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June 7th, 2013 at 11:32 am

University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts 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.

An Akronism, the University of Akron Press Blog, has a post explaining why sometimes it can pay to be the “tortoises of publishing.” “University presses, rightly or wrongly, are viewed as the tortoises of publishing. Slow. Ponderous. Stuffy. However, paying some attention to detail may not gratify the masses, but it only takes one bad result, quoted repeatedly, to misinform generations.”

For prospective authors, AMACOM’s Executive Editor Christina Parisi has a list of five simple things you can do to make your editor and publisher love you. Particularly important: #2. “Don’t hide bad news.”

At Beacon Broadside, Rodger Streitmatter confronts an important question about writing about same-sex couples from the past: “Isn’t it unethical for you to expose these people as being gay when many of them concealed their sexuality and their relationship when they were alive?”

This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambridge University Press, continues their fascinating series on the history of cotton with a detailed explanation of the tools used historically and today to collect and ready cotton for sale.

The Harvard University Press Blog had a couple of excellent posts over the last two weeks. First, Richard Noll continues the HUP blog’s ongoing discussion of the DSM-5 and of the state of mental health treatment in general with a passionate post insisting that suffering and sadness can be a part of human life without necessitating the diagnosis of a mental disease. And second, James Dawes defends empathy in response to a recent New Yorker article denouncing “empathy’s devaluing of faceless suffering.”

At the JHU Press Blog, James Mulholland looks back at the bizarre and fascinating story of late 18th century bardic performers, led by Iolo Morganwg, who aimed to revive the ancient customs of Wales.

Why should readers today care about the Civil War? At the LSU Press Blog, David C. Keehn makes the case that “studying events of that era is important and relevant to what is happening today.”

Magic, often of the “personal and vicious” kind, was common and important in the everyday lives of people living in ancient Greece and Rome. At the University of Michigan Press blog, Andrew T. Wilburn talks about his work digging up and analyzing the paraphernalia of magic in the ancient world, from curse tablets to erotic spells.

June 5 was World Environment Day, and the MIT Press blog has a Q&A with philosopher William P. Kabasenche discussing the role of philosophers in environmental issues.

Stanislaw Lem is probably best known for his scifi stories, Solaris notable among them, but he also wrote several treatises on the philosophy of science and technology. At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Joanna Zylinska, the translator of Lem’s Summa Technologiae , has a blog post in which she describes Lem’s work as “a perhaps unwitting counterpoint to the idealism that underpins the French philosopher’s [Henri Bergson's] Creative Evolution, with its notion of vital impetus (élan vital), Lem’s Summa offers a much more sober, even ironic view of evolution, one that is rooted in scepticism and in the scientific method.”

At From the Square, the NYU Press blog, Karen M. Dunak looks at the ways that same-sex couples are “negotiating the traditions and terminologies associated with marriage.”

“Who’s the cat that won’t cop out when there’s danger all about? / Shaft! / Right on!” At the OUPblog, Tim Allen and Robert Repino have a great post up about the history and place in American pop culture of Blaxploitation films, from 1971′s Shaft to Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, which came out last year.

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with a post at North Philly Notes, the blog of Temple University Press, by John S. W. Park, looking back at the lessons Mark Twain’s Huck Finn can teach us about illegal and undocumented immigrants.

Thanks again for reading this week’s roundup! Have a great weekend, and leave any thoughts in the comments!

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