union address last week, and at The Chicago Blog, the blog of the University of Chicago Press, Sandra M. Gustafson analyzes Obama’s speech, “providing thematic context for the president’s speeches and scrutinizing his use of rhetoric within larger social and political frameworks.”

Facebook has just turned ten years old (as Facebook members may have noticed from the many “Facebook look back” videos shared on the social media site), and at the OUPblog, José van Dijck looks at the future of the world’s largest social network. Despite the fact that Facebook is still growing in users and in activity, it is reportedly losing popularity among teenagers. Van Dijck asks whether “this a sign of decline or is it merely a temporary hitch in the company’s extraordinary development—a teenager’s growing pains on its way to adulthood?”

“Why are we so imaginative? What possible use is there in passing through the looking-glass with Alice or supposing that the moon is inhabited by creatures with aerials growing out of their heads?” In a guest post at fifteeneightyfour, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Clive Gamble discusses the important role that imagination played in the global expansion of the human species.

The Nymphaea thermarum, or pygmy Rwandan water lily, is one of the world’s rarest flowers: originally it only grew in one area in Rwanda, but now only exists in the Kew Gardens in London. However, last month, one of the flowers at Kew was “wrenched or dug out of its shallow pond in the Prince of Wales Conservatory” and stolen. At the Florida Bookshelf, the blog of the University Press of Florida, Craig Pittman describes this most unusual crime.

The MIT Press Blog has begun running a series of posts called “Lunch BITS” in honor of the launch of their new MIT Press BITS ebook program. The Lunch BITS will have excerpts from some of the most popular and important books on the MIT Press book list, like Janet Abbate’s Gender in Academic Computing.

What happens when criminal charges are brought against a major company? In an interview with the Harvard University Press Blog, Brandon L. Garrett breaks down the dizzyingly complex system of corporate crime prosecution in the US, and raises “‘too big to jail’ concerns extending far beyond the Wall Street banks.” He claims that the increasingly popular “deferred prosecution agreements” compromise many of the most important corporate criminal cases in America.

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