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August 18th, 2017

It Is an Entire World That Has Disappeared



Extinction Studies

“Did they have an intuition of what was and what will have been? That the sky had become a desert? That to be ten, or even a hundred, means to be alone when you are a Passenger Pigeon? Did they know, from their ancestors’ memories, that the land, forests, and fields, seen by few eyes, no longer resembled anything, and that their patterns and colors, so familiar and recognizable when the eyes are many, had become incomprehensibly foreign and senseless for theirs—like a painting by an artist gone mad?” — Vinciane Despret

This week, our featured book is Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death, and Generations, edited by Deborah Bird Rose, Thom van Dooren, and Matthew Chrulew, with a foreword by Cary Wolfe. For the final post of the feature, we are happy to present Vinciane Despret’s afterword to the book, translated by Matthew Chrulew.

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

August 17th, 2017

Telling Extinction Stories



Extinction Studies

“And yet, despite this central responsibility, people are involved in extinction in varied and ambivalent ways. We eat animals, log their forests for housing, cull their numbers for convenience, destroy and transform their homes and lives through unyielding systems of development and security. In this context, many people find themselves overwhelmed with the depressing inevitability and crushing finality of extinction. It is all the more astonishing, therefore, that along with sadness there is hope, along with seeming inevitability there is resistance.” — Rose, van Dooren, and Chrulew

This week, our featured book is Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death, and Generations, edited by Deborah Bird Rose, Thom van Dooren, and Matthew Chrulew, with a foreword by Cary Wolfe. Today, to start the feature, we are happy to present the introduction, cowritten by the book’s three editors.

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

August 16th, 2017

Book Giveaway! Extinction Studies



Extinction Studies

Extinction Studies collects haunting and haunted multivoiced stories that echo together in a vibrant plea for an ethic of care, lucidity, and obstinate, stammering hope. We need such stories to make us feel and think with the unraveling of a world we inherit and share together with innumerable entangled forms and ways of life. We need them also to repopulate our devastated imaginations and to help us escape the twin easy temptations of nihilist despair and blind confidence.” — Isabelle Stengers, author of Cosmopolitics

This week, our featured book is Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death, and Generations, edited by Deborah Bird Rose, Thom van Dooren, and Matthew Chrulew, with a foreword by Cary Wolfe. 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.

August 16th, 2017

Dreaming of Energy Otherwise



Energy Dreams

“Like a magic wand, energy is a kind of thing that makes all other things (indeed, everything and everyone) possible. With the caveat that, in its current form, this terrible wand burns, evaporates, brings to naught, or otherwise destroys whatever and whomever are already in existence in order to fuel the realization of our desires. The problem is, perhaps, that we conflate energy not only with its types but also with power lacking any inherent ends.” — Michael Marder

This week, our featured book is Energy Dreams: Of Actuality, by Michael Marder. Today, we are happy to provide an excerpt from another article by Michael Marder, originally published at The Philosophical Salon. Read the article in full here.

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

Dreaming of Energy Otherwise
By Michael Marder

We are preoccupied, at best, with many types of this desired object: chemical, kinetic, potential, solar, nuclear… We sift through countless examples of energy structuring our existence, yet we are at a loss when it comes to pointing out what characterizes energy itself. Numerous unexamined assumptions are, to be sure, built into our relation to it, and one of these has already popped up here, namely the assertion that energy is a “desired object.” It is treated as a resource, an apple of discord at the heart of geopolitical conflicts and ecological concerns. But are we justified in reducing energy to its objective dimension? Is it not equally a subject, that is to say, an active or animating force flowing through and in us? Are we not transported to a place beyond straightforward oppositions between activity and passivity when we say in the grammatical passive voice we are energized, invested with the capacity to be capable?

Like a magic wand, energy is a kind of thing that makes all other things (indeed, everything and everyone) possible. With the caveat that, in its current form, this terrible wand burns, evaporates, brings to naught, or otherwise destroys whatever and whomever are already in existence in order to fuel the realization of our desires. The problem is, perhaps, that we conflate energy not only with its types but also with power lacking any inherent ends. As a result of this conflation, our theme is imbued with abstract negativity promising to gift us with everything we are dreaming of on the condition of devouring the world of actuality as a whole. Read the rest of this entry »

August 15th, 2017

The Meaning of “Clean Energy”



Energy Dreams

“Environmentally destructive and shockingly shortsighted as these methods of energy production [(nuclear power and fracking)], are, they are not surprising in light of the prevalent conception of energy that involves breaching into and laying bare the depth of things (of the atom, of the earth…) and drawing power from this violent and violating exposure.” — Michael Marder

This week, our featured book is Energy Dreams: Of Actuality, by Michael Marder. Today, we are happy to provide an excerpt from an article that Michael Marder wrote during the recent global conference on climate change in Paris, originally published at The Philosophical Salon. Read the article in full here.

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

The Meaning of “Clean Energy”
By Michael Marder

As the global conference on climate change is taking place in Paris, it is time to contemplate the meaning of “clean energy.” In the West, the word energy is marked with the force of deadly negativity. It is assumed, for instance, that energy must be extracted, with the greatest degree of violence, by destroying whatever or whoever temporarily contains it. More often than not, it is procured by burning its “source,” in the first instance, plants and parts of plants whether they have been chopped down yesterday or have been dead for millions of years, the timescale sufficient for them to be transformed into coal or oil.

Without giving it much thought, one supposes that the only way to obtain energy, whether for external heating or for giving the body enough of that other heat (namely, “caloric intake”) necessary for life, is by destroying the integrity of something or someone else. Life itself becomes the privilege of the survivors, who celebrate their Pyrrhic victory on the ashes of past and present vegetation and other forms of life they commit to fire.

Seeing that, for Aristotle (who still maintains a strong hold on energeia, a word that he introduced into the philosophical vocabulary), the prototype of matter is hylē, or wood, the violent extraction of energy paints a vivid image of the relation between matter and spirit prevalent in the West. A flaming spirit sets itself to work by destroying its other and triumphs over the wooden matter it incinerates. The price for the energy released in the process of combustion is the reduction of what is burnt to the ground. And, unfortunately, the madness of metaphysical spirit, which sets everything on its path aflame, tends to intensify.

It is not that plants are exempt from the general combustibility that, for Schelling, defined the very living of life. They release oxygen, and so provide the elemental conditions of possibility for the burning of fire. But the vegetal mode of obtaining energy — especially that of the solar variety — is non-extractive and non-destructive; the plant receives its energy by tending, by extending itself toward the inaccessible other, with which it does not interfere. That is one of the most important vegetal lesson to be learned: how to energize oneself, following the plants, without annihilating the sources of our vitality. Read the rest of this entry »

August 15th, 2017

New Book Tuesday: Making Sense of the Alt-Right, a Literary Ethics of Suffering, and More!



Making Sense of the Alt-Right

Our weekly listing of new books now available:

Making Sense of the Alt-Right
George Hawley

Now available in paperback:
Of Women Borne: A Literary Ethics of Suffering
Cynthia R. Wallace

An Economic History of Europe Since 1700
Vera Zamagni
(Agenda Publishing)

Architecture Is All Over
Edited by Esther Choi and Marrikka Trotter
(Columbia Books on Architecture and the City)

“Spirits that I’ve cited…?” Vladimír Clementis (1902–1952): The Political Biography of a Czechoslovak Communist
Josette Baer. Foreword by Vlasta Jaksicsová.
(ibidem Press)

Nazi Eugenics: Precursors, Policy, Aftermath
Melvyn Conroy. Foreword by Tudor Georgescu.
(ibidem Press)

Orhan Pamuk: Critical Essays on a Novelist Between Worlds
Edited by Taner Can, Berkan Ulu, and Koray Melikoğlu
(ibidem Press)

Conflict Resolution Beyond the Realist Paradigm: Transformative Strategies and Inclusive Practices in Nagorno-Karabakh and Syria
Philip Gamaghelyan. Foreword by Susan Allen.
(ibidem Press)

Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society: 3:1 (2017)
Edited by Julie Fedor, Samuel Greene, Andre Härtel, Andrey Makarychev, and Andreas Umland
(ibidem Press)

August 14th, 2017

Introducing Energy Dreams



Energy Dreams

Energy Dreams—the title came to me all of a sudden, as they say “out of the blue,” when I least expected it. It surprised me and, just as swiftly, energized my thought and swathed me in its opacities.” — Michael Marder

This week, our featured book is Energy Dreams: Of Actuality, by Michael Marder. To start the feature, we are happy to present an excerpt from the book’s first chapter.

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

August 14th, 2017

Book Giveaway! Energy Dreams, by Michael Marder



Energy Dreams

“Energy is something that pervades all our concerns from ecological to libidinal: we dream about clean renewable energy, condemn fracking, gain strength through energy drinks. Michael Marder’s Energy Dreams moves beyond these topics and asks a more fundamental hermeneutic question: what understanding of energy is presupposed in our mundane concerns? He demonstrates brilliantly that we need a new philosophical paradigm and that only in this way will we be able to properly confront all the practical problems in our dealings with energy. Marder’s book makes it clear that only a deeper theoretical reflection will enable us to solve our most ‘practical’ problems—a lesson needed like daily bread in today’s world, which more and more abhors authentic thinking.” — Slavoj Žižek

This week, our featured book is Energy Dreams: Of Actuality, by Michael Marder. 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.

August 11th, 2017

Columbia University Press at #ASA2017



Theory for the Working Sociologist

Headed to the American Sociologist Association Annual Meeting in Montreal? You can find Columbia University Press at Hall 220C in the Palais des Congrès de Montréal in Booth #703.

JOIN US IN BOOTH #703 ON:

Saturday, August 12th from 4:30-6:00 PM for a Meet-up & Signing with Fabio Rojas, author of Theory for the Working Sociologist. Aimed at undergraduate students, graduate students, journalists, and interested general readers who want a more formal way to understand social life, Theory for the Working Sociologist presents the underlying themes of sociological thought using contemporary research and plain language.

Sunday, August 13th from 1:30-2:30 PM for a Meet-up & Signing with Jason Schnittker, author of The Diagnostic System, which looks at the multiple actors involved in crafting the DSM and the many interests that the manual hopes to serve. You can read an excerpt from the book here.

Sunday, August 13th from 2:30-3:00 PM for a Meet-up & Signing with Viviana A. Rotman Zelizer, author of Morals and Markets, newly reissued from our ”Legacy Editions” series. Morals and Markets is a pathbreaking study that explores the development of life insurance in the United States.

Catch our editor, Eric Schwartz, on panels on:

Saturday, August 12th from 10:30-12:10 PM”How to Publish in Theory at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal, Level 5, 512E.

Sunday, August 12th from 12:30-1:30 PM – “From Dissertation to Book” at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal, Level 5, 513C.

August 10th, 2017

#WITMonth Reading, part 1



City Folk and Country Folk

August is Women in Translation Month, which honors the work of women authors in translation. To celebrate we thought we would share a few excerpts from new and notable titles from our list:

Sofia Khvoshchinskaya (1824-1865) and her writers sisters, Nadezhda and Praskovia, are often compared to their British contemporaries, the Brontë sisters. City Folk and Country Folk, translated by Nora Seligman Favorov, is the first of Sofia’s books to be translated into English. In a starred review Publishers Weekly said: “This consistently delightful satire will introduce readers to a funnier, more female-centric slant on Russian literature than they may have previously encountered.” You can read an excerpt here.

Julia Kristeva is best known for her critical work but has also written several novels. Teresa, My Love, translated by Lorna Scott Fox, mixes fiction, history, psychoanalysis, and personal fantasy, to tell the story of Sylvia Leclercq, a French psychoanalyst, who falls for the sixteenth-century Saint Teresa of Avila and becomes consumed with charting her life. You can read an excerpt here. Kristeva’s next novel, The Enchanted Clock, which blends detective mystery and historical fiction, will be published in December.

In The Fall of Language in the Age of English, translated by Mari Yoshihara and Juliet Winters, Japanese novelist Minae Mizumura lays bare the struggle to retain the brilliance of one’s own language in this period of English-language dominance. Publishers Weekly called the book: “An eye-opening call to consciousness about the role of language.” You can read the excerpt “Under the Blue Sky of Iowa: Those Who Write in Their Own Language” here.

A finalist for the 2011 Man Booker International Prize, Wang Anyi, as the New York Times Book Review noted, “is one of the most critically acclaimed writers in the Chinese-speaking world.” Her novel The Song of Everlasting Sorrow, translated by Michael Berry and Susan Chan Egan, is set in post-WWII Shanghai and follows the adventures of Wang Qiyao, a girl born of the longtong, the crowded, labyrinthine alleys of Shanghai’s working-class neighborhoods. You can read an excerpt here.

Set on the eve of the Rape of Nanjing—when Japanese troops invaded the historic capital city, massacred hundreds of thousands, and committed thousands of rapes—Ye Zhaoyan’s Nanjing 1937, also translated by Michael Berry, is a tender and humorous story of an impossible love and a lively, detailed historical portrait of a culture on the verge of rupture. You can read an excerpt here.

Like what you’ve read? Use coupon code WITMonth to save 30% when ordering these titles through our website throughout the month of August.

August 8th, 2017

New Book Tuesday: Early Chinese Fiction, A New Edition of Inside Terrorism, and More!



Inside Terrorism, third edition

Our weekly listing of new books now available:

The Book of Swindles: Selections from a Late Ming Collection
Zhang Yingyu. Translated by Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk

Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters
Donald R. Prothero. Illustrations by Carl Buell

Inside Terrorism, Third Edition
Bruce Hoffman

Leader Communities: The Consecration of Elites in Djursholm
Mikael Holmqvist

Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-creation of the World, second edition
S. Brent Plate

When the State Winks: The Performance of Jewish Conversion in Israel
Michal Kravel-Tovi

What Remains: Everyday Encounters with the Socialist Past in Germany
Jonathan Bach

Now available in paperback
A History of Virility
Edited by Alain Corbin, Jean-Jacques Courtine, and Georges Vigarello. Translated by Keith Cohen

Analysing Corruption: An Introduction
Dan Hough
(Agenda Publishing)

August 7th, 2017

#WITMonth Book Giveaway!



City Folk and Country Folk

In celebration of Women in Translation Month, we are offering the chance to win a copy of three recent works by women, translated by women. The giveaway titles include: the newly published novel City Folk & Country Folk by Sofia Khvoshchinskaya, translated by Nora Seligman Favorov from our Russian Library series; Teresa, My Love: An Imagined Life of the Saint of Avila by Julia Kristeva, translated by Lorna Scott Fox; and new in paperback The Fall of Language in the Age of English by Minae Mizumura, translated by Mari Yoshihara and Juliet Winters Carpenter. Throughout the week, we will feature more on these titles and others on the blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

August 4th, 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.)

In environmental news, we have officially consumed more resources this year than our planet can regenerate; from now until the end of the year, we’re drawing on credit. Dawn Field at Oxford discusses the history and sobering implications of “Earth Overshoot Day.”

How can we recalibrate our relationship with the planet to avoid accruing environmental debt? There is no easy answer, but several articles this week call for us to “de-center the human being” (Mira Beth Wasserman) in our thinking in order to better understand our complex, interdependent relationships with non-humans and the material world. Alan and Josephine Smart, at the University of Toronto Press, ask what a posthumanist anthropology might look like. Over at Penn Press, Mira Beth Wasserman reflects on the posthumanist lessons of the Talmud and Planet of the Apes.

These authors ask us to think about the world in terms of interconnected systems rather than isolated actors; on a similar note, many articles this week put public health issues in their social and political contexts. Temple University Press discusses the potentially devastating impact of changes to colleges’ sexual violence response policies under the current administration. Over at Oxford, Emily Henderson argues that we can most effectively combat childhood obesity by tackling a range of socioeconomic and environmental issues related to obesity rather than attempting to change individual behavior; meanwhile, Richard S. Grossman claims that individual incentives for behavioral change in the form of cigarette taxes do have a significant impact on smoking.

Entertainment, like public health, both affects and is affected by its social context. Sometimes fiction raises the bar for reality: Clive James, at Yale Books, reflects on the lasting impact of The West Wing on TV storytelling and American political values, arguing that Aaron Sorkin’s visionary show represents our highest hopes for what the presidency could look like (spoiler alert: no real president has come close).

But pop culture can be used to divide and exclude as well as to inspire and uplift. Nick Yee looks at data to dispel sexist myths about female gamers, cautioning us not to misinterpret gendered variations in gaming behavior in ways that reinforce stereotypes. At Oxford University Press, Russell L. Johnson talks about what was lost in the transition from silent films to “talkies”—not just old artistic values and acting practices, but also the unique accessibility of pop culture to the Deaf community during the silent film era.

Whether formal or informal, entertainment frequently serves the dual function of lifting up its audience and excluding outsiders. Claire Schmidt at the University of Wisconsin Press talks about her research into prison staff humor, which helps workers build solidarity and cope with stressful working conditions while emphasizing the distinction between prison staff and inmates, as well as reinforcing sexual and racial hierarchies.

From the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: Michael J. Altman at Oxford traces the etymology of the English word “juggernaut” back to religiously-fraught colonial encounters in India. Maureen Meister at the NYU Press Blog extols the magic of highly accurate reconstructions of historical buildings and landscapes in Central Park. And Jean Kazez at Oxford argues that we shouldn’t recommend parenthood to friends the way we might recommend anything else life-changing and wonderful, such as a vacation to Iceland.

Have a great week.

August 3rd, 2017

Writing The Diagnostic System



The Diagnostic System

“On the one hand, many people would point out what a success the DSM has been, how it had consolidated an otherwise unmanageable scholarly field. Even when offering some qualifications about certain diagnostic criteria, these folks were clearly supportive. On the other hand, it was not uncommon for me to encounter people who vigorously criticized the DSM, root and branch, finding very little validity in its definitions or even much of value to the manual as a whole. To them, we might do just as well to get rid of it altogether and replace the DSM with something else.

It seemed to me they both had a point. ” — Jason Schnittker

This week, our featured book is The Diagnostic System: Why the Classification of Psychiatric Disorders Is Necessary, Difficult, and Never Settled, by Jason Schnittker. Today, we are happy to present part two of an excerpt from the book’s introduction. You can read part one here.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of The Diagnostic System!

Writing The Diagnostic System
By Jason Schnittker

I wrote this book as a way to understand something I regularly encounter at academic meetings. I study psychiatric disorders, including what causes them, what consequences they have, and what people believe about them. The DSM has long played an important role in my life as a scholar, just as it has for virtually everybody else in the field. I provides us with a sort of lingua franca. I attend meetings with sociologists, like myself, but I also attend meetings with psychiatrics, physicians, and historians. We all study the same thing and have similar interests, but it was not uncommon for me to encounter two very different kinds of voices when it came to the DSM. On the one hand, many people would point out what a success the DSM has been, how it had consolidated an otherwise unmanageable scholarly field. Even when offering some qualifications about certain diagnostic criteria, these folks were clearly supportive. On the other hand, it was not uncommon for me to encounter people who vigorously criticized the DSM, root and branch, finding very little validity in its definitions or even much of value to the manual as a whole. To them, we might do just as well to get rid of it altogether and replace the DSM with something else.

It seemed to me they both had a point.

So I wanted to write a book that took a step back and asked why the classification of psychiatric disorders was always so fraught, and to offer arguments for why and how it might be controversial when we get around to writing DSM 6, 7, or 8.

The latest edition of the DSM is DSM-5. As with the editions before it, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the latest edition. What I think is especially remarkable about DSM-5, though, is how much more information its authors had in front of them when they wrote it. We know a lot more about psychiatric disorders today than we did in the 1970s, around the time DSM-III was being written. We know more about what causes psychiatric disorders, what psychiatric disorders look like at a neurological level, and some of the genes that put people at risk of developing a disorder. We also know a lot more about basic demographic patterns, including age and sex differences. DSM-5 was written by real experts. With all this as background, it was possible DSM-5 could have been a revolutionary change. But it really wasn’t. And, at least to me, it’s unclear how we can parlay our immense scientific knowledge about psychiatric disorders into better diagnostic criteria. Read the rest of this entry »

August 2nd, 2017

The Contested Ontology of Psychiatric Disorders, Part Two



The Diagnostic System

“This book seeks to answer three related questions: why the classification of psychiatric disorders is so difficult, why it is necessary to classify in the first place, and what problems (and solutions) follow from the kinds of classifications we create.” — Jason Schnittker

This week, our featured book is The Diagnostic System: Why the Classification of Psychiatric Disorders Is Necessary, Difficult, and Never Settled, by Jason Schnittker. Today, we are happy to present part two of an excerpt from the book’s introduction. You can read part one here.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of The Diagnostic System!

August 1st, 2017

The Contested Ontology of Psychiatric Disorders, Part One



The Diagnostic System

“Perhaps because the symptoms of mental illness are so common and explanations so easy to grasp, the concept of mental illness invites controversy. When everyone knows something about sadness—about what it feels like, about what causes it—claims of authority, even with respect to official diagnosis, can appear unnecessary or dubious.” — Jason Schnittker

This week, our featured book is The Diagnostic System: Why the Classification of Psychiatric Disorders Is Necessary, Difficult, and Never Settled, by Jason Schnittker. Today, we are happy to present part one of an excerpt from the book’s introduction.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of The Diagnostic System!

August 1st, 2017

New Book Tuesday: Cataclysms, City Folk and Country Folk, Design Thinking, and More!



Cataclysms: A New Geology for the Twenty-First Century

Our weekly listing of new books now available:

Cataclysms: A New Geology for the Twenty-First Century
Michael R. Rampino

City Folk and Country Folk
Sofia Khvoshchinskaya. Translated by Nora Seligman Favorov.

Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector
Jeanne Liedtka, Randy Salzman, and Daisy Azer

Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods: Early Humans and the Origins of Religion
E. Fuller Torrey

Quelling the Demons’ Revolt: A Novel from Ming China
Attributed to Luo Guanzhong. Translated by Patrick Hanan. Introduction by Ellen B. Widmer and David Der-wei Wang.

Why Only Art Can Save Us: Aesthetics and the Absence of Emergency
Santiago Zabala

Conservatives Against Capitalism: From the Industrial Revolution to Globalization
Peter Kolozi

Determinants of Health: An Economic Perspective
Michael Grossman

Rural Poverty in the United States
Edited by Ann R. Tickamyer, Jennifer Sherman, and Jennifer Warlick

Now available in paperback
The Con Men: Hustling in New York City
Terry Williams and Trevor B. Milton

Now available in paperback
Who Made Early Christianity?: The Jewish Lives of the Apostle Paul
John G. Gager

Silent Cinema: Before the Pictures Got Small
Lawrence Napper
(Wallflower Press)

Beckett, Lacan, and the Voice
Llewellyn Brown. Foreword by Jean-Michel Rabaté.
(ibidem Press)

The Instrumentalisation of Mass Media in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes: Evidence from Russia’s Presidential Election Campaigns of 2000 and 2008
Nozima Akhrarkhodjaeva
(ibidem Press)

Art in Battle
Edited by Frode Sandvik and Erik Tonning. Foreword by Karin Hindsbo.
(ibidem Press)

Poland and Slovakia: Bilateral Relations in a Multilateral Context (2004–2016): Essays on Politics and Economics
Edited by Joanna Dyduch, Igor Kosir, Radosław Kupczyk, and Jaroslav Usiak
(ibidem Press)

Skylarks and Rebels: A Memoir about the Soviet Russian Occupation of Latvia, Life in a Totalitarian State, and Freedom
Rita Laima
(ibidem Press)

Transregional versus National Perspectives on Contemporary Central European History: Studies on the Building of Nation-States and Their Cooperation in the 20th and 21st Century
Edited by Michal Vít and Magdalena M. Baran
(ibidem Press)

July 31st, 2017

Book Giveaway! The Diagnostic System



The Diagnostic System

“In an area too often marked by advocacy and polemic, The Diagnostic System provides a well-informed, judicious, and, in fact, invaluable guide to a complex body of scholarship and controversy. Perhaps most important, it addresses those complex interrelationships between individual experience and the social, cultural, and institutional circumstances that in part constitute that experience. It is an important book on a foundational if elusive set of questions.” — Charles E. Rosenberg, Harvard University

This week, our featured book is The Diagnostic System: Why the Classification of Psychiatric Disorders Is Necessary, Difficult, and Never Settled, by Jason Schnittker. 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.

July 28th, 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 posts this week touch on themes of the environment, memory, and transformation. Mikael Wolfe, at Duke University Press, discusses the connection between water management, land redistribution, and socioeconomic reform during the past century in Mexico. In the fifth installment of his series commemorating the 1967 Detroit Riot on the University of Michigan Press blog, Brian Matzke challenges us to think of Detroit not as a “ruined” city but as a new kind of urban environment with its own, revolutionary beauty. And at the University of Minnesota Press, Cord J. Whitaker finds a powerful message about the importance of ecological memory in recent episodes of Game of Thrones.

With health care reform in the news this week, Sandro Galea at Oxford discusses the environmental and socioeconomic conditions that have led to higher morbidity and lower life expectancy in the U.S. than in many other developed countries. James A. Tyner, at the University of Nebraska, urges us to use the word “violence” to talk about proposed legislation that would take away health care from millions, linking such legislation to other forms of slow violence such as climate change and environmental racism. “We do not ‘see’ structural violence because it is too often passed off as natural, normal, or unintentional,” he argues. “In practice, however, structural violence can—and must—be understood as resulting from agency.”

We often talk about the “secular left” and the “religious right”—but Christopher H. Evans at the NYU Press Blog reminds us that there is also a “religious left” with a long history of political engagement and activism. Since the days of the social gospel movement at the turn of the century, he says, religious progressives have used Biblical narratives and ethical teachings to advocate for policies that would reduce inequality and help the poor.

On the theme of storytelling and social change, Oxford University Press has articles this week on the progressive politics and contemporary relevance of two Irish playwrights: George Bernard Shaw and Seán O’Casey. Transgender rights are also back in the news this week, and Jackson Wright Schultz of the University Press of New England writes about the importance of lifting up transgender voices and stories.

If grappling with systemic injustice and rancorous politics has been getting you down, never fear—Oxford University Press has a few posts this week on psychology and wellbeing. Andrew Macleod talks about the relationship between prospection—imagining the future—and mental health. Sebastian Watzl ponders the nature of attention. Finally, Jaime Kurtz offers some psychology-based approaches for getting the most joy and relaxation out of a vacation.

From the grab-bag of the eye-catching and the odd: Abigail le Marquand-Brown at Oxford talks about the role that music might have played in the earliest development of human culture. Bill Maurer and Lana Swartz, at MIT, muse on the nature of “money stuff” and the possibility of a cashless society. Finally, Johanna Luthman offers up a lively portrait of the eccentric fifteenth-century English mystic Margery Kempe.

Have a great week.

July 28th, 2017

Horror, Disbelief, and Shame



Struggle on Their Minds

“Rather than simply humanize black Americans as did Du Bois, Wells described how black dehumanization was less an a priori truth and more a meticulous white supremacist social construction. Highlighting the intensity and methodical accuracy with which they dismembered Hose’s body piecemeal also reflected the wish to excise black people from humanity. Publicly destroying black bodies communicated white anxiety about black equality.” — Alex Zamalin

This week, our featured book is Struggle on Their Minds: The Political Thought of African American Resistance, by Alex Zamalin. For the final post of the feature, we are happy to present an excerpt from Zamalin’s chapter on Ida Wells and the antilynching movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Struggle on Their Minds!