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July 13th, 2012 at 11:09 am

University Press Roundup

Welcome to this incredibly long edition of our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! What can we do, though? There were too many excellent posts this week to leave many off. As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

We will start this week’s Roundup off with an important post from Penn Press public policy and international relations editor Bill Finan at the Penn Press Log in which he asks whether the peer review process limited political science scholars in foreseeing the Arab Spring. Finan raises a number of very important questions about the value of the peer review process as currently constituted. Given the debate about peer review in various fields, Finan believes that figuring out how peer review affected the failure of scholars to predict the Arab Spring is of crucial importance.

Continuing the discussion of the Arab Spring, Daniel Philpott at the OUPblog considers how justice should look in the countries of the Arab Spring as they continue to confront past decades of wars and dictators. Pointing out that “[t]here is little evidence that international tribunals have contributed stability to countries like Rwanda and Yugoslavia whose perpetrators they have tried and sentenced in substantial numbers,” Philpott calls for a more robust system of reconciliation to promote future peace.

There is growing hope that researchers have found one of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease in excess levels of beta amyloid in the brain. The MITPressLog looks at the history of our treatment of the disease from Dr. Alois Alzheimer’s definitive paper describing “profound dementia in a young adult” in 1906 to statistics comparing the disease in 1976 and today. The numbers are frightening: “by 2050 [the number of Americans suffering from Alzheimer's] is expected to be between 11 million and 16 million.”

Baylor University Press has a (relatively) new Tumblr blog, and it looks fantastic. This week, they have an excerpt from Thomas Lessl’s Rhetorical Darwinism in which Lessl discusses the complexity of the relationship between science and religion, and how that relationship has changed in the modern world.

The Yale Press Log also discussed the relationship between science and religious thought this week, specifically the similarities between religious faith and “the scientific method’s manner of wrestling with the space between what we “know” as scientific fact and what these facts means: what they allows us to see.” The post uses the work of Anglican theologian and particle physicist John Polkinghorne to show where scientific and religious thought converge.

Trader Joe’s is a fast-growing and popular grocery store that emphasizes their slogan: “Your neighborhood grocery store.” However, at Beacon Broadside, Fran Hawthorne shows how the claim that Trader Joe’s is a local neighborhood store is at odds with the chain’s growth and with the fact that German multinational company Aldi owns TJ’s.

The Cuban Missile Crisis happened forty years ago this August and is one of the most famous events (or nonevents) of the Cold War. At the Texas A&M University Press Consortium, historian David Barrett looks back at the timeline of the Missile Crisis and discusses what might have happened if the Kennedy administration had not discovered Soviet missile sites in Cuba until later than they actually did.

At Island Press Field Notes, Cristina Eisenberg tells of her experience exploring a stand of “ghost trees,” comprised of large numbers of dead and dying aspen trees. Apparently, aspen forests have been in decline for most of the past decade, leading to worries that aspen trees might be on the road to extinction. Eisenberg claims that, while evidence suggests that on a continental scale aspens are fairly stable, global climate change could quickly change this stability into widespread decline.

We are happy to be featuring the University Press of North Georgia for the first time today. Earlier this week at the UP North Georgia Blog, Matt Pardue goes into detail describing his relationship with webcomics and how comics on the web are drastically different than traditional offline comics. The webcomic Girl Genius takes pride of place.

Another first-time featured blog today is An Akronism, the University of Akron Press blog. This week, An Akronism discusses the new Indiana University e-text program. While the “Wheeler model” appeals greatly to commercial presses, this post warns that students will end up paying higher prices for textbooks in the end without receiving anything permanent for their money.

From the Square, the NYU Press Blog, ran an innovative post this week: they are sharing an essay written by a student in response to a chapter in one of their titles. Ivan Waldo took a class with Professor Alyshia Gálvez, author of NYU Press title Beyond El Barrio over this summer, and wrote a personal account of the importance of baseball to the Latino community in the US.

American Catholic nuns have been in the news quite a bit this year: they were reprimanded publicly by the Vatican for focusing “too strongly on the Church’s social doctrine,” and a group of nuns recently finished a bus tour protesting Congressman Paul Ryan’s proposed federal budget. At the Harvard Press blog, Amy Koehlinger puts the “Nuns on the Bus” tour in the context of a tradition of “Catholic sisters barnstorming for social justice.”

We will wrap things up this week with three excellent posts about various aspects of the American political scene today. First, on This Side of the Pond, the Cambridge University Press blog, Susan F. Martin takes a detailed look at the controversial issue of immigration reform and the Supreme Court’s recent decision. At the University of Minnesota Press blog, John McGowan takes issue with “politics as usual,” and with the way that the press tends to label any political move ear an election as “election-year politics.” And finally, the Princeton University Press blog talks (somewhat depressingly) with Robert Goodlin about the necessity of “settling” in political elections.

Thanks for reading today’s super-long edition of University Press Roundup! As always, let us know what you think in the comments.

1 Comment

  1. Frances says:

    Always enjoy these roundups! Thanks as always for putting together.

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