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Archive for April, 2013

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Read the Introduction of Animal Oppression and Human Violence

Animal Oppression and Human Violence

This week our featured book is Animal Oppression and Human Violence, by David A. Nibert. We’ll be featuring content from the book and original posts from the author all week! Today, we have Nibert’s Introduction to Animal Oppression and Human Violence, in which he explains his argument against the “obvious and unassailable” view of the positive role that domesticating animals has played in human development. And be sure to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy of Animal Oppression and Human Violence.

Animal Oppression and Human Violence: Domesecration, Capitalism, and Global Conflict, by David A. Nibert

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

New Book Tuesday: Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving, Mothers in Academia, and More New Titles!

The following books are now available:

Robin Hood Rules for Giving
The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving

Michael M. Weinstein and Ralph M. Bradburd

Mothers in Academia
Edited by Mari Castañeda and Kirsten Isgro


Self and Emotional Life: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Neuroscience

Adrian Johnston and Catherine Malabou

Being Animal: Beasts and Boundaries in Nature Ethics
Anna Peterson

Qualitative Research in Social Work
Edited by Anne E. Fortune, William J. Reid, and Robert L. Miller

The Cinema of Béla Tarr: The Circle Closes
András Bálint Kovács

Understanding Pragmatic Markers: A Variational Pragmatic Approach
Karin Aijmer

The Long Road to Victory: A History of Czechoslovak Exile Organizations after 1968
Francis D. Raška

From the Silver Czech Tolar to a Worldwide Dollar: The Birth of the Dollar and its Journey of Monetary Circulation in Europe and the World from the 16th to the 20th Century
Petr Vorel

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Book Giveaway: Animal Oppression and Human Violence, by David A. Nibert

Animal Oppression and Human Violence

This week our featured book is Animal Oppression and Human Violence, by David A. Nibert. Throughout the week, we will be featuring the book and its author here on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

We are also offering a FREE copy of Animal Oppression and Human Violence. To enter our Book Giveaway, simply fill out the form below with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select one winner on April 19th at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word!

Our giveaway is now complete and the winners have been notified via email. Thanks to all who participated!

Friday, April 26th, 2013

University Press Roundup

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

We’ll start things off this week with a powerful article in defense of the reading of Miranda rights, even in cases like the Boston bombing, by David A. Harris at From the Square, the NYU Press Blog. Harris worries that “the administration seemed to be telling the public that Miranda warnings are just petty rules—another instance of hyper-technical laws that get in the way of real justice. This is dead wrong, and it shows grave disrespect for the rule of law and the Constitution—the very things that make our country great.”

Monday was Earth Day, and the OUPblog had a great series of posts in honor of the occasion. We’ll highlight one in particular: a post by Michael Allaby looking back at the history of Earth Day and our ongoing failure to reconcile the “conflict between environmental protection and the need for economic development.” (Also, they have a post listing eleven facts about penguins.)

In 1942, there were only fifteen whooping cranes left in the wild. Thanks to the work of ornithologist Robert Porter Allen, that number has grown to nearly six hundred. At The Florida Bookshelf, the blog of the University Press of Florida, however, Kathleen Kaska argues that the whooping cranes are hardly out of danger of extinction, and breaks down some of the current day challenges the species faces.

The Common Core curriculum emphasizes “informational readings” in primary education. At Beacon Broadside, the blog of Beacon Press, David Chura argues that this emphasis on informational readings over books deprives students of an incredibly valuable part of education. “[I]t makes me sad to see the education of the heart—the real core of any worthwhile English curriculum—gutted for the sake of global competition, and to see teachers once again take the hit for “dummied down” education.”

Historians have recently made the case that a form of linen armor, the linothorax, was a popular and influential type of military protection in ancient Greece from the time of Homer until well after the death of Alexander the Great. At the JHU Press Blog, one of these historians, Alicia Aldrete, tells the story of how she and her husband unraveled the mystery of the linothorax, complete with accounts of “large groups of weapon-wielding students in our yard, [with] my husband, Gregory Aldrete, shooting arrows at them” and of discoveries that sidetracked their research, like the fact “that linen stiffened with rabbit glue strikes dogs as in irresistibly tasty rabbit-flavored chew toy, and that our Labrador retriever should not be left alone with our research project.”

Liah Greenfeld believes that solely biological and genetic explanations for human behaviors are “a new bubble,” particular in regards to explanations of mental illness. Instead, as explained in a post at the Harvard University Press blog, she believes that “the phenomenon that was for a long time called simply “madness”—today’s schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression—is actually a symptom of modernity, an effect of our cultural environment.”

In 1913, the Woodrow Wilson administration led a drive to segregate the federal government. At the UNC Press Blog, Eric S. Yellin argues that this 1913 drive was a “pivotal episode in the age of progressive politics” and looks at the ramifications over the course of the past century of the “introduction of Jim Crow discrimination in government offices.”

At This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambidge University Press, David Stahel asks and answers one of the most important questions any scholar should ask herself or himself before starting a research project: “Why bother?” For Stahel, while a great deal has been written about the Second World War in general, and its Western Front in particular, “[o]ne of the exciting things about researching Germany’s war in the east between 1941 and 1945 is that the field is still at such an early stage of its development with many more questions than answers.”

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with a post from the University of Minnesota Press Blog by Aaron Shapiro about the development of the North Woods in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan as a tourist destination. In his post, Shapiro urges us to consider the fact that for any tourist destination, and particularly in the North Woods, “work and leisure have proven inseparable from nature.”

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

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Vivien Gornitz — Welcome to the Anthropocene

“To forestall these rapid planetary transformations from bringing civiliza­tion to the brink requires a solution to the impending climate and environ­mental crisis that transcends short-term fixes. It calls for a major paradigm shift.”—Vivien Gornitz

Vivien Gornitz, Rising SeasIn the following excerpt from Rising Seas: Past, Present, Future, Vivien Gornitz argues that we are now in a new epoch in which human activity is having a profound impact on the environment:

Rising seas are just one symptom of a much larger unfolding environmental crisis—one manifestation of the multidimensional planetary changes now under way. We now live in the Anthropocene epoch—increasingly marked by the human touch. Ever since humanity first learned to control fire, peo­ple have transformed the Earth’s surface. The agricultural revolution further altered natural vegetation patterns. However, after the Industrial Revolu­tion of the late 18th century, and increasingly so after the mid-20th cen­tury, people have become major environmental and geologic agents. We are reshaping the planet by literally moving mountains, diverting water flows, denuding forests, eroding soils, altering biogeochemical cycles (i.e., nitrogen and phosphorus overloading), acidifying the ocean, diminishing biodiver­sity, and changing the climate. Exponential population growth coupled with rapid economic and technological development drive this planetary trans­mutation, unparalleled in Earth’s history. As demand rises, growing scarci­ties of food, water, and mineral resources will increasingly stress our fragile environment.

Climate change brings additional stresses. Although some agricultural re­gions may benefit from a longer growing season resulting from additional warmth or extra rainfall, other regions stand to become drier or even turn into dust bowls. Crop yields may drop, unless more drought- resistant va­rieties can be developed in time. Elsewhere, soil fertility may decline due to erosion of topsoil. Groundwater mining may lower the water table enough to make pumping water for irrigation too costly (e.g., the Ogallala Aquifer in Oklahoma and Texas). Increasing saltwater encroachment due to sea level rise may render many fertile low-lying deltaic or coastal farmlands (e.g., the Sacramento–San Joaquin valley, California, the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, or the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, Bangladesh) increasingly unproductive.

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Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Vivien Gornitz on Rising Sea Levels in NYC

In the following excerpt from Rising Seas: Past, Present, Future, Vivien Gornitz examines how New York City is reacting to and planning for the possibility of flooding due to rising seas. (To read the excerpt in a full screen, click on the icon on the lower right-hand corner)

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Vivien Gornitz — Toward an Aquatic Future

“Could future greenhouse gas-induced global warming push the Earth’s climate system into an unstable mode, triggering a catastrophic meltdown of the polar ice sheets?”—Vivien Gornitz

Rising Seas, Vivien GornitzThe follow post is from Vivien Gornitz, author of Rising Seas: Past, Present, Future.

Superstorm Sandy, although a rare and freakish event today, was a rough taste of what may await us as ocean levels continue to rise. New York City is no stranger to tropical cyclones, in spite of its northerly location. The surge from a hurricane in 1821 reached 13 feet in 1 hour and flooded parts of lower Manhattan as far north as Canal Street. In 1893, another hurricane submerged southern Brooklyn and Queens, erasing a small barrier island off the Rockaways. During the twentieth century, the “Long Island Express” (1938), hurricane Donna (1960), and the weaker hurricane Gloria (1985) created extensive damage on nearby Long Island and in New Jersey. Even winter nor’easters, such as one in December, 1992, flooded low-lying neighborhoods and seriously disrupted ground and air transportation. But the fury and destructiveness of Sandy topped these all, aided by the historic 1.4 foot rise in sea level since the mid-19th century.

At least eight times during the last million years, vast ice sheets blanketed much of the Northern Hemisphere and subsequently retreated. Both sea level and greenhouse gas concentrations fell during the ice ages and rose again as the ice sheets shrank. Sea level climbed 13 to 20 feet higher than present during the last warm interglacial period, 125,000 years ago, but then dropped 394 feet (120 meters) at the peak of the last ice age, around 20,000 years ago. Once the ice sheets began their retreat, sea level rose rapidly and climbed still faster in several episodic spurts. After the ice melted, the sea reached nearly its present height by 7,000 to 6,000 years ago, fluctuating at most by a few feet since then.

Climate skeptics like to point to past wide variations in climate and global sea level as proof that we are merely experiencing yet another natural variation. Anthropogenic atmospheric greenhouse gases are heating the Earth. Carbon dioxide (394 parts per million in 2012, http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/) approaches levels last experienced in the balmier Pliocene epoch, around 3 million years ago, when sea levels stood over 66 feet (20 meters) higher than present. Temperatures now reach 1.0 F (0.6 C) above the mid-twentieth century average, with the nine warmest years in the 132-year record occurring since 2000 (http://giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20130115/). The climatic effects are most pronounced near the poles and on lofty mountaintops.

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Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Interview with Christopher Collins, Author of Paleopoetics

“When we feel powerfully moved by what words do to us, I think it’s because we’ve entered into some deeper, older part of us, a place of wisdom and wholeness that is preverbal, even prehuman.”—Christopher Collins

The following is an interview with Christopher Collins, author of Paleopoetics: The Evolution of the Preliterate Imagination

Paleopoetics, Christopher CollinsQuestion: Let’s start with your title: what do you mean by “Paleopoetics”?

Christopher Collins: All my life I’ve been involved with thinking about, talking about, and writing about literature. But through all those years what most intrigued me were the feelings—the moods and emotions—and the mental images that words can invoke. My deepest responses to poems, dramas, novels—any artwork made up of words—always seemed to come from a level in me that somehow went far back into the past. I don’t mean past lifetimes or anything like that—just a very deep and ancient genetic past, some part of me that wasn’t derived from my personal experience. When we feel powerfully moved by what words do to us, I think it’s because we’ve entered into some deeper, older part of us, a place of wisdom and wholeness that is preverbal, even prehuman. In writing this book I’ve tried to find insight into these intuitions by studying what the sciences of the mind/brain have to say about memory, emotion, perception, and the simulation of perception, imagination.

Q: Is that how you arrived at your subtitle, “the evolution of the preliterate imagination?”

CC: Yes, but by imagination I don’t mean foresight or mental agility, but rather the simulation of perception, auditory, kinetic, and, above all, visual imagery. For me, mental imagery is the prelinguistic content that language was evolved to communicate and that writing was eventually invented to disseminate.

Q: How can anyone know how humans thought before they were able to write down their thoughts?

CC: That’s a fair question. We need to approach this from many angles, for example, primate social behavior, the evolving architecture of the brain from pre-human to human, its consequences for the perceptual systems of vision and hearing, the semiotics of gestures, eye–hand coordination and tool use, and the implication of these for fully human social behavior. We need to look for converging evidence from many disciplines—from paleontology, ethology, anthropology, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, cognitive linguistics, and neuroscience. We need to ponder the implications of our reading, let us take us with it, and not be afraid to revise our basic assumptions. Then, if and when concepts seem to click into place, we need to be ready to draw inferences.

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Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Book Giveaway: “Rising Seas: Past, Present, Future” by Vivien Gornitz

Rising Seas, Vivien Gornitz

This week our featured book is Rising Seas: Past, Present, Future, by Vivien Gornitz.

Throughout the week, we will be featuring the books and their editors on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed, and on our Facebook page.

We are also offering a FREE copy of Rising Seas: Past, Present, Future (Click here to read an excerpt.

To enter our Book Giveaway, simply e-mail pl2164@columbia.edu with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select one winner on April 26th at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word!

Friday, April 19th, 2013

University Press Roundup

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

April 16th was the 50th anniversary of the famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” written by Martin Luther King Jr. In honor of the occasion, Beacon Broadside, the blog of Beacon Press, has a post explaining the contents of the letter and MLK’s reasons for writing it, complete with an excerpt from Why We Can’t Wait, written by King in 1963. And at the UNC Press Blog, Randal Maurice Jelks has a guest post reminding us “of the lasting importance of King’s message in that document.”

This week, the MIT Press blog celebrated National Library Week (April 14-20) with a guest post from R. David Lankes. In his post, Lankes looks at the National Library Week theme this year–”Communities matter @ your library”–and explains that the most important collection of every library is not made up of books, but rather comes from the community that the library serves.

Do historians approach research subjects with preconceived expectations? At the JHU Press Blog, Daniel Kilbride tells the story of how his expectations for his most recent project were proven false over the course of his research, and how the actual results of his project were far more interesting and complex than he would have guessed that they could be.

“But why do we have such faith in creativity? What does creativity promise that we are so anxious get? … Why, then, is there so much effort to lay claim to something so ill-defined and elusive?” At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Amy F. Ogata takes a look at the idea of creativity and the hold it has on recent conceptions of positive education.

This week was a great week for literature posts at the OUPblog. John Carlos Row has a great post on the importance of and continued interest in the difficult and subtle fiction of Henry James. “Of course, I love Henry James and have spent much of my scholarly career reading, teaching, and writing about his works, but I also understand that they are aesthetically and intellectually difficult, lack “action” if not plot, deal with the wealthy classes, and depend on subtle psychological ambiguities many readers miss completely.” And Kirsty Martin has a fascinating post on the role of sympathy in modernist literature, using novels by Virginia Woolf, DH Lawrence, Ford Madox Ford, and Joseph Conrad as her examples. “Modernist writing like Woolf’s provides a way of thinking about ongoing debate over how we relate to each other, and it also simply draws attention to the particularities of human connection, addressing the reader: “But look”, and recognising how one might feel for such gestures.”

The authorship debate about the works of Shakespeare has involved many prominent artists and thinkers over the past few centuries. This week, This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambridge University Press, put the arguments of some of the most famous doubters (Charlie Chaplin, Mark Twain, Henry James, and Walt Whitman among them) in conversation with contributors to the new Cambridge UP title Shakespeare Beyond Doubt, as a way to put to rest some of the most commonly repeated arguments against the identity of the Bard.

Philadelphia has a rich history of basketball, much of which has been forgotten in today’s glitz-and-glamour sports culture. At North Philly Notes, the blog of Temple University Press, Larry Needle delves into this history to tell the little-known story of the SPHAS (South Philadelphia Hebrew Association) basketball league; the first competitive all-Jewish basketball teams in professional basketball.

This week at From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, Howard Ball has a guest post comparing Supreme Court cases on marriage equality: the two major cases from this year (US v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry), concerned with the legality of LGBT marriage, and the 1967 case Loving v. Virginia, concerned with the legality of interracial marriage. Ball thinks that it’s paradoxical that “unlike public opposition to racial intermarriage in 1967 rejected by a unanimous Court, in 2013, although 58% of Americans support same-sex marriage, it may be rejected by a five person majority.”

In 1971, Harvard University Press published John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice, a highly influential work in political philosophy. The Harvard University Press Blog is taking a look back at some of their most significant titles published in the hundred-year history of HUP, and this week it’s Rawls’ classic that’s under the microscope.

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with a post at the University of Nebraska Press blog by Susan Blackwell Ramsey, winner of the 2012 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. In her post, Ramsey explains the process behind the first poem in her prize-winning collection, “Pickled Heads, Saint Petersburg.” As she explains, “I’ve always had a brain like a lint-roller, with the qualifier that only nonessential information sticks to it.”

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

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Leonard W. J. van der Kuijp – The Dalai Lamas and the Origins of Reincarnate Lamas

The Tibetan History Reader

This week our featured books are Sources of Tibetan Tradition, edited by Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Matthew T. Kapstein, and Gray Tuttle, and The Tibetan History Reader, Edited by Gray Tuttle and Kurtis R. Schaeffer.

Today, we’ve got an excerpt from The Tibetan History Reader: “The Dalai Lamas and the Origins of Reincarnate Lamas,” by Leonard W. J. van der Kuijp. In this essay, van der Kuijp looks at the history of the Dalai Lamas and, in particular, when they came to be “associated with the most important Buddhist celestial being in Tibet.”

The Dalai Lamas and the Origins of Reincarnate Lamas, from The Tibetan History Reader

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Santiago Zabala – Out of Network: The Art of Filippo Minelli

“Minelli, by traveling to the slums of Cambodia and painting “Second Life” on its walls, is indicating the contradiction between these two worlds (advanced technological capitalism and its social detritus) — and it is also disclosing the limits imposed by these social networks. These networks, and the Internet in general, are the culmination of Being’s (human existence) replacement with beings (objects) — with the global technological organization of the world.” — Santiago Zabala

Hermeneutic CommunismThe Stone, the philosophy blog of the New York Times, recently ran a post by Santiago Zabala on the art of Italian artist Filippo Minelli. In his post, Zabala, Icrea research professor of philosophy at the University of Barcelona and coauthor of Hermeneutic Communism, intersperses powerful photos of Minelli’s work with explanations of why Minelli’s message needs to be taken seriously. We’ve excerpted some of the essay below, complete with several of the photos. Read the entire article here.

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Thursday, April 18th, 2013

The Epic of King Gesar

Sources of Tibetan Tradition

This week our featured books are Sources of Tibetan Tradition, edited by Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Matthew T. Kapstein, and Gray Tuttle, and The Tibetan History Reader, Edited by Gray Tuttle and Kurtis R. Schaeffer.

Today, we have a few excerpts from the Epic of King Gesar, “often described as the Tibetan national epic and as the longest poem in the world,” taken from Sources of Tibetan Tradition.

The Epic of King Gesar, excerpted from Sources of Tibetan Tradition

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

“History as Myth,” by Peter Schwieger

The Tibetan History Reader

This week our featured books are Sources of Tibetan Tradition, edited by Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Matthew T. Kapstein, and Gray Tuttle, and The Tibetan History Reader, Edited by Gray Tuttle and Kurtis R. Schaeffer.

Today, we have a fascinating essay by Peter Schwieger, “History as Myth: On the Appropriation of the Past in Tibetan Culture,” excerpted from The Tibetan History Reader. In his essay, Schwieger asks, “What role has historical writing played in the conservation of Tibetan society?”

Tibetan History as Myth, from The Tibetan History Reader

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

William Logan Poetry Criticism Quiz Answers

Our Savage Art

Columbia University Press has had the privilege of publishing two volumes of critical essays by the poet and critic William Logan, Our Savage Age: Poetry and the Civil Tongue and The Undiscovered Country: Poetry in the Age of Tin. As a critic, Logan is perhaps best known for his sharp wit and his willingness to express dissatisfaction with a poet or a volume of poetry.

Last Friday, we posted a twelve-question quiz. We collected twelve quotes by Logan about twelve different poets, removed the poets’ names, and asked readers to guess which poet Logan was talking about in each. Here are the correct answers:

1. Maxine Kumin

2. Sylvia Plath

3. Anne Carson

4. Billy Collins

5. Robert Frost

6. Hart Crane

7. Ted Kooser

8. Robert Hass

9. Geoffrey Hill

10. Sharon Olds

11. Robert Pinsky

12. Elizabeth Spires

Thanks to all those who participated! We had an impressive number of people get all twelve answers! We’ll be randomly selecting our winner from that group and notifying that person via email.

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Timeline of Tibet

Sources of Tibetan Tradition

This week our featured books are Sources of Tibetan Tradition, edited by Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Matthew T. Kapstein, and Gray Tuttle, and The Tibetan History Reader, Edited by Gray Tuttle and Kurtis R. Schaeffer. You can enter our book giveaway for a chance to win FREE copies of both books.

In today’s Tibet-themed post, we have an excerpt from Sources of Tibetan Tradition: a timeline detailing important events in Tibetan history, beginning in 247 B.C.E. with Nyatri Tsenpo’s election as king and ending in 1951 C.E. with the “Seventeen-Point Agreement.” (The Tibetan History Reader also contains this timeline.)

Sources of Tibetan Tradition – Timeline of Tibetan History

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

New Book Tuesday: Translation, Domesecration, Steven Soderbergh, and More!

In Translation, Esther Allen and Susan BernofskyOur weekly listing of new titles now available:

In Translation: Translators on Their Work and What It Means
Edited by Esther Allen and Susan Bernofsky

Animal Oppression and Human Violence: Domesecration, Capitalism, and Global Conflict
David A. Nibert

The Cinema of Steven Soderbergh: Indie Sex, Corporate Lies, and Digital Videotape
Andrew deWaard and R. Colin Tait; Preface by Thomas Schatz

Fossil Mammals of Asia: Neogene Biostratigraphy and Chronology
Edited by Xiaoming Wang, Lawrence J. Flynn, and Mikael Fortelius

Unlikely Collaboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Faÿ, and the Vichy Dilemma (Now available in paper)
Barbara Will

Food: A Culinary History (Now available in paper)
Edited by Jean-Louis Flandrin and Massimo Montanari

Music, Madness, and the Unworking of Language (Now available in paper)
John T. Hamilton

Deleuze and Education
Edited by Inna Semetsky and Diana Masny

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Book Giveaway: Sources of Tibetan Tradition and The Tibetan History Reader

The Tibetan History Reader

This week our featured books are Sources of Tibetan Tradition, edited by Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Matthew T. Kapstein, and Gray Tuttle, and The Tibetan History Reader, Edited by Gray Tuttle and Kurtis R. Schaeffer.

Throughout the week, we will be featuring the books and their editors on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed, and on our Facebook page.

We are also offering a FREE copy of BOTH Sourcebook of Tibetan Tradition and The Tibetan History Reader.

To enter our Book Giveaway, simply fill out the form below with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select one winner on April 19th at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word!

Friday, April 12th, 2013

University Press Roundup

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

We were all saddened by the recent death of Roger Ebert, who passed away last week at the age of 70. The Chicago Blog, the blog of the University of Chicago Press, paid tribute to his “professionalism and good humor” and his “passionate advocacy of the printed word—as a voracious reader, as well as an enthusiastic film-lover.” At the OUPblog, James Tweedie looks back at Ebert’s illustrious career as a critic, explaining that “Ebert’s success was due in large part to his ability and willingness to approach films with a seriousness commensurate with their ambition.”

(By the way, we’d be remiss not to congratulate the OUPblog for being honored as one of nine 2013 “Webby Honorees” in the Blog-Cultural category! A well-deserved recognition for one of the best blogs out there!)

National Poetry Month continues throughout April, and this week the Syracuse University Press blog offered up the beautiful “home,” a poem by Laila Halaby, in honor of the celebration. Happy National Poetry Month!

This week was also National Robotics Week, and the MIT Press blog is offering a series of posts on the current state of robotics. Of particular interest is a two-part Q&A with William Clancey on the Mars Exploration rover. In part one, Clancey explains how “programmed, mobile laboratories like MER (Mars Exploration Rover)” have changed space exploration. In part two, explains how innovations in space exploration benefit us here on Earth, and looks into the future of space exploration.

42, a Jackie Robinson biopic coming out soon, takes a look back at the impact Robinson’s integration of baseball had on the country in 1947. At the University of Virginia Press blog, Bruce Adelson explains how baseball teams in the still-segregated South followed the Dodgers’ lead in hiring and playing black ballplayers.

As anyone who works in marketing in any industry can tell you, getting concrete data that tells exactly how effective marketing campaigns are can be all but impossible. At the AMACOM Books Blog, David Scott breaks down “an easy way to conduct a clear, accurate analysis in spite of these complications.”

Does an emphasis on standardized test scores in evaluating teacher and school performance lead to cheating by both teachers and administrators? At Beacon Broadside, the blog of Beacon Press, William Ayers argues that recent studies make it clear that the answer to this question is yes. The recent and massive cheating scandal in Atlanta, where the former superintendent and her subordinates face criminal charges, is a prime example for Ayers.

The JHU Press Blog ran a fascinating three-part feature this week on a trip to spend a few days immersed in the Amish way of life in Lancaster, PA. JHUP author Karen Johnson-Weiner, JHUP head publicist Kathy Alexander, and JHUP acquisitions editor Greg Nicholl all wrote blog posts about their experiences with the “Amish immersion,” and together they paint a fascinating picture of Amish life in the 21st century.

The line between advertisement and actual content was once a very clear one, as newspapers were careful to distinguish their articles from space paid for by external sources. However, as Michael Serazio argues at From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, in the internet age, the rise of “advertainment,” or “brand-backed articles,” has blurred this line to the point where it barely exists any longer.

Looking for a post that explains what fracking is and why it’s so controversial? At This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Peter Grossman has you covered. As he explains, while fracking proponents claim that the natural gas accessible through fracking will “lower consumer energy costs, provide greater energy security while at the same time reducing carbon emissions,” fracking remains controversial, as it may pose a number of environmental harms, including chemical leaks into water supplies and emissions of natural gas into the atmosphere.

At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻōpua looks at the Idle No More protest movement and its influence in Hawaii. “INM has gathered Indigenous and settler peoples to stand up for the health of lands and the communities that rely on them, and it has brought the importance of teaching people about Indigenous nationhood to the fore.” A recent INM-inspired rally showed the power of the message behind INM, but also showed “the fissures and need for dialogue between the various constituent groups was plainly apparent.”

Finally, we’ll wrap things up for this week by considering the cuttlefish. The Harvard University Press Blog has an excerpt from Concealing Coloration in Animals in which authors Judy Diamond and Alan B. Bond explain the impressive adaptive camouflage of the cuttlefish.

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

Friday, April 12th, 2013

William Logan Poetry Criticism Quiz

Our Savage Art

Today is the final day of our week-long focus on poetry (today is also the final day of our National Poetry Month book giveaway; be sure to enter by 1 PM today for a chance to win six excellent volumes of poetry!), and we thought we would finish our poetry week with a fun quiz! Columbia University Press has had the privilege of publishing two volumes of critical essays by the poet and critic William Logan, Our Savage Age: Poetry and the Civil Tongue and The Undiscovered Country: Poetry in the Age of Tin. As a critic, Logan is perhaps best known for his sharp wit and his willingness to express dissatisfaction with a poet or a volume of poetry.

We’ve collected twelve of Logan’s best one-liners (or, more accurately, several-liners) and removed the names of the poets, poems, and volumes of poetry mentioned there-in. How many names of the poets Logan discusses can you guess? Email your answers to lf2413@columbia.edu by 1 PM, Tuesday, April 16. We’ll grade the responses, and the entry with the most correct answers will win a copy of William Logan’s Our Savage Art and The Undiscovered Country! The contest is now closed.

Update: Check here for the answers to the quiz!
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