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June 22nd, 2012 at 9:00 am

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.

The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) Annual Meeting was this past week in Chicago. Accordingly, the Texas A&M Press Consortium answers the most pressing questions about the Association, namely “What Is AAUP? And Why Do We Care So Much?” (Shameless plug: make sure you stay tuned for our AAUP Twitter Roundup, coming soon!)

Tomorrow, June 23, is the 40th anniversary of Title IX. Title IX “bans discrimination based on gender in federally funded educational programs,” and, while it has had important impacts on a wide range of education programs, it is probably best known for its effect on women’s sports. At From the Square, the NYU Press blog, Deborah Brake takes a close look at the reasons that Title IX holds “such a special place in US popular culture.”

With the 2012 Summer Olympics fast approaching, another intersection of sports and gender-rights is making headlines: the treatment of transgender athletes in athletic competitions defined by the gender of the participants. The Harvard University Press Blog takes a close look at why these “Gender Games” are such a tricky issue, using the work of Rebecca Jordan-Young to show that “[s]cientifically, there is no clear or objective way to draw a bright line between male and female.”

Tomorrow would have been Alan Turing’s 100th birthday, and, in honor of the occasion, the OUPblog has run a series of posts explaining the enormous impact that Turing’s work has had on a variety of fields from computer science to cryptography to philosophy. First, Peter J. Bentley discusses what Sir Maurice Wilkes, another important computing pioneer, thought of his contemporary Turing. Paul Cockshott discusses Turing’s contribution to philosophy, the philosophy of mathematics in particular. Keith M. Martin discusses Alan Turing’s importance in cryptography. Cristopher Moore and Stephan Mertens show how Turing helped to unify the field of computer science in 1936. And finally, Kees van Deemter has a post called “Computers as authors and the Turing Test” coming out today.

Two hundred years ago this Monday, June 18, the War of 1812 began as James Madison signed a declaration of war against Great Britain. At the UNC Press Blog, historian Jeff Broadwater discusses how Madison’s reputation was permanently affected by the war and asks us to reconsider the popular narrative that “Madison led an unprepared nation into an unnecessary war.” At This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambridge University Press, historian J.C.A Stagg looks at recent works of scholarship about the War of 1812 and what they tell us about how we use history to create national identities.

Few American sports stars have defined the “all-American hero” like Joe DiMaggio did in the 1930s and 1940s. At the Yale Press Log, Jerome Charyn discusses how DiMaggio was able to capture the spotlight in America. Charyn claims that the certainty that DiMaggio provided in times of uncertainty was an important part of his appeal: “The nation was going to war, and you had this man who personified stability. It wasn’t that he hit in 56 games, it was that he hits in game after game after game. You could depend on it. You could count on it. In a very scary time, there was always Joe DiMaggio.”

This week Beacon Broadside featured the third of their fascinating interviews with Michael Bronski about changing American conceptions of gender over the centuries. This week he discusses “The American Man: From Ichabod Crane to Jackie Chan.” There are a number of great quotes from the interview, but my personal favorite is this one: “So one way of looking at these books–be it James Fenimore Cooper or Mark Twain or Herman Melville–is these are really the early template for what we now understand to be the buddy movie.”

Arguments over laws governing citizenship and violence against women have featured prominently in the media lately, but less talked-about is the impact of these discussions on laws protecting Native American women living in reservations. The University of Minnesota Press Blog has an excellent post detailing the complexities of this situation by Mark Rifkin, “Reauthorizing Indianness (or Acts of Violence against Native Self-Determination).”

Our New York neighbors at Fordham ImPRESSions featured a fascinating post by John Waldman on New York’s “only true freshwater river, the Bronx River” in the South Bronx. The NYC Department of Parks and the Bronx River Alliance have been trying to restore the Bronx River. The river is home to the American eel, “the most mysterious fish in the sea,” and Waldham accompanied filmmaker Mathias Frantz in an attempt to find out more about the eels and their Bronx River habitat.

Reviving distressed cities is a fascinating process, and at the Penn Press Log, Brent Ryan looks at urban renewal project in Philadelphia. The Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI) cleared a huge number of vacant and dilapidated houses from Philly neighborhoods. Unfortunately, after the 2007-2008 housing crash, the city is saddled with debt from the NTI and many of the cleared housing lots sit unused. In his post, Ryan proposes a number of solutions that might help Philadelphia deal with the negative consequences of the NTI.

We’ll wrap up this week’s edition of the University Press Roundup with an interview with Lance Hosey at Island Press Field Notes, the Island Press Blog. Hosey believes that our current understanding of sustainability is limited by our reliance on technology in solving sustainability problems: “Life is more than its ‘resources,’ and sustainability must mean more than just the efficient use of those resources.”

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