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July 30th, 2015

Rebecca Walkowitz on Writing in Translation



In the following video, Rebecca Walkowitz discusses her new book Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature. In this section of her talk from the Novel: A Forum on Fiction conference, Walkowitz discusses writing in translation:

July 29th, 2015

Will the New Man Booker International Prize Challenge English’s Dominance in World Literature?



Born Translated, by Rebecca Walkowitz

“Upgrading the status of translators, the prize upgrades the status of multilingualism. It also upgrades the status of translations. No longer merely derivations or adaptations of original works, translated editions will be assessed as works in their own right.”—Rebecca Walkowitz on the new Man Booker Prize for Translated Fiction

The following post is by Rebecca Walkowitz, author of Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature

Earlier this month, the organizers of the Man Booker International Prize announced that they are scrapping the old prize, recognizing the career of a single novelist working in any language, and launching a new prize for a single novel translated into English. So, next year, we’ll have the Man Booker Prize, which celebrates the best novel published in English and also written in English. And we’ll have the Man Booker International Prize, which celebrates the best novel published in English translated from another language. What are the consequences of this change?

The new International Prize is likely to increase the visibility of translated books. All but two of the past International Prize winners have been English-language novelists. That group is no longer eligible, so the Man Booker’s enormous publicity machine will be focused at least half the time on writers who work in other languages. Greater publicity for translated books, it is hoped, will lead to a greater number of readers for those books. Not simply celebrating excellent translations, the Man Booker organizers want to increase the number of foreign-language works contracted by UK publishers.

To be sure, the new Prize is a boon for “foreign” writers, by which they mean writers who use languages other than English. But the organizers also have local readers and local publishing houses in mind. They want English-language readers to have more translations to choose from because they believe that reading books from other languages will help British citizens compete with their more worldly European neighbors. In this sense, the new International Prize, for all its cosmopolitanism, also has nationalist motives: the education of English-only readers. Of course, it may be that reading novels in translation will lead some people to learn additional languages and to think about English as one language among many.

In my view, the new Prize is likely encourage that kind of thinking not because it rewards foreign books but because it rewards translators of foreign books. The prize money (£50,000) will be split evenly between authors and translators, who will share credit for the production of the translated work. Upgrading the status of translators, the prize upgrades the status of multilingualism. It also upgrades the status of translations. No longer merely derivations or adaptations of original works, translated editions will be assessed as works in their own right. Readers will be asked to notice (instead of forget) that the work they are reading was brought from another language.

Read the rest of this entry »

July 29th, 2015

Video: Edward T. O’Donnell on Henry George



The following video is from Edward T. O’Donnell’s talk at the Brooklyn Historical Society on his new book Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age

July 28th, 2015

Interview with Rebecca Walkowitz, author of Born Translated



Born Translated, by Rebecca Walkowitz

“For a long time, we’ve assumed that all books begin in one language, often called a ‘native language,’ and then travel out to other languages. This is how we’ve expected ‘world literature’ to work. But today, many books begin in several languages—they start as world literature…”—Rebecca Walkowitz

In Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature, Rebecca L. Walkowitz argues that translation should be understood as the engine rather than the caboose of literary history. She analyzes the ways in which contemporary novelists such as J. M. Coetzee and Jamaica Kincaid incorporate the themes, forms, structure, and visual devices of translation in their works to tell this story.

Question: What is a “born-translated” novel?

Rebecca Walkowitz: I call some contemporary novels “born-translated” because they have been published simultaneously, or almost simultaneously (within a few weeks or months), in several different languages. For a long time, we’ve assumed that all books begin in one language, often called a “native language,” and then travel out to other languages. This is how we’ve expected “world literature” to work. But today, many books begin in several languages—they start as world literature—and this is especially true for novels that are written in English. In my book, I am interested in how Anglophone novels have begun to reflect on this situation, embedding their existence as translated works into the stories they tell and even into their structure and style.

Q: How does this affect the way contemporary novels are written?

RW: From the perspective of fiction-writing, the fact that novels will appear in translation right away has changed the way writers use language. Kazuo Ishiguro has talked about his efforts to design his books around structure and narrative architecture rather than around individual phrases or puns. David Mitchell’s novels often tell us about the presence of foreign languages on the page rather than representing them directly (through direct quotation or inflected dialogue). We can see in Ishiguro’s and Mitchell’s novels a focus on narrating languages—describing their relationship to other languages, explaining how they circulate and who can use them, observing which characters understand them and which don’t—rather than a focus on playing with them or reproducing their characteristics on the page. Ben Lerner has noted that his novel Leaving the Atocha Station, about a young American’s experience of learning Spanish in Madrid, emphasizes the encounter with a language one does not understand rather than the “surface effects” of that language. In Jamaica Kincaid’s work, the reader is asked to think about the words they are not reading, because they have been spoken or thought by someone who does not have access to literacy or publication. These novels represent the different ways that characters speak English and other languages by explaining those differences, by telling us about the historical and political conditions of language education, and by developing generic, syntactical, and visual cues that can communicate multilingualism in multiple languages.

Read the rest of this entry »

July 28th, 2015

New Book Tuesday! Studios Before the System, Doing Aesthetics with Arendt, and More!



Studios Before the System

Studios Before the System: Architecture, Technology, and the Emergence of Cinematic Space
Brian Jacobson

Doing Aesthetics with Arendt: How to See Things
Cecilia Sjöholm

The Cinema of Christopher Nolan: Imagining the Impossible
Edited by Jacqueline Furby and Stuart Joy
Wallflower Press

Social Capital and Quality of Life
Monika Mularska-Kucharek
Jagiellonian University Press

Management Accounting Innovations: The Case of ABC in Poland
Tomasz Wnuk-Pel
Jagiellonian University Press

History, Memory, Trauma in Contemporary British and Irish Fiction
Beata Piatek
Jagiellonian University Press

Read the rest of this entry »

July 27th, 2015

Book Giveaway! “Born Translated,” by Rebecca Walkowitz



This week our featured book is Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature by Rebecca Walkowitz.

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 Born Translated 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, July 31 at 1:00 pm.

Here’s what Nancy Armstrong at Duke University says about Born Translated: “Born Translated offers a fresh approach to contemporary fiction. Among the first to offer a convincing explanation of how national traditions morph into the world novel, Walkowitz succeeds in showing—brilliantly, to my mind—how novels by J. M. Coetzee, Kazuo Ishiguro, David Mitchell, Kiran Desai, Peter Ho Davies, Caryl Phillips, and W. G. Sebald force us to confront a world where languages, territories, and nations no longer line up.”

For more on the book you can read the introduction, “Theory of World Literature Now”:

July 24th, 2015

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.)

Last week, Yale University Press featured an article on their blog about the Makah Nation’s whale hunting practices. Joshua Reid (Snohomish), Professor and director of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts—Boston, gives historical background on the Makah’s long-standing relationship to the sea. He explains how their traditional engagements with fishing and whale hunting have changed over the years with United States government involvement, bringing us up to date with current political debates about native whale hunting practices.

Over at the Stanford University Press Blog, the poet Robinson Jeffers is remembered. The article ruminates on the question of why Jeffers, who once graced the cover of Time Magazine in 1932 and who published many volumes of poetry, has been overlooked by both critics and scholars. His biographer, James Karman, explores the decline of Jeffers’ celebrity and reasons why there has been so little critical engagement with the poet’s work.

Another recent post on the subject of literature and scholarship can be found on the blog of University Press of Colorado. The article explores changes in English education, asking the question of how “freshman” or introductory writing and English courses have changed at colleges over the past several decades. As Rhetoric & Composition departments crop up and expand in universities around the country, there have certainly been many changes.

At the University of Minnesota Press, Alice Kang of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, poses important questions about how our government and other large international humanitarian organizations evaluate women’s rights in different countries. Her article digs into where this data comes from, how these forms of measurement can potentially misrepresents gender equality or inequality in other countries, and how this data may function to pit Global North and South against one another as “civilized” versus “uncivilized.” Even as women’s rights advance, particularly with leaders like Hillary Clinton, Kang urges us to keep these tough questions in mind.

Cambridge University Press also delves into issues of gender inequality. Aaron A. Dhir, author of Challenging Boardroom Homogeneity, writes about male-dominated corporate culture and the distinct absence of women in business leadership positions. He discusses potential solutions and ways that different countries are beginning to deal with gender inequality in the corporate workplace.

Over at Harvard University Press’ blog, a recent post explores a comparison that many have drawn in past weeks between Roe v. Wade and the recent Supreme Court decision about marriage equality. How accurate is the comparison really? To what extent are current and past debates about abortion similar to those about gay marriage?

In keeping with this focus on current politics, a post from the University Press of New England discusses the issue of prison reform, Obama’s recent comments on the subject, and bipartisan efforts at change. Chris Innes, author of Healing Corrections: The Future of Imprisonment, takes us further, though, asking the question, “What next?” Once we’ve made strides at ending mass incarceration, what else must we do to “heal” the prison system? What indeed?

To finish off our roundup, this week the University of Virginia Press takes us back fifty years, reminding us of the anniversary of the escalation of the Vietnam War. The article gives readers a fascinating snippet of conversation between a very anxious President Lyndon B. Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield on the subject of troop escalation.

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

July 24th, 2015

On Grief: Poems by Alexandra Butler, author of “Walking the Night Road”



Walking the Night Road

This week our featured book is Walking the Night Road: Coming of Age in Grief, by Alexandra Butler. While Butler has written a wonderful and moving memoir in Walking the Night Road, she is also a published poet, who has written many poems addressing the same stories and themes as Walking the Night Road. In today’s post, the final in our week’s feature of her book, we are happy to present a list of Butler’s poems curated by their author, with short introductions to each poem to help put them into the context of her memoir.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Walking the Night Road!

The author’s memories of her childhood become distorted by grief. Author expresses rage about the promises her beloved mother made to her as a child and could not keep. The promises of Mortals.

Fair Game
o happy childhood
for I did not know
that all my life approached
that old sit down that had been had
so many times
so many beasts in that same brine

how could she ever think
that this cup would not be mine

what we had
what did we have
as transparent now as air
as easy and as casual and as
natural as a yawn
as every day as anything
I found her there but gone
my hand felt for my heart
as if to turn the thing back on

that which she had wiped away
with a mother’s furtive hand
had written its name back
on every surface everywhere
leaning forward through the walls
its halos of fiery hair
its red breath melting the paint
that went rolling down like peels
royal purple at its heels

how easy it had been for it to hide
heartless so no worry
of a beating from inside
while I slept it had swept in
calmly to prepare its feast
sitting down at what had always been its place
at the head of our family table
in the centre of our safe and sacred house

I awoke to find my mother there
smoking at the window
a bright green apple
shoved deep inside her mouth

just like that
she’d been made gone

in what
as a child I had reduced
to a simple ray of light
did I not see the storm within
of countless particles in flight
ditto did I not see in her
the simple beast
she always was despite
elaborate fantasies

an animal—a jungle—and a reign
a wild one who had managed
to convince me she was tame
and that she and I were chosen
two of life’s beloved pets
instead of just two more
among the countless hunted game Read the rest of this entry »

July 23rd, 2015

Memories of Robert Butler



Walking the Night Road

“I uncovered memories that would become well worn over that year. I thought about his sunniness, how he could be merry on the surface even when he was suffering. I remembered rituals I had not always perceived as rituals, the fact that he would sit me on the sink when I was small so I could help him shave.” — Alexandra Butler

This week our featured book is Walking the Night Road: Coming of Age in Grief, by Alexandra Butler. In today’s post, we have a brief excerpt from Walking the Night Road in which Butler looks back at her memories of her father, gerontologist Robert N. Butler.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Walking the Night Road!

With my father’s death I felt as if I’d lost her again. The first year, they were these two wraiths standing before me and blocking my view almost to the point of blindness. I imagined—I dreamed—whatever it was I spent all that year doing—my mother as transparent, my father as opaque. She had let a great deal of her connection to me go. He could not. Or maybe it was I who could not. I felt we were one another’s captives. We had found our love too late. And lost it too soon. At first it had seemed right to imagine her as free, and imagine my father as regretful. Yet the more I stared into the memory of them, the more their identities started to unravel.

He still had the presence of a house cat, curled up on every chair. I felt certain he had been his truest self the last years of his life. And that made me long for the years that I had missed of being close to him. Years where he could have influenced me, influenced who I would become. Read the rest of this entry »

July 23rd, 2015

The Surgery



Walking the Night Road

“My dad kept turning his head away to cry. I guess he didn’t want to scare my mother, but I cried outright, even when the surgical team glared and shook their heads. I cried as hard as I could. No one here was stupid. We all knew what was at stake. And then when she was still awake, still whispering kind words to us, we had to leave her there, alone.” — Alexandra Butler

This week our featured book is Walking the Night Road: Coming of Age in Grief, by Alexandra Butler. In today’s post, we have a brief excerpt from Butler’s account of her mother’s surgery in Walking the Night Road.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Walking the Night Road!

Mom’s surgery was to take place on the fifteenth floor of the hospital, but for some reason I remember it taking place in the basement. For some reason, I thought we left her in the basement that day, in the cellar. The cellar, I remember thinking. The words ran laps around my mind. The cellar. The morning of her surgery, I woke up and threw up.

They had wrapped her head the night before in white gauze right over her hair. She looked like a ghastly vision of a bride. It made no sense. Apparently they didn’t need to shave her head completely. They would just cut and pull the scalp back—hair and all. And hair and all joined the cellar in running laps.

The night before her surgery was rough. She was stoned. She was swearing and itching and writhing in her bed. She spoke in her sleep about violent things, about killing and you shut up and you can go to hell. I trembled in the corner on my cot, a little girl. She doesn’t mean it repeating in my head. My sister Chris slept upright in a chair. Every so often she would whisper soothing words. My mother told Chris that she could go and fuck herself, and in my pulse pounded the words this is not my mother.

The next morning, it seemed that she remembered nothing of the night before. We took turns climbing into bed with her. It felt Catholic, like we were climbing into the confessional. There was whispering between my mother and us all. It was like a benediction, as if she were blessing us, each and every one while we paid our last respects. She would hold your face in her hands and tell you how sorry she was. I remember my sister Cindy sitting on my mother’s bed. Her hair was coming out of her ponytail. She was hunched over my mother, and she looked twenty years younger than she really was. Cindy had lost a little brother when she was only four. Read the rest of this entry »

July 22nd, 2015

Coming of Age in Grief



Walking the Night Road

“When you count back, you can see a story from the end. I like that—the seemingly natural narrative that forms this way. With the end in my hand, the story becomes mine. I can have it all make sense, or I can lose my mind like she lost hers—like I lost her. But I can have my story.” — Alexandra Butler

This week our featured book is Walking the Night Road: Coming of Age in Grief, by Alexandra Butler. In today’s feature post, we’ve excerpted a section from the opening of Walking the Night Road, in which Butler introduces her mother, and begins to tell the painful story that drives the memoir.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Walking the Night Road!

July 22nd, 2015

Bernie Sanders’ foreword to the second edition of “The Assault on Social Policy”



The Assault on Social Policy

Bernie Sanders has been making waves recently with his campaign for the Democratic nomination for the 2016 Presidential Election, so we thought this would be an ideal time to post his foreword to the second edition of The Assault on Social Policy, by William Roth and Susan J. Peters. In this foreword, Sanders describes the “unprecedented assault … on the public policies needed to assure a decent society” and argues against the idea of “tax breaks to the extremely wealthy.” Read more below:

Foreword to The Assault on Social Policy, Second Edition
By Senator Bernard Sanders, Independent, Vermont

The Assault on Social Policy is even more relevant today, in its second edition, than it was ten years ago. In the first edition, William Roth investigated poverty, welfare, health, the social security system and disability in children. I was impressed then and I am impressed now by his analysis of economic politics, the role of corporations in shaping public life, the media, and the globalization of our economic policies. Roth and Susan Peters contribute to elevating the debate regarding social policy at the present critical historical hour.

Since William Roth wrote the first edition of The Assault on Social Policy, America has lived through two major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and suffered the most sustained systematic economic downturn since the Great Depression, one that has left millions upon millions of Americans without jobs and millions of others without decent housing.

The progressive approach that Roth and Peters argue for has been less successful than many Americans had hoped for with the election of President Obama and a strong progressive presence in the US House of Representatives. As of this writing, in the summer before the 2012 presidential election, we have witnessed an unprecedented assault, at least in my lifetime, on the public policies needed to assure a decent society and hopeful future for most Americans. With the financial assistance of some of the wealthiest people in America, a bitter right-wing reaction and full-scale assault on the rights of workers, teachers, women, and the poor has risen to the surface. Regrettably, the first edition of The Assault on Social Policy has proven all too painfully prescient. When President Obama said, a couple of weeks after his inaugural, that the Republicans had a choice between cooperating with him or staying at home and listening to Rush Limbaugh, many of them chose the latter. Read the rest of this entry »

July 21st, 2015

Experts on Aging, Dying as They Lived



Walking the Night Road

“To the small extent that we have any choice in this uncertain life, it is wise to face your own death. In a world where so many of our fellow human beings live with threats of terror and destruction, if you are lucky enough to imagine you might have any measure of control over how you die, that is a privilege that should not go to waste.” — Alexandra Butler

This week our featured book is Walking the Night Road: Coming of Age in Grief, by Alexandra Butler. To start off the week’s feature today, we are happy to present an article by Alexandra Butler that originally appeared in The New York Times Opinionator blog, The End. In “Experts on Aging, Dying as They Lived,” Butler tells the story of Walking the Night Road in brief.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Walking the Night Road!

Experts on Aging, Dying as They Lived
By Alexandra Butler

At 10 years old I knew my parents did not wish to be resuscitated nor plugged into machines in the event of serious illness. They told me they were not afraid of death but rather of being kept alive at any cost. I knew they would refuse medical interventions, if they felt there was no purpose except to separate the dying from their deaths. They were wary of doctors who my parents said were trained by a medical culture that had lost touch with what should be its major focus: ending suffering.

My father, Robert N. Butler, was a physician, a psychiatrist and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who pioneered the field of aging. My mother, Myrna Lewis, had a Ph.D. in social work; her specialty was older women. Together they co-wrote books on aging, mental health, sexuality and public policy. They would have been tickled by the coverage a few months ago of the Iowa state representative Ross Paustian, a Republican, nose-deep in their book “Sex After Sixty” in the middle of a House debate over the collective bargaining rights of teachers.

My parents applied what they learned out in the field to their personal lives. They worked hard to put as much money toward their retirement and old age as they could so that my half-sisters and I would never be financially responsible for them. They told us where we could find copies of their wills and health directives, explaining that these documents clarified their wishes and we would not have to bear the full weight of making end-of-life decisions for them.

As a teenager I hated these discussions. I probably told them to stop torturing me and to stop being so morbid. They were reassuring me about scenarios that I did not want to think about. I could not have known how grateful I would be now. Read the rest of this entry »

July 21st, 2015

New Book Tuesday: Gay Directors, Planetary Modernisms, The Economic Risks of Climate Change, and More



Gay Directors, Gay Films, Emmanuel Levy

Our weekly listing of new titles:

Gay Directors, Gay Films?: Pedro Almodóvar, Terence Davies, Todd Haynes, Gus Van Sant, John Waters
Emanuel Levy

Planetary Modernisms: Provocations on Modernity Across Time
Susan Stanford Friedman

Economic Risks of Climate Change: An American Prospectus
Trevor Houser, Solomon Hsiang, Robert Kopp, and Kate Larsen. Foreword by Michael R. Bloomberg, Thomas F. Steyer, and Henry M. Paulson

The Hidden God: Pragmatism and Posthumanism in American Thought
Ryan White

Gray Sabbath: Jesus People USA, the Evangelical Left, and the Evolution of Christian Rock
Shawn David Young

Algerian Imprints: Ethical Space in the Work of Assia Djebar and Hélène Cixous
Brigitte Weltman-Aron

Force of God: Political Theology and the Crisis of Liberal Democracy
Carl A. Raschke

July 20th, 2015

Book Giveaway! Walking the Night Road: Coming of Age in Grief, by Alexandra Butler



Walking the Night Road

“An honest look at marriage, aging, happiness, and survival — both wise and funny. You will walk the Night Road too.” — Barbara Walters

This week our featured book is Walking the Night Road: Coming of Age in Grief, by Alexandra Butler. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its authors on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

We are also offering a FREE copy of Walking the Night Road. To enter our book giveaway, simply fill out the form below with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select our winners on Friday, July 24th at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word!

July 17th, 2015

Reviews of “The Hillary Doctrine”



The Hillary Doctrine

“Decades of research reveal that the subjugation of women is directly linked with state and non-state armed violence. When women are left out of peace building—as in Iraq, Afghanistan and South Sudan—the likelihood of a country sliding back into armed violence increases dramatically.” — Valerie M. Hudson and Patricia Leidl

This week our featured book is The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy, by Valerie M. Hudson and Patricia Leidl, with a foreword by Swanee Hunt. In this final post of the week’s feature, we are happy to present a roundup of some of the glowing praise that Hudson and Leidl’s book has received.

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

From a review by Micah Zenko that originally ran on the Council for Foreign Relations blog and was subsequently picked up by both Quartz and Newsweek:

During her confirmation hearing to become secretary of state, Hillary Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in no uncertain terms, “I want to pledge to you that as secretary of state I view [women’s] issues as central to our foreign policy, not as adjunct or auxiliary or in any way lesser than all of the other issues that we have to confront.” A thoughtful and nuanced new book by Valerie M. Hudson and Patricia Leidl, The Hillary Doctrine: Sex & American Foreign Policy, evaluates to what extent Secretary Clinton has fulfilled this pledge.

Unsurprisingly, they find many examples where Clinton’s rhetoric does not meet U.S. foreign policy reality. Rather than simply denounce the former secretary of state for this, they try to understand what explains this reoccurring disconnect. For example, the authors contend that a component of Clinton’s hawkish support for intervening in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya was the belief that women’s lives would be markedly improved. Hudson and Leidl disagree, noting, “Military action in and of itself against regimes violating human rights will not protect women. If anything, it unleashes new and usually even more vicious male-bonded groups intent on stripping them of even the most basic human rights.” It is this sort of refreshing analysis that makes this book so important, and one that I highly recommend to anybody interested in elevating women’s voices in world affairs, as well as the practicalities of day-to-day U.S. foreign policymaking.

Read the rest of this entry »

July 16th, 2015

Women’s Rights Around the World



The Hillary Doctrine

“Decades of research reveal that the subjugation of women is directly linked with state and non-state armed violence. When women are left out of peace building—as in Iraq, Afghanistan and South Sudan—the likelihood of a country sliding back into armed violence increases dramatically.” — Valerie M. Hudson and Patricia Leidl

This week our featured book is The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy, by Valerie M. Hudson and Patricia Leidl, with a foreword by Swanee Hunt. In this post, we have excerpted parts from two pieces that have recently appeared in the World Politics Review: first, an interview with Patricia Leidl about government responses to crime against women in Latin America; and second, an article by Leidl and Valerie M. Hudson on the status of women’s rights in Yemen.

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

Latin America: “Latin America’s Uneven Response to Growing Violence Against Women”
An interview with Patricia Leidl

WPR: What has prompted the recent public outcry against violence against women in Latin America?

Patricia Leidl: The “recent” outcry over violence against Latin American women is in fact not recent at all. Since the early 1990s, human and women’s rights defenders have been raising the alarm over steadily climbing rates of gender-based violence in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, with the sharpest increases beginning in 2006 and escalating by as much as 21 percent each year. In South America, human rights observatories have likewise reported steadily rising rates of violence against women—but most particularly in Brazil, Bolivia and Colombia. According to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, of the 25 countries that are home to the highest femicide rates in the world, more than half are located in Latin America.

It is perhaps no coincidence that many of these Latin American countries were embroiled in the “dirty wars” of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. These wars were characterized by the proliferation of small arms and extreme and systematic violence against women, which many scholars now believe set the stage for today’s epidemic of femicide. Human rights activists also speculate that women’s greater economic independence—in the form of low-paying and unskilled factory jobs in the wake of free trade agreements with North America, Asia and Europe—could be contributing to a climate of violence against women in a region whose culture of “machismo” traditionally relegates women to the domestic sphere. Read the rest of this entry »

July 16th, 2015

Watch the book launch discussion of “The Hillary Doctrine”



The Hillary Doctrine

“Women are not the canaries in the coal mine [telling us that something is wrong in a society]. The state of male-female relations within a society is the coal mine. The explosive instability that results within in a society is actually the canary that’s telling us something is wrong in the coal mine.” — Valerie M. Hudson and Patricia Leidl

This week our featured book is The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy, by Valerie M. Hudson and Patricia Leidl, with a foreword by Swanee Hunt. Today, we are happy to present a video from Hudson and Leidl’s book launch, which involves a presentation by Hudson and Leidl, and then a roundtable discussion with prominent scholars and policymakers Rosa Brooks, Kathleen Kuehnast, and Daniela Ligiero.

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

July 15th, 2015

New Book Tuesday (Wednesday Edition): Striking Beauty, Born Translated, and More!



Striking Beauty, by Barry Allen

Striking Beauty: A Philosophical Look at the Asian Martial Arts
Barry Allen

Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature
Rebecca L. Walkowitz

The Politics and Poetics of Cinematic Realism
Hermann Kappelhoff

The Science of Chinese Buddhism: Early Twentieth-Century Engagements
Erik J. Hammerstrom

Ecological Economics for the Anthropocene: An Emerging Paradigm
Edited by Peter G. Brown and Peter Timmerman

Stormtrooper Families: Homosexuality and Community in the Early Nazi Movement
Andrew Wackerfuss
Harrington Park Press

The Cinema of the Coen Brothers: Hard-Boiled Entertainments
Jeffrey Adams
Wallflower Press

July 15th, 2015

Thirteen Ways of Making and Looking at Books



It is an understatement to say that Chang Jae Lee has seen and designed a lot of books and book covers over the course of his two decades in the design department at Columbia University Press. Last month, the senior designer shared some of his favorites in an exhibition at Gallery Sagakhyung in Seoul. Titled “Thirteen Ways of Making and Looking at Books: Columbia University Press Book Design, 1990-2015,” Chang Jae’s exhibition showcased over a hundred books, both his own designs and those of his past and present Columbia University Press colleagues. Also on view was an installation showing the complete processes of cover design and book production.

While Chang Jae came to Columbia University Press in 1996, he chose 1990 for the start date of his exhibition so that he could include several book covers that were influential to his development as a designer, such as the 1990 Columbia University Press translation of Marguerite Duras’ Green Eyes, the jacket of which was designed by Tracy Feldman.

The exhibition drew visitors from all over the Korean publishing world, ranging from design students to editors. “Thirteen Ways of Making and Looking at Books” closed its run at Gallery Sagakhyung on May 30, and will move to the Seoul Metropolitan Library at the end of July for a four-week engagement.

Chang Jae was previously featured on the Columbia University Press Blog when he was interviewed by Asian Global Impact in 2013. In that interview, Chang Jae addressed the future of print book design optimistically:

I am pretty pessimistic about everything else, but I am not pessimistic about the future of books…. The physicality of books is important, and I think it can only be further accentuated, enhanced with thoughtful design. All successful designs achieve communication—translating the written language and its core ideas into the visual language, transforming them logically, succinctly, and viscerally.

To illustrate the power of thoughtful design, we’ve selected some of the covers Chang Jae has designed over the years for Columbia University Press books in two of his favorite subject areas, Korean Studies and Philosophy. Despite the range of topics and visual styles, what all these covers have in common is that they are carefully tailored to communicate information about the book within.