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April 21st, 2017

University Press Roundup



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

Several university presses pulled together posts and resources to celebrate Earth Week, as well as looking forward to Saturday’s global March for Science. The University of California Press blog ran a series of posts on topics including the future of America’s public lands, the abstract paradoxes of environmentalism, and the establishment of the Sierra Club. The Cambridge University Press blog featured a data-laden post by Timothy H. Dixon, professor of geosciences at the University of Florida, on the challenges and potential for change which are provoked by global overpopulation. The Duke University Press produced another post in its #ReadtoRespond series, compiling essential readings in environmental issues and activism.

Other anniversaries and commemorations this week included a reading list from the New York University Press celebrating NYC Immigrant Heritage Week; a long post at the Harvard University Press blog of reflections from several prominent scholars on the fifty-year influence of Bernard Bailyn’s The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution; and a summary of crucial reading from the University of Texas Press’s series ‘The Katrina Shelf,’ on the impact and fallout of Hurricane Katrina.

We shared a link last week from the University of Minnesota Press about the arts under the Trump presidency; this week Steve Zeitlin, author of The Poetry of Everyday Life: Storytelling and the Art of Awareness (2016) took up this topic for the Cornell University Press blog, highlighting the fact that the NEA and the arts generally have an outsized positive impact in poor or underserved communities. In other fascinating topics this week, the Oxford University Press blog featured a post by Carol Dyhouse, professor emeritus of history at the University of Sussex, on how misogyny in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries often targeted the disturbing prospect of women enjoying themselves. The Princeton University Press blog hosted a Q&A with Richard E. Ocejo on the topic of his new book about the renaissance of certain old-fashioned jobs in new urban economies: cocktail bartenders, craft distillers, upscale men’s barbers, and whole animal butchers. And the University of North Carolina Press featured a guest post by Judy Kutulas, author of the new After Aquarius Dawned: How the Revolutions of the Sixties Became the Popular Culture of the Seventies, about the unsettling discoveries she made when researching the death of her father’s cousin in the Jonestown Massacre.

From the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: the Fordham University Press celebrated the 100th birthday of the No. 7 ‘Flushing Line’ train in New York City. The University of Illinois Press marked the birthday of Daniel Chester French, the sculptor who carved Abraham Lincoln for his Memorial. At the Johns Hopkins University Press blog, Leslie Tomory, author of The History of the London Water Industry (2017), took a look at the commodification and selling of water in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. And the University Press of Kentucky treated us to a compilation of ‘5 Unforgettable Gene Kelly Dance Numbers‘ to mark the publication of a new biography of Kelly by Cynthia and Sara Brideson.

April 19th, 2017

Soul Dollars



Down the Up Staircase

“Harlem was full of contradictions for anyone who dared to look. Mamie Canty, my mother’s seamstress, was also a fulltime bookie for Harlem kingpin Nicky Barnes, one of the biggest drug dealers in the city.” — Bruce D. Haynes and Syma Solovitch

This week, our featured book is Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family, by Bruce D. Haynes and Syma Solovitch. To start the week’s feature, we are happy to present an excerpt from the book’s preface.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Down the Up Staircase!

April 18th, 2017

New Book Tuesday: Business in the Age of Activism, Lone Wolf Terrorism, Extinction Studies, and More!



Extinction Studies

Our weekly listing of new books now available:

Shapeholders: Business Success in the Age of Activism
Mark R. Kennedy

The Age of Lone Wolf Terrorism
Mark S. Hamm and Ramón Spaaij. Foreword by Simon Cottee.

Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death, and Generations
Edited by Deborah Bird Rose, Thom van Dooren, and Matthew Chrulew. Foreword by Cary Wolfe.

Journalistic Authority: Legitimating News in the Digital Era
Matt Carlson

Now available in paperback:
After the American Century: The Ends of U.S. Culture in the Middle East
Brian T. Edwards

Now available in paperback:
The Lioness in Winter: Writing an Old Woman’s Life
Ann Burack-Weiss

Now available in paperback:
Encountering Religion: Responsibility and Criticism After Secularism
Tyler Roberts

An Interesting Life, So Far: Memoirs of Literary and Musical Peregrinations
Bruce King
(ibidem Press)

April 18th, 2017

Introducing Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family



Down the Up Staircase

“We owned a three-story brownstone in Harlem, the kind built for a rising moneyed class. Now it stood as a testament to our family’s rise and demise over the century. Its walls echoed the voices of three generations of a black middle-class family: the hard-won glories of my grandfather, the whispered regrets and concessions of my parents, the fall from grace of their firstborn, and the wrenching blow that came with the death of their second.” — Bruce D. Haynes and Syma Solovitch

This week, our featured book is Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family, by Bruce D. Haynes and Syma Solovitch. To start the week’s feature, we are happy to present an excerpt from the book’s preface.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Down the Up Staircase!

April 17th, 2017

Book Giveaway! Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family



Down the Up Staircase

“Bruce D. Haynes’s story is a classic American tale—which combines the big themes of history with the gritty reality of a single family’s extraordinary story.” — Jeffrey Toobin

This week, our featured book is Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family, by Bruce D. Haynes and Syma Solovitch. 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.

April 14th, 2017

University Press Roundup



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

Many university presses are celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing poems or poetry collections. One such post, for example, from the Cambridge University Press blog, showcases the Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets, which is edited by Gerry Dawe. The MIT Press marked National Library Week with an excerpt from Fantasies of the Library (2016), a book edited by Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin. And in anticipation of Easter this weekend, the Harvard University Press blog hosted an excerpt of Robin Jensen’s new book The Cross: History, Art, and Controversy.

Current affairs articles from this past week included a reading list from the Duke University Press’s #ReadtoRespond series which compiled resources for student activists. The Beacon Broadside Press reposted a piece by Carole Joffe, professor of reproductive health and sociology, on the deeply concerning prospect that the potential re-criminalization of abortion under a remade Supreme Court would lead to disastrous consequences for women nationwide, including a surge in self-administered procedures and jail sentences. At the Stanford University Press blog Vikash Singh, author of Uprising of the Fools: Pilgrimage as Moral Protest in Contemporary India (2017), warned in a guest post of the dangers and fundamental misunderstanding involved in the belief that we live in a ‘secular age’ in which religion can only be destructive.

In cultural commentary, the University of California Press blog hosted an excerpt of an article by Lyra D. Monteiro (American Studies, Rutgers-Newark) which pushes back against some of the near-universal acclaim given to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton by asking for new consideration of the fact that very few African-American historical actors are depicted in the show, despite its diversity in casting. And at the University of Minnesota Press blog, Adair Rounthwaite, author of Asking the Audience: Participatory Art in 1980s New York (2017), wrote about the surprising bi-partisan agreement in Washington D.C. to protect the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts.

From the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: the University of Illinois Press encouraged us to ‘embrace the psychology of mycology’ (i.e. mushroom-gathering). In a similar vein, the University Press of Kentucky shared some classic state recipes for burgoo, barbecue, and whiskey cake. The Minnesota Historical Society Press posted a Q&A with Klas Bergman, author of Scandinavians in the State House: How Nordic Immigrants Shaped Minnesota Politics (2017). And the Johns Hopkins University Press posted a brief Q&A with Professor Claudia Nelson, editor of the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, about some of the recent fascinating changes in children’s and YA literature.

Finally, there has been fun and exciting news about university press work in the last few weeks. The Temple University Press and Fordham University Press both received National Endowment for the Humanities’ Open Book Program – Temple to make out-of-print titles on labor studies digitally available, and Fordham to put a selection of their prominent philosophy list online. The Cornell University Press shared the first episode of their brand-new press podcast, ‘1869.’ And the University of Missouri Press recently announced that, for environmental and budgetary reasons, they are switching from printing on industry-standard paper to printing on seaweed paper.

April 13th, 2017

Why I Chose to Research What Slaveholders Think



What Slaveholders Think

“The public square is celebrated by scholars of democracy as a pillar of free and open society. But to slaveholders this space is a cauldron of ‘enmity, ego, and hatred’. Free workers spending their free time talking about life is what gives democracy its vitality – no wonder it’s perceived to be a threat to those who have benefitted from the caste hierarchy. To the erstwhile slaveholder, leisure activities – talking, idling, drinking – are vices, tangible manifestations of social decline.” — Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

This week, our featured book is What Slaveholders Think: How Contemporary Perpetrators Rationalize What They Do, by Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick. In today’s post, an excerpt from an article published at The Huffington Post, Choi-Fitzpatrick explains why he took his unique approach to researching modern slavery.

Enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of What Slaveholders Think!

Why I Chose to Research What Slaveholders Think
By Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

I often get asked why I wrote a book about contemporary slaveholders. Once people get over the fact that slavery still exists they want to know who on earth is out there, right now doing what it takes to exploit their fellow humans in the worst sort of way?

At the moment the contemporary anti-slavery movement has raised over a billion dollars, reduced the vulnerabilities of untold millions, and brought thousands out of exploitation. Yet we know little about the individuals committing these crimes. I’ve been doing this work for almost 20 years and can tell you this: we know as much about slaveholders today as we did about victims two decades ago; hardly anything.

I set out to change that. In conversations with hundreds and hundreds of people—perpetrators and their victims, local government officials and rights activists—a picture of the life and times of contemporary slaveholders began to emerge.

In case after case, slaveholders targeted by human rights groups told me that they missed the old days. They told me that they wished for a brighter future for their children but that they themselves had been overlooked. Rights groups, broad economic factors, powerful political players, and even their victims, now had all the power.

Some solutions to slavery and trafficking are easier to see once we factor in what slaveholders think. Recognizing that they themselves are only doing what they can to get by doesn’t justify criminality and abuse, but it does suggest that some more traditional development solutions—alternative livelihood projects and microcredit included—may hold potential for emancipation among both perpetrators and victims. Of course. for freedom to be sustainable minds must be changed—that’s why it’s as important as ever to focus community organizing and human rights empowerment efforts at grassroots struggles for freedom.

The goal is not to equivocate between bonded labor and impoverished slaveholders, but instead to emphasize that slavery is relational, emancipation is complex, and the goal of ending slavery in our lifetime will require strategies that address the reality of the situation rather than the way it may appear in our imagination.

Read the article in full at The Huffington Post.

April 12th, 2017

What do slaveholders think?



What Slaveholders Think

“The public square is celebrated by scholars of democracy as a pillar of free and open society. But to slaveholders this space is a cauldron of ‘enmity, ego, and hatred’. Free workers spending their free time talking about life is what gives democracy its vitality – no wonder it’s perceived to be a threat to those who have benefitted from the caste hierarchy. To the erstwhile slaveholder, leisure activities – talking, idling, drinking – are vices, tangible manifestations of social decline.” — Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

This week, our featured book is What Slaveholders Think: How Contemporary Perpetrators Rationalize What They Do, by Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick. Today, we are happy to present a short excerpt from an article by Choi-Fitzpatrick published at Aeon.

Enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of What Slaveholders Think!

What do slaveholders think?: It is everywhere illegal yet slavery persists in many corners of the global economy. How do its beneficiaries justify it?
By Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

Withholding pay and limiting opportunities to mobilise are important strategies for controlling workers. But all of this is done for the workers’ own good, Aanan insists. Though landlords complain about alcohol, such indulgences are also tactics for increasing debt. Rowdy festivals allow workers to blow off steam, effectively directing frustration away from their abusers. These events also allow workers to spend what little money they have, increasing the likelihood that they will remain dependent on the landlord’s line of credit.

When asked if he needs the workers or the workers need him, Aanan explains that: ‘The worker is my cash machine, my fate.’ In this one statement, he has captured a central contradiction inherent in most human-rights violations worldwide: exploitation takes place at the intersection of culture and capital, in the overlap between relationship and extraction, at the moment where care and exploitation intersect.

Long accustomed to power, slaveholders work hard to sustain their status and baulk at any hint of equality. One previously powerful employer confided to me that his community was in decline. ‘In the olden days … labourers used to work in their fields, they used to think of their work,’ he told me. Now, however, they freshen up after work and drink coffee and tea while talking about ‘unnecessary things’, an opportunity for democratic discourse that is ‘deviating their minds’.

The public square is celebrated by scholars of democracy as a pillar of free and open society. But to slaveholders this space is a cauldron of ‘enmity, ego, and hatred’. Free workers spending their free time talking about life is what gives democracy its vitality – no wonder it’s perceived to be a threat to those who have benefitted from the caste hierarchy. To the erstwhile slaveholder, leisure activities – talking, idling, drinking – are vices, tangible manifestations of social decline.

Read the article in full at Aeon.

April 12th, 2017

Announcing Center for Korean Research Books



CKR Logo

The Center for Korean Research and Columbia University Press announce the new Korean Studies Book Initiative.

The Center for Korean Research in the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University and Columbia University Press are pleased to announce a new Korean studies book initiative. A $10,000 subvention will be awarded each year on a competitive basis to an author who has secured a contract from Columbia University Press for an outstanding Korea-related book in any academic discipline and covering any time period. Applications for the subvention are not required. Columbia University Press will consider all Korea-related manuscripts under contract in a given year for the award. The designation “A Center for Korean Research Book” will appear on the title page of the book, along with acknowledgment of the funding source on the copyright page.

“The Center for Korean Research is happy to have the opportunity to expand its publications activity through its partnership with Columbia University Press. We hope that Center for Korean Research Books will advance Korea-related scholarship in the social sciences and humanities,” remarks Theodore Hughes, director of the Center for Korean Research in the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University.

Christine Dunbar, editor, Columbia University Press says, “From Peter Lee’s Sources of Korean Tradition to Janet Poole’s When the Future Disappears: The Modernist Imagination in Late Colonial Korea, Columbia University Press has long been dedicated to publishing seminal translations and forward-thinking monographs in Korean studies. We are delighted to be working with the Center for Korean Research to continue this important work.”

Those interested in publishing in the series should send to Christine Dunbar, editor at Columbia University Press (cd2654@columbia.edu), a proposal containing a brief description of the content and focus of the book, a table of contents or chapter outline, literature review and market analysis, and professional information about the author, including previous publications.

About the Center for Korean Research:

The Center for Korean Research (CKR) in the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University plays a leading role in the study of Korea on the local, national, and international levels. CKR collaborates with institutes and departments across Columbia University, providing support for Korea-related research across the social sciences and humanities in the form of programming assistance, graduate fellowships, postdoctoral positions, undergraduate teaching grants, and library funding. By sponsoring public lectures, conferences, workshops, and cultural events, CKR advances academic knowledge and a greater public awareness of Korea in the New York City area. CKR serves as a bridge between Korean studies in North America and the most recent work of the Korean academic world through its active partnerships with universities and institutions in South Korea. The Center also maintains a global reach via its sponsorship of the field’s leading journal, the Journal of Korean Studies (published by Duke University Press).

About Columbia University Press:

Columbia University Press was founded in 1893. With nearly 125 years of continuous publishing activities, it is the fourth-oldest university press in America. Notable highlights in its history include the publication of the Columbia Encyclopedia in 1935, the acquisition of The Columbia Granger’s Index to Poetry in 1945, and the introduction of the three Sources anthologies of Chinese, Japanese, and Indian classic works in the 1950s. East Asian studies has always been a strength of the Press, which has published such luminaries in the field as Theodore de Bary, Donald Keene, Burton Watson, Haruo Shirane, and JaHyun Kim Haboush. For more information see: http://www.cup.columbia.edu/.

April 11th, 2017

In All Its Forms: Slavery and Abolition, Movements and Targets



What Slaveholders Think

“It is imperative to understand variation in exploiters and exploitation as well as the exploiters’ own perspectives on how their lives are changing. Perhaps we will then better understand the difficulties involved in securing sustainable emancipation.” — Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

This week, our featured book is What Slaveholders Think: How Contemporary Perpetrators Rationalize What They Do, by Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick. To start the feature, we are happy to present an excerpt from Choi-Fitzpatrick’s first chapter: “In All Its Forms: Slavery and Abolition, Movements and Targets.”

Enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of What Slaveholders Think!

April 11th, 2017

New Book Tuesday: Quarks to Culture, Three Generations of a Harlem Family, The Battle Over Addiction Treatment, and More!



Quarks to Culture

Our weekly listing of new books now available:

Quarks to Culture: How We Came to Be
Tyler Volk

Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family
Bruce D. Haynes and Syma Solovitch

The Recovery Revolution: The Battle Over Addiction Treatment in the United States
Claire D. Clark

Now available in paperback:
Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age
Edward O’Donnell

Now available in paperback:
Stem Cell Dialogues: A Philosophical and Scientific Inquiry Into Medical Frontiers
Sheldon Krimsky

Handbook of LGBT Tourism and Hospitality: A Guide for Business Practice
Jeff Guaracino and Ed Salvato
(Harrington Park Press, LLC)

Blue Dunes: Climate Change by Design
Edited by Jesse M. Keenan and Claire Weisz
(Columbia Books on Architecture and the City)

Archaeology on Medieval Knights’ Manor Houses in Poland
Anna Marciniak-Kajzer
(Jagiellonian University Press)

China – Central and Eastern Europe Cross-Cultural Dialogue: Society, Business and Education in Transition
Edited by Joanna Wardega
(Jagiellonian University Press)

The Dynamics of Complexity, Accuracy and Fluency in Second Language Development
Iwona Kowal
(Jagiellonian University Press)

Faces of Contemporary Management, Volume 1
Edited by Barbara Kozuch and Katarzyna Sienkiewicz-Malyjurek
(Jagiellonian University Press)

Rotifers (Rotifera): Freshwater Fauna of Poland
Edited by Irena Bielanska-Grajner, Jolanta Ejsmont-Karabin, and Stanislaw Radwan
(Jagiellonian University Press)

Regenerative Medicine for the Treatment of Urinary Incontinence
Edited by Klaudia Stangel-Wójcikiewicz
(Jagiellonian University Press)

Macedonian Discourses: Text Linguistics and Pragmatics
Maciej Kawka
(Jagiellonian University Press)

April 10th, 2017

Passover Wines



Passover Wines

The following is a guest post from Natalie Berkowitz, author of The Winemaker’s Hand: Conversations on Talent, Technique, and Terroir:

Passover Wines
By Natalie Berkowitz

The psalmist who stated “Wine maketh glad the heart of man” spoke of the enduring tradition of wine as man’s companion. Highly anticipated holidays herald the cycle of seasons, make ordinary days special and slow down the swift passage of time. Passover presages Spring’s rejuvenation and recalls the Jewish Exodus from Egypt millennia ago. Jews, both orthodox and less traditional, gather family and friends around a seder table laden with food and wine. At Passover, when four cups of wine are poured as libations during the reading of the Seder service, it becomes a question of which wines add a sense of joyfulness to the occasion. This holiday season, welcome guests with a cornucopia of reasonably priced choices from great wine-producing regions, made with exacting rabbinic supervision, some mevushal, and others not. The choices are almost mind-boggling, and promise a sense of adventure that marries well with the complicated and delicious celebratory meal. Contrary to common misconception that a special blessing certifies wine as kosher, its production must follow strict dietary regulations of Kashruth. These regulations permit non-Jews to harvest grapes, but designated rabbis must carefully supervise vineyard management and vinification, from grape crush through fermentation until the bottles are sealed.

For centuries, wine was boiled to ensure its purity, inadvertently destroying many vaunted qualities. Most kosher wines are qualify for accommodating with Kashruth laws, using the modern technique of flash pasteurization developed at U. C. Davis, America’s notable enology school about twenty years ago. Today, kosher wines are heated at a temperature of 160 to 195 degrees for a few seconds, a major step that maintains their flavors and integrity. The extra step, called Mevushal, satisfies the needs of the Ultra-Orthodox and permits wine served in restaurants to be poured by other than observant Jews. The holiday celebrating the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt has even more stringent requirements for wine and food in order to be Kosher for Passover. Read the rest of this entry »

April 10th, 2017

Book Giveaway! What Slaveholders Think, by Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick



What Slaveholders Think

“A much-needed and unique work. Our understanding of modern slavery holds virtually nothing on slaveholders. Such a study has always been seen as the Holy Grail, truly critical knowledge if we are to move forward, but always outside our ability to grasp. Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick also goes somewhere that few scholars in this area have gone—raising important, challenging questions about how slaveholders might be understood and rehabilitated.” — Kevin Bales, cofounder of Free the Slaves

This week, our featured book is What Slaveholders Think: How Contemporary Perpetrators Rationalize What They Do, by Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick. 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.

April 7th, 2017

On Burton Watson (1925-2017)



Burton Watson

The following post is by Jennifer Crewe, associate provost and director of Columbia University Press. As an editor she worked with Burton Watson for 30 years before his death earlier this month.

Burton Watson died a few days ago, and with his passing the world has lost one of its greatest translators. Burton was one of the only people who possessed the extraordinary ability to translate equally well from both Chinese and Japanese. In fact, one of the early anthologies he translated and edited for Columbia University Press was Japanese Literature in Chinese, a title that puzzled me greatly when I first arrived at the Press, knowing nothing about Chinese or Japanese literature. Burton was deeply familiar with both languages and cultures. He started learning Japanese while serving in the U.S. Navy and stationed in Japan during World War II (as did several giants in the field of his generation, including Donald Keene and Wm. Theodore deBary, also seminal Columbia figures who created the Columbia Asia program and started the Press’s list in East Asian civilizations). After Watson’s discharge he enrolled at Columbia and received his Ph.D. in Chinese literature in 1956. The Press published a revised version of his dissertation, Ssu-ma Ch’ien, Grand Historian of China, beginning what would be a sixty-year relationship.

In addition to working freely in both languages, Burton also moved easily from premodern classics (his Zhuangzi, originally published in its Wade-Giles version in 1968, is still one of the Press’s best-selling books) to works from the modern period. He was at home translating a similarly wide range of genres, from ancient history (Records of the Grand Historian of China) to philosophy and religion (Analects of Confucius and The Lotus Sutra), to literature (Tales of the Heike and Selected Poems of Du Fu).

I marveled at his ability and at his copious production. When he finished one book and sent it to me, there was often a period of silence; then he would write and ask what I thought he should translate next.

I once heard a story, perhaps apocryphal, told to me by someone who visited Burton’s Tokyo apartment and watched as he sat at his manual typewriter looking at whatever book he was translating and simply typing the translation as he read the original, without having to look up any words. As a nonspeaker of Chinese and Japanese, I rely on experts to tell me whether a transition is an accurate and faithful rendition of the original. But as a reader I rely on my ear. It was clear to me that Burton was an avid reader of American poetry—particularly of the Williams era. His translations, particularly of poetry, are concise, deceptively simple, and evocative. And they employ the language of everyday speech, which is why they are so successful with students. Burton’s translations opened up the world of East Asian culture to countless students and general readers. Over the years I would occasionally hear criticisms—Watson’s translations were not “scholarly” enough. Burton eschewed notes, and it was often difficult to coax even an introduction out of him. But his translations will last because of the simple beauty of his English idiom. Many “scholarly” translations do not display that inner beauty. Burton’s translations seem effortless. He strove for that.

By my count Columbia University Press has 41 books in print with Watson’s name attached to them. I have been at the Press 30 years, so that is how long I knew Burton. I got acquainted with him slowly, by means of old-fashioned letter-writing. He would send me carefully typed pale blue aerograms, which I would open with trepidation lest I accidentally tear off any of his prose, which was friendly, spare, and efficient, sometimes with a note of petulance—“I don’t suppose you liked my last manuscript much”—if I had failed to respond promptly to what he’d sent. I never saw his apartment, but I always imagined him sitting in a barely furnished Japanese-style room, with the typewriter, and later the computer, in the center on a small desk, and with books all around.

My relationship with Burton remained mostly epistolary on into the e-mail era, when his messages were shorter and lost a bit of flair, but I did see him several times when he came to Columbia for a semester some 20 years ago, and then twice in Tokyo more recently. The last time I saw him was in 2012, and he seemed in good health and rather chipper. He took me on a long walk through the Imperial Palace Gardens, and it seemed to me that he could go on walking forever.

All day
In the mountains
Ants too are walking

From For All My Walking: Free-Verse Haiku of Taneda Santoka
Translated by Burton Watson

April 5th, 2017

Exciting Times in Brain Science



Genes, Brains, and Human Potential

“Far from confirming what was expected, the research results, in fact, are suggesting something else: no less than a fundamental re-appraisal of many of our basic concepts. They indicate that expectations – the models framing research – have been more based on ideological assumptions that objective science. This is what happens when social experiences, such as class-structure or conventional gender roles, come to shape the concepts upon which scientific research is based – and which scientific research is then expected to reinforce.” — Ken Richardson

This week, our featured book is Genes, Brains, and Human Potential: The Science and Ideology of Intelligence, by Ken Richardson. Today, we are happy to present an article by Richardson on why the mountains of new data about particulars of brain activities have failed to construct a coherent model of overall function – what the brain is really for.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Genes, Brains, and Human Potential!

Exciting Times in Brain Science
By Ken Richardson

“These are exciting times in…” That’s a well-worn cliché, of course. But in two fields of science, at least, it’s not so trite. Advances in genetics over the last twenty years or so have been remarkable. Now DNA can be sequenced, and genes, even their molecular components – and who has them, or not – can be identified.

So the scene has been set for discovering genetic associations with complex diseases, or even individual differences in potential for traits like intelligence or education. And maybe that information can be used for selecting individuals for careers or as a basis for precision treatments in schools or families. In streams of exhortations, educators everywhere are now being told to think “genetically”.

Likewise with the brain: we’re enjoying a period of terrific breakthroughs, teeming with details about structure and function. New methods, particularly in “brain imaging”, have even produced speculation that the true nature of intelligence itself – and, again, who has it, or who does not – can be worked out “in the brain”. So teachers and educators are also being encouraged to be “brain scientists”.

But vaulting claims and promissory notes are one thing, reality another. High hopes about pinpointing genes are turning to disappointments. For well-defined medical conditions even weak genetic correlations have been difficult to establish. The difficulties are hugely magnified for traits like intelligence, for which there is not even agreed definition (quite apart from falling into the trap of automatically treating correlations as causes). Read the rest of this entry »

April 4th, 2017

Introducing Genes, Brains, and Human Potential



Genes, Brains, and Human Potential

“Whatever powerful new technologies are applied [to questions about the causes of variation in human potential], we will still only get slightly more sophisticated expressions of essentially the same message. That is because the concepts themselves are really only veneered expressions of a very old—albeit often unconscious—ideology, rooted in the class, gender, and ethnic structure of society: a ladder view of a social order imposed on our genes and brains.” — Ken Richardson

This week, our featured book is Genes, Brains, and Human Potential: The Science and Ideology of Intelligence, by Ken Richardson. To kick the feature off, we are happy to present an excerpt from the book’s preface.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Genes, Brains, and Human Potential!

April 4th, 2017

New Book Tuesday: the Ontology of Energy, Phenomena of Power, Naqab Bedouins, and More!



Energy Dreams

Our weekly listing of new books now available:

Energy Dreams: Of Actuality
Michael Marder

Phenomena of Power: Authority, Domination, and Violence
Heinrich Popitz. Introduction by Andreas Göttlich and Jochen Dreher. Translated by Gianfranco Poggi.

The Naqab Bedouins: A Century of Politics and Resistance
Mansour Nasasra

Macbeth
Rebekah Owens
(Auteur)

Transnational Ukraine?: Networks and Ties that Influence(d) Contemporary Ukraine
Edited by Timm Beichelt and Susann Worschech
(ibidem Press)

April 3rd, 2017

Book Giveaway! Genes, Brains, and Human Potential, by Ken Richardson



Genes, Brains, and Human Potential

“In his latest book, Genes, Brains, and Human Potential, Richardson has again creatively illuminated the bases and limitations of genetic reductionist accounts of human intelligence, showing how cutting-edge research provides a valid alternative to such counterfactual and egregiously flawed models. Informative and inspiring, he convincingly counters these failed accounts of intelligence, forwarding a new relational theory of human development.” — Richard M. Lerner, Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and Director, Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development Tufts University

This week, our featured book is Genes, Brains, and Human Potential: The Science and Ideology of Intelligence, by Ken Richardson. 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.

March 31st, 2017

University Press Roundup



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

Several university presses celebrated intriguing anniversaries this week. Duke University Press pulled together a list of essential reading from Transgender Studies Quarterly in honor of the ninth annual International Transgender Day of Visibility. The University of California Press has honored the civil and labor rights activist Cesar Chavez with a reading list of his life and times, on what would have been his 90th birthday. The University Press of Kentucky compiled a list of several of their military history titles to accompany the 84th annual meeting of the Society for Military History this weekend. And the Beacon Broadside Press looked back at their decision to edit and publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971, featuring quotes from the then-director of the Press, Gobin Stair.

Our big current affairs post of the week comes from the Oxford University Press blog, where Michael Keating, Professor of Politics at the University of Aberdeen, unpacked the issues at stake in the Scottish National Party’s decision to go ahead with seeking a second referendum on leaving the United Kingdom, reacting to the future uncertainty of ‘Brexit’ for Scotland and the British Isles as a whole. Elsewhere, the Stanford University Press blog featured a post by Julian Berkshaw and Jonas Ridderstrale, co-authors of Fast/Forward: Make Your Company Fit for the Future (2017), on the increasing pitfalls of using big data in the business world and what they believe will be a necessary move back towards human decision making in the world of management.

The University of Pennsylvania Press blog featured a post from Columbia’s own Professor Richard John looking at the various ways in which historians have tackled the relationship between politics and the business world in the United States. And at the University of North Carolina Press blog, Jennifer Le Zotte, author of From Goodwill to Grunge: A History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies (2017), contributed a fascinating guest post on the importance of thrift stores to the development of LGBTQ cultures, and how they “permanently altered the dynamics between charity, labor, activism, and profit.”

From the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: at the NYU Press blog, Margaret M. McGuinness wrote on the necessity of including “trailblazing nuns” and other women religious in histories of labor and business. Temple University Press featured a piece by Lolly Tai on the importance and beauty of the best outdoor environments designed for children. At the Yale University Press blog, Timothy Bolton reflected on the biography of King Cnut, and on the challenges of writing a biography of him given that “the image of the man behind the acts as reported in the various sources of evidence often seems like the reports of the three legendary blindmen describing their elephant.” And finally: the Yale University Press continued its series ‘Bird Fact Friday’ by asking the question – why do birds sing?

March 30th, 2017

The Historical Case for Asia Strategy



By More Than Providence

“Is the United States capable of grand strategy? Two centuries of American engagement with Asia and the Pacific strongly suggest that the answer is yes. American grand strategy has been episodic and inefficient, but in the aggregate it has been effective.” — Michael J. Green

This week, our featured book is By More Than Providence: Grand Strategy and American Power in the Asia Pacific Since 1783, by Michael J. Green. Today, we are happy to present an excerpt from the conclusion.