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April 4th, 2014

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.

Climate change has been in the news lately (more even than usual) with the release of the most recent IPCC report. At fifteeneightyfour, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Robert McLeman takes on an important result of climate change: how it will affect the way that people move around the world. He argues that, while a rapidly changing climate will certainly prompt greater levels of global migration, it’s not the most worrying aspect of the situation.

Meanwhile, at Island Press Field Notes, Emily Monosson ponders the possibility (and implications) of rapid human evolution in response to pollution, in particular, industrial age chemicals. She offers some worrying ways that industrial chemicals might affect the way that we reproduce, for instance, and, while she also wonders whether chemicals just aren’t relevant to human evolution, asks “what if the pressure was pervasive, reaching across large swaths of a population? And what if it hit us where it really hurt, reproduction?”

On Saturday, March 22, a major mudslide occurred a few miles outside of Oso, Washington, causing widespread damage and killing at least thirty people. At the JHU Press Blog, Donald R. Prothero has a long article explaining the mechanisms that caused the slide, and discussing why, when another major slide in the region was predicted, houses continued to be built in the area near the Steelhead Drive neighborhood where the slide occurred.

Jane Goodall turned 80 this week, and, in honor of the occasion, Nancy Merrick has a guest post at Beacon Broadside giving some of the most important lessons that she has learned from working with Dr. Goodall. Some examples: “You cannot get through even a single day without having an impact. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” “Solving problems of chimps and forests requires addressing human issues as well.” And, “rules are made to be broken—as long as you proceed in a manner respectful of others.”

Why should we study the history of philosophy? After all, as Graham Priest points out at the OUPblog, “[i]f you go into a mathematics class of any university, it’s unlikely that you will find students reading Euclid. If you go into any physics class, it’s unlikely you’ll find students reading Newton. If you go into any economics class, you probably won’t find students reading Keynes. But if you go a philosophy class, it is not unusual to find students reading Plato, Kant, or Wittgenstein. Why?” Read the rest of this entry »

April 4th, 2014

What You Can Do to End Slavery

Survivors of Slavery

This week our featured book is Survivors of Slavery: Modern-Day Slave Narratives by Laura T. Murphy. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. Throughout the week’s posts, we’ve seen how widespread and difficult to combat slavery is in the modern world, and it’s left us with an important question: what can we do to change things? So today, we’ve excerpted Laura T. Murphy’s epilogue to Survivors of Slavery: “Twenty-first-Century Abolitionists–What You Can do to End Slavery.”

April 4th, 2014

Nancy Foner on Immigration in Twenty-First Century New York City

Nancy Foner, author of One Out of Three: Immigrant New York in the Twenty-First Century, recently appeared on City Talk to talk about immigration in New York City:

April 3rd, 2014

The Story of James Kofi Annan

Survivors of Slavery

This week our featured book is Survivors of Slavery: Modern-Day Slave Narratives by Laura T. Murphy. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. Today, we are focusing on the story of James Kofi Annan, a former child slave in Ghana and the founder of the nonprofit organization Challenging Heights.

First, we have a video of James Kofi Annan accepting the 2011 Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize at Grinnell College, and in his acceptance speech, explaining the practice of modern slavery in Ghana and his personal experiences escaping from it:

Next, we have an excerpt from Survivors of Slavery in which James Kofi Annan writes “the story of his life”:

April 3rd, 2014

Thursday Fiction Corner: An Excerpt from Triangle, by Hisaki Matsuuri


“Walking along a sparsely lit street at sunset, when the silhouettes of people and things are melting away, I’m sometimes overcome by the presence of spirits, or what I imagine to be spirits, even though I’m in the middle of Tokyo and not a barren field in the middle of nowhere.” – Hisaki Matsuuri

We are proud to be distributing Dalkey Archive Press, one of the leading publishers of avant-garde fiction and literature in translation! In today’s Thursday Fiction Corner, we have an excerpt from Hisaki Matsuuri’s novel Triangle, “an unsettling peek behind the curtain into the dark and irrational reality underneath a city’s streets.”

April 3rd, 2014

Michael Mann Discusses Climate Change on Charlie Rose

Michael Mann, author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, appeared on Charlie Rose to discuss the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change most recent report on global warming.

Joined by Jeffrey Sachs and Michael Oppenheimer, Mann discussed what the report had to say about climate change’s impact on agriculture and extreme weather, and how global warming is likely to further impact the world’s economy in the coming years. He also considered how politicians have responded to and failed to respond to the looming challenges presented by climate change:

April 2nd, 2014

Survivors of Modern Slavery Speak

Survivors of Slavery

This week our featured book is Survivors of Slavery: Modern-Day Slave Narratives by Laura T. Murphy. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. Today, we have a guest post from Laura T. Murphy, “Survivors of Modern Slavery Speak.”

Survivors of Modern Slavery Speak
Laura T. Murphy

This month, the Urban Institute released a government-funded report on “Estimating the Size and Structure of the Underground Commercial Sex Economy in Eight Major US Cities” (check out their interactive feature, “The Hustle” as well). The report attempts to describe human trafficking by the numbers, providing the data that begins to answer the question that so many people ask: “How serious is human trafficking in the United States?”

The researchers interviewed sex traffickers, pimps, sex workers, child pornographers, prosecutors, and federal law enforcement agents to determine how big the profits are for human trafficking in seven U.S. cities. What they found was that pimps make between $5,000 and $32,833 a week. And the underground sex economy accounted for between $39.9 and $290 million dollars, depending on which city is raking in the bucks. The Urban Institute provided the data that cities governments and non-profits have been seeking to be able to justify exerting energy and expending resources to try to slow down the most exploitative sectors of the sex trade. Furthermore, the interviews conducted revealed widespread physical and psychological abuse within the industry.

What the Urban Institute research shows us is that listening carefully to the voices of those involved in trafficking is integral to better addressing the issue in all its complexity. Even as we demand better records and more data on the sex trade and other forms of trafficking, those numbers can only give us an abstract portrait of the industry. Read the rest of this entry »

April 2nd, 2014

Noah Coburn and Anna Larson on the Afghan Elections

Derailing Democracy in Afghanistan, Noah CoburnIn the lead up to the April 5th elections in Afghanistan, Noah Coburn and Anna Larson, authors of Derailing Democracy in Afghanistan: Elections in an Unstable Political Landscape have created Afghan Elections dedicated to observation and analysis of the 2014 vote.

The site includes posts about coverage of the election as well as on-the-ground reports about how Afghans are preparing for and thinking about the elections. A recent post on the site drew on interviews with Afghans about why they’re voting and what it means for the country. Other recent topics have included the threat of violence and the role of youth activism in the campaigns.

Meanwhile, in a recent op-ed in The Washington Post, Noah Coburn and Ronald Neumann argue that the United States must be realistic in expectations about the Afghan elections and react accordingly. The Afghan elections, Coburn suggests, will not be perfect—there will be corruption and disputed results. However, the need for stability is crucial and the United States must allow for the Afghan people to have the space and time to address the growing pains of a fledgling democracy.

Coburn and Neumann explain:

At this point, the United States needs to understand that what is most important in these upcoming elections is Afghanistan’s long-term stability. This is best achieved through a peaceful transfer of power to a new president with authority recognized broadly by Afghans. Democracy is, of course, important, and beyond a point its neglect would undermine stability, but the priority should not be on holding perfect elections. Afghans are likely to tolerate many types of procedural irregularities and small-scale fraud. Widespread violence and a breakdown of the tenuous political balance are likely only if these manipulations are seen as overtly propelling into office a candidate with little national support. Instead, Afghans are primarily preparing for both a national and, through provincial elections, local long-term renegotiation of political power. This is the challenge that the international community needs to focus on.

Read the rest of this entry »

April 1st, 2014

Umami, Watchdogs, Blacklists, The Hockey Stick and More April Author Events

Dean Starkman, The Watchdog That Didn’t Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative JournalismA variety of Columbia University Press will be traveling from coast to coast to talk about their books in April. Among them are Dean Starkman, who will be talking about his new book The Watchdog That Didn’t Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism.

We have a couple of great events in New York City lined up for our food books: Kara Newman will be discussing her book The Secret Financial Life of Food: From Commodities Markets to Supermarkets at Housing Works while Ole Mouritsen will join a panel about his book Umami: Unlocking the Secrets of the Fifth Taste at the Food Book Fair .

Mary Helen Washington will be in Detroit to speak about The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s and Michael Mann continues touring the country to discuss climate change and his book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines.

And these are just the tip of the iceberg; here is a full list of author events for April.

April 1st, 2014

The Allure of Work

Survivors of Slavery

This week our featured book is Survivors of Slavery: Modern-Day Slave Narratives by Laura T. Murphy. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. Today, we have an excerpt from the first chapter of Survivors of Slavery: “The Allure of Work.”

April 1st, 2014

New Book Tuesday! Badiou, Honneth, Blood, Beyond News, and more New Books!

New books now available:

Ahmed the Philosopher, Alain BadiouAhmed the Philosopher: Thirty-Four Short Plays for Children and Everyone Else
Alain Badiou

Blood: A Critique of Christianity
Gil Anidjar

Freedom’s Right: The Social Foundations of Democratic Life
Axel Honneth

Beyond News: The Future of Journalism
Mitchell Stephens

The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Drama
Edited by J. Thomas Rimer, Mitsuya Mori, and M. Cody Poulton

Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare
Marian S. Harris

Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object, Revised Edition
Johannes Fabian

The Heist Film: Stealing with Style
Daryl Lee

March 31st, 2014

Book Giveaway! Survivors of Slavery: Modern-Day Slave Narratives, by Laura T. Murphy

Survivors of Slavery

This week our featured book is Survivors of Slavery: Modern-Day Slave Narratives by Laura T. Murphy. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

We are also offering a FREE copy of Survivors of Slavery. To enter our Book Giveaway, simply fill out the form below with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select one winner on Friday, April 4th at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word!

March 28th, 2014

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.

We’ll start the Roundup off this week with an excellent article at the University of Wisconsin Press Blog by UWP Editorial Director Gwen Walker. In her post, Walker describes ways that scholars can help the editors at academic presses “discover” their work. She points out the crucial role of conferences and conference papers in the academic book business, argues that professors need a robust faculty page, and gives helpful advice on what to do when an editor expresses interest in a project.

The JHU Press Blog has been running a series on the constantly rising cost of higher education, and, in the most recent post, John V. Lombardi argues that the popular narrative of “college as an out-of-control expense machine” is not backed up by a close examination of data. Instead, he ties the rising costs to changes in the sources of funding for public higher education. “Government, from Washington to the state houses across the country, want to shift the conversation to the campuses and demand that they provide a cheaper education that does not require as much expenditure of either public money or personal income.”

“Who owns a country?” With the debates over the fate of Crimea dominating the media over the past few weeks, Cecil Foster, writing at the McGill-Queen’s University Press blog, believes that this is a perfect moment to discuss a question that rarely gets airtime, even though “[i]t is a question that is never far below the surface in any discussion, among others, about Quebec, Scotland, Catalonia, Sri Lanka, England, Germany….” He argues that consideration of this question should lead us to what he calls “Genuine Multiculturalism,” which will create space for true democracy. Read the rest of this entry »

March 28th, 2014

Insects: A Sustainable Alternative to Meat

The following news report (see video below) includes interviews with coauthors of The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet, scientist Arnolds Van Huis and chef Henk Van Gurp, in which they consider some of the environmental benefits of eating insects. Unlike raising livestock for food, which contributes to rising levels of greenhouse gas (see excerpt below), insects and using them for food has minimal impact.

In the following excerpt from The Insect Cookbook, the authors provide further detail about why insects are a sustainable alternative to meat:

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that livestock is responsible for 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, and is, as such, an important contributor to global warming. Greenhouse gas emissions include methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Simply by burping and passing gas, cattle release more than one-third of all methane emissions worldwide. Methane contributes twenty-three times more to global warming than does carbon dioxide (CO2), the most important greenhouse gas emitted by cars. Livestock generates close to two-thirds of all nitrous oxide released; this gas is 289 times more damaging than CO2. Some insects, such as termites, also produce methane, releasing 4 percent of all emissions of this gas worldwide. By contrast, the edible insects mentioned in this cookbook, such as mealworms
and migratory locusts, produce far less greenhouse gas per kilogram of product than do cows or pigs.

Livestock also produces more than two-thirds of the world’s ammonia emissions, which are one of the main causes of acid rain. Per kilogram of body weight produced, pigs produce fifty times more ammonia than do locusts.

Read the rest of this entry »

March 27th, 2014

Cooking with Insects — Recipes for Hopper Kebabs and Buglava

Hopper Kebabs

In addition to explaining the nutritional and environmental value of eating insects, the authors of The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet, also provide dozens of great recipes. Below are two such recipes. Hopper Kebabs (see image above) use grasshoppers with their legs and wings removed. As the authors explain, grasshoppers are considered a delicacy in parts of Africa and clever entrepreneurs in Australia are now marketing them as “sky prawns” to help increase their popularity.

The other recipe is buglava which uses mealworms, which is rich in potassium, iron, zinc and vitamins and minerals and is also enjoyed throughout the world. Both these insects are now increasingly available for purchase in the United States and can be bought from World Entomophagy.

March 27th, 2014

Alfred Kadushin, 1916-2014

Recently, longtime Columbia University Press author Alfred Kadushin passed away. We will mourn his loss and his contribution both to the press and to the field of social work. The following is his obituary:

Alfred KadushinProfessor Alfred Kadushin, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, beloved father of Goldie and Raphael Kadushin, beloved husband of Sylvia Kadushin, died at UW Hospital on Feb. 5, 2014, after a very brief and unexpected illness, at the age of 97.

Alfred was born on Sept. 19, 1916, to Celia and Philip Kadushin, Jewish émigrés from Lithuania who settled in New York City. Alfred grew up above the family grocery store in the Bronx and then, demonstrating the determination, courage, and intelligence that would define his life, earned his master’s degree from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from New York University, partially funding his education by working as a postal carrier in Harlem.

Before beginning his long and pioneering career as a seminal scholar in the field of social work and child welfare, he served in the South Pacific during World War II, volunteered to help resettle Holocaust refugees, with Sylvia, in post-war Europe, and worked as a caseworker in New York. In 1950, he accepted a professorship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work and began his distinguished scholarly career. Alfred was a central figure in an early cohort of social work scholars who defined the methods and content of the field’s initial knowledge base. Through his research, globally recognized scholarship and teaching he also contributed to the professionalization of the field of child welfare.

Read the rest of this entry »

March 26th, 2014

TED Talk from Marcel Dicke on the Nutritional and Environmental Impact of Eating Insects

In the following video taken from a TED Talk , Marcel Dicke, coauthor of The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet, discusses the environmental and nutritional importance of eating insects:

March 26th, 2014

Jeffrey Bennett on the Recent Discovery of Inflation in the Early Universe

In the video/slideshow below, Jeffrey Bennett, author of What Is Relativity?: An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein’s Ideas, and Why They Matter, provides some context about the recent discovery of evidence for “inflation” in the early universe. He explains what it means and why it is important.

Starting with a brief explanation of what we mean by an “expanding universe” and how we know we live in one, he offers an explanation of the Big Bang theory and the idea of inflation, and finally discuss the new discovery.

March 25th, 2014

“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be eating insects. They’re much better for you than regular meat.”

The Insect Cookbook, Arnold van Huis, Henk van Gurp, and Marcel Dicke

In recent interview with the Boston Globe , Marcel Dicke, one of the coauthors of The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet, discussed his new book and the benefits of eating insects.

Dicke concedes that there continue to be those in the media that see his work promoting eating insects in a less than serious light. However, as he points out, eating insects can play an important role in food sustainability:

The world is facing a food security problem. We hope to make people aware, to show them there are good reasons for eating insects. We’re not telling anyone to stop eating meat completely, but about 70 percent of all agricultural land is used to produce livestock, and we’re going to have to increase food production by 70 percent by 2050. There’s no way we’re going to be able to do this.

Moreover, eating insects, which is done throughout the world, is good for you:

[Insects are] rich in minerals; they’re high in protein. In terms of nutrition, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be eating insects. They’re much better for you than regular meat.

Dicke also discusses which insects are best to eat and the ways in which people in the West are slowly coming around to the idea of eating them. Much of the challenge is in the presentation of dishes prepared with insects and marketing the notion of insects as palatable. As Dicke points out, contemporary Western resistance to eating insects is somewhat anomaly :

It’s in our genes to eat insects; humanoids have always done this. Around the world, 2 billion people eat them on a daily basis—there’s nothing strange about this…. In our culture, we’ve always been taught that insects are disgusting. We try to live in an insect-free world, a sterile world where everything is clean. On the other hand, this world wouldn’t be here if not for insects—without them there would be no pollination of plants.

March 25th, 2014

New Book Tuesday: Lady in the Dark, Crowded Orbits, A Semite, and More New Books!

The following books are now available:

Lady in the Dark, Robert SittonLady in the Dark: Iris Barry and the Art of Film
Robert Sitton

Crowded Orbits: Conflict and Cooperation in Space
James Clay Moltz

A Semite: A Memoir of Algeria
Denis Guénoun. Foreword by Judith Butler

Unearthing the Changes: Recently Discovered Manuscripts of the Yi Jing (I Ching) and Related Texts
Edward L. Shaughnessy

Christ Without Adam: Subjectivity and Sexual Difference in the Philosophers’ Paul
Benjamin H. Dunning

Never Forget National Humiliation: Historical Memory in Chinese Politics and Foreign Relations (Now available in paper)
Zheng Wang

Patrick Boltshauser; Translated by Peter O. Arnds