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Archive for October, 2016

Monday, October 31st, 2016

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments. (And look back at our University Press Roundup Manifesto to see why we do this post every Friday (or, in this case, Monday).)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Book Giveaway! A Brief History of Entrepreneurship, by Joe Carlen

A Brief History of Entrepreneurship

“Joe Carlen delves in primary and secondary sources, including texts on modern management, and presents them in readable and attractive prose. A Brief History of Entrepreneurship is a light and enjoyable read.” — Ali Kahn, Abram Hutzler Professor of Political Economy, Johns Hopkins University

This week, our featured book is A Brief History of Entrepreneurship: The Pioneers, Profiteers, and Racketeers Who Shaped Our World, by Joe Carlen. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Intelligence Agency Logic

Data Love

“Intelligence agencies want to secure and enhance their effectiveness just as much as any other functional social system; whatever is technologically possible will be used. For this reason, ever since 9/11 intelligence agencies had been dreaming of the “full take” of all data from all citizens. What had failed to materialize until then, because of financial and technological shortcomings, became a real option with the increasing digitization of society. The consensus was that those who did not use the new possibilities for data collection and evaluation were refusing to work properly, which in this realm of work might almost be regarded as treason.” — Roberto Simanowski

This week, our featured book is Data Love: The Seduction and Betrayal of Digital Technologies, by Roberto Simanowski, translated by Brigitte Pichon, Dorian Rudnytsky, and John Cayley. Today, for the final post of the feature, we have a short excerpt from the book’s first chapter, Intelligence Agency Logic, in which Simanowski uses the case of Edward Snowden to examine popular and political reactions to government surveillance.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Data Love!

Intelligence Agency Logic
By Roberto Simanowski

In the summer of 2013 the twenty-nine-year-old IT specialist Edward Snowden flew into a foreign country carrying with him secret documents produced by his employer, the National Security Agency of the United States (NSA). From the transit zone of the Moscow airport and with the help of the Guardian and the Washington Post, he informed the world about the extent of the surveillance of telephone and Internet communications undertaken by American intelligence agencies. In doing this, the whistleblower Snowden became much more successful than Thomas Drake, a former department head at the NSA who, with the same motives, had criticized the excessive surveillance practices of the NSA first through official channels and then in 2010 by divulging information to a journalist from the Baltimore Sun, for which he was later accused of espionage. Snowden’s disclosures triggered an international sensation lasting many months, creating what historians at the time characterized as the last great epiphany to be experienced by media society.

This is how a report on the events of the NSA scandal of 2013 might begin in some distant future. The report would evaluate the event from a respectful historical distance and without the excitement or disappointment of earlier historians. From the distant future, this moment of revelation would prove to have been the last outcry before the realization that there were no alternatives to certain unstoppable technological, political, and social developments. The report from the future would reconstruct the case with historical objectivity, beginning by explaining how world leaders reacted.

The United States declares Snowden’s passport invalid and issues a warrant of arrest for the breach of secrecy and theft. The Brazilian president protests at the United Nations over spying on Brazilian citizens (including herself ). She cancels her planned meeting with the president of the United States and by creating an investigative committee again proves her capacity to act after the traumatic experience of the “#vemprarua” upheavals in her own country. Ecuador— its embassy in London housing the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange—offers asylum to Snowden, thereby forgoing U.S. customs benefits. Germany denies Snowden’s request for asylum on the technicality that one cannot file an application from a foreign country. Russia grants asylum to Snowden for one year, provoking a further cooling of its relations with the United States and immediately causing the cancellation of a planned summit meeting between Obama and Putin. (more…)

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Interview with Jeremy Rosen, Author of “Minor Characters Have Their Day”

Minor Characters Have Their Day, Jeremy Rosen

“Genre is more than just a publishing category or marketing device…. Genres reflect the concerns of the historical moments in which they flourish. Minor-character elaborations reflect the interest of readers and writers in revisionist histories, in new angles on old stories…. They also demonstrate the playful, mischievous attitude toward the classics … [and] the sense that the classics aren’t simply there to be worshipped, but are books that we can take over, play with, and remake in whatever way we see fit.”—Jeremy Rosen

The following is an interview with Jeremy Rosen, author of Minor Characters Have Their Day: Genre and the Contemporary Literary Marketplace:

Question: What got you interested in contemporary novels that convert minor characters from classics into protagonists?

Jeremy Rosen: It started when I heard about Lo’s Diary by the Italian novelist Pia Pera, which retells Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita from the young girl’s perspective. Lolita is one of my all-time favorite novels, and I was intrigued but also a little skeptical about this retelling. I was in graduate school at the time, and taking a class on postmodern novels that included stuff like Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, which focuses on Rochester’s first wife, the so-called “madwoman in the attic,” from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

And then, just like the new word you learn and then start seeing everywhere, books featuring formerly minor characters started popping up everywhere I looked. Wicked the Broadway musical based on Gregory Maguire’s novel premiered around this time. And Alice Randall published her novel The Wind Done Gone, which imagines that Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind had a half-sister who was a slave. Then Geraldine Brooks won the Pulitzer in 2005 for March, which makes a protagonist of the absent father from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and I could go on and on… What I realized was that I was seeing a vibrant phenomenon unfold, a genre that was “blowing up,” before my eyes, and I wanted to try to explain why that was happening.

Q: So why are so many contemporary writers focusing on minor characters from classics?

JR: When I tell students, and friends, and other people I meet about this research, they often say a couple things: that there must be no new ideas left, and that what I call “minor character elaborations” sound just like spinoffs and sequels in film. And I think these are right to an extent, but they don’t tell nearly the whole story. First, because seen from a certain angle, there have never been any new stories. From what little we know about Homer, he just wrote down and standardized what were already very old oral tales when they came to him. And the Greek tragedists like Sophocles and Aeschylus were likewise working with and transforming already ancient material. Rewriting, or what literary theorists call “intertextuality,” is really the oldest game in town.

On the other hand, some new things are happening here. Rewritings that focus on minor characters, especially on women and other socially marginalized groups, certainly have a new emphasis. Sena Jeter Naslund’s Ahab’s Wife, for example, takes the extremely masculine world of whaling and says: where were all the women? Naslund picks up on the single line in all of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick that mentions that Ahab was married. (And you think your partner has some bad moods!) Naslund takes that line and expands it into a grand narrative about what it would have been like to be the wife of a sea captain, who is at sail for years at a time, in the nineteenth century. A great many of these novels reflect a contemporary concern for the kinds of people—women, servants, slaves, non-Europeans—that were not often protagonists in classic literary works, in response to the wealth of stories we have that focus on the experience of white, male, upper class heroes.

Q: But you also suggest that there’s some merit to the comparison to Hollywood sequels and TV spinoffs, right?

JR: Absolutely. I chose the admittedly clunky term “minor character elaboration” because these books seem to me to differ from “spinoffs” in some important ways. When contemporary novelists seize on a minor character, we tend to get a picture of the character that is totally different than the brief glimpse we got in the classic. But when Joey from “Friends” gets his own show, we don’t suddenly find out that Joey was a much deeper, much more interesting person than we ever thought when we watched “Friends.” We just get more Joey.

That said, I think a lot of the forces driving the explosion of “minor character elaborations” are closely connected with the reasons we see such a rage for sequels and spinoffs in Hollywood, as well as all the “genre” films and TV shows out there: all the vampires, superheroes, zombies, and fantasy worlds. These phenomena all have a lot to do with transformations in media, in the publishing and film industries, which have undergone a major consolidation in the past several decades. The multinational media corporations that control much of the publishing industry like to minimize their risk. And totally unique books that have no connection with prior works are tough to explain and market. Whereas, “Like Harry Potter but sexier!” conjures up something we all know. Rewritings of classics tap into a known quantity, as well as prestigious literary names. And they have a genre formula that is easy to encapsulate in a few words: “Shakespeare’s King Lear from the court jester’s perspective!” (This describes Christopher Moore’s hilarious, bawdy novel Fool.) In the economic context of contemporary media consolidation, publishers have found familiar authors and genres to be reliable ways of grabbing readers’ attention.

(more…)

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

The Seduction and Betrayal of Digital Technologies

Data Love

“[Data Love] does not reduce arguments over big data mining to the enemy-logic of ‘citizen vs. state’ but discusses data love as an expression of an undoubtedly fundamental but — bizarrely —insufficiently noted reorganization of society—a ‘quiet’ revolution initiated by software developers and implemented by way of algorithms; a revolution that, on the one hand, is subject to the drives of technological potential while, on the other, is reacting to the end of social utopias within a model of society dominated by consumerism.” — Roberto Simanowski

This week, our featured book is Data Love: The Seduction and Betrayal of Digital Technologies, by Roberto Simanowski, translated by Brigitte Pichon, Dorian Rudnytsky, and John Cayley. Today, we are happy to present a Q&A with Simanowski, in which he outlines his book project and the importance of questions about our love affair with data.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Data Love!

Why is data love the most troubling love affair of our time?

The love of big data has affected us all and is, without a doubt, the most entrancing and troubling love story of the twenty-first century. For better or worse and for many reasons, we happily choose to participate in the big data universe. We don’t worry much about data protection if we get something for less or even for free; we easily trade privacy for the narcissistic thrill of Facebook’s sharing culture. We can hardly wait for our fridge to talk to the supermarket and our calendar to converse with our car or house. That the conversation among “smart things”—that GPS, check-ins, or whatever sort of self-tracking device we use —are a data miner’s dream doesn’t deter us, we want it anyway and are convinced we can no longer live without it. (more…)

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Introducing “Data Love”

Data Love

“[D]ata love must be discussed as something that is more than just fuel for the economy of the information age. It is a complex subject with farreaching moral, political, and philosophical consequences—without doubt the most delicate and troubling love story of the twenty-first century.” — Roberto Simanowski

This week, our featured book is Data Love: The Seduction and Betrayal of Digital Technologies, by Roberto Simanowski, translated by Brigitte Pichon, Dorian Rudnytsky, and John Cayley. To start the week’s feature, we are happy to present an excerpt from Data Love that includes the preface, the epilogue, and the postface.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Data Love!

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

New Book Tuesday: Better Presentations, the Political Thought of Martin Heidegger, and More!

Better Presentations, by Jonathan Schwabish

Our weekly listing of new books now available:

Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks
Jonathan Schwabish

The Politics of Being: The Political Thought of Martin Heidegger, With a New Preface
Richard Wolin

Bachelor Japanists: Japanese Aesthetics and Western Masculinities
Christopher Reed

Economic Competence and Financial Literacy of Young Adults: Status and Challenges
Edited by Eveline Wuttke, Jürgen Seifried, and Stephan Schumann
(Barbara Budrich Publishers)

Greek Tragedy, European Odyssey: The Politics and Economics of the Eurozone Crisis
Robert Godby and Stephanie B. Anderson
(Barbara Budrich Publishers)

The Service User as a Partner in Social Work Projects and Education: Concepts and Evaluations of Courses with a Gap-Mending Approach in Europe
Edited by Emanuela Chiapparini
(Barbara Budrich Publishers)

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Book Giveaway! Data Love, by Roberto Simanowski

Data Love

“Digital interactive space is not only a technical condition: it mobilizes larger ecologies of meaning that cannot be captured by an exclusive focus on those technical features. Roberto Simanowski gives us a brilliant exploration of one such ecology, an ironic and critical take on contemporary society’s ambivalent relationship with data.” — Saskia Sassen

This week, our featured book is Data Love: The Seduction and Betrayal of Digital Technologies, by Roberto Simanowski, translated by Brigitte Pichon, Dorian Rudnytsky, and John Cayley. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

Friday, October 21st, 2016

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments. (And look back at our University Press Roundup Manifesto to see why we do this post every Friday.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 21st, 2016

Michael E. Mann and Tom Toles on Why We Can’t Ignore Science — An Excerpt from “The Madhouse Effect”

We conclude our week-long feature on The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics and Driving Us Crazy, by Michael E. Mann and Tom Toles, by excerpting the first chapter “Science: How It Works.” As Mann, through his words, and Toles, through his cartoons, articulate, we live in an era of misinformation in which the value of scientific evidence cannot be ignored. To do so risks environmental destruction. As the authors write:

“So we should have our fullest respect for the scientific framework behind the proposition that the burning of fossil fuels and other activities are changing Earth’s climate. The evidence is overwhelming, and is has only increased in strength and consistency over time—the hallmark of a compelling scientific framework … Well, we ignored the science, and we avoided the sensible choices that were before us. And now we are already paying the price. Time is no longer on our side. Let’s use time we have more wisely.”

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Tom Toles’s Drawings from “The Madhouse Effect”

While climate change is hardly a laughing matter, the drawings from the Pulitzer-winning cartoonist, Tom Toles, brilliantly uses satire and humor to shed a new light on the efforts of denialists to refute scientific evidence. The following are some of his work feature in the book he co-authored with Michael Mann, The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy:

Tom Toles, Madhouse Effect

Tom Toles, Madhouse Effect

Tom Toles, Madhouse Effect

Tom Toles, Madhouse Effect

Tom Toles, Madhouse Effect

Tom Toles, Madhouse Effect

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Interview with Richard Plunz, author of “A History of Housing in New York City”

Richard Plunz, A History of Housing in New York City

“Beyond doubt the large question facing New York housing production today has to do with a market that can not provide for the half of our households that are low income…. One can hope that growing public pressure bottom-up can merge with a top-down realization that we need to innovate in order to grow and prosper as a competitive and cosmopolitan global urban entity.”—Richard Plunz

Tonight, Richard Plunz will be at The Museum of the City of New York to discuss the revised edition of his classic book, A History of Housing in New York City. Below is an interview he recently had with the State of the Planet, part of the Earth Institute:

Question: What prompted you to revise the history?

Richard Plunz: The book has had a long shelf-life and is still very much in use, such that it seems important to update it to include the period of the past two decades. As well, the changes that the past 25 years have brought seem especially important to keep in the public eye, as housing becomes a growing concern in New York. Indeed, housing production plays an essential role in forming our culture and economy, and at present is too little recognized as such. For example, housing should be considered “resilient infrastructure,” but is rarely considered as such. And “climate resilience” obviously must engage where and how people live, let’s say the “soft” side of the equation, in addition to heavy infrastructure. Amazingly, infrastructural discussion in the present presidential campaign is limited to roads and bridges and shorelines, rather than to city fabrics, even as every city faces “affordability” issues of one form or another.

Q: Looking over the past 25 years, what do you see as the most significant changes or trends in housing in the city?

RP: There are many changes, and many are substantial improvements in the quality of life in the city relative to the rather dark days of the 1980s, which is when the earlier edition ends its narrative. As Ken Jackson describes so well in his preface, the Bronx is no longer burning, the pathologies of crack cocaine are no longer with us, and all of the advantages of our density are apparent as we move into an age when urban resilience is synonymous with well-being both local and global. Yet there is a dark side to this transformation. Neighborhoods have gentrified to the great detriment of long-term residents who are displaced; the positive economics have not abated the homeless dilemma; the robust housing market is limited to the high end, [and] that leaves half of the city with little recourse. And if the growing lack of equity in terms of access to adequate housing will not abate, how will we be able to resolve our long-term economic and social viability.

Q: You say in your preface to the revised edition of A History of Housing in New York City that New York has had the most severe housing problems, and also been a center for innovation and reform. In updating the story, where now do you see the worst problems, and where do you find innovation, and perhaps reform?

RP: Beyond doubt the large question facing New York housing production today has to do with a market that can not provide for the half of our households that are low income. And while both Mayors DeBlasio and Bloomberg tried various measures to stimulate this production, it remains unacceptably flat. The last mayoral campaign was won based on this question of fundamental inequities. But our tools for stimulation are too limited, and therefore innovation must somehow break out of normative models. One can hope that growing public pressure bottom-up can merge with a top-down realization that we need to innovate in order to grow and prosper as a competitive and cosmopolitan global urban entity.

(more…)

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Video: Michael Mann Discusses “The Madhouse Effect”

In the following video, Michael Mann discusses The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy, which includes illustrations from Tom Toles, the editorial cartoonist for The Washington Post. Mann explains how Toles’s cartoons uses humor, irony, and satire to expose the hypocrisies of climate change deniers. While Mann criticizes the pseudoscience of those who deny climate change as well as the way they have politicized the issue, he also argues that with new agreements and awareness, we are beginning to turn a corner.

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

New Book Tuesday: Class Clowns, New York’s Elite, The Parole Board, and Much More!

Class Clowns, Jonathan Knee

Our weekly listing of new books now available:

Class Clowns: How the Smartest Investors Lost Billions in Education
Jonathan A. Knee

In Pursuit of Privilege: A History of New York City’s Upper Class and the Making of a Metropolis
Clifton Hood

On the Parole Board: Reflections on Crime, Punishment, Redemption, and Justice
Frederic G. Reamer

Foucault/Derrida Fifty Years Later: The Futures of Genealogy, Deconstruction, and Politics
Edited by Olivia Custer, Penelope Deutscher, and Samir Haddad

Incomparable Empires: Modernism and the Translation of Spanish and American Literature
Gayle Rogers

At the Mercy of Their Clothes: Modernism, the Middlebrow, and British Garment Culture
Celia Marshik

Brevity: A Flash Fiction Handbook
David Galef

Death and Mastery: Psychoanalytic Drive Theory and the Subject of Late Capitalism
Benjamin Y. Fong

Reform Cinema in Iran: Film and Political Change in the Islamic Republic
Blake Atwood

Staging Chinese Revolution: Theater, Film, and the Afterlives of Propaganda
Xiaomei Chen

China’s Hegemony: Four Hundred Years of East Asian Domination
Ji-Young Lee

Reading the Mahavamsa: The Literary Aims of a Theravada Buddhist History
Kristin Scheible

The Politics of Being: The Political Thought of Martin Heidegger, With a New Preface
Richard Wolin

A History of Housing in New York City, revised edition
Richard Plunz. Foreword by Kenneth T. Jackson

Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprisings (Now available in paper)
Frederic M. Wehrey

The Essay Film: Dialogue, Politics, Utopia
Edited by Elizabeth Papazian and Caroline Eades
(Wallflower Press)

(more…)

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

Michael Mann and Tom Toles Name 9 Prominent Climate Change Deniers

The Madhouse Effect

“Yet we have a Republican presidential nominee who has repeatedly called climate change a ‘hoax.’ ‘Perhaps there’s a minor effect,’ Donald Trump told The Washington Post’s editorial board, ‘but I’m not a big believer in man-made climate change.’ So it goes in the madhouse of the climate debate. Even as the evidence has become unmistakable, and even though the alarm has been sounded several times, public policy has been paralyzed—sometimes from ignorance, sometimes from uncertainty, but often from a campaign of deliberate misinformation.”—Michael Mann and Tom Toles

Michael Mann and Tom Toles’s The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy examines and seeks to refute those who manipulate scientific data and the media to deny the truth about climate change.

In a recent piece for The Washington Post, Mann and Toles name 9 prominent deniers “clouding the climate change debate.” In addition to naming the figures, Toles and Mann also provide a quote from each that encapsulates their view on climate change:

1. Donald Trump, politician and businessman: “Perhaps there’s a minor effect but I’m not a big believer in man-made climate change.”

2. S. Fred Singer, founder of think tank, the Science and Environmental Policy Project: “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. On the contrary, it makes crops and forests grow faster.”

3. Steve Milloy, lawyer and commentator for Fox News: “We don’t agree . . . that man-made emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases are having either detectable or predictable effects on climate.”

4. Marc Morano, former communications director for James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.): “[Climate scientists] deserve to be publicly flogged.”

5. Joe Barton, Republican congressman from Texas and a former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee: “The science is not settled, and the science is actually going the other way. . . . We may in fact be going into a cooling period.”

6. Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska: ““Climate science is to this century what eugenics was to the last century.”

7. Rupert Murdoch, founder and head of News Corporation: ““Climate change has been going on as long as the planet is here. There will always be a little bit of it. We can’t stop it.”

8. David and Charles Koch, head of Koch Industries, ““Climate does fluctuate. It goes from hot to cold. We have ice ages.” — David Koch

9. Bjorn Lomborg, author and adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School: “On average, global warming is not going to harm the developing world.”

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Book Giveaway! “The Madhouse Effect,” by Michael Mann and Tom Toles

This week we are very excited to be featuring The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy, by Michael E. Mann and Tom Toles.

In addition to featuring the book and the author on the blog, we will also be posting about the book on twitter, and facebook.

We are also offering a FREE copy of The Madhouse Effect to one winner. To enter the contest please e-mail pl2164@columbia.edu and include your name and address. The winner will be selected Friday, October 21 at 1:00 pm.

The book has already won praise from everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to Naomi Oreskes. Bill McKibben writes:

Michael Mann is one of the planet’s great climate scientists, and Tom Toles may be the great climate communicator–together they are a Category 5 storm of information and indignation, wreaking humorous havoc on those who would deny the greatest challenge humans have ever faced.

Friday, October 14th, 2016

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments. (And look back at our University Press Roundup Manifesto to see why we do this post every Friday.)

MIT Press’s blog features an interview with David Sarokin, an environmental scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency, and Jay Schulkin, Research Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Georgetown University (and author of Sport: A Biological, Philosophical, and Cultural Perspective!). Sarokin and Schulkin are the authors of the recently published, Missed Information, a book that examines the power of information and its ability to shape some of the world’s leading industries. This interview tackles a range of issues, from the role of information and technology in health care to the relationship between social media and law enforcement. According to Sarokin and Schulkin, there is a direct correlation between the dissemination of efficient information and sustainability. “If we add information to that system about human values—information about child labor, environmental protection, worker safety, and more—then those same invisible forces can steer the marketplace, and the world at large, towards a more sustainable future.”

This week, University of Michigan Press’s blog honors author Anne McGuire, winner of the inaugural Tobin Siebers Prize for Disability Studies. This blog post focuses on the field of disability studies, featuring a reflection by David Mitchell, Georgetown University professor and co-editor of the book series Corporealities: Discourses of Disability. This book series, otherwise known as “the longest running academic book series devoted exclusively to disability studies,” has greatly influenced the growth of disability studies in education and its prevalence in the humanities as a whole. “The series has not only been a beacon but also a staple source of research materials for libraries, the general public, teachers, and scholars.”

Will e-books and digital reading overtake print? Naomi S. Baron, professor of Linguistics and Executive Director of the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning at American University, examines this question in a post on Oxford University Press’s blog. The rise of digital reading can be attributed to multiple factors, as e-books are not only more convenient in transportation, but are also generally cheaper than print versions. According to Baron’s research, however, “92% [of university students] said they concentrated best when reading in print.” Even kids from ages 6-17, who tend to be frequent users of digital devices, are in line with this sentiment. “Scholastic found that 71% of 12-14 year-olds agreed with the statement ‘I’ll always want to read books printed on paper even though there are e-books available,’” references Baron. The verdict? “The jury remains out on the future mix of print and digital media. My bet is that for some time to come, readers will have the chance to follow their own preferences.”

A post by Stephen Kendrick, author of The Lively Place: Mount Auburn, America’s First Garden Cemetery, and its Revolutionary and Literary Residents, is currently featured on Beacon Press’s blog. In this post, readers can enjoy a scientific analysis of New England’s “residing glory,” or in other words, the vibrant hue of autumn leaves. The post focuses on the effects of fall on Mount Auburn, a garden cemetery with an ecological approach to horticulture. “The reason the colors are so intense here in New England? It’s all a natural process. The shorter day triggers the reduction of chlorophyll, which produces the green, and when this happens, the yellow pigments that have been there all along are revealed,” says Dr. David Barnett, horticultural specialist and president of Mount Auburn.

An interview with Elizabeth Ann Bartlett, author of Making Waves: Grassroots Feminism in Duluth and Superior, is available on Minnesota Historical Society Press’s blog. Bartlett’s book analyzes the impact of feminist organizing in Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin during the late 1970’s. In her interview, Bartlett speaks about the process behind writing her book in addition to the personal connection she shares with Duluth and its relationship to feminism. “Duluth was coming into its feminist awareness and activism at the same time I was. It was the perfect place to be as a budding feminist,” reflects Bartlett.

With Michel Foucault’s 90th birthday on the horizon, Stanford University Press’s blog celebrates with a compilation of 5 books that “tussle with Foucault’s legacy.” The post delves into Foucault’s accomplishments and his many contributions to multiple academic fields. “Across the humanities and social sciences his work continues to be among the most cited, a distinction proportionate to the number of scholarly hats Foucault wore in life—including that of the philosopher, the historian, the social theorist, the philologist, and the literary critic.” Each book recommendation includes a paragraph on content and context, in addition to a quotation, reflecting praise for each publication.

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

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Media Roundup: Capital and the Common Good

Capital and the Common Good

This week, our featured book is Capital and the Common Good: How Innovative Finance Is Tackling the World’s Most Urgent Problems, by Georgia Levenson Keohane. For the final post of the feature, we are happy to present a quick roundup of some of the great media attention Capital and the Common Good is getting.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Capital and the Common Good.

Georgia Levenson Keohane’s Capital and the Common Good has received lots of great coverage over the past couple weeks, starting with a review by Brenda Jubin at Seeking Alpha. Jubin claims that “[t]his book may not be an antidote to the constant barrage of attacks on the financial industry, but it shows that finance can be, and often is, allied with the interests of the public good.”

On October 3, Keohane was interviewed by Diane Horn on the Sustainability Segment of Mind Over Matters on KEXP Seattle.

Keohane has also written a number of articles about the use of innovative finance in helping to solve major world issues, including climate change mitigation; health, disaster response, and poverty reduction; and the global refugee crisis.

If you are in New York City next week, please come see Georgia at Columbia Business School where she will discuss how innovative finance is tackling the world’s most urgent problems. Capital and the Common Good 10/17 at Columbia Business School, Uris Hall, Room 322 at 6:30pm. You can find more information about the event at the website of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise.

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Investing in Hope: Innovative Finance for the World’s Refugees

Capital and the Common Good

“Yet we have seen how interventions that view refugees as potential assets, not liabilities, are not only cost-effective, but the seeds of prosperity and peace.” — Georgia Levenson Keohane, Andrew Billo, John Kluge and Christine Mahoney

This week, our featured book is Capital and the Common Good: How Innovative Finance Is Tackling the World’s Most Urgent Problems, by Georgia Levenson Keohane. Today, we are happy to share an excerpt from an article by Keohane, Andrew Billo, John Kluge and Christine Mahoney that was originally posted at New America.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Capital and the Common Good.

Investing in Hope: Innovative Finance for the World’s Refugees
By Georgia Levenson Keohane, Andrew Billo, John Kluge and Christine Mahoney

What if, for starters, we understood that this problem was not going to resolve itself in a matter of months and removed the basic barriers to work allowing people fleeing their homes— a dislocated but often skilled labor force—to contribute, productively, to their new communities? This is not a simple task; in places like Lebanon, already high unemployment means that absorbing millions of working age Syrians is economically, and politically, complex.

Yet we have seen how interventions that view refugees as potential assets, not liabilities, are not only cost-effective, but the seeds of prosperity and peace. Consider the recent aid-for-trade deal between the European Union and Jordan, home to 650,000 Syrian refugees. Jordan will issue work permits to Syrians—20,000 issued to date, another 78,000 forthcoming—in exchange for EU aid and relaxed import duties for Jordanian manufacturers who employ Syrians. (more…)

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Fighting Deforestation and Climate Change

Capital and the Common Good

“REDD was originally premised on the idea that forest conservation could attract significant financial resources by allowing verified reductions in emissions to generate credits that could be used for compliance in cap-and-trade programs in other countries. With the delayed development of these compliance markets in places like the United States, the REDD framework has evolved as a kind of innovative finance development assistance, relying primarily on public sources of funds.” — Georgia Levenson Keohane

This week, our featured book is Capital and the Common Good: How Innovative Finance Is Tackling the World’s Most Urgent Problems, by Georgia Levenson Keohane. Today, we are happy to present part of an excerpt from Capital and the Common Good, originally posted at impactalpha, in which Keohane looks at the way that REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is attempting to combat deforestation in Brazil through innovative finance.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Capital and the Common Good.

Fighting Deforestation and Climate Change: REDD Financing Lessons from Brazil and Indonesia
By Georgia Levenson Keohane

REDD — Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation — is a pay-for-success program designed to create economic incentives to protect forests and the carbon they contain. First introduced into the UN climate talks in 2005, by scientists and environmental advocates from Brazil and the U.S. using the term “Compensated Reductions,” REDD has evolved to include a range of innovative financing approaches to reduce emissions related to deforestation.

The motivation behind REDD is as much long-term sustainable development as it is forests per se. Among the primary drivers of growth in countries like Brazil have been the development of commodities like palm oil, soy, and beef, often through deforestation—clearing trees to raise crops and cattle. REDD’s pay-for-success design is meant to motivate less carbon-intensive production. That means improving economic output while decreasing emissions. (more…)