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January 30th, 2015

University Press Roundup



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.)

Sandra M. Gustafson has been writing posts following the annual State of the Union address for the past few years at The Chicago Blog of the University of Chicago Press, and this year is no exception. In her most recent post, she looks at Barack Obama’s sixth SOTU address, arguing that “[m]ore and more, the president’s rhetoric and public actions inform an effort to shape his legacy, both in terms of the direction of his party and with regard to his historical reputation.”

At the University of California Press Blog, the spotlight is on Executive Editor Naomi Schneider, who answers questions about what she does as an editor, what it’s like editing Nobel Prize Winners, some of her favorite authors, and what it’s like to have her own imprint at the press. Her strategy: “clear your desk so you can think about your program in a more creative way and do higher-level strategizing about what to acquire.” Read the rest of this entry »

January 30th, 2015

The Fate of Black and Latino Politicians in New York City — Frederick Douglass Opie



Frederick Douglass Opie, Upsetting the Apple Cart: Black-Latino Coalitions in New York City from Protest to Public Office

As suggested by the subtitle, in Upsetting the Apple Cart: Black-Latino Coalitions in New York City From Protest to Public Office, Frederick Douglass’s book tracks the rise of Black and Latino politicians, which in some ways reached its apex with the 1989 election of David Dinkins as the first African American mayor of the city. He was also the last New York City mayor of color.

In the conclusion to the book, Opie considers why gaining citywide or statewide offices has proven so difficult for Black and Latino politicians and what can be done:

There were a number of Black-Latino Progressive coalitions that waged bat­tles before the creation of Latinos for Dinkins. David Dinkins’s campaign victory and his administration’s support for the political reapportionment and increase in the number of seats in the City Council from thirty-five to fifty-one have ensured that blacks and Latinos are today well represented among New York City elected officials. But representation in higher citywide or statewide offices still remains elusive, largely because of racial fragmenta­tion within the Democratic Party.

A number of problems remain among black and Latino elected officials in Albany. They need to clearly articulate issues relevant to the communities they represent, but, most of all, their efforts and reputations have been seri­ously hampered by the rampant corruption in Albany. Officials have to do a better job investigating allegations of improprieties among elected officials. For example, just as the 2013 New York mayoral election began to rev up, corruption scandals and the arrest of black and Latino legislators from New York City rocked Albany. “You have a better chance” of being led out of the Assembly or the Senate in Albany in “handcuffs than you do being voted out of office,” says Ken Lovett, Albany bureau chief for the Daily News.

In order to regain the strength that had helped Dinkins into office, black and Latino elected officials need to mobilize around issues important to Progressives in the same way that labor leaders did in hospitals in the 1950s and 1960s, as student activists did on college campuses in the late 1960s, as activists did on the streets and in tenements in the 1960s through the 1980s, and as various groups did in 2012 (under the aegis of Occupy movements that first began in New York City).

The demands of black and Latino Progressive coalitions from 1959 to 1989 were consistent and remain important concerns today: a living wage in which to provide better housing, health care, food, and educational opportunities for them and their families; the end of police brutality; and greater black and Latino representation among elected officials. On the question of ending police brutality, Progressive coalitions have been engaged in a campaign for almost two decades to end the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk crime-prevention pro­gram. It is viewed as a civil rights violation, which police officers most often carry out against male youth in black and Latino communities across the city. In fact, stop-and-frisk remained a constant part of the debate among candi­dates vying for the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York.

January 29th, 2015

The Role of Black and Latino Students in the 1968 Takeover of Columbia University — Frederick Douglass Opie



Student activism and revolt in the 1960s were crucial in developing Black-Latino coalitions during the decade. On campuses such as CCNY and Columbia, student organizations successfully lobbied for new curricula that would include Black and Latino studies and worked with local communities to stop the expansion of their institutions.

In the following excerpt from Upsetting the Apple Cart: Black-Latino Coalitions in New York City from Protest to Public Office and in the video below, Frederick Douglass Opie discusses the role of Black and Latino students and student organizations during the takeover at Columbia in 1968:

January 28th, 2015

Newly Elected Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the Future Europe Deserves



What Does Europe Want?

“The experience of previous years leads to one conclusion: there is one morality in politics and another for economy. In the years since 1989, the morality of the economy has fully prevailed over the ethics of politics and democracy.” — Alexis Tsipras

Alexis Tsipras was just sworn in as Prime Minister of Greece, after his Syriza party and the Independent Greeks party came to an agreement resulting in a coalition government. The focus of Tsipras’s campaign was his pledge to oppose the austerity program imposed on Greece by European creditors. In “The Destruction of Greece as a Model for All of Europe: Is This the Future That Europe Deserves?,” his foreword to Slavoj Žižek and Srecko Horvat’s What Does Europe Want? which we have excerpted below, Tsipras explains his stance against austerity and looks to alternative visions of the future to provide hope for Greek citizens.

January 28th, 2015

Interview with Frederick Douglass Opie, author of “Upsetting the Apple Cart”



Upsetting the Apple Cart, Frederick Douglass Opie

Upsetting the Apple Cart reveals how when the NYPD talks about the death of Eric Garner, they view it as an incident or a moment; Black and Brown folks who support the Black Lives Matter movement talk about it as history.”—Frederick Douglass Opie

The following is an interview with Frederick Douglass Opie, author of Upsetting the Apple Cart: Black-Latino Coalitions in New York City from Protest to Public Office

Question: How did you get interested in the project?

Frederick Douglass Opie: While working on my first book Hog and Hominy: Soul Food from Africa to America, I came across a set of Works Progress Administration records in the New York City Municipal Archives that described blacks and Latinos in Harlem in the 1930s eating in the same restaurants, frequenting the same nightclubs and theaters, and intermarrying. This was during the summer of 2005, and I was struck by these descriptions given the degree of separation I observed between contemporary blacks and Latinos (Ecuadorians, Dominicans, and some Puerto Ricans and Cubans) in Westchester County, just north of New York City, where I was living at the time. The contrast inspired me to explore the dynamics of African American-Latino coalitions.

Q: What are some of the distinct moments recounted in Upsetting the Apple Cart?

FDO: It tells the story about the first time that Malcolm X, at the height of his popularity in 1962, supported a labor union and the first time as Elijah Muhammad’s principal spokesman for the Nation of Islam that he joined a multiethnic coalition. The book traces the history of when large numbers of Dominicans who migrated to New York began to turn their attention away from the Dominican Republic becoming political mobilized behind African American candidate David Dinkins in 1989. It’s seasoned with recipes because throughout this history people used food to help activists do the necessary work at strategy meetings and protests to advance a cause.

Q: What role did unions play in forging alliance between Blacks and Latinos?

FDO: Labor unions helped Blacks and Latinos develop strong bonds as workers who shared a common political goal, employer, or class status. For example, Black and Latino members of Local DC 37 mobilized against President Ronald Reagan’s plan to cut spending to programs for the urban poor in order to increase spending on weapons systems and military interventions abroad. DC 37 supported the electoral campaigns of Mario Cuomo and others whose platforms addressed Reagan cuts. In addition, DC 37 participated in protest including acts of civil disobedience in their objection to the Reagan administration’s tacit support for the apartheid regime in South Africa and explicit support for authoritarian dictatorships in Central America. For many young workers this served as their foray into public protesting.

Read the rest of this entry »

January 27th, 2015

Food, Unions, and Black-Latino Coalitions in New York City — Frederick Douglass Opie



Upsetting the Apple Cart, Frederick Douglass Opie

One of the earliest coalitions among Blacks and Latinos in New York City was among hospital workers at Montefiore hospital in the Bronx. In the following excerpt from Upsetting the Apple Cart: Black-Latino Coalitions in New York City from Protest to Public Office, Fred Opie explores the importance of food in organizing workers and also includes a recipe for a dish that sustained union members:

Organizing Workers, 1957-1959

The first real break in the organizing drive came when the hospital administration decided to end a long-standing meal plan. Historically, Montefiore had allowed workers to eat in the cafeteria and then deducted the cost of these “free meals” from workers’ pay checks. When the hospital hired Jacques Bloch to lead its new food service department in 1954, he reorganized the department, opened a new cafeteria, and ended the free food policy within three years. Fink and Greenberg argue that the decision “increased the amount of take-home pay for workers but still triggered resentments.” That may be true, but the real issue seems to have been that the quality and quantity of food provided by the hospital was greater than what workers could procure independently with their slightly increased take-home pay. In addition, the hospital cafeteria served as a de facto restaurant for many workers who could not afford to eat out, giving it great cultural and social significance. Ken Downs, who worked on the lunch line, was the first to recognize that this change could be the thing to galvanize workers. He told Godoff to start an aggressive organizing movement.

Food played an important role in these first efforts to reach out to workers. “We had a party [at my apartment],” says Downs, “and I cooked chicken and rice and peas.” As mentioned, the migration of large numbers of blacks from the southern United States and the Caribbean during World War I and II contributed to the introduction of Caribbean and Southern foods and dishes in New York City. Over many years immigrants from these two regions have made an indelible mark on New York culture, particularly in Harlem, Brooklyn, and the Bronx where jazz, reggae, and later hip hop became popular forms of musical expression, and fried chicken and fried plantains, meat patties, jerked and curried meats and poultry, and rice and beans dishes became part of the local cuisine. Historically every region of the U. S. South and the Caribbean has had a different take on rice and bean dishes like Downs’s Barbadian rice and peas.

Barbadian Rice and Peas

Ingredients
8 oz. dried pigeon peas 1 cup rice
3-4 dried bay leaves
Water
¼ -½ lb. smoked turkey, salt beef, or salt pork
Or use 1 cup of vegetable broth for meatless rice
Small onion, peeled, and 3 whole cloves
2 celery stalks
Bajan spice mix: Bajan seasoning is a blend of fresh herbs such as thyme, marjoram, spring onions, onions, garlic, parsley, basil, and scotch bonnet pepper with spices such as clove, black pepper, paprika, and salt.
4-5 whole peppercorns

Directions
Cover peas with water, add seasoning, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 45 minutes. Add rice, onion, and oil, stirring well. Cover and simmer until the water is absorbed or grains are soft and fluffy—approximately 20 minutes. Serve hot.

January 27th, 2015

New Book Tuesday: Eric Walrond, The Reagan Era, Spirals, Cold War Modernists, and More New Books!



Eric Walrond, James DavisOur weekly listing of new titles now available:

Eric Walrond: A Life in the Harlem Renaissance and the Transatlantic Caribbean
James Davis

The Reagan Era: A History of the 1980s
Doug Rossinow

Spirals: The Whirled Image in Twentieth-Century Literature and Art
Nico Israel

Cold War Modernists: Art, Literature, and American Cultural Diplomacy
Greg Barnhisel

Motion(less) Pictures: The Cinema of Stasis
Justin Remes

Nutritionism: The Science and Politics of Dietary Advice (Now available in paper)
Gyorgy Scrinis

The Origins of Business, Money, and Markets
Keith Roberts

Art on Trial: Art Therapy in Capital Murder Cases (Now available in paper)
David E. Gussak

The Cold Eye of Heaven
Christine Dwyer Hickey

January 26th, 2015

Book Giveaway! Upsetting the Apple Cart: Black-Latino Coalitions in New York City from Protest to Public Office



This week our featured book is Upsetting the Apple Cart: Black-Latino Coalitions in New York City from Protest to Public Office, by Frederick Douglass Opie

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 Upsetting the Apple Cart 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, January 30 at 1:00 pm.

“A valuable contribution to the study of the mid- to late-twentieth-century history of New York City….[P]rovides the reader with a detailed, almost blow-by-blow account of the various attempts by African Americans and Latinos to find a common political cause and build lasting coalitions.”—Xavier F. Totti, Lehman College

Read the introduction to “It’s the Pictures That Got Small”

January 23rd, 2015

Read Excerpts from the Diaries of Hollywood Legend Charles Brackett



It's the Pictures That Got Small

The following are some excerpt from Charles Brackett’s diaries, portions of which have been published in It’s the Pictures That Got Small: Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood’s Golden Age. Charles Brackett was the longtime writing partner of Billy Wilder. In the following passages he recounts working with Wilder and interactions with a variety of Hollywood notables.

August 18, 1936: Worked with Billy Wilder, who paces constantly, has over-extravagant ideas, but is stimulating. He has the blasé quality I have missed sadly in dear Frank Partos. He has humor—a kind of humor that sparks with mine.

[At this point, Charles Brackett adds the following note to the typed tran­scription of his diary.]

(It’s time to examine him as he was then: 32 years old, a slim young fellow with a merry face, particularly the upper half of it, the lower half of his face had other implications. But from his brisk nose up it was the face of a naughty cupid. Born some place in Poland [“half-an-hour from Vienna,” he used to say, “by telegraph.”] he has been brought up in Vienna and schooled there, the Lycée—which means he had just about the education of a bright American college graduate. He’d gone to Berlin, worked at various things, among others he’d been a dancer for hire at fashionable restaurants. And he’d written an article about his experiences in that capacity. He’d then become a successful screenwriter: Emil und die Detective [1931] was a delightful and successful picture he wrote.

Because he was Jewish and had an acute instinct for things that were going to happen, he had slipped out of Germany as Hitler began to rise.

In Paris he had written and directed a picture in which Danielle Darrieux played the lead. One great advantage was his: he had cut the teeth of his mind on motion pictures. He knew the great ones as he knew the classic books. He’d been brought to Hollywood by a German producer and set to work on Music in the Air. Music in the Air was a real abortion. After it ap­peared, other writing assignments were not easy to come by.

There was a time when, due to the protective affection of a woman who ran a conservative apartment house on Sunset Boulevard, he was allowed to sleep in the ladies’ room, provided he was out by the time the tenants began to appear.

Discouraged and just about to go back to New York, he called his agent to an­nounce his departure. His agent had been trying to get hold of him for days: he’d sold three stories.

This all sounds improbable, but it was the kind of improbability that was built into Billy Wilder. Before we were joined in collaboration, I’d known him as a jaunty young foreigner who worked on the fourth floor at Paramount, where I worked. He had been a collaborator of Don Hartman’s. Only one anecdote about him at that period sticks in my mind:

I’d gone to meet somebody with whom I was to have dinner in the Holly­wood Brown Derby. While I waited, Billy came in and I asked him to join me for a drink. As we sat together, the swing door was opened on the wintry evening to admit a luminous figure. “Look who’s coming in!” I breathed.

Billy gave a cursory glance over his shoulder. “Marlene!” he snorted. “That excites you?” I admitted that it did. “She’s old hat for us,” he said. “Let me tell you if the waiter were to wheel over a big covered dish with her in it stark naked, I’d say, ‘Not interested,’ and have him wheel her away.”

I was enormously impressed with this world-weary man. It wasn’t for years that I came to know that Marlene had been an idol of his, worshipped since he first saw her.)

Read the rest of this entry »

January 23rd, 2015

University Press Roundup



University Press Roundup

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

This week started off with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so it’s only fitting that this week’s University Press Roundup should start with posts from a number of blogs in honor of the occasion. First of all, at the Florida Bookshelf, the blog of the University Press of Florida, W. Jason Miller explains how the poetry of Langston Hughes inspired Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermons. Jennifer J. Yanco, writing at the Indiana University Press blog, looks at the recently released film Selma, and wonders whether the movie could be a turning point in how people see Dr. King, while Hasan Kwame Jeffries looks at the actual events of Selma in 1965 at From the Square, the blog of NYU Press. Finally, at the SUP blog, Vincent J. Intondi uncovers a less frequently discussed aspect of Dr. King’s politics: his stance against the use and creation of nuclear weapons.

At the University of Washington Press Blog, Laura Kina discusses “the emerging discipline of mixed race studies,” how it has been affected by recent racially charged events (particularly those at Ferguson), and what it can offer to the public dialogues about race in America.

“In the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks, the Islamophobia pervading Western democracies is the best recruitment tool for violent extremists.” Writing at the OUPblog, Justin Gest makes the case that violent and/or oppressive backlash against Muslims in Western countries following terrorist attacks (France is the most recent example), is a major part of the plan for Islamic extremists who are behind such attacks. Meanwhile, at fifteeneightyfour, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Emile Chabal asks whether crises like the Charlie Hebdo attack actually serve to unite France, rather than divide it.

Thursday was the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, and in honor of the occasion, the Harvard University Press Blog is featuring an adapted excerpt from the Foreword to Mary Ziegler’s After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate. Ziegler argues that “by paying attention so exclusively to the Supreme Court we have lost a much richer story about the evolution of abortion politics.”

This week, the Penn Press Log introduced an exciting new addition to the academic publishing blogosphere: the JHIBlog of the Journal of the History of Ideas. They also featured the first JHIBlog post, which explains what the new blog hopes to accomplish.

Read the rest of this entry »

January 22nd, 2015

Thursday Fiction Corner: “Samuel Taylor’s Last Night,” by Joe Amato



Samuel Taylor's Last Night

“[Samuel Taylor's Last Night] has an appeal and an intensity to it that are both personal and cultural, both emotional and critical, and the images, insights, and considerations tarry with you, lending the book a marked, essayistic and moral dimension that calls for a slow digestion.” — Christian Moraru

We are proud to be distributing Dalkey Archive Press, one of the leading publishers of avant-garde fiction and literature in translation! Today’s Thursday Fiction Corner post features Joe Amato’s recently published novel, Samuel Taylor’s Last Night. Amato’s academic novel has been reviewed in both the Los Angeles Review of Books and Inside Higher Education. Read on for excerpts from both reviews, as well as a short excerpt from the novel itself!

In the LARB review, Christian Moraru explores the ways that the novel “is a text at war with itself”:

Samuel Taylor’s Last Night is a text at war with itself because the narrator S.T. is at war with himself, but on a deeper level, Joe Amato is staging, with humor and inventiveness, an agonistic poetics — an antipoetics in the best (anti)tradition of self-reflective surfiction and avant-pop parodic bricolage. As in Ronald Sukenick, Raymond Federman, Steve Katz, Curtis White, Mark Amerika, and Mark Leyner, this modus operandi speaks to a paradoxically clarifying “anti-transparency.” They all seek to debunk the pseudo-realistic, instrumentalist myth of writing as, in S.T.’s words, “a transparent medium through which a reader might be transported to untold representational or ideational coordinates.” The myth rests on a misconception perpetuated by lay audiences and “storyteller entertainers” alike, for whom “the telling of stories is not the primary aim” of storytelling. Instead, what matters to such “tribes,” S.T. says, is that language might take you beyond itself, to some “places foreign to the text itself.”

Read the rest of this entry »

January 22nd, 2015

What Charles Brackett Tells Us About the Films of Billy Wilder — Anthony Slide



The following essay is by Anthony Slide, editor of “It’s the Pictures That Got Small”: Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood’s Golden Age. (To save 30% on this book use the discount code SLIITS):

On Sunday, January 11, I introduced a tribute to Charles Brackett, held most appropriately at the Billy Wilder Theatre, located at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. The two films screened that night were The Lost Weekend and Five Graves to Cairo, one very well known and and an Academy Award-winner and the other less so.

It was fascinating to watch these films again with the knowledge of what Brackett had to say about them in his diaries. I strongly recommend that anyone reading the diaries should try to revisit the Brackett/Wilder films. Certainly, one views them in a different light. For example, the first shot in The Lost Weekend is an exterior of Don Birnam’s New York apartment, and thanks to Brackett’s diary entry, we know that the apartment is actually a set built on the roof of Hahn’s Warehouse. Or, every time Doris Dowling, who plays Gloria in film, opens her mouth, one can’t help but think of Brackett’s description of her performance as “amateurish.”

The programming staff at the Billy Wilder Theatre had selected the evening’s films as two that had not been screened recently in Los Angeles. Would my choice have been different? Probably yes. One Brackett and Wilder film that is difficult to see on the big screen in 35mm is The Emperor Waltz, their only Technicolor production and their only musical. It is, in reality, not one of their greatest achievements, but if I saw it again—thanks to the diaries—I would have wondered at the couple’s original casting notion: Greta Garbo opposite Bing Crosby. When I suggested this to the audience at the Billy Wilder Theatre, there was laughter, but would it have been such a bad idea? Garbo was actually enthusiastic, claiming admiration for Crosby, but she was too frightened to face the camera again, and so the role went to Joan Fontaine.

It is now 75 years since Brackett and Wilder made Sunset Blvd., their most famous film, and one that is screened too often in the Los Angeles area for it to make it into the Charles Brackett Tribute. If anything makes the Brackett diaries worthy of publication, it is what he writes about Sunset Blvd. There is so much original documentation here. It is fascinating to read of Wilder and his telling of the movie’s plot to Mary Pickford and jointly deciding as they make their pitch that they just don’t want her for Norma Desmond. How incredible it is that the day before shooting the famous “waxworks” scene of the group of silent stars playing bridge, the second female role had not been cast. Both Theda Bara and Jetta Goudal had been in consideration. Both ladies said no, and, having known Miss Goudal, I can well imagine, as Brackett writes, that she spent half-an-hour on the telephone rejecting his casting call. Ultimately, the afternoon before the scene was shot, Brackett thought of Anna Q. Nilsson, a blonde star of the silent era who was working by then as an extra, and she was a perfect match for the role — her sweetness and waning prettiness at odds with the artificiality of Swanson’s aging, heavily made-up beauty.

Regardless, the two films presented that evening went over well, and emphasized that Brackett and Wilder were a team who naturally complemented each other, regardless of their very different backgrounds and often simmering hostility. I would like to believe that they always maintained a healthy respect for each other, long after they parted company. I know that Brackett never criticized Wilder in public, and I was interested to learn from Larry Mirisch, who was in the audience that night, and whose father, Walter, produced more than a dozen of Wilder’s later films, that Billy never said one word about Brackett.

The diaries speak for themselves—and really they speak for both men.

January 21st, 2015

An Interview with Anthony Slide, editor of “It’s the Pictures That Got Small”



The following is an interview with Anthony Slide, the editor of “It’s the Pictures That Got Small”: Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood’s Golden Age. (You can save 30% on “It’s the Pictures That Got Small” by using the coupon code SLIITS when you order from our site.)

“The two were as different as it is possible to be. Brackett was older and wiser. Wilder was young and brash. Wilder was a liberal. Brackett was a conservative—a staunch Republican—American and Episcopalian. Wilder was European and Jewish. And yet they complemented each other so well.” —Anthony Slide

Question: Who Was Charles Brackett?

Anthony Slide: Charles Brackett’s background is both patrician and literary. He came from a wealthy New England family, and in the 1920s he wrote short stories for the Saturday Evening Post, served as drama critic for The New Yorker, and was a member of the Algonquin Round Table. In 1932, Charley (as I like to call him after working with him posthumously on his diaries for so many years) came to Hollywood, and at Paramount he had a lengthy relationship, as co-writer and producer, with legendary writer-director Billy Wilder.

Q: Why are his diaries important?

AS: Charley’s diaries, as currently published, cover the years 1932-1949. (There are additional diaries for the period 1950-1962, when he was working at 20th Century-Fox, and I hope one day that they also will be published.) The diaries are unique in film history in that they are the only daily record from the period not only of the social life of a major Hollywood figure, but also the daily working of a major Hollywood studio, Paramount. I like to say that just as Samuel Pepys recorded life in seventeenth-century London, so does Charles Brackett record life in twentieth-century Hollywood.

Q: How did you find the diaries?

AS: In 2007, Jim Moore, who is Brackett’s grandson, donated the diaries, along with many of his grandfather’s papers, to the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Fortuitously, Jim had heard of my reputation in the field and approached me, initially to place a financial value on the collection. I didn’t have time back then to read all the diaries, but even so it was obvious to me, just from a sampling, that they had tremendous historical importance, and that they deserved to be read by a much wider audience than the few scholars and students who might come across them at the Academy.

Luckily, Jim was more than happy to agree to my editing the diaries, and my only regret is that it has taken an incredible eight years to complete the editing process, find a suitable publisher, and get the finished product into the bookstores. I might add that when I first started, I was scrupulously annotating almost every name and subject, but then I realized that my annotations reduced the amount of space available for Charley’s actual diary entries. I decided, perhaps with a certain amount of regret, that it was better to cut back on the annotations—after all, surely any reader of a book such as this does not need to be told who is Claudette Colbert or Gary Cooper?

Read the rest of this entry »

January 21st, 2015

Mastering the Restaurant Wine List — Natalie Berkowitz



The Winemaker's Hand

“Think of a new wine as a blind date. While you might not want to make it permanent, a relationship with a new varietal or label need only last for an evening. Conversely, it might be love at first sight, something worthwhile going out with it again.”—Natalie Berkowitz

The following post is by Natalie Berkowitz, author of The Winemaker’s Hand: Conversations on Talent, Technique, and Terroir. (Save 30% on The Winemaker’s Hand by using the coupon code WINBER when ordering from our site.)

Wine lists make people nervous, especially newcomers to the world of wine. It’s impossible for anyone, including masters of wines (dare I make such a challenging statement?) to be familiar with every label from every wine region around the world. A leather-bound tome chock-full of choices is sure to cause an uncomfortable jolt, even to sophisticated enophiles. A difficult burden lies on the individual at the table who is called on to make the choice and others at the table are relieved to be free of the task. Generally speaking most selections will be perfectly suitable.

It’s good to take control sometimes, particularly in the company of a big spender with deep pockets who always picks the foie gras supplement on the menu and who equates high price with quality. Equally troublesome is the cheapskate. Whoever the burden falls on whether the most initiated, most willing or conscripted, remember the moderation is the key word. To paraphrase Shakespeare, neither a miser nor spendthrift be. Be considerate of other people’s wallets. Target middle-priced wines, not the cheapest on the list or the most expensive. If the restaurant is ethnic, it’s a good idea to pick wines of the region.

Complications arise when two or more people order different appetizers or main courses. The conventional wisdom is “red with meat and white with poultry or fish,” but that doesn’t help under those circumstances. And then, rules are meant to be broken. Particular preferences, allergies or prejudices compound the issue. When making a choice gets out of hand, a simple solution is to order wine by the glass or a bottle each of a red and a white wine.

Here are some helpful tips:

Rely on the sommelier for assistance in choosing a wine. Perhaps the most important relationship in a restaurant is the one between customer and sommelier. Today’s increasingly complex menu preparations require an avid partnership between the master of the kitchen and the keeper of the wine cellar. The first order of business for the latter is to develop a sympathetic understanding of the chef’s culinary creations. Unfortunately, it is rare to find professionals in kitchen and dining room who overcome their territorial turfs and often-oversized egos. The sommelier theoretically should play a supporting role to the chef, becoming intimately involved with the philosophy and tastes of what comes through the kitchen’s swinging doors. Yet the best interests of customers are served when the two work in harmony to determine the best match between wine and food.

What assistance should restaurant patrons expect from sommeliers? Suggestions for a satisfactory wine and food pairing. Help deciphering a wine list loaded with unfamiliar labels and varietals from wine regions around the world. (Ah, for the simpler days of red- sauced Italian food and Chianti poured from straw-covered bottles.)

In the absence of a sommelier, realize there are friendly varietals. A well-crafted Sauvignon blanc can display a range of flavors that generally is a crowd-pleaser. Merlot is currently at the head of the pack in the red wine category and while it was often the axiom that Cabernet sauvignons were difficult to drink young, new techniques of vinification make them more accessible. Silky Pinot noirs are a great choice for four disparate dinners. Spicy, perky red Zinfandels (not the white kind that are too sweet to go with food) or well-crafted, un-oaked Chardonnays fit the bill. Argentinean Malbecs are quite the current rage as an excellent match with hearty foods.

Read the rest of this entry »

January 20th, 2015

New Book Tuesday! Faces of Power, Latin Hitchcock, Picasso Ceramics, and More New Books!



Faces of PowerOur weekly listing of new books now available:

Faces of Power: Constancy and Change in United States Foreign Policy from Truman to Obama
Seyom Brown

The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Southwest (Now available in paper)
Trudy Griffin-Pierce

Latin Hitchcock: How Almodóvar, Amenábar, De la Iglesia, Del Toro and Campanella Became Notorious
Dona Kercher

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Collaboration and Conflict in the Age of Diaspora
Edited by Sander L. Gilman

Drawing New Color Lines: Transnational Asian American Graphic Narratives
Edited by Monica Chiu

Picasso Ceramics: Objects from the Nina Miller Collection
Edited by Florian Knothe

The Sensuous Cinema of Wong Kar-wai: Film Poetics and the Aesthetic of Disturbance
Gary Bettinson

Transnational Representations: The State of Taiwan Film in the 1960s and 1970s
James Wicks

FILTH: Failed in London, Try Hong Kong
Jingan MacPherson Young

Red Chamber in the Concrete Forest
Wang Haoran

From Warhorses to Ploughshares: The Later Tang Reign of Emperor Mingzong
Richard L. Davis

The Golden Ghetto: The American Commercial Community at Canton and the Shaping of American China Policy, 1784-1844
Jacques M. Downs

January 20th, 2015

Book Giveaway! Win a Free Copy of “‘It’s the Pictures That Got Small’: Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood’s Golden Age



This week our featured book is “It’s the Pictures That Got Small”: Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood’s Golden Age edited by Anthony Slide.

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 “It’s the Pictures That Got Small 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, January 23 at 1:00 pm.

“Reading Brackett’s diary entries is like stepping into a time machine. It provides a vivid and valuable account of day-to-day life in the heyday of Hollywood’s studio system–and a bittersweet chronicle of his volatile relationship with Billy Wilder. I couldn’t put the book down.”—Leonard Maltin”

Read Anthony Slide’s introduction to “It’s the Pictures That Got Small”

January 16th, 2015

University Press Roundup



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.)

We’ll start things off this week with a post at the JHU Press Blog written by Keith Brock of the John’s Hopkins University Press staff. Brock discusses the JHUP Diversity Committee, and tells the story of how he helped to create it. Some of the work that the JHUP Diversity Committee does: “I can proudly say that we have started our process through volunteer activities, community collaborations (both internal and external), diversity training, creating mission statements, and increasing awareness.”

Professor Juan Flores, a well-known and widely respected scholar of Puerto Rican identity and culture, passed away in late 2014. At the UNC Press Blog, Christina D. Abreu honors Flores and discusses the ongoing importance of his work in a guest post.

Stanford University Press is launching a “novel publishing initiative for scholars in the digital humanities and computational social sciences” with grant funding from the Mellon Foundation. This week, the SUP blog is hosting a series of posts on what it means to publish digital scholarship, with articles explaining the new program, explaining their reasoning behind the move to a new publishing paradigm, and explaining how the new digital-born scholarship will aid researchers.

The attack on the Charlie Hebdo office has prompted a wide range of responses, and several scholarly publishing blogs have posted interesting takes on the situation. At fifteeneightyfour, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Ritu Gairola Khanduri looks at the reaction to the Charlie Hebdo cartoons through the lens of her work on similarly provocative cartoons in India, with a focus on how “[c]artoons show us that politics is sensory.” At the OUPblog, Christopher Hill argues that these attacks mark the end of the “French exception,” a term describing the relative freedom from terrorist attack that France has enjoyed over the past fifteen years, particularly in comparison to European neighbors like Spain and Britain. And at Beacon Broadside, Kay Whitlock and Michael Bronski worry that “the reaction to these tragic killings seamlessly moves forward within an easily manipulated narrative. This story is compellingly shaped by the twin themes of terrorism and destruction of freedom of speech. Because this narrative is framed by the politics of fear, resentment, and vengeance, it has become as volatile and potentially incendiary as the actions that produced it.” Read the rest of this entry »

January 15th, 2015

Thursday Fiction Corner: “The Tingling, Tangling Tango as ’tis Tripped at Coney Island,” by Djuna Barnes



A Coney Island Reader

Welcome to the Thursday Fiction Corner, where we highlight some of the excellent fiction from our list and the lists of our distributed presses. This week, we are happy to present an excerpt from A Coney Island Reader: Through Dizzy Gates of Illusion, edited by Louis J. Parascandola and John Parascandola. A Coney Island Reader brings together over one hundred years of writing about Coney Island, from authors ranging from Walt Whitman to Katie Roiphe. In today’s post, we’ve excerpted a short piece originally published in the Eagle in 1913 by American modernist writer Djuna Barnes: “The Tingling, Tangling Tango as ’tis Tripped at Coney Island.”

January 15th, 2015

Discouraging North American and European Citizens from Foreign Jihad



Mental Health in the War on Terror

This week our featured book is Mental Health in the War on Terror, by Neil Krishan Aggarwal. Throughout the week, we will be posting content from and about the book and it’s author. In today’s guest post, Aggarwal discusses a recent New York Times article on efforts to keep Western citizens from “traveling to fight in war zones in Muslim countries,” and how the War on Terror has been and is being shaped by sometimes troubling stereotypes.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for Mental Health in the War on Terror!

Discouraging North American and European Citizens from Foreign Jihad
By Neil Krishan Aggarwal

A New York Times article dated January 13, 2015 and titled “West Struggles against Flow to War Zones” describes North American and European officials struggling to “stem the flow of their citizens traveling to fight in war zones in Muslim countries.” The article comes after last week’s tragic attacks in France and reflects major themes from my book Mental Health in the War on Terror: Culture, Science, and Statecraft. In my book, I analyze questionable claims of Orientalist stereotypical scholarship and de-radicalization programs, some of which appear in this article. By scrutinizing this article, I hope to show how such claims recur in an influential newspaper and shape public discussions of the War on Terror. Only by inspecting such claims one at a time can we discern how the War on Terror has permeated popular culture.

1. The “West/Rest” fallacy. The authors begin: “For more than a decade, Western governments have struggled to stem the flow of their citizens traveling to fight in war zones in Muslim countries.” This assertion implies a rigid division among Muslims and non-Muslims. Where does the West begin and end? What is the standard for “Muslim countries”? Is a Muslim country defined on the basis of political system (Saudi Arabia), population (Indonesia), or Orientalist notions of the Middle East? Are we not comparing apples and oranges by contrasting entities based on geography (“Western”) and religion (“Muslim”)? Read the rest of this entry »

January 14th, 2015

An interview with Daniel Yacavone, author of “Film Worlds”



Film Worlds

The following is an interview with Daniel Yacavone, author of Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of Cinema:

Q: How would you situate Film Worlds within film theory and the expanding field of film and philosophy?

A: Over the past few decades there has been a notable turn towards philosophy in disciplinary film studies. One example is the influence of Gilles Deleuze’s writings on cinema (indebted to Henri Bergson and C.S. Peirce), which film theorists have found productive to engage with; another is the widespread interest in phenomenology – particularly Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s version of it – in relation to perceptual, affective, and ‘embodied’ aspects of films and film viewing. More or less simultaneously, within Anglophone academic philosophy there has been a renewed interest in how some films dramatize philosophical issues and problems, in the question of whether cinema can serve as a medium for philosophical thought and argument, and the relation between films and their experience and issues in the philosophy of perception, cognition, and emotion (as overlapping with cognitive film theory).

In relation to all of the above it is important to distinguish between philosophy in film and the philosophy of film. My interests have been mainly in the latter, and it is here that the long and fascinating tradition of aesthetics and the philosophy of art can be fruitfully brought to bear on certain topics in modern and contemporary film theory. Curiously, in the midst of the aforementioned philosophical turn in film theory and the growing ‘film-philosophy’ movement this is a tradition that many theorists and philosophers alike have tended to bypass, even when discussing cinematic representation, expression, authorship, and other issues that it may illuminate (there are of course notable exceptions). In its exploration of the world-like nature of films and their experience, Film Worlds attempts to show the continued relevance of insights drawn from general aesthetics and the philosophy of art to cinema and to contemporary film theory and the philosophy of film. Read the rest of this entry »