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Archive for August, 2012

Friday, August 31st, 2012

University Press Roundup

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

This week we’ll kick things off with a couple of looks back at the 2012 AAUP annual meeting in Chicago, courtesy of Raina Polivka and Mandy Clarke on the Indiana University Press blog. Both write interesting pieces on the most important things they took away from the meeting. Polivka found the “articulation of the current state of scholarly publishing and the challenges awaiting us” and the prevalent “spirit of collaboration” to be the most compelling parts of AAUP 2012. Clarke particularly enjoyed the panels on regional publishing and electronic marketing.

This week An Akronism, the blog of the University of Akron Press, takes a look at Peter Dougherty’s recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “The Global University Press.” While An Akronism agrees with several of Dougherty’s key points, the blog post makes it clear that they feel other parts of the article “don’t seem to align with global realities.”

Hurricane Isaac is plowing through Louisiana seven years after Katrina caused so much devastation in New Orleans, and this week Beacon Broadside and From the Square (the NYU Press blog) are looking back at the aftermath of Katrina. Beacon Broadside has an interview with Tom Wooten on the neighborhoods in New Orleans that helped lead the recovery effort that helped to rebuild the city. From the Square has a guestpost from Jodi Narde, “a Tulane grad and Katrina ‘survivor,’” and an excerpt from Robert Bullard’s The Wrong Complexion for Protection.

Are we physically, psychologically, socially, and, perhaps most importantly, morally fit to live in the rapidly changing post-industrial world? In an article in the OUPblog (first published in Philosophy Now), Julian Savulescu and Ingmar Persson argue that our moral psychology, while well-adapted for the world that existed before the agricultural revolution, is poorly suited for life in today’s world. How can we remedy this problem? By looking into “moral bioenhancement.” It’s a fascinating piece, and it provides an interesting solution to a troubling set of problems.

With the presidential election looming, those intending to vote should be thinking deeply about which candidates they will choose. At the Princeton University Press Blog, Edward Burger has a five-step guide to thinking deeply about the election. Some surprises from the list: you need to take into account “how well the candidates fail” and how you yourself want to change/be changed through the voting process.

Last week, This Side of the Pond, the Cambridge University Press blog, featured an article on the contentious treason trial of Aaron Burr, written by R. Kent Newmyer. This week, Newmyer is back with a fascinating article on what Burr’s trial reveals about the dark side of Thomas Jefferson, one of the most beloved and oft-cited of the American Founding Fathers. It seems that Jefferson and Burr were an unfortunate President/Vice President combination, as Newmyer claims that “Burr brought out the worst in Jefferson and Jefferson brought out the worst in Burr.”

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Judith Butler: Your Behavior Creates Your Gender

Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of ZionismOur highlighted book this week is Judith Butler’s Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism. You can enter our giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy!

Today, we are taking a look back at some of Judith Butler’s earlier work, particularly her revolutionary thinking in gender theory. She became a rising academic star following the publication of her famous Gender Trouble, in 1990. In the video we are featuring today, Butler gives a concise and understandable explanation of the ideas from Gender Trouble and her other works in gender theory.

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Judith Butler on deriving principles from a Jewish cultural tradition

“What gives a tradition legitimacy is very often what works against its effectiveness. To be effective, a tradition must be able to depart from the particular historical circumstances of its legitimation and prove applicability to new occasions of time and space. In a sense, such resources can only become effective by losing their grounding in historical or textual precedent….” — Judith Butler

Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of ZionismOur highlighted book this week is Judith Butler’s Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism. You can enter our giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy!

Today we have part of the introduction of Parting Ways. In this excerpt, Butler explains “what it means to derive a set of principles from a cultural tradition” and then applies this explanation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You can read the introduction to Parting Ways in it’s entirety on Scribd.

To Derive a Set of Principles

Let us reflect first on what it means to derive a set of principles from a cultural tradition and then move to the larger political issues at hand. As I noted, to say that principles are “derived” from Jewish resources raises the question of whether these principles remain Jewish once they are developed within a contemporary situation, assuming new historical forms? Or are they principles that can and must be, always have been, derived from various cultural and historical resources, thus “belonging” exclusively to none of them? In fact, does the generalizability of theprinciples in question depend fundamentally on their finally not belonging to any one cultural location or tradition from which they may have emerged? Does this nonbelonging, this exile, help to constitute the generalizability and transposability of the principles of justice and equality?

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Selected Letters of Raymond Chandler, as tweeted by @janetsomerville

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Judith Butler on being Jewish and criticizing Israel

So, on the one hand, Jews who are critical of Israel think perhaps they cannot be Jewish anymore of Israel represents Jewishness; and on the other hand, those who seek to vanquish anyone who criticizes Israel equate Jewishness with Israel as well, leading to the conclusion that the critic must be anti-Semitic or, if Jewish, self-hating. My scholarly and public efforts have been directed toward getting out of this bind. — Judith Butler

Our highlighted book this week is Judith Butler’s Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism. You can enter our giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy!

Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of ZionismThe Theodor W. Adorno Prize is given every three years by the city of Frankfurt “to further and acknowledge outstanding performances in the fields of philosophy, music, theatre and film.” Past winners have included such luminaries as Jürgen Habermas, Jean-Luc Goddard, and Jacques Derrida. This year’s prize is being awarded to Judith Butler. However, the Jerusalem Post recently published an article critical of Butler and the awarding of the prize, “Frankfurt to award US advocate of Israel boycott.” Monday, Mondoweiss published a letter from Butler herself responding to the criticisms she faced in the Jerusalem Post article on her stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Butler begins her letter by listing the three main criticisms leveled against her in the article in the Jerusalem Post:

The accusations against me are that I support Hamas and Hezbollah (which is not true) that I support BDS (partially true), and that I am anti-Semitic (patently false). Perhaps I should not be as surprised as I am that those who oppose my receiving the Adorno Prize would seek recourse to such scurrilous and unfounded charges to make their point. I am a scholar who gained an introduction to philosophy through Jewish thought, and I understand myself as defending and continuing a Jewish ethical tradition that includes figures such as Martin Buber and Hannah Arendt…. I was taught at every step in my Jewish education that it is not acceptable to stay silent in the face of injustice. Such an injunction is a difficult one, since it does not tell us exactly when and how to speak, or how to speak in a way that does not produce a new injustice, or how to speak in a way that will be heard and registered in the right way. My actual position is not heard by these detractors, and perhaps that should not surprise me, since their tactic is to destroy the conditions of audibility.

Butler is particularly disturbed by what she sees as the silencing tactics of many of her critics.

It is untrue, absurd, and painful for anyone to argue that those who formulate a criticism of the State of Israel is anti-Semitic or, if Jewish, self-hating. Such charges seek to demonize the person who is articulating a critical point of view and so disqualify the viewpoint in advance. It is a silencing tactic: this person is unspeakable, and whatever they speak is to be dismissed in advance or twisted in such a way that it negates the validity of the act of speech. The charge refuses to consider the view, debate its validity, consider its forms of evidence, and derive a sound conclusion on the basis of listening to reason. The charge is not only an attack on persons who hold views that some find objectionable, but it is an attack on reasonable exchange, on the very possibility of listening and speaking in a context where one might actually consider what another has to say.


Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Political Science Titles on Sale!

Political Science Titles on SaleUnfortunately, due to Hurricane Isaac, the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, which was to be held in New Orleans, has been cancelled.

Not only does this mean that a series of great panels and talks will not be given but also the many university presses, who promote their books will not have the opportunity to let people know about their new books.

While not quite the same as a book exhibit, we are offering 30% off on more than 200 titles in political science, political theory, and international relations.

To receive a 30% discount please apply the code APSA12 in your shopping cart. (Please note, discounted prices will not appear until after the code is entered.)

You can browse for books in Politics from the following categories:

* East Asian Politics
* European & UK Politics
* International Relations
* Middle Eastern Politics
* Political Theory & Philosophy
* Security Studies and Military Policy
* South Asian Politics
* U.S. Politics

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Judith Butler in conversation with Udi Aloni

You’d bring someone home, and the first question was “Are they Jewish, are they not Jewish?” Then I entered into a lesbian community in college—late college, graduate school—and the first thing they asked was, “Are you a feminist, are you not a feminist?” “Are you a lesbian, are you not a lesbian?” and I thought, “Enough with the separatism!” — Judith Butler

Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of ZionismOur highlighted book this week is Judith Butler’s Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism. You can enter our giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy!

Today we have part of a conversation between Israeli filmmaker Udi Aloni and Judith Butler excerpted from Aloni’s book What Does a Jew Want?: On Binationalism and other Specters. In this excerpt, Butler explains how her Jewish background led her to the study of philosophy and critical theory, which in turn led her back to a study of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You can read the conversation in it’s entirety on Scribd.

Udi Aloni: Now I must be Jewish: what was your parents’ relation to Judaism?

Judith Butler: My parents were practicing Jews. My mother grew up in an Orthodox synagogue and after my grandfather died, she went to a Conservative synagogue and a little later ended up in a Reform synagogue. My father was in reform synagogues from the beginning.

My mother’s uncles and aunts were all killed in Hungary. My grand¬mother lost all of her relatives, except for the two nephews who came with them in the car when my grandmother went back in 1938 to see who she could rescue. It was important for me. I went to Hebrew school. But I also went after school to special classes on Jewish ethics because I was interested in the debates. So I didn’t do just the minimum. Through high school, I suppose, I continued Jewish studies alongside my public school education.

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

New Book Tuesday: Literary Critics on the State of the Field, Vietnamese Tradition, and More!

The Critical Pulse, Jeffrey WilliamsThe Critical Pulse: Thirty-six Credos by Contemporary Critics
Edited by Jeffrey J. Williams and Heather Steffen

Heritage, Culture, and Politics in the Postcolony
Daniel Herwitz

Mission Revolution: The U.S. Military and Stability Operations
Jennifer Morrison Taw

Sources of Vietnamese Tradition
George Dutton, Jayne Werner, and John K. Whitmore

East Asia Before the West: Five Centuries of Trade and Tribute (Now available in paper)
David C. Kang

Framing Pictures: Film and the Visual Arts (Now available in paper)
Steven Jacobs

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Book Giveaway: Parting Ways by Judith Butler

“In many ways the culmination of [Judith Butler's] thinking to date, Parting Ways will confirm Butler’s place at the forefront of debate about one of the most anguished political crises of our times.” — Jacqueline Rose, Queen Mary, University of London

Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism

This week our featured book is Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism by Judith Butler.

Throughout the week we will highlight aspects of Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism and we are offering a FREE copy of the book to one winner. And, as per public request, the contest is now available to any entrant worldwide, rather than simply in the US and Canada.

To enter our book giveaway, simply e-mail pl2164@columbia.edu with your name and address. We will randomly select one winner on Friday at 1:00 pm. Good luck and spread the word!

For more on the book, you can browse Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism in Google Preview or read the full introduction Self-Departure, Exile, and the Critique of Zionism.

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Hannah Gurman Discusses The Dissent Papers with Fox News

On Friday, Hannah Gurman, author of The Dissent Papers: The Voices of Diplomats in the Cold War and Beyond appeared on Fox News. Among other issues, Gurman discussed such notable dissenters as George Kennan and John Brady Kiesling, who objected to the Iraqi invasion. She also discussed how the level of dissent has and has not changed during the Obama administration and in light of Wikileaks.

Here’s a video of her appearance:

Friday, August 24th, 2012

University Press Roundup

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

The trial of Russian punk band Pussy Riot has been the subject of a great deal of coverage in the Western media (as well as backlash against the coverage, and backlash against the backlash of the coverage, etc.). The Harvard University Press Blog sees similarities between the Pussy Riot trials and the “trial of the Plastic People” in Czechoslovakia in 1976. They are featuring an excerpt from Jonathan Bolton’s Worlds of Dissent explaining what the “trial of the Plastic People” actually refers to.

We love blog posts that give detailed explanations of the publishing process, and this week the JHU Press Blog has not one, but two excellent posts about academic publishing. First, Jennifer Malat, an Acquisitions Assistant, explains the importance of peer review from an acquisitions standpoint. Then Nova J. Silvy tells us just how many people it takes to write a textbook (spoiler alert: in the example she uses, the answer is 119!).

Thursday was the 150th anniversary of the Medal of Honor in the United States. At the Texas A&M University Press Consortium, historian Stephen Ochs looks back at the history of the award, given to a member of the Army who distinguishes himself conspicuously ‘by gallantry and intrepidity’ in battle with an enemy ‘at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.’” Ochs focuses on World War II and a soldier named Stephen Daly in particular in his post.

A number of blogs had posts this week with a focus on the 2012 presidential election here in the US (a trend which seems likely to continue as we get closer to November). In a post at From the Square, the NYU Press blog, Justin Wilford wonders why there seems to be less of a public Evangelical Christian political voice than there has been in the last few elections. Meanwhile the OUPblog delves into the confused and confusing world of campaign finances, with a post by Andrew J. Polsky giving an overview of “the great 2012 campaign spending spree” and Kristin Kanthak explaining five things about those frequent topics of complaints, leadership PACs. Finally, the Princeton University Press blog, in their Election 101 series, has a post by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen detailing the “ground wars” involved in political elections. He claims that “Political campaigns today are won or lost in the so-called ground war—the strategic deployment of teams of staffers, volunteers, and paid part-timers who work the phones and canvass block by block, house by house, voter by voter.”

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Peter Sloterdijk on Contemporary Theory and Scholarship

Peter Sloterdijk

“We have art so as not to be ruined by scholarship making our relation to the world and ourselves artificial.”—Peter Sloterdijk

In the chapter “Theory and Suspended Animation and Its Metamorphoses,” from The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as Practice, Peter Sloterdijk concludes with a critical assessment of the the contemporary academic and theoretical condition:

Anyway, a glance at the tradition confirms the basic trend of this observation: it was the epistemic virtues of people in suspended animation that were supposed to qualify these exquisite monsters for the theoretical professions. Of course, we no longer talk openly about the pathos-filled relationships between self-effacement and method; we generally forgo metaphysical special effects and are content with apparently harmless introductory courses in which the previous virtues of the dead are discreetly shifted into the reach of the next generation. We teach young academics to search for the transpersonal standpoint without their having to fast and pray. We educate the novices of theory to respect the general in particular and the particular in general; we awaken them to the sense of the formal side of everything, initiating them into the self-effacement of thinkers. Today, too, the moral of history is: as far as possible, people should make themselves invisible behind their terminological methods. In the natural sciences, the human observer retreats completely behind “measuring” through observations with equipment, and the “subjective factor” only comes into play (as discreetly as possible) when interpreting the measurements.


Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Pussy Riot and Rosi Braidotti

Pussy Riot, Rosi Braidotti

“We realized that this country needs a militant, punk-feminist, street band that will rip through Moscow’s streets and squares, mobilize public energy against the evil crooks of the Putinist junta and enrich the Russian cultural and political opposition.”—Serafima, Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot can now be counted among the many who have been influenced by Rosi Braidotti’s work Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory. In a recent interview in Vice shortly before their arrest, the punk rock collective were asked who were their feminist influences and Serafima, one of the members answered:

In feminist theory that would be De Beauvoir with the Second Sex, Dvorkin, Pankhurst with her brave suffragist actions, Firestone and her crazy reproduction theories, Millett, Braidotti’s nomadic thought, Judith Butler’s Artful Parody.

(For more on Rosi Braidotti, there is also Nomadic Theory: The Portable Rosi Braidotti and a video about her work.)

Pussy Riot also cited their musical influences, including classic oi!-punk bands of the early 1980s; The Angelic Upstarts, Cockney Rejects, Sham 69 as well as Riot Grrl groups such as Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. In the interview members of Pussy Riot also discussed a range of other subjects including the decision to start the band after Putin returned to power in Russia:

Serafima: Right, and at that point we realized that this country needs a militant, punk-feminist, street band that will rip through Moscow’s streets and squares, mobilize public energy against the evil crooks of the Putinist junta and enrich the Russian cultural and political opposition with themes that are important to us: gender and LGBT rights, problems of masculine conformity, absence of a daring political message on the musical and art scenes, and the domination of males in all areas of public discourse.


Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Peter Sloterdijk on Practice

“All the signs now indicate that the ancient great practicing powers in East Asia, that is, China and India (following the Japanese model), have completed the transformation to globally oriented forms of training. They have launched a new, aggressive achievement regime that will soon probably outdo anything accomplished by the jaded Europeans.”—Peter SloterdijkPeter Sloterdijk, The Art of Philosophy

In the following excerpt from the introduction to The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as Practice, Peter Sloterdijk describes the importance of the idea of “practice” in his work:

One other preliminary remark seems necessary. Since everything that follows can only be properly understood and correctly classified if we are serious about the term “practice” in all its implications (including as exercise or training), I have to make a comment in advance about this category of human practice. It has been neglected by theoretical modernism, if not wantonly pushed aside and scorned. In my recent book You Must Change Your Life! On Anthropotechnology, which has attracted a surge of constructive commentary since its publication, I attempted to restore the high status of practice. This is long overdue, given its importance in the ethos of advanced civilizations, and has been denied so far because of systematic gaps in the vocabulary of modern philosophy and blind spots in the field of view of the dominant sociological theories of action. In You Must Change Your Life! I show in some detail how the traditional approach to classifying human action, that is, the familiar distinction between the vita activa and vita contemplativa that initially related only to monks, was linked with the effect of making the dimension of practice as such invisible, if not actually inconceivable. As soon as we accept the ingrained difference between “active” and “contemplative” as if it were an exclusive and total alternative, we lose sight of a substantial complex of human behavior that is neither merely active nor merely contemplative. I call this the life of practice.


Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Erica Chenoweth — Creative Nonviolence Can Defeat Repression

Erica Chenoweth, Why Civil Resistance Works

The latest Room for Debate series in the New York Times features a number of scholars and writers discussing what it is, exactly, that makes protests effective. Erica Chenoweth, assistant professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and a researcher at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo and coauthor of Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, contributed “Creative Nonviolence Can Defeat Repression,” an article addressing the techniques that have made protests most effective in toppling repressive regimes throughout history.

Chenoweth begins her article with an explanation of what regimes (even repressive ones) need to control in order to stay in power:

Every repressive regime depends on various pillars of support — business elites, security forces, state media, educational elites and bureaucrats. When resistance campaigns impose significant costs on these groups, people begin to question their long-term interests.

Chenoweth identifies the three most important ways that protests can remove the support of these “pillars”:

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Peter Sloterdijk on the Rising Tensions between Germany and France

Peter Sloterdijk

In a recent and much-discussed article in Der Spiegel, Romain Leick discusses the growing tensions between France and Germany. Needless to say, the French-German relationship is one whose history is fraught with violence and war. However, in recent years France and Germany get along or don’t get along in ways similar to an old married couple. French philosopher, Pascal Bruckner describes France and Germany as “like an old couple, who both love and hate each other. They can’t stand to be apart or together, and divorce isn’t an option.”

While many French intellectuals and economists worry about German power and policies and the possibility of chaos in Europe, Peter Sloterdijk, most recently the author of The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as Practice and a noted public intellectual in Germany, tends to be less panicked. Unlike French author Max Gallo, who worries that market traders and computerized commands could incite a kind of chaos that politicians could not control in a scenario similar to August 1914, Sloterdijk argues that Europeans “have forsworn the military gods and completed a conversion from heroism to consumerism.”

In his essay “Theory of the Post-War Periods,” Sloterdijk, who the article claims is one of the few contemporary German thinkers respected in France, suggests a more pragmatic approach of “benevolent and nonviolent coexistence by means of mutual disinterest and defascination.” Ultimately, Sloterdijk counsels Germany and France, “Don’t be too interested in each other!”

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

New Book Tuesday — Beyond Pure Reason & More

Our weekly listing of new titles:

Boris Gasparov, Beyond Pure Reason: Ferdinand de Saussure's Philosophy of Language and Its Early Romantic AntecedentsBeyond Pure Reason: Ferdinand de Saussure’s Philosophy of Language and Its Early Romantic Antecedents
Boris Gasparov

Post-War Planning on the Periphery: Anglo-American Economic Diplomacy in South America, 1939-1945
Thomas Mills

Cosmopolitanisms in Muslim Contexts

Edited by Derryl MacLean and Sikeena Karmali Ahmed

The Community of the College of Justice: Edinburgh and the Court of Session, 1687-1808
John Finlay

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Book Giveaway — The Art of Philosophy by Peter Sloterdijk

“A very provocative, historically penetrating, and paradigm-changing analysis of both modern and postmodern thought, which may be considered one of Peter Sloterdijk’s most brilliant contributions to date to what has come to be called ‘public philosophy.’” — Carl Raschke, University of Denver

The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as a Practice

This week our featured book is The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as a Practice by Peter Sloterdijk.

Throughout the week we will highlight aspects of The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as a Practice. We are also offering a FREE copy of The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as a Practice to one winner.

To enter our book giveaway, simply e-mail pl2164@columbia.edu with your name and address (U.S. and Canadian mailing addresses only, unfortunately). We will randomly select one winner on Friday at 1:00 pm. Good luck and spread the word!

For more on the book, you can browse The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as a Practice in Google Preview or read the table of contents.

Friday, August 17th, 2012

University Press Roundup

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

“When I see people with an “I Voted!” sticker, my first thought is, ‘Shame on you!’” Guest poster Jason Brennan pulls no punches in his Election 101 post at the Princeton University Press Blog. Using the analogy of a jury in a murder case, Brennan claims that, due to the high stakes in political elections, people who are uninformed or not considering the evidence objectively should not vote at all.

Indexes have long been a key component of scholarly research and, as such, an important part of any scholarly book. However, with the advent of ebooks and other searchable digital formats, the role of indexes (like the role of so many parts of traditional physical books) is changing. At the Sydney Publishing blog, Agata Mrva-Montoya discusses the complications involved in bringing the index into the digital age.

Julia Child would have been 100 years old on August 15, and in honor of her centennial birthday, the JHU Press Blog has a guest post by David Strauss on Child’s continuing popularity in the US. While Strauss readily acknowledges that Nora Ephron’s recent film Julie and Julia has a good deal to do with Child’s continuing appeal, he also believes that the fact that people see Julia Child as “a person with real integrity” is a crucial part of why she remains such a well-loved figure today.

At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, guest poster James J. Berg examines Gore Vidal’s professional connection and personal friendship with Christopher Isherwood. Two of the major American literary figures of the twentieth century, Vidal and Isherwood first connected over a discussion of Vidal’s third novel, The City and the Pillar, and maintained a close friendship for the rest of Isherwood’s life.

One of the most confusing and oft-confused parts of publishing a book (particularly a scholarly book!) is the need to take care of all permissions issues early in the process. Unsure of what the term “permissions” means or what is entailed in taking care of permissions? At the AMACOM Books Blog, guest poster and Associate Editor Michael Sivilli has an excellent explanation of what permissions are, why they are necessary, and when they should be taken care of.

At This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Marie Cummings argues that free speech issues have been raised by the massacre in the Sikh temple near Milwaukee. The shooter, Wade Michael Page, was heavily involved in various white supremacist organizations, and was involved in the white power music scene. As Cummings puts it, “all citizens of the United States are entitled to their beliefs, ideals, and individual ways of life, but the question is, at what cost to their fellow man’s dignity, respect, and equality?”

Over the weekend, there was a piece in the NYTimes about assisted suicide, and at the NYU Press Blog, Howard Ball reflects on the article and on the way it supports his case for assisted suicide. He ends his post with an impassioned plea: “A small number of dying persons do not want to live a life devoid of living as they have been. They want to retake control of their lives. They have the constitutional, moral, and philosophical liberty to die with dignity. That is all they ask of us!”

David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies was recently pulled from distribution by his publisher, Thomas Nelson. Barton’s rapid rise to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s is a fascinating story, and at the Harvard University Press Blog, they share an excerpt from The Annointed by Randall Stephens and Karl Giberson, the story of modern evangelical leaders. In this excerpt, Stephens and Giberson explain how Barton, with a BA in religious education, became one of the most popular Christian historians of the last two decades.

Battle for control of the internet have been raging (somewhat quietly) in governments around the world over the last few years. At the OUPblog, Robin Mansell claims that at the root of these battles lies the fact that we still don’t agree on (or know) how the internet benefits and/or harms society and individual people. The push and pull of democratic free-speech rights, copyright law, and individual safety is particularly clear in arguments about the regulation of the internet.

UNC Press has just published a collection of color photographs taken in the Japanese American internment camp at Heart Mountain in Wyoming, edited by Eric L. Muller. At the UNC Press Blog, Muller gives an interview about finding the photographs, what they show, and why they are crucially important in understanding the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with another installment of the Yale Press Log’s excellent series on the art of translation. This week, YUP talks to Romanian novelist Norman Manea and the translator of a new English edition of Manea’s novel The Lair, Oana Sanziana Marian. They discuss whether certain languages are more interchangeable than others, whether culture can be translated, and whether someone reading a translation should KNOW that they are reading a translation.

That’s it for this week. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading. Thanks!

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Daniel McCool on the rebirth of rivers

River RepublicThis week we are highlighting Daniel McCool’s River Republic: The Fall and Rise of America’s Rivers. Today, the last day of our giveaway, we’d like to share a guest post written by McCool on the river restoration projects around America. And remember that before 1 PM today you can enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy of River Republic.

Less than a year ago a massive blast of turbid water, sediment, and debris exploded from the base of Condit Dam on the White Salmon River. At about the same time, heavy equipment began chewing away the concrete walls of Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams, both on the Elwha River in Washington. As I write this the Elwha and White Salmon Rivers are undergoing an amazing transformation.

What is going on here? Is this some form of anti-dam monkey-wrenching, or the work of crazed terrorists? No, it’s just a very dramatic introduction to a new era in river policy in the U. S. According to the river preservation group, American Rivers, 888 dams have been removed, including 60 just last year. And dam removal is just one form of river restoration; literally hundreds of other river restoration projects all across America are transforming, not only the physicality of rivers, but our relationship with rivers. For two hundred years we dammed, diverted, and polluted our rivers. There are over 79,000 dams in the U. S. Some rivers never reach their delta and simply turn to dust. And many rivers are tainted with a toxic stew that represents a significant health threat. Now, communities are un-doing the damage and reclaiming their rivers. We are beginning to realize that rivers are a tremendous asset, especially if they are healthy and free-flowing, desirable as habitat for fish and wildlife, and attractive to people for recreation. It is a new day for America and its watercourses.

The White Salmon River, the Elwha River, and hundreds of others are now experiencing a Phoenix-like rebirth. It will require our utmost ingenuity as we figure out how to bring these rivers back to life–how to restore fish runs, riparian lands, reservoir sites, and water quality. In effect, it is a grand experiment in natural resurrection. What a privilege it is to observe this remarkable stage in our country’s history.